Seminar for judges of the Kharkov oblast “Protection from the misuses of powers during criminal investigation: domestic court practices in the context of international obligations of Ukraine»
On 6-7 May 2004 the Kharkov group for human rights protection conducted the seminar “Protection from the misuses of powers during criminal investigation: domestic court practices in the context of international obligations of Ukraine» for judges of the Kharkov oblast. The seminar was held in the framework of the project “Campaign against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine”, realized with the support of the European Commission. 58 persons took part in the seminar, against them: 52 judges (13 judges of the appeal court of the Kharkov oblast, 15 judges of local courts of Kharkov and 24 judges of local courts of the Kharkov oblast), 5 assistant judges (the appeal court) and 1 senior consultant. All participants of the seminar obtained the following literature: “Against torture. International tools for preventing torture and cruel treatment”, “Against torture. Article 5 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Systematized digest of decisions of the European Court of human rights”, “Against torture. European tools for preventing torture and cruel treatment”, “Against torture. Review of the messages about cruel treatment and application of torture. 2003”, “Istanbul protocol”, and the materials of the book “Systematized digest of decisions of the European Court of human rights on Article 3 of the Convention”, which would be published in the nearest future.
V. Brintsev, the Head of the appeal court of the Kharkov oblast, V. Filatov, a judge of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, a judge of the Court chamber in charge of criminal cases, V. Lutkovska, a deputy of the Minister of Justice, O. Shilo, an assistant professor of the department of criminal process of Yaroslav Mudry National juridical academy, E. Zakharov, a co-chairman of the Kharkov group for human rights protection, and advocate A. Bushchenko, an expert of the KhG also participated in the seminar.
Topics of lectures and discussions at the seminar: “Problems of application of international standards. The European Convention and its influence on the domestic right”, “Prohibition of torture in the practices of the European Court of human rights. Domestic system of prevention of torture and investigation of the information about torture. Role of courts in the system of effective protection from torture”, “Right for fair court consideration: conditions of using the confessions of the accused in the course of court consideration, actions of court for checking the information about torture”, “Deprivation of liberty in the course of criminal proceedings. Domestic legislation and practices in the context of obligations connected with the European Convention, draft of the Criminal-Procedural Code and guarantees of the right for liberty”. In the framework of the seminar V. Lutkovska conducted the role game, during which the participants had the opportunity to appear both as claimants and judges of the European Court, and as representatives of the government. A case about torture was considered. It should be noted that the Kharkov judges were very convincing in all roles, but especially in the role of judges of the European Court.
According to the results of the poll, the majority of judges of the city and oblast have the experience of participation in seminars and trainings on the European Convention (57%), but they believe that these seminars are insufficient. They suggested the topics for future seminars that would extend the knowledge in the European right and its application in Ukrainian courts.
The participants of the seminar estimated our work after the 12-point scale in the following way:
General effect – 11.33
Organization – 11.66
Obtained materials – 11.2
Urgency of the considered topics – 11.13
Presentation of the material – 11.2
The participants liked most of all the following topics and elements of the seminar: practices of the European Court; role game; lectures by Lutkovska and Filatov; speeches of practicing lawyers; presentation of the material; practical application of the Convention. The negative moments: “The seminar was conducted not in Strasbourg”, “The duration was only three days”, “Recognition of the facts of torture and other arbitrary actions by the power depends on the complete independence of judges, which does not exist. This aspect was not mentioned at all”.
Participants of the seminar reckon that the analysis should be carried out of the practices of consideration by courts of general jurisdiction of the cases about the use of illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, the practices of application of the Convention during consideration of the petitions on change of the preventive measure, use of administrative arrest.
Yet, the best assessment of the seminar I heard a week after this action. A judge, who had not taken part in the seminar, said to me: “They say that you distributed very interesting books. May I get these books too?” And another judge, who was at the seminar, said: “Thanks to your organization for the seminar and for the books. I have already used new knowledge for taking the decision in a concrete case”.