On a recent ruling from the Severodonetsk City Court
This case in its entirety goes back some way however the recent ruling on an administrative suit filed by the victim of an attack against the police for their refusal to launch a criminal investigation is a separate and positive move for a Ukrainian court. It is to be hoped that it will serve as a lesson for the police, who while not always so brazen as in this case, quite often refuse to begin criminal proceedings.
Ihor Mykhailovych Shcheglov lodged his claim against the Severodonetsk City Branch of the Luhansk Region Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) demanding compensation for unlawful actions.
The grounds were based on an incident in July 2000 when he was assaulted by the brothers Rybakov. On the same day Shcheglov reported the attack to the said police unit, calling for the culprits to be prosecuted.
The police refused to initiate criminal proceedings, and Shcheglov was forced to approach the prosecutors office which twice cancelled the decision of the police department to not prosecute.
Despite this, a criminal investigation into the bodily injuries suffered by I.M. Shcheglov were only launched on 11 March 2001, and he was only recognized as having been the victim of an assault on 19 April 2002.
During the pre-trial investigation which lasted 3 years and 1 month, the case was suspended twelve (!) times with the grounds given that the culprit needed to be established, although Shcheglov from the outset had identified his assailants.
On numerous occasions, in response to Shcheglovs applications, the Severodonetsk Prosecutors office cancelled the decisions taken to suspend the investigation.
The investigation was finally completed on 18 March 2003 and submitted to the court with a call to prosecute S.O. Rybakov.
In its verdict from 8 July 2004, the Severodonetsk City Court found S.O. Rybakov guilty of having caused I.M. Shcheglov medium-level bodily injuries. This verdict was upheld by the Luhansk Regional Appeal Court and the Supreme Court of Ukraine.
The Severodonetsk City Court also issued a separate ruling addressed at the Head of the Luhansk Region Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs regarding violations during the pre-trial investigation of norms of the Criminal Procedure Code.
In the recent civil case, the claimant I.M. Shchleglov asked for compensation of 20 thousand UH from the Luhansk Regional Department of the State Treasury. This was due to the disruption to his life in having to take such effort to have a criminal investigation into his assault launched, having to approach different state bodies, and in feeling unprotected against the law enforcement agencies, as well as feeling jeered at by the person who had assaulted him, yet believed himself to be immune from prosecution.
The respondents acknowledged that the claimant had approached them, but claimed that the culprits had not been established, this being, they claimed, the reason for the numerous suspensions of the investigation. They acknowledged too that Shcheglov had appealed against their behaviour to many other authorities, but denied that he had suffered in any way as a result.
The Court having heard the arguments of both parties, passed the following ruling:
- To partially allow the claim of Ihor Mykhailovych Shcheglov against the Severodonetsk City Branch of the Luhansk Region Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs calling for the actions of the latter to be declared unlawful and to award moral compensation;
- To declare the actions of the Severodonetsk City Branch of the Luhansk Region Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, seen in the repeated refusal to launch a criminal investigation following the application of I.M. Shcheglov, in the numerous unwarranted suspensions of the pre-trial investigation, and the procrastination over the said investigation, unlawful;
- To bind the Luhansk Regional Department of the State Treasury in the city of Severodonetsk to pay Ihor Mykhailovych Shcheglov the sum of 1,500 UH in compensation for moral suffering.
The respondents were given twenty days to appeal this ruling.
The actual ruling was sent to PL by the Luhansk Regional section of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine.