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Police have no money for observing human rights

26.07.2011    source:
While the MIA assures the public that action will be taken on each complaint of rights abuses by police, human rights organizations point to many cases where investigations are not initiated or terminated over manifest violations of human rights


The Ministry of Internal Affairs [MIA] acknowledges the problem of torture in police stations and promises that it will react to each complaint. This was asserted during a meeting of the MIA Public Council. The MIA however does not agree with assessments given of the scale of the problem.

According to the Head of the MIA Department of Public Security, Valery Ratushnyak, no complaint will be left without examination, and no head who sanctioned beating of detainees will remain in his post. He also asserts that over half of the cases against police officers are begun on the initiative of the police themselves.

Yet the Prosecutor’s Office closes such cases. Since the beginning of the year it has received 900 complaints alleging various human rights infringements by the police. Last year there were around seven thousand. Vasyl Kutsyk from the Prosecutor General’s Office says that “over all complaints decisions were made by the Prosecutor’s Office to refuse to initiate criminal investigations for lack of the elements of a crime. Only in a few cases were criminal investigations initiated”.

Human rights organizations on the other hand say that they know of many cases where the Prosecutor’s Office closes cases where there were clearly human rights violations”. Yevhen Zakharov, Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group cites the example of a woman who supposedly fell from the third story of a police station and died in hospital. Even there a criminal investigation was not initiated.

Many claims do not come out because people are afraid to complain. The Kharkiv Human Rights Group has about 200 cases a year, just from those who dared stand up for themselves.

The head of the MIA Staffing Department , Yury Kazansky believes that a change of criteria in assessing the work of the police will ensure that chaos in police stations will be overcome. He says that they have one approach, assessment of the work of the police by the public.

The Minister, Anatoly Mohylyov said back in spring that the percentage of crimes solved would soon begin to fall and approach those of European countries. Yevhen Zakharov, however, says that a new system of indicators is only being drawn up.  “I find it difficult to believe that this will happen since there is very strong inertia. If they solve a crime in three days, they may get a bonus. And it’s considered a good thing to have a confession as part of the case file”.

The police say that for observing human rights the police don’t have enough money and there is an element of truth in that Yevhen Zakharov says. Failure to provide in a material way for police officers makes them dependent on the management and in a sense without rights.

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