Kherson Committee of Voters monitors rights of detainees
Temporary holding facilities [ITT, from the Ukrainian] are those cells under the control of the police where people are detained on suspicion of committing a crime, or held as administrative punishment in accordance with a court ruling.
Until recently these were structures within the Ministry of Internal Affairs which were closed to public scrutiny, with reports of inhuman conditions and pressure on detainees by the police officers, including testimony that investigators beat out confessions.
The MIA Order No. 536 from 8 July 2005 which created mobile groups for monitoring human rights observance by MIA bodies has created a real possibility for carrying out independent studies to ascertain the actual state of affairs.
The mobile group created in Kherson includes representatives of both the law enforcement bodies and human rights organizations, and has been regularly going out to police stations since 2008. During the next 4 months they are to visit 14 ITT in the region and will examine the premises to check whether they meet present standards. They will also survey detainees in order to ascertain the conditions and how they have been treated by the police. Members of the mobile groups will also talk to the staff to find out their view of their working conditions and the material provisions in the institution. The project is also aimed at studying the normative base regulating the work of ITT and standards in this area. It is also planned to consider statistical data on the number of those detained and later consequences of their detention.
This information, together with the results of the monitoring and recommendations on improving the situation will go into a “Monitoring Report on the Observance of Detainees Rights” which will be published and circulated among the police, bodies of local self-government, of justice, human rights organizations and the media.
An information campaign is planned to run together with the project, the focus being on highlighting the above-mentioned problems and increasing openness, transparency and public awareness vital for humanizing the law enforcement bodies.
The project is being carried out with the support and active participation of the MIA Assistant for the Kherson region, Natalya Kozarenko and the MIA Public Council for the region. It has been made possible through support from the Helsinki Human Rights Fund (Warsaw) and financial assistance from the Open Society Institute (Budapest).
From a text by Natalya Bohrentsova, Kherson Regional CVU at www.cvu.org.ua