Increased protests against judges and the law enforcement bodies predicted
Iryna Bekeshkina, Director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, believes that Ukrainians see the judicial and law enforcement bodies as defending the authorities against them. Protests against judges and the police are therefore set to rise steadily.
“People don’t trust the judicial branch of power. They don’t trust our law enforcement bodies at all. A fairly large percentage believe that “lynch courts” are the only way of redressing injustice. And they have many examples to show. As we remember, the Makar case (where a young woman was brutally raped, and then set alight – translator) erupted when the culprits were released. People ready everyday, at least in the Internet of similar cases, and that spreads quite quickly. Sometimes they also see on television that the law doesn’t apply to everybody. The view is therefore widespread that you need to take the law into your own hands”.
Ms Bekeshkina believes that the entire country could probably only be roused by the murder of some popular political leader.
“Otherwise, there’ll be local reactions in the regions where the events take place. However these outbursts will be constant, and this idea will spread”. She notes that the brutal murder of a Kharkiv judge (together with his wife, son and son’s girlfriend – translator) did not elicit any particular condemnation or pity from the public. She says that some even wrote that it was good that he’d been killed, that he’d deserved it.
“Protests are increasing against judges. Public opinion is beginning to view the court and law enforcement systems – police, judges, prosecutors, not as a separate branch of power which defends the justice system, but as people who protect the authorities from citizens.”
At present protests are taking place throughout the country in support of the Pavlychenkos – a father and son convicted of murdering Kyiv judge Zubkov. Marches have taken place in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Cherkasy, Dnipropetrovsk, Chernihiv, Zaporizhya, Sumy, Ternopol, Lviv and other cities.
At the beginning of April 2012 the Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Razumkov Centre carried out a survey which found that the public are negative in their assessment of the law enforcement system.
The police 26% 64%
The Prosecutor’s office 23% 64%
The courts 20% 69%
35% said that “lynch courts” were unacceptable in any circumstances; 35% considered them generally unacceptable, but in certain cases justified. 19% were convinced that in our conditions lynch law was the only way of getting justice done.