Number of acquittals in Ukrainian courts is pitifully low


Each year from 700-800 people die in penal institutions. No more than 40 of these people commit suicide.

These are just a few of the disturbing facts found in a statistical review entitled “Criminal Punishment in Ukraine” presented by the head of the human rights organization Donetsk Memorial, Oleksandr Bukalov.

According to the report, the Crimea has the highest criminal figures in Ukraine, with 163 people per 100 thousand head of population convicted of a crime. The Donetsk, Zaporizhya, Mykolaiv and Kherson regions are not far behalf with around 120 convicted prisoners on average. The lowest figures are found in the Transcarpathian region with 23 people.

A little over half of those convinced are released from their sentence on special conditions, and then there is a large number imprisoned for a certain period. The others receive punishments of community work, fines and limitation of liberty. The largest number of offenders are between twenty and thirty, and least – over sixty.

Mr Bukalov pointed out that as of the present day a person accused by the pre-trial investigation system of committing a crime has virtually no chance of proving his or her innocence in court. with only half a percent of cases reaching the court resulting in an acquittal.  He believes that this is probably a legacy from Soviet times, as well as being linked with the fact that people can’t afford well-qualified lawyers to properly represent them.

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