• Topics / Freedom of peaceful assembly
• Topics / Environmental rights
• Topics / Law enforcement agencies
Kharkiv Court: Police not obliged to respond to calls for help
On 24 May this year the Kharkiv District Administrative Court rejected a claim filed against the unlawful actions and inaction by the police during the protest in Gorky Park in Kharkiv from late May to early June 2010. As reported at the time, the city authorities carried out entirely unlawful logging aided by strongmen from a non-existent municipal department and the police to crush peaceful protest (see http://khpg.org/1275908780 and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Statement: The Police are carrying out unlawful instructions
The only people ever punished were those exercising their constitutional right to peaceful assembly.
The latest attempt to uphold their right to a police force which protects citizens has also been thwarted by the courts.
Judge M.O. Spiridonova examined a suit brought by a large number of claimants against various Departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They sought to have the inaction of the police declared unlawful and moral compensation to be awarded.
They explained that the police had not reacted to calls for help (“police!”) and had not done anything to defend people from violations of the law by unidentified individuals.
Various representatives of the MIA appeared in order to deny the claims.
The court found that the claimants had all come separately by train from 20 May to 4 June 2010 and had been at “an unauthorized protest action”, specifically at the site of the construction of a road in the park.
It found that “during examination of the case neither the claimants nor their representatives had provided proof that the police had not reacted specifically to their cries “Police!”. Nor had they, at the court’s demand provided any proof as understood by Article 70 of the Code of Administrative Proceedings” which would indicate what specifically with relation to them constituted police inactivity.”
The court rejected photos and videos as not providing any “factual data” confirming the claimants’ assertions. (The reader may wish to view video footage in the links given above and others below).
The list of denied charges is long but basically the court found that the “actions of police officers with regarding reaction to reports and statements from citizens regarding crimes and offences were in accordance” with various MIA Instructions
Judge M.O. Spiridonova thus found that all had been in order, that the numerous video, photo and witness evidence did not contain “factual data” and rejected the claim.
The claimants had 10 days to appeal this regrettably not unexpected, but nonetheless extraordinary ruling.
The ruling is published in full at: http://hr-lawyers.org/index.php?id=1308389798