13.04.2004 | Ludmila Klochko, Kharkov

Kharkov group for human rights protection conducted in Kharkov the training “Practices of application of the European standards on the protection from torture and the right for liberty in national juridical procedures”


The training was held on 7-8 February in the framework of the project «Campaign against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine», which is realized with the support of the European Commission. 28 persons (14 men and 14 women) took part in the training. There were 20 advocates among the participants (17 of them from Kharkov, 2 -- from Simferopol and 1 – from Kyiv), 4 senior students of National Juridical Academy, 2 teachers from the National Institute of Internal Affairs and 2 representatives of non-governmental organizations. According to the results of the initial poll, all participants of the training knew about the existence of the European Convention on human rights and fundamental freedoms, but, for the most part, only theoretically. Only 15 persons had participated before in seminars and trainings on the European Convention, 8 – applied the provisions of the Convention in their speeches in court and referred to the Convention in procedural documents, 5 – had the experience of handing complaints to the European Court. The students pointed out that the study of European right was insufficient in their educational establishments, and the future lawyers wanted to learn more about the practical use of the European standards. The advocates told that the application of the norms of the European Convention gave the additional opportunities for the protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms, increased the respect to advocates, knowing the European right, both on the side of judges and investigating officers and on the side of clients. Besides, the advocate’s fervor also encourages them to apply the Convention, since a person, who chose this profession, must be feverous. Teachers of the Institute of Internal affairs were interested in the opinion of advocates about the arbitrary actions of militia, since they wanted to train the law-enforcers, who would not be disliked by common citizens. Representatives of the NGOs had the chance to become acquainted with advocates, to establish business relations with them, to learn more about their work.

The advocates-participants of the training were of different age (from 25 to 65) and had different work experience (from several months to 37 years).

The organizers are especially grateful to Yuhym Goliand, the Master of advocacy, head of the disciplinary-qualifying commission of the Kharkov collegium of advocates, and advocate with the 37-year experience of work, for his active participation in the training. The organizers are very grateful to all participants, who spent two days off for the training. This fact confirms that the topic of the training is important and interesting for advocates.

During the training sociologists conducted the poll among the participants in the framework of the sociological research scheduled in the project «Campaign against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine».

All participants got the editions published by the Kharkov group for human rights protection: «Against torture. Review of messages…», «Against torture. International mechanisms of preventing torture and cruel treatment», «Against torture. European mechanisms of protection…» and «Against torture. Article 5 of the European Convention. Systematized digest of decisions of the European Court», as well as the materials of the already prepared, but not published yet, book «Against torture. Digest of decisions of the European Court on Article 3 of the Convention».

The participants obtained the information about the project «Campaign against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine» and about the Center of professional aid to the victims of torture, which works in the framework of this project. They also attended the lectures «General survey of the European Convention and the protocols to it. Survey of the procedures of consideration of cases in the European Court», «Practices of the European Court of human rights concerning Article 3 of the Convention. National tools of defense according to Article 3 of the Convention» and «Practices of the European Court of human rights concerning Article 5 of the Convention. National tools of defense according to Article 5 of the Convention». The participants also discussed the criteria of accepting the cases by the European Court and obtained the review of the cases against Ukraine considered by the European Court.

The role game was organized on the second day, during which the participants considered two cases, where they could be both on the side of claimants and on the side of the state.

Many interesting ideas were stated during the discussions. For instance, advocate Lisovoy, a honored lawyer of the Crimea, said: «The actions of our colleagues, who work with mass media, are well-coordinated, so they often win the cases for the protection of the freedom of the press. The advocates, who represent the interests of the victims of torture and cruel treatment, must act in the same way». Besides, Oleksandr Lisovoy, who has the considerable experience of work with the European Convention (especially Articles 3 and 5), shared interesting practical ideas with his colleagues. On the whole, the exchange of experience among advocates was very interesting and useful.

According to the data of the evaluative questionnaires, the participants were particularly pleased with the role game, obtained materials and the entire atmosphere of the training. The generalized marks after the 12-point scale are rather high: general effect – 10.1, organization – 11.8, urgency of the considered topics -- from 10.625 to 11.125 for various topics of reports and discussions. Not a single action in the framework of the training got the mark less than 10.25 points.

In their answers to the questionnaire the participants expressed the wish for the continuation of such trainings and the increase of duration (the majority reckons that the trainings should last for 3-4 days); they suggested topics for the trainings. Six participants pointed out that they had changed their opinion about the practices of the European Court, 8 persons told that their attitude to opportunities of application of the European Convention in the domestic legal procedures in the sphere of the protection from torture and cruel treatment had changed. Seven advocates expressed their wish to take part in the work of the Foundation for the protection of the victims of torture, and Mr. Goliand accepted our proposition to become the Head of the Surveillance council of the Foundation.

The group of trainers: A. Bushchenko, R. Topolevskiy and O. Lisovoy, held the conference, at which they discussed the results of the training, all mistakes and drawbacks of their work, and drew the plan of future work.

The next training is planned to be conducted in May 2004 in Simferopol.

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