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Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
№02
1999

Monthly bulletin Prava Ludyny (Human rights)

Elections

21.05.2000 | R.Romanov, Sebastopol
02

Election and fight with crime

   

During the last fortnight several prominent businessmen, deputies of local councils and executives of the local power were arrested in several towns of the Crimea. This time Evpatoriya, Feodosiya and Kerch were purged. In particular, Konstantin Bielomyzov, a deputy of Evpatoriya town council and the director of the private firm ‘Alliance-90’, was arrested on the suspicion of illegal keeping of firearms and extortion.

Beforehand, in December 1998, Nikolay Kotliarevskiy, a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Crimea and Evpatoriya town council, was arrested. The search is started of Yuri Mikhaylov, a deputy of Kerch town council and the manager of ‘Interjust Ltd.’. Besides, a massive revision of commercial firms is carried out, because, according to official sources, they did not pay taxes.

The campaign looks rather intriguing. At first Yuri Kravchenko, the Minister of Interior, visits the Crimea and tells the newsmen that in the nearest future some top executives in the East Crimea would be arrested. Along with it, the Minister tells the newsmen that all well-known paid killings are disclosed, in particular the killings of the Vice Prime-Minister of the Crimea Aleksandr Safontsev, head of the property fund Aleksey Golovizin, the first Vice Minister of resorts and tourism Dmitriy Goldich and manager of the firm ‘Krymteplokommunenergo’ Valeriy Kuzin. However, the Minister refused to name either killers or those who hired them.

Meanwhile, some observers explain the events in the Crimea not only by the fight with crime. If one recollects previous militia raids in Yalta and Simferopol, one will recall that they were conducted during the parliamentary election, and their aim was ‘to prevent electing criminal elements’. According to the reports of militia bosses, the law enforcing agencies were successful. It is worth while to recollect the methods by which militia executed the task set by the Kyivan clique. On the one hand, mass arrests were carried out, on the other hand, a solid number of law enforcers became candidates. It is noteworthy to pay attention to the last statements of the Minister of Interior. In particular, he promised that in the nearest future ‘energetic operative and detective activities would be applied to executives in Kerch and to the people who work in shadow business and cause strain in the region’. It follows from such statements that militia becomes the carrier of the real power in the Crimea. If one recalls that this October Ukraine will undergo a new test of Presidential election, then the activity of militia appears to be useful to those people who issue edicts and resolutions, or just give oral orders or even hints to militia bosses.

Certainly, it is difficult to prove directly the connection between militia actions to enforce order and future Presidential election. However, nobody will argue that transgressions in work of any official can be easily found, and any businessman can be caught in violating tax laws. What is interesting, that restrictive measures and arrests are applied to a selected few. In general, the border between political and criminal activities is far from being distinct. So, the opportunities to solve various problems by means of law enforcing agencies are very wide.

Having returned from the Crimea, the Minister of Interior declared in Kyiv that his Ministry intends to carry out massive inspections in all large regions and in Kyiv. It seems that another form of government is expected in Ukraine. A criminal country intends to become a militia country. Will citizens gain something from the change? Very doubtful.

PL commentary.
We agree with our corespondent in the main point. Raids on officials guilty of different crimes will not achieve the desired purpose if our laws and law-applying practice are not categorically reformed. The shadow capital can be returned only by decisive changes of the operating tax laws and other purely economic measures. Our economy saves itself in the shadow because of excessive taxes and permanently changing rules of economic activity. In fact, the legislation itself builds the basis for its total violation. That is why the actions similar to those carried in the Crimea are neither satisfying nor hopeful.

The editorial board also agrees with Romanov’s opinion that the actions carried out by law enforcing structures must be rigidly controlled by deputies, judicial power, and civil society. A police state is not more attractive than a criminal state, sometimes they are identical. The example is granted by several countries of the Latin America. This is not the ideal standard for which Ukraine must strive.

Freedom of expression

21.05.2000
02

MASS MEDIA

   

On 12 January Piotr Shevchuk, the chairman of the Supreme Court Collegium in civil questions, protested against the verdict of Pecherskiy district court of 6 October 1998 on the closure of the newspaper ‘Politika’. This is the second protest of Piotr Shevchuk: recently he has protested against the verdict which made the newspaper ‘Kievskiye vedomosti’ to pay the libel fine to Yuri Kravchenko, the Minister of Interior, because of the unreasonably large compensation.

* * *

On January 26, in the staircase of his apartment building, Sergei Gorogeankin, director of the television network TV 7 in Mariupol, was attacked by a man wielding a baseball bat. Gorogeankin underwent surgery, and his condition is described as "worrisome."

* * *

On February 28, a program critical of the government, aired by the independent television station Vikna, was suspended after the authorities maneuvered a personnel change in the station’s management.

* * *

On March 1, a fire of suspicious origin erupted in the apartment of Mykola Kniazhytskyi, President of the independent television station STB, well known for its investigative reports on corruption and misappropriation of government funds. A few days earlier, STB cameraman Sergei Korenev was attacked in a railway station, and his camera and tapes were taken away.

* * *

On March 3, two masked persons permeated into the home of Dmytro Dakhno, STB’s business manager, and threatened him and his pregnant wife with a knife, then forced the couple to lie on the floor while they searched the apartment. They left without taking any of the money that happened to be on the table.

Freedom of expression

21.05.2000 | I.L., Odessa
02

Communist zombies are wandering in Odessa

   

V.N.Sharovskiy, the head of Odessa region trade union, does not fight with pay arrears, does not pay attention to other social and economic problems of toilers of Odessa region — he fights against the newspaper ‘Glasnost’.

At first he tried to oust the editorial board from the building, and then, when he did not succeed in doing it, he ordered to cut off all the telephones. Readers helped: several people offered their home telephones and pass the received information to the editorial board. V. Sharovskiy is not alone in his fight with the independent newspaper, which affords to have its own opinion. The fighters against the newspaper are from the team of the present mayor R.Bodelan, the last first secretary of Odessa Committee of the Communist Party. The latter came to power by crooked methods, after he, aided by the President, pushed out Gurvits, the previous mayor, who confidently won the election. This team, aided by the local TV, distributes lies about the newspaper ‘Glasnost’. Their efforts failed: the circulation of ‘Glasnost’ has grown by 50% this year.

And what about those whose duty is to protect law? M.Kosiuta, a new region prosecutor, promised that his office would be apolitical. Perhaps, it does not mean that it would be just. More than a month passed since ‘Glasnost’ informed the region prosecutor’s office that V.Sharovskiy got an illegal pension. While working in the system of trade unions, V.Sharovskiy was formally counted as a state official. Now he managed to get a pension of a state official equal to 250 grivnas (four times more than a usual pension). Into the bargain, he gets a modest pay of a trade union leader, equal to 800 grivnas.

The prosecutor’s office is silent. One of the reasons is that a great proportion of the former nomenclature gets such high pensions.

While millions are starving.

Environmental rights

21.05.2000 | E.Grinberg, Dnepropetrovsk
02

The right for healthy environment is the right for all

   

On the threshold of the new millenium manhood decided to consider seriously the problem ‘ecology and health’. This summer the meeting of Ministers of Health and Ecology will be held in London. For the first time public organizations, representatives of local self-rule and business circles will be admitted to the conference of such high level.

According to the obligations taken at the conference of the World Organization for Health, held in Helsinki in 1994, all European countries must prepare national programs and plans for supporting clean environment. They also must start to realize these programs.

As is known, Ukraine has serous problems with the health of her population, owing to the pollution of the environment, man-caused catastrophes, changes in ecosystems, urbanization, etc. On 22 January 1999 the seminar ‘Consulting process in developing and implementing the procedure of cleaning environment’ was held in Kharkiv. Representatives of the public and NGOs participated in this seminar.

We are sure that positive shifts in the improvement of ecology will become possible only if the wide public will be sufficiently informed and will participate in monitoring the current processes. In order to protect one’s rights, one must know them well enough. The right of citizens of Ukraine for life in the healthy environment is fixed in the corresponding articles of the Constitution of Ukraine, in the law ‘On protection of the environment’, in other laws on protecting health, in state building standards, etc. Nonetheless, all these laws have an important drawback: no control mechanism on the side of the public is stipulated. In the Ukrainian legislation some public control is stipulated only in the law ‘On ecological expertise’, but even in this law public control and monitoring are sketchy and not obligatory.

Meanwhile the Orhus Convention devoted to problems of informing the population about ecology, about the participation of the public in the decisions, which are taken by the government on problems of ecology, on the opportunity of court protection, was signed by Ukraine in June 1998. The Supreme Rada must be interested to ratify this Convention; NGOs and individual citizens must support the ratification. Alas, the mentality of our citizens is such that only 4% of the adult population believe that they can influence politic events in the country. Only 2% of the population believe that they must take on themselves some responsibility for the degradation of the environment and the nation’s health. The totalitarian regime suppressed the population for many decades, which resulted in an almost complete atrophy of the public initiative. In the post-totalitarian countries the civil society is very weak, the power is strong, and there are very few people with an active citizen’s position.

I would like to tell about enthusiasts from the public organizations ‘MAMA-86’ and ‘ECO Pravo’. These organizations, being supported by the corresponding committee of the Supreme Rada, by the English organizations ‘UNED UK’ and ‘Know-How’ fund, held a series of educational seminars in various regions of Ukraine.

Representatives of ‘ECO Pravo’ from Lviv, Kharkiv and Kyiv branches more than once won court cases related to the protection of rights for a clean environment. Activists of this organization carry out the public monitoring for the observance of the protecting legislation and exert pressure on the violators of such laws.

‘MAMA-86’ was registered by Kyiv city executive committee in 1991. Much water flew under bridges since that time, but the number of problems has not diminished. The organization established ‘eco-telephone’, and now every inhabitant of Kyiv can learn about the radiation background, the quality of drinking water or food. The number of region branches of ‘MAMA-86’ is growing. The main direction of their activities is providing a dialog between the population and state structures, carrying out prophylactic and educational work.

Environmental rights

21.05.2000 | S.Fedorynchyk, Kyiv
02

The unprecedented local referendum

   

To our great pity the results of Kostroma referendum are cancelled in Russia. This referendum was a unique phenomenon for Russia.

However, the first example of the local referendum had been set in Ukraine. In summer of 1995 the ecological organization ‘Zeleny Svit’ (‘The Green World’) organized the local referendum about the construction of the 6 thblock of Zaporozhye atomic electric station and a store for burial of radioactive waste. This referendum was held in Nikopol, Marganets and Kamienets-Dneprovskiy. Then the majority of the pollees rejected the construction. The authorities ignored the results, arguing it by some formal drawbacks in the procedure. Nonetheless it was the first in the world localreferendum concerning nuclear energy ( nationalreferendums were held in Switzerland, Italy and Austria).

The construction of the atomic station in Kostroma region was suspended in 1996 after the regional referendum. Before this referendum the local group ‘For the life sake’ organized a wide campaign for collecting signatures. After the proper number was collected, the authorities declared that some of the signatures were falsified. Then the group organized the second campaign. In order to avoid provocations the number of signatures was collected with a sizeable reserve.

This example found followers in other regions of Russia, in particular in Krasnoyarsk (about Zheleznogorsk plant for reprocessing nuclear waste) and in Rostov-on-the-Don (about the local atomic electric station). Then the Duma hurriedly adopted the amendment to the law on referendums, which prohibited the local referendums.

As to Kostroma, the local authorities sued the results of the referendum and won the process. That is a slap in the face of all ecologists and the entire Russian democracy. But the fight in Kostroma region is not over yet. I ask readers who sympathize to write to Kostroma fighters expressing solidarity with them.

Children’s rights

21.05.2000 | I.L.., Odessa
02

Doomed children

   

I would like to attract the public attention to so-called baby orphanages (there children up to 3 years are kept and then passed to usual orphanages). I came to one of such baby orphanages and was shattered by the fact that practically all children lagged behind in their intellectual development. Perhaps, the main reason is the shortage of communication. Children grow without parents and the not numerous personnel can, at best, feed little ones and clean them a little. There are no psychologists, no special nurses to develop children, because there is no funds for such specialists.

Children, as everybody knows, are often ill. The children from the baby orphanage have no necessary medicine. The reason is the same — no funds.

The nourishment of children is inadequate, which tells (irreversibly!) on the development of the central neural system and intellectual capabilities, as well on their physical growth. The children are doomed to malnutrition, dystrophy, numerous diseases.

This intellectually and physically retarded children, if they survive to three years, will be transferred to usual orphanage, then to a closed school. The situation in these establishments is not better. Nobody will ever teach them individually, correct their behavior, develop their intelligence: there are no funds. The children are doomed to join the ranks of debils, imbeciles and the like. Once we were building the country of the victorious communism — now we are building the country of the victorious idiocy. There is no hope that in the near future someone — from a corrupted state official to the First Lady, heading the program ‘Children of Ukraine’, — will pay attention to this set of problems (except during an election campaign).

That is why I beg the bulletin ‘Prava ludyny’ to appeal to all human rights protection organizations to pay attention to all orphanages and closed schools in their regions, attract to them the attention of the public, including international charity organizations. Help them yourselves! Only in this way we shall be able to improve the situation.

Court practices

21.05.2000 | Evhen Zakharov, Kharkiv
02

New legal acts on wiretapping

   

On 14 December 1998 the President issued the edict ‘On the measures directed at strengthening the control over the development, production and sale of technical facilities for secret obtaining of information’. This edict prohibits the development, production and sale of special technical facilities (including the sale of those of foreign make) for intercepting information from communication channels and other facilities for secret obtaining of information. Such activities are permitted only after getting licenses given according to the procedure stated in Article 4 of the Ukrainian law ‘On entrepreneurial activities’. In the middle of January 1999 the Supreme Rada adopted an appendix to this law stating that such licenses can be given only by the USS. In the interview General-Lieutenant Vladimir Pristayko, a deputy head of the USS, said that the USS suggested such a procedure as early as in 1991, but these suggestions were not accepted. In 1994 these suggestions were adopted, and the USS gave out such licenses up to December 1997. Later this licensing was abolished and adopted again only in January of the current year, because the scale of spying by non-state structures is growing fast and remains practically unpunished. In 1996 the USS prepared a draft of the law on administrative and criminal responsibility for the illegal use of technical facilities for the secret obtaining of information, but the Supreme Rada has not considered the draft yet. Such licensing also needs to be controlled by the USS because appliances can be developed which emerge waves harmful for man’s health or suppressing his will.

Court practices

21.05.2000 | Evhen Zakharov, Kharkiv
02

   

The draft of the law ‘On changes and amendments to the Ukrainian law ‘On the alternative service’’ has been approved with all involved agencies of the executive power and several committees of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. The new draft, in my opinion, has the same essential ideological drawbacks as the operating law. The suggested changes and amendments more stringently protect the interests of the state versus those of an individual. The law introduces more restrictions for those who chooses the alternative service.

Thus Article 5 of the law prohibits to pass the alternative service at non-state enterprises and Article 8 forces citizens to pass the alternative service regardless of the conditions of work. A citizen, who passes the alternative service, has no right to have other part-time jobs, to go in for business or do any job which is connected with managerial executive functions (Article17). The law rules that the application about the wish to pass the alternative service must be handed not later than 6 months before the beginning of the recruiting campaign. That condition is too stringent, since it requires that a recruit should be too well-informed and far-sighted. Article 2 frees citizens from the conventional military service if it is forbidden by their religious convictions. Nonetheless, Articles 8 and 24 force citizens to pass the conventional military service if they dodge from the alternative service or break discipline while passing their alternative service. According to Article 6 the alternative service lasts two times longer than the military service, which makes the former similar to a punishment. At last the law covers only the people who refuse from the military service because of their religious convictions; the law does not include people who refuse from the military service because of their political or any other convictions, for example, pacifists. In this part the considered draft of the law violates international norms about the freedom of convictions. In many civilized countries the sufficient reason for passing the alternative service is not only religious but pacifist, moral, ethical, political and other convictions.

It is not surprising that only a very small proportion of recruits expressed the wish to pass the alternative service. From 1992 to 1998 the number of such recruits was steadily growing and has now reached five thousand. This is unexpectedly little since the number only of protestant communities exceeds five thousand, and these communities prohibit their adepts to take arms.

Article 4 of the draft defines the category of citizens who have the right for the alternative service. This right is given to the recruits who confirmed ‘by documents or in some other way their convictions’. A document about convictions is nonsensical from any point of view. And it is not clear how one can prove his convictions ‘in any other way’. Some religious communities give out such documents to the recruits, some do not. But why the law must force young people to be dependent on their religious leaders? Besides, many religious people and pacifists do not belong to any organizations. Where will they find such documents?

Article 8 of the draft repeats Article 24 of the operating law. It reads: ‘If a citizen dodges the alternative service or commits other actions mentioned by Section 1 of this Article, then the recruiting commission may cancel its decision about the permission to direct the citizen to the alternative service… After this the citizen should be recruited to the army on common grounds’. Here the questions of the freedom of consciousness and religious convictions are confused with the questions of the labor discipline. Nonetheless, a witness of Yegova will not take arms even if he was lazy doing the alternative service. Besides, this punishment contradicts to the Constitution of Ukraine that declares the freedom of consciousness.

We have witnessed other troubles of those who chose the alternative service. One of them worked as a street-sweeper, but nowadays, under the conditions of unemployment, even such jobs are coveted. The janitor, who was the boss of the mentioned street-sweeper, wanted to sack the alternative serviceman and made up non-existing violations of the discipline. This may be quite a typical situation, so the freedom of choice of the service may depend on the actions of petty dishonest bosses.

The alternative service is a difficult and displeasing work. The law on the alternative service confirms indirectly that the military service is even worse. There are many young men who do not want to serve in the army. That is also a conviction of sorts.

In my opinion, the drawbacks of the draft are so noticeable that it must not be adopted in the present form. I believe that it would be reasonable to substantially amend the draft on the principles that take account of the world experience and the peculiarities of the situation in Ukraine. The new draft must harmoniously unite the necessity to protect human rights and supply better recruits to the army.

Let us, for example, take the state of things in Germany. The jobs for alternative servicemen are reserved by Bundeswehr, these jobs are not admissible to civil labor. The term for the alternative service is 15 months, only 3 months longer than that of the conventional military service. Alternative servicemen choose the jobs from the list of the available ones, they earn about one third of the average pay. If the job is in some other town, Bunderswehr pays the rent for living accomodation. Besides, Bundeswehr pays half of the pay for education if the alternative serviceman likes to learn. Alternative servicemen also have such privileges as military servicemen, for example, the right of free transportation in town.

I would like to propose such basic features of the draft.

The list of the grounds for the permission of the alternative service must be noticeably increased.

The tern for the alternative service must be longer than the term of the military service, but less than two times longer.

No confirmation shall be demanded from those who pretend to pass the alternative service; their request must suffice.

A recruit must be given the opportunity to choose among available jobs.

It is necessary to extend the privileges for military servicemen and members of their families to alternative servicemen and members of their families.

Labor rights of alternative servicemen should distinctly defined.

For those who refuse both the military and the alternative service a defense tax must be introduced, as it was done in several European countries. I believe that this compromise will be useful both for the state and citizens. Certainly the tax must grow depending upon the income of the recruit and his family. That decision would diminish corruption during the recruiting campaign and expenditures for the medical treatment of those recruits who were taken to the service, being not able-bodied.

Court practices

21.05.2000
02

Ukraine has joined the anti-corruption Convention of the Council of Europe

   

In Strasbourg 21 European countries, including Ukraine, signed the Convention about the criminal right in fighting corruption. This Convention was initiated by the Council of Europe and approved by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 4 November 1998. This Convention makes a part of legislative enactment for fighting corruption. In particular, this Convention intends to accord national legislation of European countries in order to support their cooperation in the fight with bribe-taking both in state structures and in the private sector. A similar Convention in civil right is under preparation.

Our informant

Court practices

21.05.2000
02

Cases of corruption must be passed for investigation and trial to other districts

   

Nowadays not only executives of state administration go in for corruption; they are joined by tax administration inspectors and control revision inspectors, whose duty is to fight with corruption. This idea was worded by Vasyl Bryntsev, the head of Kharkiv region court. Bryntsev added that they often manage to dodge the punishment thanks to the connections which they have in law-enforcing agencies or thanks to the gaps in our legislation or thanks to investigation officers, who cannot and sometimes do not want to prove the guilt of the corrupted officers. Such cases must be passed to other districts of the region, said judge Bryntsev.

For example, the head of the tax inspection of one of districts of Kharkiv gave out illegal certificates about the mutual settlements to various commercial firms. The case was investigated by the region USS directorate, but the court did not give a verdict. Another example: an auditor of the control revision directorate of Kharkiv region, beside executing her duties, filled in tax questionnaires for pay. There was no verdict either. Still another example: inspector of the tax department of Kyivskiy district administration of Kharkiv sold out patents demanding 3% extra. Again there was no verdict. There are many such cases. In all of them the court declines the case because ‘the case is handed to court later that one month after the offence, as it is stipulated by the law on the fight with corruption’. According the judge Bryntsev, the law must be obeyed fast and precisely.

Our informant

Court practices

21.05.2000 | A.B., Donetsk
02

On deputies’ immunity again

   

The Donetsk informative-analytical center carried out a poll in Donetsk region. The question was whether one agrees that deputies should have immunity from the criminal investigation; the pollees were also asked to name reasons for their opinion. According to the results of the poll, 74% agree to cancel deputies’ immunity. The reasons given were quite various: all people must be equal before law (36%), there are many crooks among deputies (20%), down to the fuzzy reason ‘to guarantee order’. About 7% voted for the deputies’ immunity. The reason is that if the immunity is cancelled, deputies will be helpless before the executive power, since they can be framed in some criminal case for their principal political activities.

Penal institutions

21.05.2000
02

A new way to fight crime

   

New ways to fight crime are invented in the town of Gorlovka of Donetsk region. During ten months of 1998 prosecutors cancelled 43 illegal rulings of the agencies of the Ministry of Interior with refusals to start criminal cases. More than in half of the cases grave crimes were committed, which would require difficult investigations if the cases started. Militia found a much more reasonable way: they just refused to open the case. They reasoned wisely: if there is no case, then the level of disclosing crime is higher. Now these cases are reopened together with additional cases against 35 militia officers.

100 militia officers and other executives are prosecuted for corruption in Donetsk region. Among them there are deputies of various levels, officials from executive committees and state tax administration, members of revision office, financial inspection and the like. The most popular crimes are taking bribes (55%) and misuse of power (41%).

Our informer

Penal institutions

21.05.2000 | Georgiy Sushko, Zaporozhye
02

Practice of law enforcement: from personal experience

   

I am a side of a conflict on the right of ownership of a plot of land. This case has been lasting about three years. On 7 August 1998 I was summoned to an investigating officer. I did not come, because previously I had directed a letter in which I informed about the decision of the regional directorate of militia on the rejection of this investigating officer. Then, up to 8 December 1998, I was not summoned to any investigating officer.

At 6:40 hours on 8 December a militia car came to my flat. The reader must know that my flat is at the same time the office of Zaporozhye human rights protection organization ‘Union on human rights protection’, of which I am the coordinator. This perhaps explains somewhat harsh methods of my treatment. A militia captain Spravko pressed the buzzer on my door. When I opened the door, I saw a stranger in civil clothes who introduced himself as a militia officer and flashed some ID. I demanded to examine his ID and to check it by phoning to the militia precinct. In response the newcomer sprayed a gas balloon to my face and rushed into the flat. He acted as if he never read the law ‘On militia’, Articles 11 and 16 of which prohibit to come into the flat of a citizen without agreement of the latter.

Having rushed into the flat, captain Spravko handcuffed me and threw me on the floor in the bathroom. He did it in spite of the fact that I, a 67-year-old man and invalid of the second group in eyesight, did not resist him. I spent 3.5 hours on the floor, and my handcuffs were removed only after our arrival to this militia precinct. About 10 o’clock I, in slippers and light pajamas, was led outdoors, to winter cold, with arms handcuffed on the back. The neighbors were explained that I was a dangerous criminal and would be taken to the militia precinct.

During three days I was kept in the isolation block. For two days, 8 and 9 December, I was given neither food nor drink. The state of my health was such that a motor ambulance was summoned three times.

I tried to complain to the region prosecutor’s office. This resulted in transferring my complaint from one bureaucrat to another and, after a long loop, in a formal reply. The clique of law enforcing bureaucrats in our district is complaint-proof. I have directed another complaint to M.Potebenko, the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, and intend to inform Nina Karpacheva, the ombudsperson of Ukraine, about the arbitrary actions of law enforcers in our district.

It is especially sad that all this happened on the background of state celebration of the 50-year anniversary of the Universal Declaration on human rights.

Penal institutions

21.05.2000 | O.Pokryshchuk, Vinnitsa region
02

An incident on a country lane

   

‘I am proud of militia in Ukraine’, said the Minister of Interior Yuri Kravchenko. But there are spots even on the sun.

In the very end of 1998 Vinnitsa region got a new head of the Directorate of Interior. The former head, A.Podoliaka, went up to the crest of his carrier — now he heads the road police of Ukraine. The Minister of Interior came to Vinnitsa and introduced the new head. He characterized the new head laconically: ‘He does not drink, he does not drink at all!’ The local mass media described this touching scene and expressed the fantastic supposition that no drunken militia officers would appear within the region.

The supposition appeared not to be quite realistic. The inhabitant of Ilinetskiy district Vasyl Maslianko, born in 1964, returned form the prison by amnesty of 17 September 1998. He should register in the district precinct, and he duly did so on 20 September.

On 28 September Vasyl Maslianko was walking home along a country lane after his visit to his former teacher Khimich. There he was overtaken by the local militiaman Kravchuk, who braked his car. The scene that followed was witnessed by a retired teacher Nina Leontyevna Misiats.

Hey, nit, get in! — The militiaman was drunk as a king’s trooper.

I will not. You are drunk.

The militiaman got out and kicked Maslianko into the groin.

Why have not you come to be registered?

Another kick. The militiaman started to beat Maslianko quite seriously. The latter started to cry:

Nina Leontyevna, save me, this gangster will kill me!

Meanwhile Khimich phoned to the precinct. In an hour another militiaman came from the precinct and contemplated the place of the beating.

Next day the head of the precinct said to Maslianko that he could hand the complaint, but added that he had asked the witnesses and no one of them wanted to give evidence.

29 September the head doctor of the district hospital refused to grant medical aid to Maslianko without the certificate of the forensic expert. The expert found ‘dislocation of the arm and jaw, injured kidneys and concussion of the cerebral brain’. Besides, blood was flowing from an ear for several days.

Belligerent Kravchuk was troubled. He offered money to the victim and even promised to delete from his documents that he had been condemned. This was not the first Kravchuk’s sin: once, being drunk, he wounded himself from his service pistol, another time he ran over a local inhabitant V.Melnik, many times he stopped cars and beat drivers.

In former times such militiamen were transferred to another republic. What are the rules of hush-hushing militiamen’s crimes now, is unknown.

Penal institutions

21.05.2000 | Vasiliy Trubnikov, a National Juridical Academy named after Yaroslav Mudryi, Kharkiv
02

Preparation of the new Penal-Executive Code is the matter of national importance

   

We live in interesting time. We have a unique opportunity to participate in creating a new Penal-Executive Code, which we can make humane and responding to all demands of the corresponding world standards. Some time ago the Cabinet of Ministers ruled to create a group of theoreticians and practicians to create the above-mentioned code. I was included into this group, but nobody proposed me to do anything. I and my colleagues learned about the creation of the new draft from mass media. The draft has been prepared by the proper department under strict secrecy. I think that such procedure is wrong: creating the draft is a a deed of national importance, and everyone who could make any contribution to the draft must be attracted.

The department of criminology of our academy could be able to prepare such a draft. We can do it because we have a sizeable scientific potential.

We must not repeat the mistake committed in Russia. At the scientific-practical conference held in Moscow the new Penal-Executive Code was discussed, and many speakers listed many mistakes and drawbacks of the new code.

I think that many problems of the new code must be discussed by public. The main questions to be discussed are the concept of the new code, the problems of correcting the incarcerated, the limits of admissible restrictions of rights of the incarcerated and other strategic and tactical directions. In the drafts of the new Penal-Executive Code and Penal Code the most basic questions must be discussed. First of all, they concern the goals of penitentiary establishments. In the existing drafts the goals of the punishment are described in very fuzzy terms and are very irrealistic. Usually the goal of the incarceration is considered to be reforming of the criminal. Hence, the main criterion of efficiency of penitentiary establishments is the measure of decreasing recidivist crime. Such an approach is an irrealistic exaggeration of possibilities of incarceration.

In my opinion, colonies and prisons must reduce crime only in the sense that they isolate criminals from the society, and nothing more. Such an approach redeem us from various fantasies on the topic of rebreeding, reforming, correcting a person. Penitentiary establishments are intended to stop the criminal activity. Hence, the main criterion of the efficiency of penitentiary establishments must be not decreasing recidivist crime but a good organization of isolation of the incarcerated, maintaining order, creating conditions for dragging the incarcerated into the system of social relations and the development of responsibility for their behavior. As to reforming and correcting, it must be the duty of hand-picked pedagogues and psychologists, who can and wish to work with the incarcerated. In many countries there exists the institute of social workers, who represent, so to say, a bridge between prison and society.

Unfortunately, these simple and realistic ideas are not embodied in the drafts either of the Penal or the Penal-Executive Codes of Ukraine.

In my opinion the penal-executive policy of Ukraine at present must be developed in two main directions:

improvement of the order and conditions in the penitentiary establishments;

organization of an efficient system of social adaptation of the incarcerated.

Fantastic demands that the penitentiary system must correct hardened criminals brake the achievement of realistic goals.

Penal institutions

21.05.2000 | Georgiy Radov, Institute of Interior, Kyiv
02

Prison must reform

   

It is difficult for me to say what I am: practician or theoretician, since I worked in a prison for ten years and then for twenty years I went in for scientific questions related with prisons.

First of all I want to express my gratitude to the organizers of this seminar. It is very promising that the questions related to prisons got into the focus of the public interest.

Since the second century BC — it is from this time that the punishment by incarceration was introduced in the ancient Rome and India — no changes in the prison routine were possible unless the society recognized their necessity. This seminar, I hope, is an indication that our society needs to reform the penitentiary system, to implement prison reforms.

I completely do not agree with a narrow treatment of the term ‘prison reforms’. One should not confuse terms. As they use to say in Odessa, there are two great differences between punishment system, penal-executive system, labor correcting system, penitentiary system and prison system. Again, if we speak about reforms, what do we really mean: a serious change, reconstruction, redecoration, or just window dressing? Using the term ‘reform’, I shall mean a serious reconstruction.

Besides, very different goals may be set before the establishment called ‘prison’. These goals determine the system of relations among the people involved: those who stay in prison according to the verdict and those who work with the incarcerated according to the contract.

In other reports a prison was compared to a state within a state. This idea must not be exaggerated. A prison is of one flesh and blood with the state and society. All state and social vices are retained in the prison, but in a more cynical and visible forms.

One must not understand the prison life aloofly. For that part of the Ukrainian population which is incarcerated (and it counts 230 thousand people), staying in prison is a part of their lives. Prison must not only punish. Prison must be regarded as a special kind of a social clinic which is intended to cure social pathology. Clients of this clinic had not got the proper dose of attention from the society and state, so they had not learned the proper system of priorities and values which make the moral basis of human life. Their behavior, including the criminal one, is only a symptom of social pathology, of the distortion of their rules of living which they soaked in from their environment.

Prison is not a panacea in the struggle against crime, it is, perhaps, even not a domineering factor. The source of criminality is not located in prison. We have statistical data that now there are 30 thousand stray children only in the city of Kyiv. One must not be Nostradamus in order to predict that in five years they will become 30 thousand criminals. We must now build prisons to accommodate these candidates. We must regard prison as a collector in the social drainage system which must recycle the waste generated by the state and society. This will meet the interests of social security, it will be humane and noble. This will please the God, if your prefer this line of reasoning, because we shall give these people a chance to turn over the new leaf. These poor people will never have this chance without our help. If they could, they would not stay in prison. They need help on the side of society. They need sympathy, they need assistance to assess their previous existence, to feel the taste of new values, which are, as a rule, not material, but spiritual.

Lack of spirituality is the philosophical basis and foundation of the moral and social degradation of man. We must speak today about prison as a tool of moral resurrection of that part of our population which had not had any access to the positive socium, to spiritual values. This is the correct angle at which we must regard the reform of the penal-executive system whose main sense is expressed in its name. This is a punishing tool, what will become with the incarcerated in future does not interest the system. But every kind of human activity is reasonable if it achieves its result.

Speaking on the problems of the reformation of the prison system, applying the system approach, one should understand that any serious construction must start with the elaboration of the project.

The idea of constructing a new prison is as old as hills. The idea was developed by the first Christians. Even the first Church Council of AD 232 discussed this idea and decided that man can be returned to good life only through ‘penitencia’ — repentance. The term ‘penitentiary system’ stems from here. Almost two thousand years passed. Now this idea has been realized in many states, and it yields positive results. We must reorient our approaches, develop proper models and embody them in a law, because a law is the tool that can create something in a state.

Believe me, returning the incarcerated back to society is not a task for prison only, this is a task for the entire nation. This is not a simple task, I believe that Ukraine has a chance to fulfill this task.

Army

21.05.2000 | I.Sukhorukova, Kharkiv
02

The ‘deserter’ is expected at home

   

In our November issue we wrote about the case of Artur Nigrutsa. Now we have got the answer form the Commission on Mercy. Our request to mercy A.Nigrutsa is rejected. Two grounds are given: one that he has deserted from the army, another is an aggravating circumstance — he was already brought for criminal liability. However, in his verdict it is said that Nigrutsa was not brought for criminal liability, otherwise he would not be taken to a paratrooper unit. The matter is that being a minor, Artur Nigrutsa was brought for criminal liability for a group brawl, in which he defended his younger kinsman. The combatants got two years of incarceration conditionally. By the time of recruiting the punishment was remitted according to Article 55 of the Penal Code of Ukraine, since he had not committed any other offence. That is why Nigrutsa was taken to paratroopers, that is why his verdict reads that he had no criminal liability. To sum up, he was refused mercy because of a misunderstanding.

After the refusal of mercy Nigrutsa fell ill with glomerulonephritis, his proctological disease has become more virulent. Artur is offered an operation. Besides, because of his cerebral-brain trauma he is observed by a psychiatrist. At present he is again in the stationary prison hospital.

All this testifies that Artur had been not able-bodied when he was taken to the army. The Commission on Mercy was not interested in all these trifles. Why should they fidget? It is easier to return documents with an absurd and inhumane formal reply. The struggle for Nigrutsa is in the future. Meanwhile V.Nesterenko, an advocate of Kharkiv Group for human rights protection, wrote a complaint to the court martial of the central region, requesting to cancel the verdict. We also directed our letter there. If the verdict is not cancelled, we intend to write a complaint to the Supreme Court of Ukraine, and at this stage we ask the readers to join us. In the proper time we shall inform you how you can help.

Unfortunately such cases are rather frequent. Here are several more stories related to desertion. During 8 recent months the Kharkiv Group and Kharkiv branch of soldier mothers’ Union received nine complaints from servicemen (or their relatives), who deserted from their units. In all such cases ‘dedovshchina’ was the reason. Kharkiv and Ukrainian press have recently described a case when four soldiers from Kharkiv deserted from their unit. Almost at once they and 30 other Kharkivites were transferred to another, safer, unit, where they continued their service. Nonetheless, two of the four ‘deserters’ complained on their health and on the insufficient medical investigation during the recruitment campaign.

Having opened the case history of one of them, Rogozhin, we saw that the young man was considered not able-bodied in peaceful time by the district recruiting commission, then without any visible reason he was redirected to military hospital by the region recruiting commission.

The hospital, in contrast to civil clinics, which had examined him before, immediately considered him as able-bodied. The young man with the disease of the central neural system was directed to the army. Is it surprising that he ran away from the army before taking the oath?

Another case concerns private Gula. The young man, according to his relatives, lagged behind in his mental and physical development, his behavior was inadequate. It runs in the family. His mother finished the closed school for demented, and she lost all the medical certificates of her son. We have letters of private Gula from his unit. The letters can be named a chronicle of dedovshchina. Neither the investigation officer, nor court paid any attention to this information. The court martial of Zhitomir condemned Gula to three years of service in a penal battalion.

The military prosecutor informed us that Gula is considered able-bodied after an ambulatory investigation. We directed the complaint to the court martial of the central region. meanwhile the sick young man is serving.

Two more deserters, Kozak and Sanin, complained on their neurological diseases. Sanin is considered not able-bodied by Lviv military hospital; Kozak is also not able-bodied because of neurosis and ulcer.

Our experience shows that first who desert because of dedovshchina are young men with bad psychic or physical health. To desert for them is perhaps the best way out. We know two cases when youths who have got to the army with inadequate psyche did not run, they took firearms, killed their offenders and then committed suicide.

What is the reason? Why, in spite of the categorical order of the Minister of Defense about the responsibility for taking diseased recruits to the army, we come across again and again with such facts? Now the number of recruits is considerably reduced, and it could seem that there is no necessity to recruit invalids. Moreover, the present Minister of Defense was the first minister who counted how much an invalid-recruit costs to tax payers, even if he does not desert and shoots at nobody.

The usual routine is the following. A sick recruit becomes even a more sick soldier. Sooner or later, badly or better, they start to treat him. Several times a year he stays in the military hospital (and one must know that treatment in a military hospital is much more expensive than in a civil one), and at last he is demobilized as invalid. All this is done for the money of tax payers.

Analyzing the problem of recruitment, we have arrived at certain conclusions:

not able-bodied recruits continue to be taken to the army because the interests of the Ministry of Defense and of the society on the one hand are contrary to the interests of the recruiting bureaucrats;

the recruitment of invalids could be severed only by extraordinary methods.

For example, in Russia there are cases when commanders of the military units, having received invalid recruits, sue the recruiting committees. There are more and more such cases. This is the measure worth to be repeated in our country, but is it sufficient? I address the readers of our bulletin to think over the problem and take part in the discussion.

I want to use the opportunity for expressing public gratitude to Odessa human rights protection center ‘Rutenia’, the Union of soldier mothers of Odessa and Odessa Union of veterans for their support in the case of Artur Nigrutsa.

Human rights protection

21.05.2000 | Evhen Zakharov, Kharkiv
02

Persecution of an advocate in Sebastopol

   

On 11 February 1999 at 21:11 hours armed operatives of the special militia department of Sebastopol detained Valeriy Maksimovich Paliy. The pretext for his detainment was the alleged administrative misdemeanor — disrespect of court. Since his detainment the advocate has gone on a hunger strike to express protest against the illegal action.

Valeriy Paliy is a well-known advocate who took part in a number of noted processes. Recently he has agreed to counsel free of charge Andrey Shevchenko, a minor who was gravely wounded by a shot from a handgun fired by General-Lieutenant of militia Vivat Beloborodov, the head of the Directorate of the Ministry of Interior in Sebastopol. The second youth was killed, and the service investigation came to the conclusion that the General acted in self-defense.

During two days and two nights Paliy was kept in the cell of the district militia precinct. Such cells are intended to keep the detained for several hours. He had no opportunity to sleep or to eat. Thus, Paliy became a victim of inhumane and degrading treatment on behalf of militia.

The detainment as such was not justified. In general, incarceration must be applied only in extreme cases stipulated by the norms of international right and operating laws of Ukraine. As can be concluded from the available information, the detainment of advocate Paliy and his administrative arrest are caused solely by execution of his professional duties. This is a brutal violation of Article 10 of Ukrainian law ‘On barristers’. Besides, the administrative arrest of advocate Paliy prevented him to defend his clients.

On 12 February Leninskiy district court of Sebastopol chaired by judge Burchuladze I.V. started to consider the case of the administrative detainment of the advocate. The session lasted, with breaks, till 22:30 hours. The court refused the petition of barristers to release Paliy. The continuation of the session was appointed 11:00 of 13 February. In the course of the court session the accused Paliy pleaded not guilty. The court refused Paliy’s request to choose an advocate by himself. According to Paliy’s words, he did not commit any misdemeanor, and all his case is completely fabricated; the actions of court and militia are intended to exert pressure on him, preventing him to perform his professional duties.

Barristers of Sebastopol express their solidarity with Valeriy Paliy.

On 13 February from 9 to 11 o’clock five members of Sebastopol human rights protection group organized a picket near Leninskiy precinct where Valeriy Paliy was kept. The participants of the picket held posters ‘Down with arbitrary rules!’ and ‘Freedom to Valeriy Paliy!’

On 13 February Leninskiy district court of the city of Sebastopol considered the case from 11:00 to 21:30 hours. The court ruled that Paliy was guilty in the misdemeanor stipulated by Article 185-3 of the Ukrainian Code on administrative misdemeanors (disrespect of court). Paliy was sentenced to ten days of administrative arrest.

In our opinion, this case is nothing but a shameful reprisal. With great pity we have to state that court became the tool of this savage reprisal. The court session demonstrated repressive nature of the administrative legislation, which offers broad opportunities for arbitrary actions. This case clearly illuminated the system of Ukrainian legal proceedings and showed its inability to establish justice.

During the court session it was convincingly proved that a sizeable part of documents was falsified. The protocol of detainment was falsified, as well as the protocol of the court session of 26 January, during which disrespect of court was allegedly shown. The peak of the legal negligence was demonstrated at the end of the court session when it became clear that the case of Paliy was not registered in the court office and had no number. The wish of the court to keep Paliy incarcerated was so immense that judge Burchuladze was considering the case till the night of 12 February and during the day off on 13 February, which is perhaps without precedence in Ukrainian justice.

According to the testimony of some witnesses and of Paliy himself, they were told during Paliy’s detainment that he was arrested by General Beloborodov’s order. However, this aspect of the case was disregarded by the law since Paliy’s petition to summon Beloborodov as a witness was rejected as ‘immaterial for the case’.

Valeriy Paliy continues his hunger strike. His medical state is grave, and the results of the unjust verdict may be hard.

The Sebastopol human rights protection group turned to the Supreme Court of Ukraine with the petition to supervise the case and protest against the unjust ruling. We appeal to human rights protection activists to support our colleagues from Sebastopol. We recommend all to send their protests to Sebastopol city court and to the President of Ukraine.

The address of Sebastopol city court is:

Dmitrieva Galina Nikolayevna

Chairperson of the court

25 Lenina St., 335011

Sebastopol

P.S. The Supreme Court of Ukraine has requested the court rouling on Paliy’s case after numeruos letters against the unjust rouling both Ukraine and abroad.

NGO activities

21.05.2000 | Larisa Bogoraz, the Head of the programme ’Legislation Culture’of the Moscow Helsinki Group
02

INDEPENDENT EVALUATION OF KHARKIV GROUP’s JOB

   

This report evaluates the activities of the Kharkiv Group for Human Rights Protection (the Group, in what follows) and assesses the work in 1998.

It should be noted that I have been connected with the Group members Irina Rapp, Sophia Karasik and Eugeniy Zakharov through human rights protection activities in the USSR since late sixties. Since 1988 we have worked together in the ’Memorial’ society; with Eugeniy Zakharov we have also collaborated in the Moscow Helsinki Group, whose member he became in 1989. The Group invited me to be an independent expert evaluating their work in 1995, 1997 and 1998. I am well acquainted with all publications prepared by the Group and am a subscriber of the bulletin ’Prava ludyny’ published by the Group. In previous years the Group was created as a well-balanced organisation consisting fifty-fifty of full-time members and volunteers; some jobs are done on a contract basis. In 1998 the composition of the Group has not changed; only some probationers from students of law have appeared, which may be only greeted. The Group’s work takes on rather diverse forms; nonetheless the Group members specialize and improve their professional skills. This occurs because of the sensible structure of the Group and because of permanent education of the Group members. The teachers are professionals: lawyers, sociologists, historians, data processing specialists, etc. The Group members participate in international conferences and seminars. The Group maintains permanent relations with similar groups from other regions of Ukraine and other countries, mainly with Russia and Poland. With them the Group maintains exchange of experience and information; with some of them the Group works at joint projects.

Thanks to these activities the Group, beside solving local problems, preserves the status of an equal and active member of the international human rights protection movement, ’the movement without frontiers’, taking part in the development and solution of theoretical, philosophical and methodological problems. The main direction of the Group’s activity is the monitoring of human rights, i.e. collection, analysis and distribution of information on the state of human rights in Ukraine; enlightenment activity; juridical and sometimes material aid to citizens and groups of citizens. These three directions of the activity correspond to the statute of the Group.

In order to realize each of the indicated directions the Group uses certain methods that were developed mainly as a result of accumulating the Group’s experience. To grant juridical help to claimants, there is an experienced lawyer who processes the complaints and claims of citizens after a preliminary sifting by some Group members. They receive the complaints in writing or through telephone. A special blank is filled in the process. The blank contains the needed data on the complainer and on the abuse of human rights. If need arises, Group members provide auxiliary information, communicating with the claimant in writing, through telephone or in personal contact. The final results are input to the computer data bank. This is an ideal scheme, it requires much labour and it is not always realised. Especially this year many claims were not input to the computer. It is explained by the fact that almost half of the time in 1998 the Group was devoid of office.

Nonetheless, this aspect of the work must be evaluated positively, since the system works in principle, it may serve as a base for further development of this direction and, last but not least, many claimants got real aid.

The primary information processed in this manner is the input for further monitoring: it enables one to conclude which human rights are violated most often, where, by whom and why (due to the inperfection of law, incompetence or ill will of executive power, because of the legal ignorance of citizens, because of the passivity of human rights protection and other public organisations, etc.).

The Group publishes the results of the monitoring and information from activists throughout Ukraine in the analytical bulletin ’Prava ludyny’ which is published three times a month. Once a month the English review of the three monthly issues is published. I have read all the bulletins for the reporting period and I would like to notice that the presentation of the material in the English version is very expressive and well-balanced. I do not know any other human rights protection organisation in any of the CIS countries that would regularly and for a long time inform the public in the West on the situation with human rights in this country. Perhaps, this feature of the publication assisted the Group to get the premium of the EC/USA ’Democracy and Civil Society Award’ in 1998.

36 issues of the bulletin were published during 1998. Beside three issues and one English survey, the Group publishes one special issue per month. The special issues contain diverse materials that can be of help to an activist in human rights protection: reviews of corresponding materials from Ukrainian mass media, documents, analytical materials. For instance, materials on the alternative service, penitentiary and court systems, children’s rights and so on.

Especially valuable are materials which compare international legislation and law-applying practice with those in Ukraine or other countries, not only Western democracies, but the countries which are neighbours: Russia, Poland, Belorus. All these publications may be of interest for groups and activists of human rights protection of Ukrainian neighbours.

I want to point out that ’Prava Ludyny’ describe events of human rights abuses not only in Ukraine, but in neighbouring countries too. Certainly the materials on Ukraine are rather full and systematic, whereas those about other countries are sketchy. Nonetheless they are reliable.

Thus, the Group is building - and has built to a considerable degree - a workable system of collecting, processing, formulating and using human rights protecting information that promotes uniting various groups (acting in various regions and having their own specific features). This improves the efficiency of concrete aid to those who suffered from the abuse of human rights. The closer ties between organisations also improves the efficiency of enlightenment. The analysis of the operating laws becomes interrelated with that of the current situation and with theoretical problems of human rights protection.

Certainly, any of the above-listed aspects has its own specifics. The most useful work for the population enlightenment is the publication of special literature carried out by the Group and devoted to separate problems of human rights protection. The Group, jointly with a private publishing house ’Folio’, printed six brochures, I would rather say compact books. One is devoted to the problem of the death penalty, another - against torture. The topics of the rest are not less actual. The authors of these books are top professionals, and they use the materials of ’Prava Ludyny’. Each of these books is written on a good scientific level, each can serve as a text-book in teaching human rights to activists, teachers, higher and high school students. I assess this work very highly, since both in Ukraine and in Russia, and in other CIS countries such literature is very scarce. The books are written in Ukrainian. I would like to see them translated into Russian and may be to some other languages of the CIS states. All this literature is distributed by the Group free of charge, according to the Group’s Statute.

The Group also collected a sizeable library on human rights protection and related topics. The tasks of the library are two fold: to provide needed information to Kharkiv specialists and to send hard copies of books, articles and documents on request of sisterly organisations. I think that the library must be properly arranged and catalogued, and the usual procedure of accounting materials and copies handed out must be introduced. I understand that performing these works will require a librarian or two with a proper financing.

Along with the publication of books, the Group initiated optional courses in human rights protection at several high schools in Kharkiv.

I highly assess the enlightenment initiative of the Group, but it lacks a systematic approach: not a single member of the Group goes in exclusively for it. This lowers the efficiency of the work. On initiating the teaching of human rights at school, one must visualize all the chain, including such top priority tasks as teaching teachers and students of pedagogical institutes. I think that a special structure must be organized, either inside, or outside the Group.

In my opinion, the Kharkiv Group has carried out huge and creative work in accordance with the projects under evaluation and achieved all the planned results. I want to add that as a result of the work the Kharkiv Group is becoming an actual nucleus of the human rights protection network in Ukraine. In order to play this role the Group has the will and necessary experience. I was struck by enthusiasm of the Group members. The Group has plenty of contacts with similar groups from other regions of Ukraine and with the authorities, it is respected by citizens.

News from the CIS countries

21.05.2000 | Karen Nersesyan, Pasko’s advocate
02

A Security service vs. Grigoriy Pasko

   

The court interrogated one of the main witnesses Yu.Otekin, the former editor-in-chief of the newspaper ‘Boevaya vakhta’. In his testimony he completely destroyed the version of the prosecution about the alleged non-sanctioned missions of G.Pasko to strict regime objects, which threaten the ecological security. Mr. Otekin, who had known Pasko for more than 18 years, characterized him as a gifted journalist, the author of burning and significant articles.

In his publications Pasko reflected the facts of corruption among the top brass of the Pacific Navy, disclosed sinking of submarines and predicted ecological catastrophe on the Russian Pacific Coast as a result of criminal actions of the military commandment. All the involved facts were and are considered top secret, in spite of the direct prohibition (contained in the Constitution of Russia and related laws) to make similar facts secret.

Pasko’s journalistic activities were permanently harassed by military censors, mainly military censor V.Bolshakov. That was done contrary to Article 3 of the Russian law ‘On mass media’, which forbids any censorship. But regardless of the law everything was top secret, which regularly caused conflicts between the newspaper on the one hand and the military censorship and securiy service on the other hand.

On all his missions, including those to Japan, Pasko went, executing the task of the editorial board. Sometimes he went there on his own money, since the editorial board could not afford the expenditures. The newspaper ‘Boevaya vakhta’ cooperated with a number of foreign mass media, in particular with ‘Asahi’ with which Pasko contacted on behalf and with the permission of the editorial board of ‘Boevaya vakhta’. As to the episode of Pasko’s participation in the council martial of the Pacific Navy (as a representative of the newspaper ‘Boevaya vakhta’), witness Otekin explained that Pasko could not get any secret information at this council, and that he used his notes for writing an article, which is a usual practice for journalists. The accusation of Pasko in high treason is illegal and ill-grounded, said the witness. The witness noticed that more than 100 most actual articles were written by Pasko from 1992 to 1997, and they often contained the description of criminal actions of the commandment of the Pacific Navy and the passivity of federal security service in protecting the environment while utilization and burial of nuclear waste. That was why the authorities pulled him to the dock in the courtroom.

Judge Savushkin residing at the court session tried to impede the witness, stopping him when he tried to express his opinion. The accused and his advocates had to ask to record the testimony with the aim to prove the biased attitude of the judge.

This day the court received a directive of the security head of the Pacific Navy Satskov, who demanded to debar the public defender Tkachenko, the general director of the Russian PEN center, and Maksimenko, a representative of the Council of veterans. The reason is, according to Satskov, that these men have no access to participation in the closed trial. This demand caused indignation of the advocates, in which connection the judge postponed the solution of this question on indefinite time. The trial was suspended to 26 January 1999.

The troubled times

21.05.2000 | Roman Romanov, Sebastopol
02

Advocate’s arrest

   

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.

Monthly bulletin Prava Ludyny (Human rights), 1999, №02

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