Press release of the Kharkov group for human rights protection in the connection with the International Day of the UNO in the support of the victims of torture
On 25 June 2004 the Kharkov group for human rights protection conducted the press conference devoted to the International Day of the UNO in the support of the victims of torture. Co-chairman of the Kharkov group for human rights protection (KhG) Evhen Zakharov, the KhG expert advocate Arkadiy Bushchenko, head of the KhG reception office Ludmila Klochko and coordinator of the project Andrey Stanislavskiy took part in the press-conference.
Evhen Zakharov communicated that this year the International Day in the support of the victims of torture coincided with the completion of the first year of the joint three-year project “Campaign against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine”, which was realized by the Kharkov group for human rights protection in cooperation with 18 partner organizations in different regions of Ukraine.
The year of the work over this project showed that the problem of torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine was very acute. The special anxiety is aroused by wide application of torture in law-enforcing organs for obtaining the confessions from the suspected or accused.
Evhen Zakharov adduced some conclusions made in the course of sociological researches by the specialists of the National University of Internal Affairs, with which the KhG cooperated in the framework of the considered project. He also told about five new editions from the series “Against torture” published by the KhG.
Ludmila Klochko told about the work of the public reception office of the Kharkov group for human rights protection. According to her words, 93 persons turned to the KhG reception office during the first year of work with the complaints against the application of torture.
Ludmila Klochko also told about the educative programs realized by the Kharkov group for human rights protection. During this year the seminar for judges was conducted in the appeal court of the Kharkov oblast, as well as trainings for advocates in Kharkov and Sevastopol. She shared her impressions about the seminars that had been conducted by the officers of law-enforcing organs in Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolayev and Kirovograd.
Advocate Arkadiy Bushchenko told about the work of the Fund for the professional aid to the victims of torture and cruel treatment, created in the framework of the project. The Fund cooperates with advocates, experts and other specialists, who are ready to render professional aid to the victims of torture, who decided to strive for investigation and for punishment of the guilty. According to the words of Arkadiy Bushchenko, during the year the Fund financed, completely or partly, about 30 cases. In the overwhelming majority of the cases the advocates of the Fund managed to achieve the institution of criminal investigation after the complaints of the victims of torture and cruel treatment. In the cases, where the victims could not find protection on the national level, the complaints were directed to the European Court of human rights. All in all, about 15 complaints were sent to the European Court.
Arkadiy Bushchenko also communicated that on 8 June 2004 the European Court in Strasbourg had regarded as admissible the complaint of Kharkovite Aleksey Afanasyev, whom Mr. Bushchenko represented as an advocate. This is the first complaint against Ukraine connected with application of torture by militia officers for obtaining the confession, which will be considered by the European Court. One more complaint concerning the same problem is now on the stage of consideration of the question about its admissibility.
Andrey Stanislavskiy dwelled on the question of coordination of the activities of partners in the project and the creation of efficient network of human rights protecting organizations. There were some achievements in the activities of the network during the past year, such as conduction of several successful actions in the support of victims of torture, exchange of information and collection of the data corresponding to the topic of the project. Along with 14 regional partners, the KhG works with 4 organizations, which fulfill the individual “mini-projects”: sociological researches, preparation of educational materials for law-enforcing organs, etc. The results of the activities of the partner organizations will be included into the annual report of the Kharkov group for human rights protection and will be published.