war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2005, #07


Prosecutor’s office of the Lugansk region instituted 143 criminal cases on brutal violations of election laws

This information was given to the agency “Parallel-Media” by senior counselor of justice V. Gromov, a deputy of the regional prosecutor.

Investigation of most of these cases is already completed and the criminal cases have been passed to courts for consideration. The most frequent violations of election laws are: illegal use of voting bulletins, forgery of electoral documents, incorrect calculation of votes or incorrect announcement of results of the election.

35 persons, mainly heads, members and secretaries of election commissions, have been already convicted by regional courts on the criminal cases connected with the election. “Now it is the turn of organizers of these crimes”, said V. Gromov.

So, the criminal case has been passed to court concerning the accusation of the former head of the Novopskovska district state administration in accordance with part 1 of Article 365 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (misuse of power or service authorities), who gave the direct instructions to the head and secretary of the election station on calculation of votes in favor of one of the candidates.

The accusation of preventing the realization of the electoral right was preferred to the farmer from the Belovodskiy district, who, on the market in the village of Barannikovka, demanded, with application of physical force, to stop the agitation for a candidate to President’s post.

The Leninskiy district court of Lugansk considers now the criminal case on accusation of illegal hampering the organization or conduction of meetings, rallies, marches and demonstrations. The case has been started against three dwellers of the Donetsk region, which, during the election campaign, applied physical violence against the adherents of candidate to President’s post V. Yushchenko. By now several other accomplices of this crime have been arrested, who will be brought to court soon.


Against torture and ill-treatment

Pilgrimage for justice

In the articles published by the newspaper “Vgoru” (“Inquisition can take a vacation” of 7 April 2005 and “Are not prosecutors afraid?” of 21 April 2005) we told about the repeated beating in the Kherson regional psychiatric hospital of a 20-year-old boy, an invalid of the first group.

At that the forensic experts “did not notice” and did not include into the acts of examination some traumas. The prosecutors saw nothing “essential” in such actions of the medics. The doctors persistently refused to show Dmitry’s case history to his mother, diagnosing sometimes TB and sometimes – pneumonia. After that they declared that the patient had only one kidney, although nobody had said anything about that before. On 7 April Dmitry died. How did the top medical authorities assess this incident and what was their reaction?

When Dmitry was alive yet, his mother Olga repeatedly sent letters to the Secretariat of the President, General Prosecutor’s office of Ukraine and ombudsperson. In these letters she complained against the Kherson regional department in questions of health protection and provision with medical drugs, which refused to give the document for examination and treatment of her son in the Kyiv scientific institute. Olga wrote that the head of the regional health department did nothing to stop the beating of patients in the Kherson regional psychiatric hospital, and the position of the law-enforcers could be characterized as “I see nothing, I hear nothing, I shall say nothing”. Yet, unfortunately, the authorities neglected her complaints…

After the death of her son Olga went to the capital, where she hoped to find justice and strive for punishment of the local medics. She wanted to get to the Minister of health protection, since this new official of the Ministry publicly promised to introduce order in medical sphere. Alas, at the last moment the minister cancelled the reception of citizens (some foreign guests came to him) and directed the visitors to his deputy Mr. Hanenko and head of the staff department of the Ministry Mr. Banchuk. The latter headed the Kherson regional prosecutor’s office in the years, when Dmitry regularly and “absolutely accidentally” got traumas in the local psychiatric hospital. It was his agency, which did not react to these facts, as well as to strange inaccuracy in the data of forensic expertises. The ex-prosecutor migrated into the structure of the Ministry of health protection, and again to the “supervision” post: now he controls the medical personnel of the entire country. Olga did not want to go to him…

She decided to meet with deputy minister Hanenko. Before this she went to the office and learned that all her complaints, sent to the Ministry from the Secretariat of the President, General Prosecutor’s office and Secretariat of the ombudsperson, were directed to Kherson by a worker of the Ministry! (Did he really believe that the local authorities would assess and control their own actions?). Nobody in the Ministry has been embarrassed with the fact that the Law of Ukraine “On citizens’ appeals” prohibits to forward the complaints against some structure to this structure for reaction! Nevertheless, the complaints against the Ministry of health protection were sent by President’s Secretariat to the Ministry, and the latter forwarded the complaints against the Kherson regional authorities to Kherson. The circle closed. So, it turns out that the specialists from the Secretariat of the President, Secretariat of the ombudsperson and the General Prosecutor’s office, who have to control the fulfillment of the Law of Ukraine “On citizens’ appeals”, do not know this law?

Mr. Harchenko attentively listened to Olga, accepted the application with the demand to send a commission from the Ministry to the Kherson regional psychiatric hospital and promised to clear up the incident. The commission really came, but it consisted not of Kyiv specialists, but of medics of the Nikolayev regional psychiatric hospital. Mother of the untimely perished boy could see only two members of the commission – the main doctor and the head of the medical department. The others, including the chief accountant (?!), were allegedly “straggling about the hospital”. Then, having decided that she could expect nothing from the commission, Olga wrote the application on the rejection of the composition of the commission.

The woman also resolved to inquire about the results of the service investigation, which was carried out by the town health department on the instructions of the prosecutor’s office of the Komsomolskiy district. In the department Olga learned with surprise that the investigation had been already completed and corresponding notification had been sent to her. It turned out that the activities of the hospital were checked by the medics from the clinical hospital situated in the neighboring Dneprovskiy district of Kherson! The “neighbors” did not find any violations in the actions of administration and personnel of the Kherson regional psychiatric hospital. So, if to sum up, the situation is the following: the boy got to the hospital on his own feet, and was discharged from hospital because of his death. And the inspectors believe that everything is normal. Now, many months after Dmitry’s death, his mother still has not received the official answer from the town health department or the prosecutor’s office. The medical and prosecution officials remain silent…

The right to a fair trial

Reform of the system of free legal aid in Ukraine

Throughout the world there are people charged with various crimes who cannot afford themselves to pay for a lawyer.  The right enshrined in international legislation and national constitutions, the right to effective legal aid for those unable to pay becomes a fiction, when the programs of government are ineffective and are not provided with proper financing. In civil cases international and national norms are weaker; in many countries the majority of people are deprived of the access to judges and justice. Thus, human rights depend, to a great extent, on social status and material state.

Despite the problems in this sphere, free legal aid to the accused in criminal cases and aid in civil cases frequently are not apprehended properly.

National legislators and politicians, preoccupied with demonstration of severe struggle with criminality, frequently do not show such activity in the sphere concerning urgent necessity and complexity of rendering of juridical representation of the persons accused of the commitment of crimes. As a result, the policy of governments in this sphere is, quite often, ad hoc (accidental), insufficiently considered or poorly regulated, or even does not exist at all.

On the provision of free legal aid in criminal cases

In order to establish what the situation really is with legal aid provided by the State in criminal cases, the Kharkiv group for human rights protection turned with formal requests for information to the Ministry of Justice, territorial departments of justice, State judicial administration of Ukraine (SJAU) and to appeal courts. The data obtained in the responses to our requests can be summed up as follows.

Before coming into effect of Law of Ukraine “On judicial system of Ukraine” of 7 February 2002 No. 3018-III, the participation of advocates in criminal cases at the state expense was envisaged in the estimates for maintenance of local and appeal courts, which considered these cases. In compliance with Order of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine of 3 December 1997 No. 265 “On introduction of new budget classification in Ukraine”, financing of the expenses for remuneration of work of advocates was realized after the code of economic classification of expenditures 1139 “Payment of other expenditures”. This code was synthetic: it was also used for payment of the expenditures for movement and dwelling of victims and witnesses during court consideration, work of experts during investigation, expenses for guard, insurance, payment for professional services, etc.

According to the information given by the Ministry of Justice, in 2001 the appeal courts got 365.1 thousand hryvnas (67.5% of the sum established by state budget) after code 1139, in 2002 – 296.2 thousand hryvnas (75% of the planned sum). The local courts obtained 79.9 thousand hryvnas (3.6% of the plan) in 2001 and 927.9 thousand hryvnas (41.7%) in 2002. Distribution of financing of the appeal courts for 27 regions of Ukraine and really spent sums are represented in the second, third, fourth and fifth columns of Table 1. The KhG got these data from the appeal courts. Unfortunately, 8 appeal courts (the City of Kyiv, the Donetsk, Lviv, Nikolayev, Odessa, Kharkiv, Khmelnitskiy and Chernigiv regions) brutally violated the Law of Ukraine “On information” and did not react to our informational request, even the repeated one. The appeal court of the Zakarpatska region redirected out request to the territorial department of the SJAU, which did not respond. The appeal courts of Sevastopol, the Vinnitsa and Ternopil regions did not give any information about the sums obtained after code 1139 (“???” in the Table), but only wrote that advocates’ services were not paid. The information about the absence of financing is marked in the Table with the symbol “***”. In our opinion, the collected, although not complete, data give the grounds for certain conclusions. Firstly, scantiness of the sums allotted after code 1139 is shocking. Financing of courts is merely pitiful, and it is difficult to speak about independence of courts in such circumstances. Secondly, the system of rendering of free legal aid in criminal cases was practically absent in Ukraine until the middle of 2004.

Beginning from 1 January 2003, in accordance with the Law “On judicial system of Ukraine”, the functions concerning financing and material-technical provision of courts was imposed on the SJAU, so the state budget did not envisage the allotment to the Ministry of Justice of money for remuneration of advocates’ services during 2003 and first six months of 2004. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice stopped the financing of services of advocates working by appointment, but the State judicial administration did not assume these functions contending that this was not established by law. As a result, during 18 months, from 1 January 2003 to 30 June 2004, advocates’ services in criminal cases were not paid.

Law of Ukraine “On introduction of changes into the Law of Ukraine “On state budget of Ukraine for 2004”” of 17 June 2004 No. 1801-IV envisaged financing of these expenses in the second half of 2004 in compliance with separate budget program 3601160 “Rendering to citizens of legal aid in criminal cases at the expense of the state”. The SJAU informed that, according to this program, the budget envisaged allocation of 1915.3 thousand hryvnas in 2004, and the Law of Ukraine “On state budget of Ukraine for 2005” increased this sum to 1960.9 thousand hryvnas.

For the fulfillment of the mentioned state program since July 2004 the State Treasury of Ukraine monthly realized the financing of territorial departments of justice for remuneration of advocates’ work. The sums, obtained and paid by the departments of justice in July-December 2004, are showed in two last columns of Table 1. These data were got from territorial departments of justice. Unfortunately, four departments: Volyn, Kirovograd, Rivne and Cherkassy, did not respond to our requests at all. The Kyiv regional department of justice advised to turn to the Ministry of Justice for information, about which we requested. The Lugansk and Nikolayev regional departments of justice did not give information about the sums obtained from the budget. The absence of financing from the budget of the Crimean Autonomous republic after the program 3601160 attracts attention. Where this money was spent? The decision taken by the Odessa regional department of justice was rather original: it transferred all obtained sum (165600 hryvnas) to the advocates’ association “Odessa regional collegium of advocates”. The department wrote nothing about the further lot of this money.

Well, what is the reason of the fact that only one third of those little sums, which were directed for remuneration of work of advocates in criminal cases, was spent, and the rest was returned to the budget? Well, advocates are partly guilty of this, since they refuse to work at the expense of the state. This is proved by use of these funds in different regions of our country. One can see that in some regions the allocated means were used completely, and in some regions they were not used at all. However, we believe that the main reason is the conditions of payment.

In order to clarify the situation, let us consider Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 821 of 14 May 1999, which establishes “Order of remuneration of the services of advocates rendering legal aid to citizens in criminal cases at the expense of the state”. In accordance with this order, the ground for remuneration of the work of advocate rendering legal aid is resolution of the person, which conducts inquiry, investigating officer, prosecutor, resolution of court or a judge and the document, made by them, about participation of the advocate in the case. On the basis of these two documents: resolution and reference on participation of the advocate in the case, the advocate compiles the third document – the reference-calculation on the amount of expenses that should be paid to the advocate; this documents is used for payment from the budget. The remuneration of the work is paid out at the rate of 15 hryvnas per one workday. If the advocate worked not full time, then his services are paid depending on the working time, on the basis of the above-mentioned tariff.

So, the appointment of advocate for rendering of legal aid in criminal cases fully depends on the organs, which carry out the inquiry or investigation, or on court, and the payment for advocate’s work is so little that, most likely, the advocates do not want to waste their time for compilation of all papers necessary for obtaining the remuneration. The response of the Dnepropetrovsk regional department of justice reads that in the second half of 2004 the department received 249 documents for payment to the total sum of 18191 hryvnas, that is the average fee of an advocate in one criminal case is about 73 hryvnas for the work during almost five full workdays. So, is it surprising that the existing system of rendering of the legal aid in criminal cases almost does not work?

Table 1

Region of Ukraine

Obtained, UAH

Paid, UAH

Obtained, UAH

Paid, UAH







Crimean Republic

9 000

14 380

3 048

8 315








37 800

16 903.26


6 480

12 200






30 951

22 375



107 000

18 191.00






226 200

21 723.00


7 750

9 180



18 000



Redirected request



7 500



2 836

14 080


1 050

68 100

28 400






12 000


Kyiv region

14 313

11 240



Formal reply










14 700

14 220

11 060

10 810


5 609






24 000

24 000













165 600

Transferred to advocates’ association


10 500

11 720



7 871

7 871


13 000

7 440






19 460

30 300



13 800







4 200







96 900



18 045

9 840


100 hryvnas

49 200







14 700



9 000

9 160

2 148





12 600

8 600



7 500







9 600

2 600

City of Kyiv





28 200

7 000

City of Sevastopol





7 500



169 310

176 220

21069.5 12.44%

26532.25 15.1%

905 671

299 841.26


Legislation on legal aid (information from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine)

Article 59 of the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees every citizen the right for legal aid and the possibility of its free rendering in the cases stipulated by law. Yet, the provisions of this article in the part of possibility of obtaining of legal aid free of charge are almost not realized. The fact that the operating system of free legal aid in Ukraine is inefficient can be explained by several factors.

In spite of the wide circle of professionals in the sphere of law, free legal aid today is rendered only by advocates and only in criminal cases.

According to Article 47 of the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine, a person that prosecutes an inquiry, an investigating officer or court can appoint a defender, if his participation is obligatory, but the suspect, accused or defendant does not want to invite a defender, or wants to invite a defender, but cannot do that because of absence of money or because of other objective reasons.

Although a significant part of persons, who need legal aid, are poor, the Ukrainian legislation does not envisage rendering of free legal aid in civil cases or the cases on administrative offences, to say nothing about consultations and compilation of the drafts of documents.

Releasing of citizens of payment for legal aid lays the burden of these expenditures on the state. Yet, the amount of such compensations still remains too small.

According to Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of 14 May 1999 No. 821, remuneration of services of the advocates, who render legal aid to citizens in criminal cases, is paid out at the expense of state budget at the rate of 15 hryvnas per one workday. If the advocate worked not full time, then his services are paid depending on the working time, on the basis of the above-mentioned tariff.

Under such conditions advocates, as a rule, are not interested in participation in the cases by appointment. This situation is also aggravated by the mechanism of appointment of advocates through advocates’ associations, established by Article 47 of the CPC of Ukraine, which has shown its inefficiency in practice.

In order to prove this thesis, we will adduce the following arguments.

Creation of advocates’ associations, in accordance with the Law “On the Bar”, is a right of advocate, but not their duty. So, the overwhelming majority of advocates have individual practice and are not the members of advocates’ associations.

The data of the register of advocates’ associations evidence that such associations exist not in every region of Ukraine, which renders impossible the participation of advocates by appointment in some administrative-territorial districts.

Besides, there are no mechanisms, except ethical ones, which can make an advocate render free legal aid. And, finally, there is merely psychological problem of distrust in the quality of the legal aid, which is rendered free of charge. The opinion exists both among common citizens and among lawyers that it is impossible to obtain the proper level of defense and to demand high professionalism from an advocate, if the services are gratuitous.

Many world countries try to find the balance between the paid legal aid and free one, to make their quality equal. Let us turn to the international experience in order to understand, which legal provisions should be fixed in Ukrainian legislation.

The world criteria, in compliance with which free legal aid is rendered, can be classified as follows:

-  financial criterion – lack of means for use of defender’s services;

-  juridical criterion (“interests of justice”), which includes the potential danger of long-lasting or lifelong imprisonment; juridical or factual complexity of a case; inability of the accused to defend himself because of the objective reasons.

In the majority of countries, in contrast to our state, the concept of free legal aid includes its rendering at the expense of state budget in full or partially, depending on the level of income of the client and his family, including the income from the property owned by them.

Composition of the family is also taken into account: presence of minor children, children-orphans and children deprived of parents’ guardianship, who are kept and patronized by the person that needs the legal aid.

In our opinion, it is necessary to fix in the Ukrainian legislation the criterion of poverty as the basic one for appointment of the legal aid paid by the state. So, the legislators must develop the adaptable method of calculation of income of a person pretending to free legal aid. Yet, taking into account the demands of Article 22 of the Constitution of Ukraine, which prohibits the contraction of contents and amount of the already existing rights and freedoms, the right for legal aid should be got by certain categories of citizens independently of the level of their income.

Along with citizens, who have no money or have other objective reasons, which make impossible the invitation of an advocate (item 2 of part 4 of Article 47 of the CPC of Ukraine), the right for free legal aid, in accordance with law, must be rendered to the following categories of population:

-  rehabilitated persons (part 6 of Article 6 of the Law of Ukraine “On rehabilitation of victims of political repressions in Ukraine”);

-  war veterans (part 2 of Article 22 of the Law of Ukraine “On status of war veterans and guarantees of their social protection”);

-  persons, who suffered from the illegal actions of the organs of inquiry, pre-trial investigation, prosecutor’s office and court (item 4 of Article 3 of the Law of Ukraine “On the order of compensation of damage inflicted to citizens by the illegal actions of the organs of inquiry, pre-trial investigation, prosecutor’s office and court”);

-  persons, who undergo psychiatric treatment (part 3 of Article 25 of the Law of Ukraine “On psychiatric treatment”);

-  persons, about whom the decision was taken about making of the documents for solution of the question on the status of refugee, or refugees (Articles 18 and 20 of the Law of Ukraine “On status of refugees”);

-  minor parents (Article 156 of the Family Code);

-  persons unable to self-service in connection with old age, disease, invalidity, and having no relatives, who must provide care and help (part 4 of Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine “On social services”);

-  persons, who have difficult life situation because of unemployment and are registered in the state placement service as looking for a job, in connection with natural and other catastrophes, refugees as a consequence of military and interethnic conflicts (part 4 of Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine “On social services”);

-  children and youths, who have difficult life situation in connection with invalidity, disease, orphanhood, homelessness, poverty, conflicts and cruel treatment in family (part 4 of Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine “On social services”).

One of the most actual question is determination of the organ, which would take the decisions on rendering of free legal aid. In some legal systems, for instance, in the Great Britain, the question on the appointment of free legal aid in criminal cases is solved by courts. In other countries, in particular in the South Africa and Netherlands, the decision is taken by special governmental organ, created for management of the process of rendering of the legal aid. In the USA two systems exist: courts take the decisions in criminal cases, and the non-profit juridical organizations take the decisions in civil cases.

The majority of experts reckon that such functions in Ukraine should be fulfilled by the Ministry of Justice. At the same time, international experts insist on search of the methods of reduction of state control. The alternative approach to this problem, in the opinion of the experts of the bureau for study of the problems of superiority of right АВА/СЕЕLI, would be the creation of a quasi-independent organ (council), which would take independent decisions and would be responsible to the state structures (something like the organ established by the Act of the United Kingdom on the access to justice, 1999). Membership in such organ should guarantee wide representation to the juridical community.

In spite of attractiveness of such proposition, this variant is hardly acceptable for the Ukrainian practice. The matter is that the legal aid must be rendered in the shortest possible time, and sometimes immediately. So, sittings of the collegial organ (council) should be held at least every three days. Such council can include advocates, heads of juridical firms, lawyers, representatives of public organizations. Obviously, the majority of these people will have no opportunity to take part in the sittings, which will be conducted so often, because of their everyday work.

The problem of creation of the system of free legal aid is based on the question of its financing. American experts assert that there are the following possible sources of financing: legal expenses for bringing a suit to court, payment for issuing of a license for business activities, part of advocates’ royalties, etc. These financial sources are commonly accepted in many system of legal aid, but without state financing they are unpredictable from the viewpoint of stability and the amount of earnings. Without state financing, which should be the main source of money, the system of rendering of free legal aid runs the risk not to realize the guarantees stipulated by Article 59 of the Constitution of Ukraine.

It is also important to envisage the legislative mechanisms, which would prevent misuses in this sphere. Rendering of free legal aid must be immediately stopped in the case of disclosure of circumstances, which evidence that the person, obtaining free legal aid, has no right to such aid, in case of deliberate presentation by this person of inadequate information on the essence of conflict or criminal case, his/her property or income, as well as in the case of change of the level of income of the person, to which free legal aid is rendered, termination of action of circumstances that gave the person the right for obtaining of free legal aid, etc.

All these questions need to be addressed Draft Law “On legal aid”.

Olga Saenko, a deputy head of the Center of legal reform and draft work

Olena Semiorkina, the head of the Center of legal reform and draft work

Inna Emelyanova, a deputy of the Minister of Justice of Ukraine

Round table “Free legal aid: ensuring the right of citizens of Ukraine to access to justice”

On 2 July a round table “Free legal aid: ensuring the right of citizens of Ukraine to access to justice” was held in the hotel “Natsionalny”. The aim of the round table was to discuss the possibilities for creating a system and efficient mechanisms for providing free legal aid in Ukraine.

The Constitution of Ukraine guarantees to every citizen of our country the right for legal aid. In some cases envisaged by law this aid is rendered free of charge. Unfortunately, there is no law in Ukraine now, which determines the principles and mechanisms of rendering of free legal aid. There are very few opportunities to get free legal aid in criminal, civil and administrative cases. Such situation results in systematic violations of citizens’ right for fair trial.

Therefore the International foundation “Vidrodjennia” initiated the conduction of the round table, where the following questions were discussed:

 real situation with rendering of legal aid in Ukraine and the needs of society;

 conceptual and legal principles of realization of citizens’ right for the access to justice;

 experience of the European countries in creation of the system of rendering of free legal aid to poor layers of population;

 possibilities of realization of international standards of access to justice in Ukraine.

MPs of Ukraine, top officials of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, General Prosecutor’s office, representatives of advocates’ associations, juridical community, donor organizations and foreign embassies took part in the round table.

Founder of the International foundation “Vidrodjennia” George Soros and Viktor Pinchuk, who took part in the work of the round table too, expressed the wish to support, jointly with the UNO Development program, the initiatives aimed at the creation in Ukraine of the efficient system of free legal aid to poor layers of population.

In the nearest years the International foundation “Vidrodjennia” and the donor organization of Viktor Pinchuk will finance the projects, in the result of which:

 several regional centers will be created, where lawyers-consultants and advocates will work permanently;

 unprotected and vulnerable layers of population will have the opportunity to get in these centers professional legal aid in civil, administrative and criminal cases;

 participation of advocates in criminal cases will be guaranteed from the very moment of detention of a suspect, during consideration of the question about taking into custody and court consideration of the case.

Realization of these initiatives, carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, associations of advocates and the UNO Development program, will allow the Ukrainian citizens to realize their constitutional right for juridical aid, will contribute to elaboration of the mechanism of rendering of free legal aid to citizens with its further implementation and financing by the state.

After the end of the round table a briefing for journalists was held.


Introduction of independent control over the collection of information from communication channels by state agencies (Appeal of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union of human rights)

During the past six months scandals have arisen systematically in Ukraine concerning the collection of information from communication channels (in particular, wiretapping of phones, cell phones, control over e-mail and Internet-communications, etc.) of the well-known citizens. Information about the illegal wiretapping of top state officials is made public almost every week. We want to remind that the collection of information from communication channels as one of methods of the ODA may be applied only in the cases concerned with grave and especially grave crimes.

The considerable part of these messages refers to the past, in particular, the events connected with the election of new President of Ukraine. However, we are sure that it is impossible to achieve successes in this sphere and to avoid illegal wiretapping of businessmen, political and public figures only replacing people on certain posts, but not changing the entire system of wiretapping in our country.

System changes in the sphere of the operative-detective activities are necessary. For this the Ukrainian legislation must be changed first of all. In compliance with the practice of the European Court of human rights and positive practice of the European democratic countries, the following changes should be introduced:

1.  Collection of information from communication channels (including wiretapping) must be an extreme measure (about 40 thousand sanctions for collection of information from communication channels have been issued in Ukraine during past years, which is about 40 times more than in the USA; besides, the obtained information is used very rarely as a proof in court).

2.  Collection of information from communication channels must be realized within the restricted term determined by court sanction (now the maximal term is not stipulated by law, that is a person may be wiretapped during the unlimited term).

3.  The law-enforcing organ, which has realized collection of information from communication channels, must, within 10 days after the end of tapping, inform the person, which has underwent these actions, in order to give this person the opportunity to complain to court against the actions of law-enforcers (today the majority of people never know that their communications are controlled, which violates their right for privacy).

4.  It is necessary to introduce independent control over the conduction of electronic tracking. The control should be realized by the ombudsperson or other power organ, but not a law-enforcing one.

5.  It is necessary to establish the annual reporting of law-enforcing organs on application of the ODA, which violate human rights (collection of information from communication channels, secret searches). These reports must contain the total number of issued sanctions, their systematization by the grounds and analysis of the efficiency of these measures.

We reckon that without introduction of these legislative changes the ungrounded wiretapping will continue. At least, this is proved by the experience of democratic countries, which solved this important problem many years ago.

This question can be solved by adoption of the draft of Law No. 4042-1 of 2 June 2005 “On interception of telecommunications” presented by people’s deputies of Ukraine V. Lebedivskiy, O. Edyniy, O. Klimpush and A. Shkil. Yet, the adoption of this draft is actively blocked by law-enforcing organs, in particular, the USS. Besides, it is also necessary to introduce changes to the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine, the Law of Ukraine “On the ODA” and a number of other laws of Ukraine. The political will for the adoption of these changes has not existed until now. Yet, it seems that, if all sides of the political process suffer from the ungrounded control of their communications (including wiretapping of phones and cell phones, revision of electronic mail, etc.), they should stop this shameful practice.

Only creation of the system of independent control over wiretapping of phones and other forms of electronic tracking can save Ukraine from the disgraceful practice of meddling in private life of citizens and illegal control of telecommunications of businessmen, public and political figures.

Evhen Zakharov, Head of the Board

Volodymir Yavorskiy, Program Manager

21 July 2005

Freedom of expression

Press Release: How the public assess the level of freedom of speech in the mass media of the Chernihiv region

The Chernihiv town department of the all-Ukrainian public organization “Voters’ committee of Ukraine”, in the framework of the project “Monitoring and legal expertise on violations of operating laws on mass media and journalists in the Chernigiv region”, conducted a survey of residents and visitors to the Chernihiv region. The survey was held from 11 June to 10 July 2005 with financial support of the International "Renaissance"  Foundation. The results of the sociological survey are presented below.

Table 1





Difficult to answer

Give, please, the assessment of the freedom of speech in mass media on the general state level









Give, please, the assessment of the freedom of speech in mass media on the level of the Chernigiv region









How do you assess the level of assurance of the access of citizens to information in mass media on current activities, plans and results of work of the organs of state power?









How do you assess the level of assurance of the access of citizens to information in mass media on current activities, plans and results of work of the organs of local self-government?









How do you assess the level of assurance of the access of citizens to information in mass media on current activities, plans and results of work of political parties and movements?









How do you assess the level of assurance of the access of citizens to information in mass media on current activities, plans and results of work of the non-governmental organizations?









Assess, please, the level of work of social-political mass media, founded by the organs of state power and/or organs of local self-government









Assess, please, the level of work of the so-called “non-governmental” mass media









Assess, please, the general level of professionalism of journalists of your region









In order to ascertain the general level of freedom of speech in the region by the assessment of consumers of information – readers and viewers of local media, experts of the project decided to conduct the sociological poll in the most popular places of sale of periodicals, namely near the Central market and the market “Niva”. All in all, 460 questionnaires were filled in.

Only 38.3% of the respondents believe that the general level of the freedom of speech in mass media in the Chernigiv region is completely good. As much as 41.5% of Chernigiv dwellers observe the freedom of speech in mass media on the all-Ukrainian level. Local journalists are not professional enough. Only 20.2% reckon that the Chernigiv journalists are professional.

Answering the anonymous questionnaire, the respondents also tried to assess the level of their personal access to information in mass media on the current activities, plans and results of work of the most important social institutions: organs of local self-government, organs of state power, non-governmental organizations, parties and political movements.

The citizens have the best access to the information on the current activities, plans and results of work of the organs of state power – 35.9%. Only 20% of the respondents regard as good their access to information on the current activities, plans and results of work of the organs of local self-government. The access to information on the current activities, plans and results of work of the non-governmental organizations (13.7%) and political parties and movements (19.1%) was assessed by citizens as “good”.

All in all, the majority of citizens are satisfied with the work of the so-called “non-governmental” mass media: 41% -- “good”, contrary to 22.8% “good” for the level of work of social-political mass media founded by the corresponding organs of state power and/or local self-government.

It should be noted that the respondents had to answer 9 questions, each of which had four variants of answer: “good”, “bad”, “satisfactory” and “difficult to answer”. Absence of concrete answer to some question was interpreted by the experts, who carried out the sociological poll, as the variant “difficult to answer”.

Information about an attack on a Luhansk journalist has been passed to the prosecutor’s office

Documentation relating to the  illegal search of the building and to the infliction of bodily injuries on a journalist of the newspaper “Luganchane” by tax police officers of the Kharkiv region has been passed to the Luhansk regional prosecutor’s office. This information was provided by lawyer of the newspaper “Luganchane” Oleg Krylov.

The agency “Parallel-Media” has already informed that on 28 June 2005 armed men in camouflage rushed into the building (101 “и”, Oboronnaya street, Lugansk), where the workers of public organization “Luganskaya initsiativa”, company “Alev image group” and private enterprise “Newspaper “Luganchane”” stayed. The militiamen did not explain the causes of their visit and detained the workers of the above-mentioned companies. In the course of the detention they laid the worker of the newspaper “Luganchane” Kondratov on the floor in the hall of the building, inflicted him bodily injuries, seriousness of which is now established by expertise.

8 August 2005

Attack on Luhansk journalist by Kharkiv tax police officers

On 28 July 2005 men with machine guns accompanied by some people in civilian clothes, who said that they were officers of the Kharkiv regional tax militia, stormed an office situated on the Oboronnaya street. They showed a court warrant for search in the office of the private firm “Vtormet”, issued by the Kyivskiy district court of Kharkiv, communicated the informational agency “Parallel-Media”. At the moment of the attack editorial boards of two mass media, the newspaper “Luganchane” and the informational agency “Parallel-Media”, were moving into the same office. As a result of the actions of the attackers injuries were inflicted to Vadim Kondratov, an under-age worker of the newspaper “Luganchane”. Lawyer of the newspaper “Luganchane” Oleg Krylov declared that the actions of law-enforcers were illegal. Then the Kharkiv tax militiamen answered that judge had made a mistake in the protocol, but in spite of that the search in the office was held. Two TV groups, in particular the shooting group of the Lugansk regional TV company, came to the place of incident.

Valeriya Kondratova, a deputy editor of the newspaper “Luganchane”, commented these events for the informational agency “” as follows: “Everything has changed in the country, but it seems that this does not concern tax militia. The people have changed, but the tactics and methods are the same. Militia interrogates a minor without advocate and teacher, deprives him of the right for phone call, and does not permit people, who are not arrested, to leave the office”.

According to the information of “Parallel-Media”, the victims of the arbitrary actions of tax militia turned to the Leninskiy district militia department, where two cases were instituted. The first case concerns the infliction of bodily injuries to minor Kondratov (the fact that the injuries were inflicted has been already confirmed by forensic expertise). The second case was started after the fact of the illegal conduction of search and seizure of documents having no connection with criminal case. Besides, a group of Lugansk advocates directed a complaint to the Kyivskiy district court of Kharkiv, which had issued the warrant for this search.

Lugansk regional branch of public organization “Voters’ committee of Ukraine”

Open letter from Kherson journalists

When some journalists tried to establish how a private shop could have been destroyed in broad daylight in the historical center of Kherson without the police taking any measures, those involved in the devastation twisted journalists’ arms, strangled them, took away photo camera and dictaphone…

More than two weeks have passed after the attack of the “unknown persons” on the journalists of the newspaper “Vgoru”. So, what happened in these two weeks, during which the journalists persistently sought for protection of law-enforcers? Practically nothing. Only the shop was finally destroyed by the same persons (now already “known”). Even the presence of the officers of special squad “Berkut” sent there by Oleg Gaponov, a deputy head of the Kherson regional department of the Ministry of Interior, allegedly for guard of the building, did not stop the wreckers. (So, for what such deputy head is needed? And such “Berkut”?)

We have wrote that after the appearance of publications about the crime committed against the independent Kherson journalists the commission, into which the journalists of “Vgoru” were included, was created on the initiative of Mykhaylo Yaselskiy, the head of the Kherson regional militia department.

Yet, there are no results of the work of the commission, we cannot obtain the materials, to which the officers of the Suvorovskiy district militia station referred justifying the actions of the persons hired by the Dnepropetrovsk firm “Germes-plus”. However, we have learned from other sources that the shop building was ruined illegally. Sittings are either not held at all or are held without presence of journalists (they do not invite us).

On Thursday, 21 July 2005, suffered journalists of the newspaper “Vgoru” N. Kozarenko and M. Solovyev were invited for a talk by senior investigating officer of the Suvorovskiy district prosecutor’s office A. Zhakomin. It was obvious that the topic of the talk was absolutely uninteresting to him. On the next day the investigating officer took the decision not to institute the criminal case because of the absence of corpus delicti. The officer did not enclose the resolution about the refusal to institute the criminal case with the letter about this decision, so we could not learn, violation of which article of the Criminal Code he had considered.

The most surprising moment in this story is the lightning speed of conducting the investigation: on 12 July 2005 the complaint was handed to the Suvorovskiy militia station, on 20 July the case was passed to the prosecutor’s office of the Suvorovskiy district, and on 22 July all actions prescribed by law were completed and the “truth” was “disclosed”.

Taking into account that senior investigating officer A. Zhakomin refers in his letter to item 2 of Article 6 of the Criminal Code (absence of corpus delicti in an action), one can make a conclusion that the action has taken place. Thus, the investigating officer recognized that the journalists were attacked and the shop was destroyed. He also could not be ignorant of the fact that the shop was not owned by the destroyers, and that they ruined it contrary to the will of its owner. Yet, the Suvorovskiy prosecutor’s office does not regard all that as a crime… Well, whether the attack on journalists and their robbery are not crimes too? We have no choice, but to appeal to court against the resolution of prosecutor A. Zhakomin.

The human rights protecting community of Ukraine actively reacted to the events in Kherson: many organizations and people sent the letters to the President, Ministry of Interior, the USS head and General Prosecutor with the demand to bring the guilty to responsibility. The community reminded that during past years the attacks, beatings and intimidation of journalists in the Kherson region became systematic. For instance, in autumn of 2004, during the election campaign, some “unknown persons” attacked photographer of the newspaper “Grivna” Evhen Safonov, took away his photographic camera and spoiled the film. It was simply to learn, who did it: Evhen noted the register number of the attackers’ car, and the editorial board passed this number to the prosecutor’s office. In the same period “strangers” took away a digital photo camera from Dmitry Orlov, a journalist from Nova Kakhovka. Later this camera, although broken, was returned to him by a representative of the Nova Kakhovka militia department. So, one can conclude that the militiamen know the robbers well. Neither the publications in mass media nor the appeals of victims caused at least minimal reaction of militia and prosecutor’s office of the Kherson region.

After inauguration of Viktor Yushchenko, on 2 February 2005, correspondent of the newspaper “Chestnoe slovo” Petr Lukyanenko was beaten in broad daylight near the building of the Appeal court. This incident was described by all independent Kherson mass media, editors sent the collective letter to the militia head with the demand to investigate this crime and to punish the guilty (by the way, that time they were quite “known persons”). There is a video record, on which the beating is fixed, and there are eyewitnesses. And again we met with absolute passivity of law-enforcers.

Recently the editors of independent Kherson mass media again directed the open letter to all top officers of law-enforcing organs, in which they demanded to find the persons, who robbed, threatened, and beat us and our colleagues, and to bring the guilty to responsibility.

We also demand from the respected officers to answer our questions:

-  Who, among representatives of militia and prosecutor’s office, is guilty of ignoring of all previous cases of violation of journalists’ rights?

-  Would the Kherson law-enforcers be punished for non-interference in the robbery of journalists?

12 July 2005

The open letter is signed by editors of the newspapers «Vgoru», «Grivna», «Novy format», «VIK»,

TRC «ТЕТ-Kherson»

Natalya Kozarenko, a member of the initiative group for protection of the right for the access to information

of the project of Kherson journalists’ association “Pivden”

«Journalists of the Kherson region for free access to information».

Access to information

Simple test for democracy for President Yushchenko

The part of the Ukrainian society that supported Viktor Yushchenko in his struggle against the regime of Kuchma-Yanukovich calls the events in Ukraine in autumn-winter of 2004 “Orange democratic revolution”, and their opponents – “Orange madness”, inspired and paid by the USA. Undoubtedly, if to say about the turning point in public consciousness, increase of citizens’ activity and rejection by the society of clannish-authoritarian principles, which lay in the basis of the post-Soviet system, one cannot deny the revolutionary character of these events. Yet, there is a question: whether the new team headed by President Yushchenko, which was led to power by the people on Nezalezhnost Maydan, is able to prove the democratic character of the results of the revolution?

In his inaugural speech on 23 January 2005 President Yushchenko declared that he saw Ukraine as a country guided by the principle of superiority of right, and one of the main tasks was, in his opinion, the liquidation of corruption. The President repeated the same on 6 April in his speech at the joint sitting of the chambers of the US Congress. Besides, he told about forming in Ukraine of “a new model of behavior of power”, which “will become a servant of Ukrainian citizens and will defend their constitutional rights and freedoms”. “We want to have people’s government”, summarized President Yushchenko, “which would be headed by people and work for people”.

Such intentions are praiseworthy, especially because they are expressed by the man with great credit of confidence. Yet, why Ukrainian human rights protectors and activists of public movements are ringing the tocsin again?

New Ukrainian power says about open society, about transparency of its work and rejection of inheritance of Kuchma’s system, grounded on clannishness, corruption and absence of people’s control. However, the problem exists, which arouses skeptical attitude to such statements.

Would you, taxpayers, who want to know what the government does for your money, like the statement of the officials that the laws adopted by the government is the information created at the expense of budget and is, therefore, owned by the state?

If you were citizens of the USA, who know their rights and duties and are accustomed to protect their rights and interests, would you like the conclusion of the Ministry of Justice that, since the laws are owned by the state, as it has been said before, the state has the right to resolve whether to inform citizens about the laws or not? Well, this is the opinion of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine headed by Mr. Zvarych, who, by the way, studied in the USA.

And finally, how you, accustomed to the respect to laws, would interpret the direct neglect of legal norms by the top power organs? The officials of Secretariat of the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers and other organs act just in that way.

Leonid Kravchuk, the ideologist of the communist party, who became the first President of Ukraine after declaration of independence, issued 137 edicts, the contents of which were unknown to the society.

Leonid Kuchma, criticized for turning of state apparatus into the likeness of a private firm, issued 873 similar documents.

Viktor Yushchenko, who embodies the hopes of Ukrainians for “dekuchmization” of the country, has already issued 41 such documents since the day of his inauguration. His sister-in-arms, hero of the Orange Maidan and now Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko issued 7 acts, which has not been published (her forerunner, ex-candidate to president’s post Yanukovich – 101). We want to point out that all that has no connection with state secrets, since the “secret materials” are hidden by nameless bureaucrats under classifications, not envisaged either by the Law of Ukraine “On state secrets” or other laws.

Such approach is not exclusive for top state officials, it is also very popular in the system of executive power and local self-government. One of the examples of crying absurdity, to say nothing about illegality, is order of the General Prosecutor’s office No. 89 of 28 December 2002, which demands to make secret “the messages on catastrophes, accidents and other emergency situations, which caused death of people or significant material damage”.

Therefore Ukrainian human rights protectors and public activists united under the slogan “Free people in free country” for struggle for democratization of Ukraine and realization of ideals of civil society, and created the Alliance “Maidan” (which, in particular, includes the Kharkiv group for human rights protection and the street vanguard of the revolution – organization “Pora” (“Black Pora”)). The members of the Alliance make to the officials, who were led to power by the revolution, the simple demands: to stop the illegal practice of issuing of “secret materials” and to publish all such documents, first of all, the documents issued by previous regime and able, in their opinion, to evidence on large-scale misuses. Calling classification of legal acts “the gravitation center of corruption”, the activists emphasize that they do not protest against “their” President, but try to help him to break the odious system created by those, who lost the election.

One can hardly deny that transparency of power and possession by citizens-taxpayers of the complete information about its decisions are the main precondition for creation of open society, with which idea, by the way, George Soros has agreed recently during his visit to Ukraine. It is indubitable that the completeness and accessibility of all normative information, as well as the principal question of observance of laws by the state, are the most important factors of the investment attraction of our country.

Initiators of the campaign against “secret materials”, appealing to the law and morality, say about the steady intention to strive for their aims, even in court. The paradox is that if President Yushchenko would lose the action (there are no legal grounds to hope for other result), then Viktor Yushchenko, empowered by people as a mouthpiece of the Maidan ideas, would benefit. And there would be more reasons to say about the actually democratic essence of the Ukrainian Orange revolution.

Speaking in the USA Congress President Yushchenko said: “Pope Joannes Paulus II the Great told: “It is sometimes very difficult to go along the way of truth. Yet, it is always possible”. We have taken this way and we will not turn off it”. We want to wish Yushchenko consistency and perseverance on this way.

Recommendations on the draft "Rules for accreditation of members of the mass media in the Kharkiv regional state administration”

The right for information implies the right of everybody for free collection, storage, use and distribution of information orally, in writing or in a different way. The right for information, as well as the freedom of speech, is an unalienable right not only of journalists, but also of any citizen, foreigner, apatride or juridical person.

The Ukrainian government, in compliance with the Universal declaration of human rights, being a party of the International pact on civil and political rights and a signatory of the European convention on human rights, must protect the rights stipulated by these documents. This obligation envisages not only respect to these rights, but also provision of legal and functioning system for guaranteeing and realization of these rights.

The basis of legal regulation of the right for information in Ukraine is provided by the Constitution of Ukraine. The constitutional grounds of the right for information are stipulated, first of all, in Articles 32, 34 and 40 of the Basic Law. During almost 14 years of independence the legislative base has significantly changed towards the informational openness.

In particular, Article 2 of the Law of Ukraine “On the order of elucidation of the activities of organs of state power and organs of local self-government in Ukraine by mass media” reads: “Organs of state power and organs of local self-government are obliged to render to mass media the complete information on the activities of these organs, to guarantee to journalists free access to this information, except the cases envisaged by the Law of Ukraine “On state secrets””. So, in fact, all journalists have the right for access to information in the organs of state power, including the Kharkiv regional state administration. Yet, in order to organize the work of journalists at power agencies, the legislators introduced the institute of accreditation. According to Article 3 of the Law “On the order of elucidation of the activities of organs of state power and organs of local self-government in Ukraine by mass media”, “accreditation of journalists and technical personnel of mass media at the organs of state power and organs of local self-government is carried out by their registration on the basis of official request of mass media to the corresponding organ”. Besides, Article 27 of the Law of Ukraine “On printed mass media (the press) in Ukraine” contains the norm, according to which “editorial boards of printed mass media have the right, by agreement with state organs… to accredit their journalists free of charge for the specified or not specified term”. Thus, the procedure of accreditation is informational, but not permissive, and any legislative act does not envisage the grounds for refusal to give accreditation, so such refusal is illegal in any case. There were precedents in Ukraine, when editorial boards of newspapers won the suits against the local organs of executive power (for example, editor of the Kreminska newspaper “Miski novyny” Iriva Chornobay vs. Kreminska district state administration). Accreditation can be cancelled only on the grounds distinctly stipulated by law.

The very spirit of the draft “Rules of accreditation of mass media at the Kharkiv regional state administration” does not meet the international and domestic norms on guaranteeing of the right for the access to information, contradicts the principle of transparency and openness of activities of the organs of state power. The Rules stipulate the absolutely permissive character of accreditation, they drive journalists into very narrow and ungrounded bounds. The attempts of the authors to prohibit to hand the requests on accreditation by fax and electronic mail, to limit temporary accreditation with 7 days, to prohibit the accreditation of specialized editions, to cancel accreditation under the pretext of “non-elucidation of the activities of directorates, departments and other structural units of the regional state administration” within three months from the day of accreditation, and even the instruction about video-shooting “only from a tripod” look rather invented. These attempts may be classified as pressure on mass media and meddling into their professional process, which is directly forbidden by Article 2 of the Law of Ukraine “On the order of elucidation of the activities of organs of state power and organs of local self-government in Ukraine by mass media”.

So, we reckon that the draft must be reconsidered towards guaranteeing of wide democratization of the procedure of accreditation at the Kharkiv regional state administration. It should be also advisable to present the revised draft for familiarization and discussion by representatives of mass media and community.

Yuri Chumak, member of the KhG

Evhen Zakharov, co-chairman of the KhG


P.S. In our opinion, the people, who work now in the department in charge of questions of cooperation with mass media and public relations of the regional state administration, are the professionals, really interested in arrangement of efficient cooperation with journalists. The draft “Rules of accreditation” was submitted to the public opinion for discussion of this document and getting of some remarks with the purpose of further correction of the draft in compliance with the demands of modern democratic society.

Sharp criticism in Kharkiv of the draft "Rules for accreditation of members of the mass media in the Kharkiv regional state administration”

On 21 June the Kharkiv regional organization of the party “Our Ukraine” (the former party “Reformy i poriadok” (“Reforms and order”)) and the public organization “Our Ukrainian youth” conducted on Svoboda Square an  artistic-political action “Build the press in a new way”.

According to Konstantin Kanishev, one of the organizers of this action, the source of inspiration of its participants was the draft “Rules for the accreditation of members of the mass media at the Kharkiv regional state administration” created by the head of the apparatus of the Kharkiv regional state administration and the head of the department in charge of questions of cooperation with mass media and public relations of the apparatus of the regional administration.

New draft of accreditation was sent to Kharkiv mass media as early as on 28 April. The document consisting of 18 pages reads, in particular, that journalists must come to press-conferences only in clothes of certain style, treat respectfully the interviewed persons and not to forget about self-control. And the cameramen must realize shooting only from tripod and only in the places established by press-service. Otherwise accreditation is nullified.

K. Kanishev pointed out that organizers of the action deliberately did not mention the names of the officials of the regional administration, who were the authors of the odious document, since they were held in respect and had certain authority among Kharkiv journalists both before the election and at the time of the Orange revolution. “We hope that our critical remarks will be heard and the “rules of accreditation” will be reconsidered for their democratization and bringing them in conformity with the Ukrainian and European legislative base in this sphere”, said K. Kanishev.

The Kharkiv group for human rights protection, by the request of press-service of MP P. Yushchenko, made, in the end of May, the legal assessment of the draft “Rules of accreditation of mass media at the Kharkiv regional state administration”. In what follows we publish the full text of this document.

Prohibition of discrimination

In June the average monthly salary was 823 hryvnas

The nominal salary in June 2005, in comparison with June 2004, increased for 36.9% and was 823.10 (about $165) hryvnas, which exceeded the amount of the subsistence wage for able-to-work person in Ukraine (453 hryvnas) for 81.7%.

This information was given by Vyacheslav Kirilenko, the Minister of labor and social politics. The Minister reminded that in May 2005 the amount of nominal salary was 764 hryvnas.

By words of Vyacheslav Kirilenko, “the average monthly salary in January-June 2005, in comparison with corresponding period in the past year, increased for 33.6% and was 724.60 hryvnas, which is 60% more than the amount of the subsistence wage established for able-to-work person in Ukraine (453 hryvnas)”.

The Minister of labor pointed out that differentiation is noticeable of salaries by the types of economic activities. “The greatest amounts of nominal salaries in June 2005 were observed among the persons practicing the following kinds of economic activities: aviation transport (1727.68 hryvnas), financial activities (1510.42 hryvnas), subsidiary transport services (1194.96 hryvnas), which exceeds the average level of salaries by 2.1-1.45 times”, he informed.

Vyacheslav Kirilenko told that differentiation of salaries in different regions of Ukraine continued to exist. As before, the greatest salaries were obtained in Kyiv (1382.40 hryvnas), the Donetsk (969,15 hryvnas), Dnepropetrovsk (918,91 hryvnas) and Zaporozhye (865,80 hryvnas) regions, where the level of nominal salary exceeded the average level in Ukraine for 68-5.2%.

The average salary is still low in the Khmelnitskiy (598,77 hryvnas), Volyn (604,48 hryvnas) and Ternopil (614,86) regions, where the amount of salaries is 72.7-74.7% of the average level in Ukraine.

2 August 2005

Maidan-INFORM, Ukraine

Open letter to the Minister of Health

To the Minister of Health

M. Polishchuk

Respected Minister Polishchuk!

We are writing to you on behalf of human rights organizations who very frequently deal with violations of patients’ rights.  We can say openly that the current situation in this sphere violates the basic constitutional right of citizens of Ukraine – the right to life.

Our medicine is free of charge only on the paper. And it is not strange: free medicine does not exist in any country of the world. Everybody understands that the article of the Constitution, which guarantees free medical aid, is purely populist. Yet, because of this populism we observe brutal violations by medics both of their professional duties and of common moral norms. Medics obtain misery salaries, so they have to wiggle out as they can. The scandalous events occurred in our country, when medics refused to render urgent medical aid free of charge. Mass media have informed recently that a young girl perished because of that. Besides, several years ago a minor died, since a surgeon refused to do operation to him until parents would not pay certain sum. While the parents looked for money, the boy died and his father, in the state of temporary insanity, throttled the doctor. Such Shakespeare’s tragedies are rather rare, but the cases are very frequent, when necessary aid is not rendered to patients, the modern diagnostic equipment is not tuned, patients cannot pay for the prescribed drugs.

The death rate is awful and puts us on the level of the poorest African countries. Cheap Ukrainian drugs almost are disappearing, and drugstores sell expensive analogs, which are prohibitive for average patient. Enormous proportion of drugs is falsified, but nobody controls that.

Consequences of “Regulations on selling of narcotic substances and precursors”, adopted by the Supreme Council three years ago, were catastrophic. The majority of people, ill with neurological, neurotic and neuro-somatic diseases, were deprived of necessary aid. Because of this “Regulations” the prices for tranquilizers in the black market reached the cost of real narcotics. Yet, drug addicts do not need either sibason, or rutadel, or clonosepam in the quantity, which can be prescribed by usual doctor. So, what mafia do we support introducing the so-called “pink” special receipts and depriving of the ill of proper medical aid? And what mafia do we support, not controlling purchase of the drugs, which are beyond the means of common citizens or have not underwent proper testing?

Respected Minister, your propositions concerning changes in medical sphere (introduction of system of family doctors, their work in villages, etc.) will not change the system of health protection, which is absent in our country, since it was destroyed after disintegration of the USSR. Everything you suggest is only patching of holes, but their number is so great that, undoubtedly, it will be impossible to patch them, for example because of the misery sums allotted by our state for the medical branch.

The system of health protection demands radical changes. We more than once wrote about the system of medical insurance with private hospital cash desks, which exist throughout the world. Why we do not hear about that from the Ministry of health protection? Who, if not the corresponding Ministry and corresponding Supreme Council committee, must elaborate the new law and persuade the deputies to adopt is as soon as possible?

Along with the grief statistics of mortality in Ukraine, we have no less sorrowful statistics of morbidity among minors: 1500 diseases for 1000 minors. And this is only boy’s statistics, since boys are examined by military commissions, but girls are ill not less frequently. Untimely and outdated diagnostics, inefficient treatment, pollution of environment, improper control over the quality of food and medical drugs lead to degradation of Ukrainian nation on the genetic level.

The previous power did not change, during 14 years, the system of health protection, but drove it to the complete collapse. Yet, this previous power openly worked only in its own interests and absolutely did not care about life and health of citizens.

It would be a crime, if the system of health protection would not be changed now, because the nation has not already either moral or physical reserve. We hope that we will obtain a response to our letter.

Sincerely yours,

I. Sukhorukova, editor of the bulletin “Prava ludyny”

E. Zakharov, co-chairman of the KhG

M. Shutaliova, co-chairman of the Kharkiv regional union of soldiers’ mothers

I. Topolevska, coordinator of the project

N. Fursova

O. Myroshnichenko

S. Karasik

Kharkiv group for human rights protection

The letter is open for signing by all interested citizens and organizations.

For signing go totheaddress: maidan&trs=-1  

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2005, #07