The Chernigiv oblast. “Labazov’s Case”


On 11 August the appeal complaint was considered regarding the legality of choosing preventive punishment for Viktor Labazov (see details of this case in the issue of “Prava ludyny” for July). By the decision of Priluki town and district court, Mr.Labazov was kept in Chernigiv preliminary prison. The resonance of this case was explained by the presence of 9 opposition people’s deputies of Ukraine in the courtroom, as well as representatives of central and local mass media, regional leaders of opposition political parties and human rights organizations. The advocates pointed out in their speeches the violations of the norms of domestic legislation, Articles 6, 10¹ and item 3² of the Protocol to the European Convention. Owing to independent position of the court, the decision on Labazov’s immediate release from custody was interpreted as restoration of violated law. After the decision was pronounced, column of picketers moved to the preliminary prison, where the meeting was organized. MPs of Ukraine Ivan Spodarenko, Boris Tarasyuk, Lilia Grigorovich and others spoke at the meeting. MP Yuri Karmazin told about the problem of human rights in Ukraine emphasizing on the violations not only of domestic norms, but also of international standards, in the course of current election process. Released Labazov was greeted with cheers and flowers. Yet, criminal case against V. Manko, V. Labazov and M. Kireyev is not closed. Today the investigation is finished and accused are permitted to familiarize with the case materials. The Chernigiv Public Committee of Human Rights Protection rendered an advocate to the one of accused, who would represent his interests at the trial.

In response to the criminal prosecution, Viktor Labazov addressed to Aaron Rouds and Vladimir Weissman, representatives of International Helsiniki Foundation for Human Rights, regarding the violation of domestic legislative norms and norms of European Convention in the course of election process of Ukraine.

On 13 August a column of demonstrators went along Chernigiv streets protesting against violation of electoral law by law-enforcing organs and state officials. This action was organized by the coalition “Sila narodu” (“People’s Power”); socialists also took part in it. The participants of the march approved two appeals on inadmissibility of violation of laws and human rights by power and law-enforcing organs – to Chernigiv Regional State Administration and militia. MPs Vladyslav Atroshenko and Ivan Drach took active part in this action. Viktor Labazov could not be present there, since at that time he was summoned to prosecutor’s office for interrogation.

In general, “Labazov’s case” made the political forces to speak openly about the state of the observance of human rights in Ukraine during election 2004 and attracted attention of Ukrainian and international community to possible violations during election and persecution of opposition representatives. Like the events in Mukachevo, the political conflict in Priluki evidence that the power applies force methods for the achievement of its goals.

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