CE Human Rights Commissioner scathing of Ukrainian Prosecutor system
Thomas Hammerberg, the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner stated at a press conference in Kyiv on Saturday that his report on the human rights situation in Ukraine would give particular attention to the role of the Prosecutor’s Office. He said that by this he was referring to the dominant role of the Prosecutor in the present court system which is a legacy of the Soviet system. He also pointed out that in Ukraine the Prosecutor General is still responsible for general supervision of the court system. He said that such a mechanism was outdated and unacceptable in a democratic society.
He noted also that courts acquit defendants in only about 1% of cases. In the overwhelming majority of cases the courts issue the sentences demanded by the Prosecutor which he says is a very worrying signal.
He stressed that a vital principle for the exercising of justice was independence of the judiciary. “This includes the need to have a very strong wall dividing politicians and judges”. Mr Hammerberg said that during his meetings in Ukraine he had heard from many people that at present judges are feeling under heavy pressure from politicians.
He also noted that the law enforcement bodies continue to ill-treat detainees.
His report is expected at the beginning of 2012.