Appeal of the Chernigiv public committee of human rights protection on mass violations of constitutional rights of citizens of Ukraine – members of public action “PORA!” in Chernigiv and their persecution by political reasons


 On 18 October 2004, on the day of visit of candidate to presidency Viktor Yanukovich to Chernigiv, activists of the public action “PORA!” turned to the Chernigiv public committee of human rights protection (the ChPCHRP, in what follows) with the information that their colleagues were massively detained and transported in unknown direction. In the course of check of this information it became known that the persons, who introduced themselves as militia officers (in many cases they did not show any documents), forced the members of the organization “PORA!” to get into cars, thus brutally violating their constitutional rights. As a rule, this happened in crowded places in presence of scores of eyewitnesses. According to the information we got, in many cases the militiamen (?) used the car ВАЗ-2106 with Kyivan registration numbers.

In order to find the Ukrainian citizens, who were driven away, we phoned to all district and town militia precincts, but got the answer that such persons had not been transported there. Yet, some time later, the activists, who had cell phones, managed to phone to their acquaintances and told that they were kept in Novozavodskiy and Desnianskiy district militia precincts of Chernigiv.

However, when relatives, acquaintances and colleagues of the disappeared came to these precincts, the militia officers, contrary to operating laws, in particular, the principles of activities of law-enforcing organs stipulated by Article 3 of the Law of Ukraine “On militia”, gave the lying answer about absence of the detained activists of “PORA!”. Only after several attempts of various public and political figures, in particular, MP V. Atroshenko, it became possible not only to meet with the detained citizens, but even to achieve their release. As it became known to the ChPCHRP, 12 citizens of Ukraine-activists of the public action “PORA!” were detained and later released.

The detained told that, contrary to the operating law, no accusations were presented to some of them, although the militiamen said to several detained that they resembled the persons, who, on the day before the detention, had stolen a cell phone, or the men, who, a month ago, had raped somebody in the town park.

Detention of Tetiana Pekur, a student of the Chernigiv state pedagogical university (the ChSPU, in what follows), was quite typical. After her detention and placement to the Desnianskiy district militia precinct, she was kept there for several hours without any explanations. When she asked the militiamen about the reasons of her holding in the precinct, they answered that nobody was holding her. After that she stood up and tried to leave the room, but a militia officer blocked her way and made her to sit down. This fact evidences on the commitment of the crime envisaged by Articles 264 and 365 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Only MP V. Atroshenko managed to protect the girl and release her. The deputy was the only person, which was permitted to enter the precinct because of his status.

Thus, the above-mentioned detentions evidence on violation by militia officers – the official figures and representatives of the state – of the Ukrainian Constitution and operating laws, as well as Article 5 of the European Convention on protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which is ratified by Ukraine.

Yet, the most brutal violations of constitutional rights of Ukrainian citizens started in Chernigiv in the evening of 18 October, after the departure of candidate to President’s post V. Yanukovich. About 18:30 Oleksandr Kovalenko, a third-year student of the ChSPU, was detained by five strangers in the hostel of the university. The student was transported in unknown direction by the car AUDI-80 with registration number 468-20ММ.

All attempts of Oleksandr’s acquaintances to find him in militia precincts were unsuccessful, since they got the answers about the absence of such detained in these precincts. Yet, the car, in which the young man had been taken away, was found near the Chernigiv town militia precinct. The people, who were near the town precinct, informed that the car belonged to an officer of the directorate for fighting the organized crime.

Yet, at the entrance of this militia precinct it was said that nobody with surname Kovalenko was conveyed there on this day. Only when the ChPCHRP advocate, together with O. Kovalenko’s roommate, handed the application about disappearance of Oleksandr, the officer-on-duty informed that the boy stayed in the town precinct.

At the same time the militia officer brutally violated the constitutional rights of O. Kovalenko, refusing to admit an advocate to him. Any other attempts to contact the young man were unsuccessful. After 10 p.m. MP V. Atroshenko managed to get to the building of the town precinct. Top officers of this law-enforcing organ assured the MP that the brutal violation of rights of Ukrainian citizen O. Kovalenko would be stopped immediately and he would be released in 20 minutes. V. Atroshenko also learned that the boy was suspected of coinage offence.

Yet, the student was not released either in 20 minutes or later. After the second talk of V. Atroshenko with militia officers, the latter again promised to release Oleksandr after 20 minutes, but later it became known that he would not be released, since he was suspected of a crime and would be held in custody.

According to operating laws, the ChPCHRP rendered an advocate to O. Kovalenko, and the advocate immediately began to represent Kovalenko’s interests. Yet, it should be noted that the advocate was admitted to his client only more than 6 hours after the detention; thus, the constitutional rights of O. Kovalenko, in particular, the demands of Article 29 of the Constitution of Ukraine, were brutally violated. Now the ChPCHRP and its lawyers continue their attempts to achieve the restoration of constitutional rights of Kovalenko and his release.

On 19 October brutal violations of human rights in Chernigiv became even more active, in particular, the mass detentions of Ukrainian citizens-representatives of public action “PORA!”. So, four more activists of the campaign were detained because of obscure reasons.

However, the culmination of persecutions by political reasons occurred in evening of 19 October 2004. About 10 p.m. representatives of public action “PORA!” phoned to the ChPCHRP and informed that the illegal, in their opinion, search was conducted in the flat of one of their activists.

Representatives of the committee arrived to the place, and saw groups of militiamen, both unformed and in civilian clothes, near the mentioned house. The house was encircled. When the ChPCHRP members tried to enter the house, several militiamen approached them, who, for some reasons, introduced themselves as “activists of candidate to President’s post V. Yushchenko”. From the talk with the group of activists of “PORA!”, who walked out from the house after some time, we learned that the search connected with a criminal case was conducted in the flat of member of the action “PORA!” O. Lomako. O. Lomako’s colleagues informed that they saw how, in the course of the search, the militiamen “found” false hryvnas in his dwelling. Moreover, they told that representatives of the Ministry of Interior, contrary to Lomako’s demands, as well as the demands of the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Constitution, did not give him the opportunity to invite an advocate.

Yet, the ChPCHRP advocate O. Trofimov, in spite of the attempts of law-enforcers to stop him, managed to meet with O. Lomako and concluded the agreement about representation of his interests. After this the search was continued in presence of the advocate. During the search the militiamen found a pan under O. Lomako’s gas-stove, in which they disclosed a substance resembling explosives, capsule and a fuse.

On 3 a.m. of 20 October 2004 O. Lomako has been transported to the Chernigiv town militia precinct, where he is held until now.

The Chernigiv public committee of human rights protection thoroughly collected and analyzed the information about this case and acknowledged that during the search the representatives of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine had committed a number of deeds, which could be regarded as violations of operating laws, in particular:

  1. By testimonies of Tetiana Pekur, who was present in O. Lomako’s flat when the militia came, the law-enforcers violated Articles 365 and 126 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, because physical force was groundlessly applied to her (according to her complaint, an unknown militia officers slapped her in the face);

  2. Contrary to O.Lomako’s demands, he was not permitted to invite an advocate, so Article 45 of the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine, Article 29 of the Constitution of Ukraine, Articles 5 and 13 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms were violated;

  3. A court issued the sanction for the search of the flat of Oleksiy Lomako, who never lived by this address, and militiamen conducted search in the flat of Oleksandr Lomako, so, in fact, the law-enforcers exceeded their authorities and violated Article 177 of the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine and Article 5 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The above-mentioned facts give grounds to the Chernigiv public committee of human rights protection for anxiety about the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the region, in particular, the Ukrainian Constitution, the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and other international documents ratified by Ukraine. The fact is very worrying that the persecutions are carried out by the belonging to certain association, that is there are features of violation by Ukrainian state officials of Article 11 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We want to point out that Ukraine, being a participant of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Concluding Act of the Helsinki Agreement on safety and cooperation in Europe of 1975 and Copenhagen Agreement of 1990, assumed the obligations to observe the international agreements on human rights, including the standards on conduction of election, but the recent events in the country, in particular in the Chernigiv oblast, give rise to doubts about their observance.

Taking this into account, we:

  1. Demand to restore the rights of representatives of public campaign “PORA!” detained on 18 and 19 October 2004 in Chernigiv, to release the innocent, to find the officials guilty of the ungrounded mass detentions for political views and to bring these officials to responsibility envisaged by law!

  2. Appeal to representatives of law-enforcing organs to obey the principle of superiority of right, to stand aside from the political gambles, not to adjust their activities to somebody’s political interests, to observe the Ukrainian laws, to respect constitutional rights and freedoms of people!

  3. Want to believe that the events of 18 and 19 October 2004 in Chernigiv would become an example of erroneous actions of law-enforcing organs, which would never be repeated in future!

Members of the Chernigiv public committee of human rights protection

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