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.

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Chernihiv: verdict in the case Ovsiyenko vs. two police officers


On 2 November the Novozavodsk district court of Chernihiv passed its verdict on the claim of Volodymyr Ovsienko against two former district police officers. The Chernihiv human rights protection public committee has more than once mentioned this prominent case. The red tape lasted for more than three years and, has finally, reached conclusion. Interests of the claimant were represented by Oleksandr Trofimov, a lawyer of the Chernigiv human rights protection public committee.

On 20 February 2002, about 6 p.m., police officer L. detained V. Ovsiyenko in the street and drove him to the local police station to check his connection with some stealing of personal property of citizens. At that time senior district police officer B. also stayed in the police station. L. brought in Ovsiyenkoo into the room and locked the door on the inside.

After this L. and B. exceeded their authorities and rights, applied threats and physical violence and disgraced dignity of Ovsienko: they tried to make him confess to stealing of a typewriter from the building of the police station and an attempt to set fire to this station, forced him to give the written explanations.

At that they beat Ovsienko with fists and boots on his head and other parts of body. Besides, L. and B. beat their victim with a rubber baton.

Being in a psychologically depressed state and feeling severe physical pain as a result of the beating, V. Ovsienko fulfilled the demands of the policemen and wrote the explanation.

On the same day Ovsienko went to the traumatic ward of Chernigiv town hospital No. 2, where the medics rendered him the necessary medical aid and fixed numerous bodily injuries. The next day he lodged a complaint to the prosecutor’s office, where the traces of beating were fixed by a forensic expert.

In July 2002 police officers L. and B., as well as their commander, repeatedly came to Ovsienko’s home and tried, in different ways, to settle the conflict and persuade him to refuse from his complaint. Being afraid of revenge of the policemen, his parents yielded to the persuasion and agreed to refuse from the demand to start the criminal case about the beating of their son. For the purpose of settling of the conflict L. and B., by recommendation of their chief, promised to pay 1500 USD to Ovsienko’s parents as compensation of damage inflicted to their son.

The experience shows that criminal cases against representatives of the Ministry of Interior and prosecutor’s office are often hopeless from the very beginning. Besides, the considered case is complicated by personalities of the participants. One side in this case are representatives of law-enforcing organs, who have no criminal records, have minor children and are characterized rather positively, and the other side is the man, who has been brought to criminal responsibility before.

Taking into account all circumstances of this case, the court took the decision to replace the original sentence of  3 years deprivation of liberty with a  2 year suspended sentence with deprivation of right to work in law-enforcing organs. The court acknowledged the demand of the victim about the compensation of the moral damage equal to 50 thousand hryvnas to be groundless and diminished it to 5 thousand. Ovsienko is going to appeal against this court decision.

We want to recollect the case of Mykhaylo Koval about application of brutal violence by policemen to Koval’s family, which case has been recently instituted by the prosecutor’s office. As much as 4 years have passed from the moment of commitment of this crime! And one can easily imagine, how much time and efforts are spent for every step in this case. So, we believe that the very fact that V. Ovsienko’s case was considered in court, to say nothing about pronouncement of the guilty verdict, is a very important result both for the victim and for the entire problem of crimes committed by workers of law-enforcing organs.

We do not mention the names of the policemen, since the verdict has not took effect yet.

Chernigiv human rights protection public committee

9 November 2005
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