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.

The inquisition process from Soviet times remains unchanged

UHHRU Executive Director V. Yavorsky speaks of human rights violations by the law enforcement agencies, the shameful stalling on judicial reform and other human rights problems in Ukraine

During a roundtable on “Human rights and the human rights movement in Ukraine: problems and tasks”, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union’s Executive Director Volodymyr Yavorsky named the law enforcement agencies as one of the worst violators of human rights in Ukraine.  He mentioned specifically the problems of torture and ill-treatment, unlawful and arbitrary detentions, criminal proceedings built on the Soviet inquisition style.

Vital need for reform of the criminal justice system

Volodymyr Yavorsky stresses that the reform has partially been prepared, and yet the new draft of the Criminal Procedure Code has been waiting to be submitted to parliament for over a year. There is also a concept strategy for reform of criminal justice passed by Presidential Decree.

The right to a fair trial

Major problems continue with observance of independence by individual courts and individual judges; reasonable time frames for court proceedings and, the most important problem, enforcement of court rulings, with the government acknowledging that 70% of Ukrainian court rulings are not enforced.  According to Mr Yavorsky, 80% of the judgments handed down by the European Court of Human Rights against Ukraine are specifically over non-enforcement of court rulings, such fictions suggesting that the right to a fair trial in Ukraine is effectively a fiction.

He notes that the Verkhovna Rada has been sitting on vital draft laws on judicial reform for the last three years and says that those in power are at the present time blocking them despite their vital importance for improving human rights protection.

Civic Associations

“There are no human rights organizations, according to the law, at all. There are so-called organizations for the defence of their members. If you quote Ukrainian legislation literally, then it transpires that we can’t defend public interests.”  Human rights organizations cannot speak out for others, nor engage in publishing activities.

Faulty mechanisms of defence

Mr Yavorsky points out that the Prosecutor’s Office does not ensure efficient investigation of ill-treatment by the police, while the parliamentary control over human rights is not working. Human rights reports are not produced and the Human Rights Ombudsperson does not perform those functions vested in him or her in democratic countries.

Other areas of concern are significant problems with ensuring freedom of peaceful assembly; the right to privacy and socio-economic rights. The latter are annually restricted via the law on the State Budget for the year. [The Constitutional Court has, for two years running, declared this to be unconstitutional and has been ignored – translator].

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