war crimes in Ukraine

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Prosecutions over the death of a detainee in Pryluky

10 officers of the Chernihiv Regional Department for Fighting Organized Crime [UBOZ] are facing criminal proceedings over the death of a detainee

10 officers of the Chernihiv Regional Department for Fighting Organized Crime [UBOZ] are facing criminal proceedings over the death of a detainee. This is one sixth of the number of officers in the department.

As reported at the time, on 3 October 2008 the Chernihiv Regional Prosecutor initiated a criminal investigation over the inflicting of serious bodily injuries which had caused the death of an UBOZ detainee and exceeding their powers.

In an interview reported at,, the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Chernihiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office, Dmytro Kalyta said that the investigation was at the final stage. Of the ten men from the Chernihiv Regional UBOZ facing charges, six had been remanded in custody. They are facing different charges depending on their level of involvement. Some will be charged under several articles of the Criminal Code.

Mr Kalyta was not prepared at this stage to say how serious the charges are, but pointed out that the fact that six men had been remanded in custody gave some indication of the level. .

Asked how the fact that the UBOZ officers were dealing with people suspected of serious crimes influenced the investigators’ attitude to the officers’ behaviour, Mr Kalyta replied:

“It doesn’t influence it at all, each much answer for his own actions. Unlawful methods of detective examination are also a crime, particularly if they lead to some tragic consequences. The Prytuly man who died had not been found guilty by a court, criminal proceedings had not even been initiated. According to the Criminal Procedure Code he did not have suspect or accused status, nor was he on the wanted list. This is an extremely important point for a legal assessment of the actions of those who detained him.

-  And how do you related to the pickets demanding that the police officers be released?

At the beginning of October there were indignant people on the streets in Pryluky demanding, on the contrary, that those guilty of such lawlessness be punished. Now there are different people with their own slogans. We can’t act to please one party or another, but only in accordance with the law, finding out what happened objectively.

Mr Kalyta says that while in some ways he was pleased to see action in defence of police officers, suggesting that people are often more concerned about representatives of the criminal world, such demands outside the Prosecutor’s Office are a form of pressure on the investigators which is unlawful. Especially given that they did not pass without excesses.

Asked whether the trial would be in an open court, he said that this was for the court to decide, but that he saw no grounds for holding it behind closed doors.

The interviewer was N. Chus, Press Secretary for the Chernihiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office

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