Donetsk Memorial: Donetsk Regional Prosecutor is flouting the Constitution


The human rights NGO Donetsk Memorial has circulated an open letter to the Prosecutor General, copied to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture. It concerns the actions of the Donetsk Regional Prosecutor which Donetsk Memorial state are in breach of the Constitution and contain elements of a number of crimes. Despite numerous appeals to take measures required by a court ruling which has come into force, declaring the detention of Mr O. by officers of the Mariupol UBOZ [Department for Fighting Organized Crime], the Donetsk Regional Prosecutor is continuing to insist on their right to act in breach of a court ruling.

Mr O appealed against the above-mentioned detention and on 18 June 2009 the Voroshylovsky Court in Donetsk found the detention unlawful. This was upheld by the Donetsk Regional Court of Appeal on 11 August that year.

From that moment the court ruling came into force and the Prosecutor was obliged to determine liability of those people who had committed a criminal offence by unlawfully detaining Mr O. This offence is covered by Article 371 of the Criminal Code on knowingly detaining a person unlawfully, and can carry a sentence of restriction of liberty or a ban on holding certain posts.

The Donetsk Regional Prosecutor, the letter states, has not only ignored the court ruling, but carried out another check of the circumstances behind Mr O’s detention and, unlike the court, found no lements of an offence.

The authors point out that this behaviour is in breach of Article 124 of the Constitution which states that justice is administered only by the courts. Yet the Prosecutor, with their decision, has reviewed (annulled) the court ruling. There are also grounds for assuming that the check was carried out in a slapdash and cursory fashion, since Mr O. was not even questioned.

The court found the quality of the Prosecutor’s check inadequate and stated that the circumstances of O’s detention as a person suspected of having committed a crime were trumped-up and unlawful.

In the letter to the Prosecutor General, the Head of Donetsk Memorial, Oleksandr Bukalov writes:

“In view of the public importance of the issue involving Prosecutor’s Office staff covering up unlawful actions by the police, I am turning to you with this open letter. The letter will also be sent to the Human Rights Ombudsperson and to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture. I can assure you that your response to this letter (or lack of response, or sending of the letter for a check by the Donetsk Regional Prosecutor) will be widely circulated.

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