Find somebody to blame – like the victim

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The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has issued an open appeal calling on the Human Rights Ombudsperson Nina Karpachova and the Prosecutor General to ensure that a four-year-long investigation finally gets somewhere.

On 6 June 2004 a 9-year-old Ivan Keivan was playing in the village Pidpechery in the Ivano-Frankivsk regions.  The village has a power transformer plant with the territory of the plant being a high danger zone.   There was, however,an informal football area next to it, and in violation of all safety requirements there was free access to the plant’s territory.  The ball went over into the area of the transformer, Ivan ran onto the territory to get it back as any child that age would and was electrocuted.

His injuries were horrific with burns over 80% of his body.

According to his grandfather Vasyl Ivanovych, not only was no investigation carried out into how it was possible to just walk onto this site, but the lad has simply been blamed for going there.  Officials prefer to accuse a nine-year-old than consider whether mistakes were made.

Vasyl Ivanovych maintains that the documents regarding the accident were falsified in order to clear the owners of the transformer (Prykarpatske Regional Entergy) of any blame for negligence and failure to comply with the legal requirements for such high-risk areas.

The relatives of the lad were prevented from taking any part in the investigation and technical assessment. The appeals and complaints they presented were not considered, nor the evidence which they produced.

The Prosecutor has still not reacted to the appeals from the victim’s relatives, nor has a protocol been drawn up in the criminal investigation on a survey of the place of the accident.

Instead of carrying out a thorough investigation, three decisions were unlawfully passed to refuse to initiate a criminal investigation, as well as two taken to terminate the investigation after it was finally launched.  These decisions were revoked by the court.

For the fourth year now the Prosecutor has failed to enforce the ruling of the Tysmenytsky District Court from October 2004 on an expert assessment of the act issued on 7 June about the accident.

As a result of this failure to act, there is still no compensation for the injuries sustained or medical aid for the young lad.

UHHRU calls on the Ombudsperson and the Prosecutor General to use their powers to ensure a proper, swift and effective investigation of the tragic accident and to make sure that Ivan Keivan receives the compensation and medical care to which he is entitled.

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