Police measures to counter criminal manifestations of racism
In a report on crimes against foreign nationals, Oleh Martynenko, Head of the Department for the Monitoring of Human Rights in the Work of the Police, provides statistical evidence of the number of crimes committed, breaking them down into nationalities and types of crime.
Two murders, he writes, were highly prominent – those of Joseph Silvan Bunta from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Jordanian Musafar Farukh. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, additional charges have been laid under Article 161 (violation of equality on the basis of racial or ethnic origin or attitude to religion).
2 young Kyiv secondary school students, born in 1991 and 1992, who called themselves skinheads, were arrested on suspicion of the murder of Joseph Silvan Bunta.
The author mentions also the murder in June 2009 in Kyiv of Nigerian national Igbodin Julius Yezike, a private businessman. A criminal investigation was initiated into murder, with a number of possibilities being considered, including a racial motive.
Of particular concern to the police are crimes against foreign nationals committed by radical youth organizations and movements, including skinheads and neo-Nazis, who want to drive people from Africa, Asia and Latin America out of Ukraine.
Bearing this in mind, the Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA] carried out various organizational measures during 2009. Most regions preferred to develop their own plans for urgent measures, using the Ministry’s plan as base. Various directives were also prepared and sent to police bodies. There were 22 such directives in the Donetsk region.
While a number of regions informed the MIA that they heard reports at operational meetings on prevention and solving crimes against foreign nationals, only 4 regions – Luhansk, Sumy, Chernihiv and Chernivtsi – organized additional exercises with personnel from the training department on coverage of issues regarding countering racism and xenophobia.
Sections were created within the Kyiv City, Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Luhansk, Odessa, and Kharkiv regions on countering ethnic crime and offences linked with the activities of radical information youth movements and organizations. Sumy, Transcarpathian region and Kyiv city created sections for preventing and uncovering crimes against foreign nationals.
The Central Department of the MIA studies material in the case of serious crimes where foreign nationals were victims, and attention is paid to ensuring proper reaction and local level to reports of crimes committed against foreigners.
8 regions created operational investigative groups for investigating such crimes, as well as carrying out supervisory functions (Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Trasn-Carpathian, Kirovohrad, Lviv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Kyiv city.). Experienced staff were attached to particular police bodies to monitor the situation, while 7 regions carried out regular monitoring of Internet resources, television channels and the printed press for material on inter-ethnic relations.
At least 13 police departments in different regions reported of specialized operational measures to uncover supporters of neo-Nazism and racism, with information being analyzed and with those supporters being informed of legal boundaries. In most of these regions there are regular meetings with the leaders of football fan clubs to make sure of timely response to any manifestations of xenophobia.
Efforts were taken to ensure that police patrol routes are as close as possible to educational establishments, places where different ethnic groups live in large numbers or spend their free time. 15 regions reported that this helped protect foreign nations. 86 places in Kyiv were taken under special surveillance, as well as 55 places where far-right supporters and members of radical gangs gather.
There were regular meetings between police officers and students of schools and institutes. These included meetings specially devoted to issues of inter-ethnic tolerance and prevention of religious or ethnic intolerance. In Kyiv, for example, there were 3,412 such meetings.
In 2009 the Criminal Investigation Department, together with the Institute for East-European Development developed leaflets for foreign nationals in Ukraine with advice on defending their rights and about specific features of those involved in radical movements, and preventive work with them.
Such leaflets were handed out in educational establishments with police, emergency and advice line phone numbers. Separate measures were carried out in 8 regions with security firms answering for security in those establishments.
Police staff also organized cooperation with representatives of ethnic minorities and national-cultural communities in a number of regions.
Preventive measures were also carried out jointly with NGOs.
To ensure coverage of information on countering racism and xenophobia, press-conferences, briefings, TV interviews etc were carried out in a number of regions.
The MIA also supported cooperation with the Security Service [SBU], other law enforcement and various government departments to share information about organizations, as well as on joint preventive measures.
There were also areas where the MIA could not act alone, and it developed cooperation with a number of international organizations: the UNHCR; the International Organization for Migration; OSCE; the British Council in Ukraine.
In the final stages is the process of creating a Memorandum between the MIA and ODIHR / OSCE on training police station personnel on prevention of xenophobia-motivated crimes. MIA representatives are active in an Inter-departmental working group on countering xenophobia and inter-ethnic intolerance, based with the State Committee on Nationalities and Religions.
In Kyiv there are also at least 263 fans – hooligans who often join up with far right groups during events with lots of people.
In the Chernihiv region there are supporters of the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists who don’t take part in fights or attacks, but carry out active extreme nationalist measures of a political nature and place the relevant information on the Internet.
Efforts by the Kharkiv regional branch of “Patriot of Ukraine” to become more active led to official warnings from the courts over disturbances of public order by 22 of its members. These were prompted by processions with xenophobic slogans, circulating racist leaflets, blocking access to a monument.
12 departments of the MIA in 2009 reported no racially-motivated crimes or anti-Semitic and extremist speeches. These were the Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kirovohrad, Poltava, Rivne, Sumy, Ternopil, Chernihiv and Chernivtsi regions. Six regions (Volyn, Zhytomyr, Trans-Carpathian, Luhansk, Rivne, Chernivtsi) found no radical youth movements, nor was any information received by the police about such groups.