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08.12.2000 | E. Grinberg, Dnepropetrovsk

Some considerations of a participant of the seminar ’International standards on preventing torture and cruel treatment in connection with perfecting the Ukrainian legislation’

   

Militiamen are, nominally, law protectors, and we are rights protectors. It would seem that they (investigating officers) and we (doctors, lawyers, journalists) must regard torture in the same way: ’This shameful illegal activity must not be tolerated, we shall extirpate it in practice’.

Yet, it does not happen so. When reporters talked about abuses of rights in general terms, somewhere and sometimes, the militiamen present heard quietly. Yet, when I risked to reproach the prosecutor’s office of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast by recalling several cases, when I turned to the office with my complaints about the detained beaten in militia, I heard a pack of reproaches: ’This is a pack of lies’ or even ’You support criminals and prevent us to do our work’.

I told about the case of a Kobets, who was beaten by transport militiamen, which was confirmed by an eyewitness. In spite of the handed complaint, the district prosecutor’s office refused to start the criminal case. The details of this case, the pressure on the victim and many convincing details are worth of a special report. Yet, the main idea is clear - it is next to impossible to prove that one was beaten by militia. The chiefs of militia negate the facts, and our ombudswoman N. I. Karpacheva is either silent or passes the investigation to a local prosecutor’s office, from where the standard negative answer had been already obtained. The root of the evil lies in the law ’On complaints from citizens’, according to which the complaint must not be investigated by those, against whom the complaint is directed. But in similar cases there are no other witnesses except ’law protectors’. So the result of a complaint is a kind of the paper roundabout.

Another reason to apply torture is extracting the confession. According to section 3, article 62 of the PC, a suspect must not be considered guilty if the accusation is based on arguments extracted by illegal methods. Practically this article is ignored.

Our Constitution declares that an incarcerated criminal has all the rights of a citizen except the limitations which were imposed by the court verdict. In the case of a detained, whose guilt has not been proved yet, the demands of the law must determine his treatment, not the criminal practice of torturing. An investigation of each complaint on torture and degrading treatment by militia must be thoroughly investigated not by district precincts, but by top officers of the oblast level, jointly with advocates or human rights protection activists, who has handed the complaint.

There were suggestions to turn to the European Court of human rights. I think that such a shameful phenomenon as torture and cruel treatment must be extirpated by joint efforts of law protectors and human rights protectors, must be made public in mass media, must be followed by sacking cruel and unprofessional militiamen. Otherwise the European Court will make our country go bankrupt by imposing fines on our beggarly state. The mechanism of taking fines from the direct culprits has not been developed yet.

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