Thistles where thistles are due
The choice of candidates for the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union annual anti-award for the most flagrant human rights violation has been made and in just a few days, on 10 December, we will learn who has earned the “Thistle of the Year» Anti-Award for 2007.
Those in the running, after nominations put forward by civic society, include:
- President Yushchenko “for actions directed against the right to a fair trial”
- The previous Verkhovna Rada for “the most dangerous legislative initiative in the area of human rights”;
- The Mayor of Kyiv Leonid Chernovetsky “for an attempt to unlawfully restrict freedom of movement”;
- Nina Karpachova, Human Rights Ombudsperson, on two counts: “for failure to act on violations of human rights”; and “for discrediting the single State human rights body”;
- The Supreme Court “for actively obstructing the introduction of judicial reforms aimed at affirming the right to a fair trial”
- The Executive Committee of the Kharkiv City Council and its Secretary Gennady Kernes for “flagrant violation of the right of peaceful gathering”;
- The Prosecutor General “for failure to act on violations of human rights”, in particular, the failure to investigate the beating of prisoners on 22 January in Izyaslav Penal Colony No. 31; on 7 June at Buchansk Colony No. 85 and on 10 November in the Slovyanoserbsk Colony No. 60.
Among the individuals who may receive this dubious honour are the Head of the State Department for the Execution of Sentences and his First Deputy, both “for failure to act on violations of human rights”. Mykola Iltyai, the Deputy Head of the Department is in the running on two counts however, since he could also become Thistle of the Year “for brutal violence against individuals” (linked with the beating of prisoners at Izyaslav.)
The Anti-Award “Thistle of the Year” was launched in 2006 to draw public attention to the most serious violations of human rights during the year.
Last years “Thistles” included the Prosecutor General and the State Department for the Execution of Sentences.