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02.06.2007

The Legal Aid Centre for Victims of Ill-treatment is expanding

   

The Legal Aid Centre for Victims of Ill-treatment created by the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group with the support of the Open Society Institute (Budapest) is expanding its work.

We are willing to consider applications from victims of ill-treatment and other violations outlined below.

We also invite defence lawyers and human rights defenders to work with us on a long-term basis.

As well as providing consultations, the Centre has the possibility of offering financial assistance where victims are not themselves in a position to pay for lawyers or other specialists.

Particular areas which the Centre will be focusing on include:

  • The use of torture in police stations or other closed institutions;
  • Unwarranted force applied by law enforcement officers when detaining a person;
  • Unexplained death while being held in custody or in a closed institution;
  • Inhuman and degrading treatment in closed institutions;
  • Bad conditions in closed institutions, including inadequate medical care or the lack of such;
  • Unjustified disciplinary measures in closed institutions;
  • Extradition and deportation to countries where there a person’s life may be at risk, or where s/he could be subjected to torture and ill-treatment;
  • Unlawful detention during a criminal investigation;
  • Unlawful administrative detention;
  • Arbitrary imposition of administrative arrest as a punishment;
  • An unwarrantedly long amount of time before being brought before a judge in cases of detention on suspicion of having committed a crime;
  • Infringement of procedural guarantees when considering whether to deprive a person of his/her liberty;
  • The lack of compensation for unlawful deprivation of liberty;
  • Infringement of the right to inviolability of ones home and personal life;
  • Interception of communications;
  • Being refused the right to defence at various stages of proceedings;
  • Inadequate possibility for defence;
  • Flagrant infringements of procedure when examining criminal charges in court, in particular:

-  the use by the court of evidence gained through the use of torture;

-  being refused the right to call a witness;

-  the lack of access to an independent medical examination;

-  obstructing access to documents;

-  unlawful changes in the territorial jurisdiction of a court;

-  impeding access to a lawyer and refusing to grant free legal aid to people from vulnerable groups and others;

Regardless of whether they fall into the above categories, we are also willing to help in representing the interests of people whose cases the European Court is communicating over with the Government.

The work of the Legal Aid Centre for victims of Ill-treatment continues the work of the Centre for Professional Aid to Victims of Torture which was set up within the framework of the Campaign against torture and ill-treatment (2003-2006) with the financial support of the European Commission, the Open Society Institute and a number of other organizations.

The Fund financed the work of lawyers, experts and other professionals involved in strategic litigations.

The Fund provided professional aid to more than 100 victims or their representatives who had approached us alleging torture and ill-treatment. Our lawyers helped victims in the course of various procedures in law enforcement agencies and in domestic courts.

More than 40 cases have also been taken to the European Court of Human Rights. The case of Afanasyev v. Ukraine was won in the European Court. In its decision the Court found that the claimant had suffered ill-treatment while being held in a district police station and that his complaints had not been investigated properly.

The Court is in communication with the Ukrainian Government over 13 cases.

The European Court has also applied interim procedure measures under Article 39 of the Statute of the Court, with four of these cases being to suspend extradition. In one case, the European Court appointed delegates to investigate the case on location.

In order to develop the work of the Centre in the regions, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group has begun a training programme for lawyers on strategic litigations with the use of international mechanisms. It is also developing cooperation with other organizations in the area of legal work to defend public interests.

More information can be obtained by writing to: Е-почта: peet_rovich@mail.ru

 

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