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21.05.2000

The third Ukrainian competition for the best essay on Human Rights

   

On 29 of March the victors and participants of the finals of the Third Ukrainian Competition of students of high and higher schools on human rights were awarded. The competition was dedicated to the 50-th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the UNO. The competition was organized by the Ukrainian Branch of the International Union for human rights aided by the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection, the Centre of information and Documentation of the Council of Europe in Ukraine, several activists of the Ukrainian branch of Amnesty International, several well-known lawyers. Andriy Sukhorukov, the Head of the Ukrainian branch of the International Union for human rights was the motor of the competition.

At the first stage (in October 1998) the Organizing Committee prepared and distributed the information on the competition and the topics of the essays. They were:

UDHR: Which rights as a citizen have I in Ukraine? Which rights as a child I actually have?

UDHR and the Constitution of Ukraine: what is common and what differs?

UDHR and the European Convention on human rights: what is common and what is especial in these documents?

UDHR ideas in national and international literature.

How I understand the UDHR goal?

A free topic concurrent with the general idea of the competition.

At the same stage the Organizing Committee received the claims and placed the information on the contestants in the database which was created with the help of Microsoft Access, then the Committee organized printing and distribution among the contestants of the European Convention on human rights with additional protocols (the first 300 orders were satisfied). Upon the whole the Committee received 1817 claims and 997 essays, mainly from Ukraine (882 essays); 13 came from Russia, 11 from Belorus and 1 from France. Pupils of 9-11 grades of the high schools, gymnasiums and lyceums sent 685 essays, students of colleges and vocational schools sent 60 essays, students of higher schools sent 158, and working young people - 4 essays. The higher activity of school pupils can be explained by the fact that the two previous competitions were held exclusively for school pupils. It was for the first time that we invited college freshmen to participate.

Different regions of the country are represented in the competition not in the equal degree: 58 essays came from the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea, 19 - from Vinnitsa region, 12 - from Volyn region, 104 from Dnepropetrovsk, 103 from Donetsk, 22 - from Zhytomir, 2 - from Transcarpathia, 77 - from Zaporozhye, 61 - from the city of Kyiv, 47 -from Kyiv region, 33 - from Ivano-Frankivsk region, 1 -from Kirovograd, 21 -from Lugansk, 70 from Lviv, 14 - from Nikolaev, 64 - from Odessa, 20 -from Poltava, 7 -from Rovny, 36 from Sumy, 40 from Kharkov, 4 -from Kherson, 31 - from Khmelnitskiy region, 22 -from Cerkassy, 8 -from Chernovtsy, 5 - from Chernigov. Not a single essay came from Ternopil region.

At the second stage (November - January) the essays received were divided among 25 experts: professional layers, teachers of law in high and higher schools, NGO activists. At first 65 essays were selected which later were read and assessed by every of 11 members of the jury. They were: P.M.Rabinovich, a Corresponding Member of the Law Academy of Ukraine, Professor of Lviv University (the Head of the Jury), O.P.Bukalov, the Head of the Donetsk branch of ‘Memorial’, V.F.Dubrovsky, Candidate of Pedagogical Science, L.G.Zablodska, Candidate of Law, Deputy Director of the Ukrainian Centre of human rights, E.E.Zakharov, Candidate of Technology, a Co-Head of the Kharkiv Group of human rights protection, E.O.Kravets, a member of the Ukrainian Branch of the International Union of human rights, T.P.Kudlay, Doctor of Law, Professor, N.D.Kusaikina, Executive Director of the Kharkiv educational centre in human rights, L.T.Masenko, Candidate of Philosophy, V.M.Siniov, Doctor of human rights and liberties law, Professor, I.B.Usenko, Academician of the Pedagogical Academy of Ukraine, Candidate of Law, Head of the Department of the Institute of state and law (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine). On 17 February an open conference of the Jury was held which selected the best 15 pupils’ essays, 5 students’ essays and victors in two nominations: ‘the best pupil’s essay’ and ‘the best student’s essay. All the codes of the authors of 65 best essays were decoded. According to the Jury’s decision, the victors among pupils became Nadiya Trach (the village of Zadnistriansk of Galych district of Ivano-Frankivsk region), Irina Narayevska (the village of Kalynivka of Makarivsky district of Kyiv region), Volodymir Brushchenko (the town of Donetsk). Among the students the victors were: Marina Laktionova (the town of Berdiansk), Maksim Bespalov (the town of Lugansk), Dmitro Lapko (the city of Kharkov). The three pupils and Marina Laktionova were awarded with a journey to Vienna with visiting the UNO offices in April 1999.

The Kharkiv Group of human rights protection gifted to every from 20 laureates and to teachers-consultants of 15 laureates a small library of books on human right and related topics, including brochures „Human Rights. Actual Sheets“, the collection „Freedom. Equality. Human Rights“, the American manual „National Standards of Citizen’s Right and the State“ in the Ukrainian translation and the collection of best essays of the first and second competitions titled „Human Rights: my own opinion“, Evhen Sverstiuk’s „At the Holiday of Hope“, a collection of poetry „Goldylocks“ by Vasyl Stus, a collection of articles „Ukraine: a Road through Desert“ by Myroslav Marynovych. Besides, the Kharkiv Group awarded Nadiya Trach for a high artistic level, Olexandr Gulak (from Makarivska secondary school No.2) for profound understanding of the idea of human rights and Nadiya V.Ashchenko (a teacher from the same school) for high achievements in education of socially conscious members of civil society. They were given a three volume collection of Albert Camus, books from the series „Ukrainian Literature of the 20 thcentury“ - a three-volume collection of culturological works by Yuri Sherekh (Sheveliov), a thick volume of poetry „The Everlasting Word“ by Igor Kalinets, and a two-volume novel „Path in the Grass“ by Valery Shevchuk. The majority of the above-listed books was published by the Kharkiv Group.

Advocate’s arrest


Roman Romanov, Sebastopol


We remind the readers that recently general-lieutenant of militia Vivat Beloborodov, the head of the Sebastopol Directorate of the Ministry of Interior, interrogated two 17-year-old youths. During the interrogation the general started shooting, having killed one and having gravely wounded another.

Valeriy Paliy, a well-known advocate, consented to grant free juridical aid to Andrey Shevchenko, the survival of the shooting match. Advocate Paliy was not shot on the spot.The procedure of his pacifying seems to be more complicated.

As the first step, on 13 February 1999 Leninskiy district court of Sebastopol issued a ruling, where Valeriy Paliy was found guilty in a crime stipulated by Article 185-3 of the Ukrainian code on administrative felonies (disrespect of court). The punishment was ten days of administrative arrest.

Meanwhile a criminal case was started against Andrey Shevchenko, who was accused of attacking a militia officer. The operative and detective activities were carried out by the city prosecutor’s office. At this time the culprit was treated in the city hospital No.1. His relatives were not allowed to see him by militia guards who guarded the ward. Somehow they did not prevent the investigating officer to interrogate the wounded at night without his advocate.

In the course of the court session that considered the case of Paliy it was convincingly proved that the bulk of the materials is falsified, among them the extract from the minutes of the court session where Paliy allegedly demonstrated disrespect to court. It also appeared that the case was not registered in the court office. Valeriy Paliy’s request to have an advocate of his own choice was not satisfied. The court seemed somewhat biased because judge Burchuladze considered the case till late night of 12 February and on the day off of 13 February, which is, perhaps, an unprecedented phenomenon for the Ukrainian judicial system.

Paliy was detained by militiamen at 21:11 hours on 11 February. According to the witnesses and Paliy himself, those who detained him referred to the order issued by general Beloborodov. During the trial Paliy requested to summon Beloborodov as a witness. The request was refused ‘as immaterial’. During two days Paliy was kept in the cooler of the district precinct (with seven other inmates — the cell’s the capacity is four). The detained advocate was kept without sleep and food. The latter is unimportant since Paliy went on hunger strike at the moment of his detainment. On 16 February his health deteriorated to such an extent that motor ambulance was summoned to help him four times. On 17 February Paliy’s advocates managed to meet their client. They insisted on medical expertise, and later Paliy was taken to the same ward of the city hospital, where some time before his client had been kept. The court ruling is still in force: having left the hospital, Paliy must be arrested for the remaining four days.

Paliy says that he has been warned that he will have ‘troubles’ with law-enforcing agencies. Sebastopol militia started to gather information against him without opening the operating file, thus violating the law on the ODA. Some top brass form Sebastopol militia phoned to the author of this note and asked for the information of all participants of the picket, which was organized by the Sebastopol human rights protection group. My refusal astonished the investigator.

Advocates of the city held a meeting where they unanimously condemned the actions of the Sebastopol militia and court. Many speakers gave examples from their own practice, when militia exerted pressure on the advocates in connection with their professional activities. The behavior of the local mass media is rather characteristic. They are silent about the events connected with Paliy’s arrest. In private conversations some newsmen say that Sebastopol advocates are too weak, and it is not worthwhile to quarrel with militia because of them. Others confess that they are afraid of militia and ask pay for the fear.

Now the Ukrainian militia is very active, purging the local authorities in the Crimea. They declare that they are capable of fighting efficiently with any forms of crime at any level. It would be grand if they could fight the crime within militia on the general’s level.

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