Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
21.05.2000 | Aleksandr Bukalov, Donetsk
Politics and human rights

The judicial reform is skidding


Politicians keep making noises and persuading the Council of Europe that the judicial reform is successfully advancing together with law-applying practices. Yet the latter actually remains such as before.

As before a man suspected in committing a crime and put in the dock is found guilty almost automatically. According to the data of the Ministry of Justice, in 1998 the total number of the convicted was 232598, while the number of the non-guilty was 884 (0.38%). In the first half of 1999 the corresponding figures were 114551 and 399 (0.35%).

The most of the condemned to incarceration committed slight crimes. they were sentenced for terms not longer than three years. In the first half of 1999 their proportion is 59.26% (in 1998 it was 59.1%).

In spite of the sad fact that penitentiaries are overcrowded and the inmates have great problems with food and medication, Ukrainian judges apply incarceration as the most frequent measure of punishment (37.5% in the first half of 1999 and 37.2% in 1998).

During the first six months of the current year 8868 minors are convicted, which makes 7.74% of the total number, in 1998 the proportion was 7.8%. The proportion of the convicted women steadily oscillates about 15%.

Although the Council of Europe sternly demands to abolish the death penalty, the rate of pronouncing death penalties is not decreasing. In the first half of the current year 71 such verdicts are passed (in 1998 the figure was 131). At present about 410 criminals are awaiting execution in Ukraine.

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