Violent disappearances in Byelorussia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine – the community can stop them!
On 17-18 June the international public hearings “Violent disappearances in Byelorussia, Russian Federation and Ukraine” were conducted in the conference hall of the Supreme Rada in Kyiv. The hearings were organized by the Supreme Rada Committee in charge of questions of fighting the organized crime and corruption, Vinnitsa human rights protecting group and the Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations with the support of the International Foundation “Vidrodjennia”. Representatives of the organs of state power, journalists, human rights protectors from Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine, representatives of international organizations (the Council of Europe, “Amnesty International”), relatives of the missing and former victims of disappearances (in particular, journalist of the radio “Liberty” Andrey Babitskiy) took part in the hearings.
Public figures, activists of the opposition and human rights protectors, independent journalists become the victims of disappearances and extrajudicial executions in Ukraine and Byelorussia; hundreds of people had disappeared, and the bodies of tens of them were later found, with obvious signs of violent death, on the territory of military conflict between the Chechen republic and the Russian Federation. In the opinion of human rights protecting organizations, the disappearances and extrajudicial executions are still a very frequent crime in Byelorussia, Russia and Ukraine. (The data about disappearances in Russia are adduced by the human rights protection center “Memorial” on the site http://www.memo.ru).
The participants of the hearings considered the questions of ratification by Ukraine of the Roman Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), propositions of the Vinnitsa human rights protecting group and “Amnesty International” concerning the changes to the Constitution of Ukraine, which would make possible the ratification of the ICC Statute. Hristos Purgurides, a special speaker of the Council of Europe in charge of the problem of disappearances in Byelorussia, presented Recommendations No. 1657 (2004) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on disappearance of people in Byelorussia. In particular, he stated: “The Parliamentary Assembly appeals to the juridical organs of the countries, whose legislation envisages the international competence (jurisdiction) of their national courts for consideration of the cases of serious violation of human rights either as a whole or in the presence of concrete territorial connections, to start the proceedings against the concrete officials of top level for probable murders for reasons of policy of one or several missing persons”.
The participants of the hearings adopted the resolution containing the appeal to the power of Byelorussia, Russia and Ukraine, as well as to the CIS, on the improvement of mechanisms of human rights protection with the aim to prevent the violent disappearances and extrajudicial executions.
MPs of Ukraine presented the information about the Parliamentary control over the activities of law-enforcing organs and informed about the activities of special commissions for investigation of the facts of violent disappearances