KHPG: calls on President to remove Minister of the Interior
Appeal from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group to President Yanukovych,
The Kharkiv Human Rights Group has on a number of occasions stated, including during the presentation of the report by human rights organizations Human Rights in Ukraine - 2009-2010 that under the leadership of the Minister of the Interior, Anatoly Mohylyov, the police have turned into an instrument of repression and represent a danger to Ukraine’s national interests.
Instead of fulfilling its direct calling, that being to carry out law enforcement functions, defend the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of its citizens, the Ministry is functioning as a repressive, punitive body, violating at every move human rights and effectively those principles which it is supposed to defend. We consider that this is due to the incompetence of the Minister of the Interior, Anatoly Mohylyov.
As soon as he was appointed Minister, Mohylyov began folding cooperation programmes between civil society and the police. the Department for Human Rights Monitoring under the MoI was effectively dissolved, the Human Rights Assistants to the Minister dismissed even despite the President’s statement with respect to these events that “one cannot economize on human rights”. The work of the mobile groups and public councils has stopped.
According to social research carried out by the Kharkiv Institute for Social Research together with the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, the number of victims of unlawful violence by the police rose from 604 thousand in 2009 to 780-790 thousand in 2010. The number of deaths in police stations increased from 23 in 2009 to 51 in 2010. This is evidence of the lack of professionalism in the management’s work.
Some of Mohylyov’s public utterances have pushed his subordinates towards an unlawful manner of behaviour, abuse of power and their official position.
On 9 July during a programme on the TV channel Inter, the Minister stated that he would assess the work of his ministry by the number of criminal investigations initiated. Such a policy is essentially even worse that figures for crimes unsolved and promotes the use of unlawful methods by the police force.
A great deal of publicity was given to the Minister’s statement: “I don’t plan to even check reports in the press or on the Internet”. Yet according to Item 4 of Article 94 of the Criminal Procedure Code, “reports published in the press” which contain signs of an offence, should be checked with a decision being taken as to whether or not to initiate a criminal investigation.”
Furthermore, commenting on the investigation into the terrorist act in Makiyivka, Mohylyov proudly announced that “more than three thousand people have had their fingerprints taken”. This is a clear acknowledgement of wide-scale violations of the Law on the Police and MoI normative actives regarding the fingerprint register since only people who have received an administrative punishment in the form of administrative arrest for a period of between 1 and 15 days, or who are the subject of a criminal investigation, are liable to such procedure.
The Minister’s instructions and public pronouncements regarding assessment of the MoI’s work when confidential information is demanded regarding people who are receiving antiretroviral and replacement therapy also infringe a whole range of legislative norms, including through coercing documents to carry out a criminal act, that foreseen by Article 145 of the Criminal Code “Unlawful divulgence of medical secrets”.
There are very many examples, and we must with regret state that Mohylyov in his professional capacity and level of legal awareness does not meet the requirements of the post of Minister of the Interior in a democratic society. He has totally discredited the MoI which did not in any case have a very good reputation and his continued presence in this position will only worsen the human rights situation in the police , help to exacerbate waves of nationwide protest and spoil Ukraine’s image at international level.
We insist on the dismissal of Mohylyov from his post as Minister of the Interior
Yevhen Zakharov, Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, member of the board of the International Memorial Soceity