Final Narrative Report on the KHPG Project «Creation of a National System for Preventing Torture and Ill-Treatment in Ukraine»
FINAL NARRATIVE REPORT
1.1. Name of beneficiary of grant contract: Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)
1.2. Name and title of the Contact person: Yevgeniy Zakharov, co-chairman of Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
1.3. Name of partners in the Action:
1. The Netherlands Helsinki Committee
2. Kharkiv Institute of Social Research (KISR)
3. The Association of Ukrainian Monitors of Human Rights in Law Enforcement Agencies (Association UMHR)
4. Kharkiv National University of Interior
5. The Academy of Judges of Ukraine
6. The National Prosecution Academy
7. Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Kyiv (UHHRU)
8. International Society for Human Rights–Ukrainian Branch (Kyiv)
9. Chernigiv Women Human Rights Defence Centre (CfHRc)
10. Sevastopol Group for Human Rights Protection
11. Kherson Regional Charity and Health Fund
12. Society «Memorial», Donetsk
13. Centre of Political and Legal Research «SiM», Lviv, (SiM)
14. Public Informational & Methodological Centre «Vsesvit» («Universe»)
1.4. Title of the Action: Creation of a national system for preventing torture and ill-treatment in Ukraine
1.5. Contract number: EIDHR/2008/148-099
Tel: +38057 700 62 81, +38057 714 3558, +380 57 714 3171, Fax: +380 57 700 6771, +380 57 700 6772, E-mail address: khpghttp://khpg.org, , www Address:
1.6. Start date and end date of the reporting period: 20 December 2010 – 19 December 2011
1.7. Target country(ies) or region(s): Ukraine
1.8. Final beneficiaries &/or target groups (if different) (including numbers of women and men): Actual and potential victims of torture and ill-treatment (especially individuals detained, accused or convicted) / Judges, lawyers, personnel of law enforcement and penal system, prosecutors, MIA and penal education systems, human rights activists, journalists and the public in general
1.9. Country(ies) in which the activities take place (if different from 1.7): Ukraine
2. Assessment of implementation of Action activities
2.1. Executive summary of the Action
Analytical, research, law-making and lobbying activities. Our experts conduct analysis of national legislation, drafts law and practice on regular basis. They took part in preparing and discussing of the draft of the Criminal Procedure Code. Due to our lengthy efforts the Code was considered in the profile Committee of the Verkhovna Rada and finally was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada. Our experts proposed a lot of new approaches in the text of the Code. Proposals of our experts as well as their remarks and comments to the draft have been taken into account. After the Government had failed to adopt the law on National Preventing Mechanisms (hereinafter – NPM), experts of KHPG concentrated their efforts on establisning of institutional provision of the matter of prevention of torture. As the result of our continuous activity in this direction in September, 2011 the Commission on Prevention of Torture and Ill-Treatment at the President of Ukraine was established by President’s Decree.
KHPG’s experts were preparing constantly updated review of the relevant ECtHR case-law. KISR, our partner, made a sociological research on torture and ill-treatment on a national level. We also prepared, published and distributed a number of publications.
Development and strengthening a network for preventing torture. We developed quite strong working connections between regional human rights NGOs and lawyers in order to prevent torture and to investigate cases of torture. Our partners and other human rights organisations have extended advisory aid to the people, conducted public investigations within their competence and extended assistance by professional lawyers cooperating with their organisations. The reports sent by the Project partners were collected, generalised, and published in KHPG’s new site ‘Proty Katuvan’ (Against Torture). Partners also held many awareness-raising and educational events in their regions.
Development of the system for legal aid to victims of torture and ill treatment. We have provided consultation and help to 2541 people, 88 among them were victims of torture, ill-treatment and other violations concerning the objectives of this project through KHPG Public Reception Office (PRO). Our partners provided the same assistance in their regions.
We have carried out legal assistance within the framework of the activity of the Legal Aid Centre in 52 cases, 38 of which were financed by the Centre. 10 judgments were adopted by the European Court of Human Rights in cases supported by the Centre. We anticipate from 10 to 15 more judgments of European Court to be received in 2012.
The lawyers of the Legal Aid Centre have prepared 16 applications to the European Court. All these applications have been supported by the Centre.
The Centre also provided assistance to 8 applicants before the European Court irrespective of priorities covered by its mandate and financed by the European Court under its legal aid scheme.
The lawyers of Legal Aid Centre have prepared 12 communications with the Government during the period in question.
KHPG has longstanding relations with model Public Defender Offices (PDOs), including readdressing people from KHPG PRO applying with the issues of criminal defence to Kharkiv PDO. KHPG took part in forming the Legal Aid System in Ukraine, participated in enhancing of their activities. Together with the Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation KHPG expects to influence introducing of HR standards, especially in area of fight against torture, securing of the right to defence, in guidelines and everyday practice of lawyers involved in free legal aid system.
Awareness-raising and educational activities. Along for the reporting period we conducted the following educational events: together with the Academy of Judges of Ukraine – two one-day seminars for judges, final training session for the training course for lawyers, in cooperation with the National Prosecution Academy of Ukraine and the State Penitentiary Service – one two-days seminar for officials of penitentiary system and prosecutor’s offices. We held several press-conferences and other public actions devoted to prevention of torture and ill-treatment.
2.2. Activities and results
2.2.1 Analytical, research, law-making and lobbying activities
22.214.171.124. General notes
On permanent basis, we have maintained our analytical work, including:
monitoring Parliament’s legislative work;
studying international documents and monitoring the practice of international bodies;
preparing draft laws,
preparing and/or providing consultation on preparing by-laws;
giving expert opinions on draft laws, administrative practice and drawing up recommendations;
discussing models for NPM, based around their advantages and disadvantages, promoting human rights activists for participatoin in working groups, advisory bodies on the matter of prevention of torture ;
cooperating with SPT and CPT;
carrying out a widespread information campaign to gain support for the implementation of OPCAT and creation of NPM.
During our activities, we continued cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, in particular with a special department therein – the Office of the Governmental Agent in the European Court of Human Rights in order to use the mechanisms created by the law «On the enforcement of the judgments and use of the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights» to exert influence on legislative and norm creating activity of ministries and departments.
We have also taken part in drawing up other elements of the legal system, which are important for preventing torture, for example, participated in revising and proposing to amend of a new project of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The draft originally was not opened for public review, and only after appealing of KHPG expert to the Ministry of Justice it was placed in the Internet. After the draft have published our experts made a lot of proposals to amend the draft, passed them to the Parliamentary Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement, were present on meetings of the Committee. Some of the proposals have been taken into consideration and included in the draft.
We also conducted in depth analysis of the Criminal Punishment Execution Code and other related legislation from the prospect of rights and security of the prisoners and detainees.
We have also participated in discussion on and lobbying of drafts Law on Free Legal Aid System and related regulation, a new Freedom of Information Law, Law on Access to Public Information and laws combating discrimination, xenophobia and hate crimes.
We have regularly taken part in developing recommendations on orders, instructions and other regulations of the MIA and the State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine (hereinafter – the SPSU).
Also we have continued to prepare commentaries for publication on the compliance of national legislation and practice to international and regional standards of human rights protection. These commentaries are based both on theoretical studies, and on specific cases, the results of monitoring and reports from other human rights organisations. The Centre’s work (see chapter 126.96.36.199 below) has allow us to gather detailed information about not only facts of torture and ill-treatment, but also about the real functioning of system for prevention of ill-treatment, available remedies and their operating. The information collected by the PROs and Centre was also invaluable for proposing of amendments to legislation and the following lobbying for changes through public pressure campaigns and other forms of awareness-raising activity.
The examples of our analytical activities are presented below:
188.8.131.52. Results of social monitoring of unlawful police violence – 2011
Unfortunately studies of unlawful police violence in 2011 gives us unfavourable outcomes. In summary the research in course of the yearly monitoring on this matter has shown tendency back to the figures of 2004. The assessment of a number of victims of unlawful violence in police in 2011 increased for 24% in comparison with 2010 (from 790,000 to 980,000 persons).
As in the previous year the state neither made any efforts to guarantee a minimal standard of compliance with human rights, no acts in a reverse direction: to discontinue all types of public control for police activity. This inevitably affected to worsening of the situation that reflected not only in increasing of a number of cases of violence but also in attitude of the society to police.
Lack of effective investigation of police brutality in Ukraine caused by absence of the results of research allow to note huge scale of illegal violence in police stations. 63, 3% of the respondents said, that unlawful violence in police is common phenomenon. This indicator not only for 4.8% more than in the previous year but as well for 2.3% more than in saturated with events year 2004. The estimated number of victims of unlawful violence in the Ukraine police in 2011 had grown for 24% in comparison with 2010 (from 790,000 to 980,000 people), and torture victims – more than 100 thousand people.
Lack of effective investigation of police brutality in Ukraine caused by absence of independence in investigative bodies and objective and comprehensive statistics on this phenomenon. The current system delegates investigation back to police or Prosecutors Office and they dooming it for lack of objectivity. In addition, the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor’s Office statistics largely are reflecting the current system of indicators, with all its characteristics – subjectivity, bias, “embellishment”.
Ukrainian public believes that the potential risk of being subjected to torture or ill-treatment in police maintained for almost any person in the territory of Ukraine. This risk to be a torture victim is still high irrespectively of personal history and characteristics. At the same time, those who are suspected of committing a crime are especially vulnerable, as well as persons who really committed crime and their guilt is obvious.
Public opinion remains persistent stereotypes about the subjects and the structures that can effectively assist in cases of torture or ill-treatment by police. Unfortunately, these stereotypes have no relation to reality. Thus, significant number of respondents still believe, that the most effective agents in police brutality investigations are the prosecutors and the higher authorities in police itself. At the same time, the victims’ experience shows, that 75% of appeals to these structures were either useless or simply ignored. Because of this, illegal police violence remains extremely latent phenomenon, as people perceive the current system of care as an inefficient and avoid it.
Comparative analysis of research data of 2004 – 2011 period, shows a decline of the level of tolerance of the population to torture or other ill-treatment cases in police. Today, torture and unlawful violence is not justified and considered unacceptable for 78% of the population.
According to research data, enabling factors for illegal violence in the Ukrainian police, are:
– impunity of police officers who use illegal methods in the work:
– poor professional selection,
– low professional and cultural level of police officers.
We also can emphasize steadily increasing number of people, who thinks that unlawful violence caused by existence of quantitative indicators in police reporting, weak management, as well as the fact that the courts accept evidence obtained by using illegal methods.
To prevent unlawful violence in the Ukrainian police respondents suggest:
1) to make punishment for police officers for acts of unjustified violence, cruelty, tortures stronger.
2) to improve the selection of applicants for police work,
3) to improve training system of police personnel and improve control system of their activities
4) to involve NGOs and the media as important institutions of civil society in solving this problem.
Respondents, inmates in 2011, reported about worsening of police detention centers conditions. It mostly related to the unavailability of fresh water, shower, unjustified visits denials and parcels, unavailability of lawyers. At the same time inmates emphasized that the situation with cells overcrowding is a bit improved, as well as ventilation and temperature control in cells.
Unfortunately, non-systematic actions for improving situation in 2011 which was undertaken – hasn’t changed financing of law-enforcement agencies or changing the system parameters. Police accountability system has not been improved, as well as detainees’ rights protection. Systems of unlawful violence in police investigation, professional selection and training of police officers also remained unchanged.
184.108.40.206. Preparation of comprehensive review on activities of militia in 2011
KHPG together with the new partner, Association UMHR, summarized results of the monitoring human rights in the activities of the MIA and prepared an annual report «Human Rights in the activities of the Ukrainian police in 2011», which included the following sections:
– Ensuring the right to life, protection from torture and ill-treatment;
– Conditions of detention in preliminary detention centres. The activity of mobile groups;
– Ensuring the right to liberty and personal inviolability, observance of human rights on detention and arrest;
– Relationship between the MIA and public;
– Observance of the right to privacy in the police activities;
– Freedom of peaceful assemblies in context of the MIA activities;
– Protection from discrimination, racism and xenophobia;
– Observance of the right to ownership in the MIA activities;
– Prevention of domestic violence and trafficking in people;
– Children's rights in the context of the MIA activities;
– Foreigners’ rights, comments to amendments in immigration regulations;
– Rights of police officers. Gender equality in the MIA activity.
Report has been printed in 1000 copies (354 pages, format 60x84 1/16). It was sent to the MIA and its 27 regional departments, Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Administrative Court, 27 Appeal Courts, General Prosecutor Office and 27 regional prosecutor offices, Ombudsman office, Ministry of Justice and its 27 regional departments, libraries, human rights organisations, etc.
220.127.116.11. Preparation of draft law on national prevention mechanisms
On 10 February 2011, European Court of Human Rights published its judgment in case of Kharchenko v. Ukraine. In this judgment the Court, applying Article 46 of the Convention, indicated structural problems in detention of defendant pending trial in criminal proceedings. The Court emphasized that the recurrent violations of Article 5 in cases against Ukraine showed a continuing problem with Ukrainian detention law, as people were often detained without any court order, or the grounds for their detention were often formalistic and not regularly reviewed. It is one of essential reasons for deprivation of liberty during many years for some prisoners. Reform of the legislation and administrative practice was therefore urgently needed. The Court requested the Government to submit a reform strategy within six months from the date on which the judgment become final.
By ratifying the 2006 Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (hereinafter — the Optional Protocol), Ukraine took on the obligation to establish NPM, i. e. body (or bodies), which would freely make inspection visits and monitor institutions of confinement in order to prevent torture. Although this mechanism should have been created within a year, but it took five years to make the initial step only.
KHPG legal experts took part in preparing and discussing draft regulation for Commission on National Preventing Mechanisms (NPM) against torture and ill-treatment under President of Ukraine. In the beginning of March 2011 we gave our comments, recommendations and remarks to the Deputy Ministry of Justice of Ukraine on draft regulation. We take active part in modification of the text of the draft regulation as to the future draft law on NPM. The Commission has to prepare this draft law on the base its experience.
On 22 March this draft has been discussed by experts of civil organisations together with the state officers during round table. According to the results of the round table final version of the regulation was passed to the Administration of President.
Before of the official visit of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) on May 16-25, 2011, KHPG with its partners prepared analytical brief in order to contribute the SPT in its mission. We indicated the most urgent issues to be touched by SPT at meetings with officials, analytical brief concerning reasons of practice of torture and impunity. We also prepared some actual information to be considered by SPT during planning and implementation of their visit and some other materials recognized by SPT as helpful one. Representatives of KHPG attended meeting with SPT where presented updated important information for implementation of the visit and learning places of deprivation of liberty.
SPT, as a result of the official visit, presented its opinion to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, which noted the absence of the national preventive mechanism to prevent torture in Ukraine.
Due to the continuous efforts of KHPG the Commission on Prevention of Torture and Ill-Treatment at the President of Ukraine (hereinafter — the Commission) was created by the President Decree No. 950/2011 of 27 September 2011. The Commission is a standing advisory body at the President of Ukraine set up to promote the implementation of Ukraine’s commitments under the Optional Protocol. The main objectives of the Commission are considering the facts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, making propositions to the President of Ukraine in accordance with the established procedure in order to stop them and prevent their recurrence; participation in the preparation of proposals on amending legislation towards to the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Commission shall consist of chairman, executive secretary and other members of the Commission working on a voluntary basis. The Executive Secretary of the Commission shall be ex officio authorized public representative for the European Court of Human Rights. In order to fulfill its mission the Commission is entitled to visit in accordance with the established procedure and plan approved by the Commission and, if necessary, or on off-schedule bases places of interim custody, pre-trial detention, penal institutions, psychiatric wards, special teaching and educational institutions, question detainees and obtain information about prison conditions.The Chairman of the Commission regularly, at least once a month, reports to the President of Ukraine on the activities of the Commission. The organisational and technical support of the activities of the Commission is carried out by the Administration of the Presidential of Ukraine and Public Executive Office.
On November 18, 2011 the Decree of the President of Ukraine approved the composition of the Commission. It includes people’s deputies, civil servants, researchers, lawyers, representatives of NGOs and international organisations. KHPG co-chair Yevhen Zakharov took active part in forming the Commission. He recommended more than half of its members, including two KHPG experts. The Commission was headed by Andriy Portnov, Advisor to the President of Ukraine, Head of the Main Judiciary Department of the Administration of the President of Ukraine. These NGOs activists including KHPG legal experts started to work in the Commission in order to create national preventive mechanisms against torture and ill-treatment. In the reported period there were two meetings of the Commission and first visits to the places of deprivation of liberty.
18.104.22.168. Preparation of amendments to the draft of the Code of Criminal Procedure
The draft of the Code of Criminal Procedure originally was not opened for public review, and only after appealling of KHPG expert to the Ministry of Justice its text was placed in the Internet. The draft has been analysed in details by the KHPG experts, and they prepared a number of proposals on amendments to the draft of the Code of Criminal Procedure in order to cope the problems indicated in the judgments of the European Court and conclusions of European experts. The amendments concerned many issues of criminal proceedings including wording of principles of criminal proceedings (equality of rights, adversary proceedings, directness of evidence examination in court, the right to defence etc.), particularly:
rules of evidence, admissibility of evidence, hearsay, preventive measures, procedures of arrest upon the court order and without it, examination of witnesses, using of experts opinion and testimonies, regulating of covert police operations, jurors selection etc.
The amendments were partly taken during consideration of the draft of the Code by the Parliamentary Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement, and accordingly in the final version of the Code.
22.214.171.124. Analysis of some aspects of criminal justice operating
Experts of KHPG prepared analytical review of law enforcement in course of pre-trial stages of criminal proceedings for the public hearing in the Parliamentary Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement conducted on November 5, 2011. Particularly it concerns of:
– non-compliance with norms of national and international law at the time of arrest (detention) and keeping of the persons in police facilities in form of delay in filing of the detention, unacknowledged detention, detention under fictitious excuse etc The problem is worsened due to absence of the general act regulating in details procedure of arrest (physical capture) and keeping persons in police custody, including the matters of personal responsibility of specific officer for life and health of the detainee at any moment of the person’s being in custody, and the officer’s actions at the necessity of urgent medical care;
– systemic police abuse in course of covert operations (‘operational search activity’), particularly provocation of crime and falsification of the crime event, combining with coercing of persons with former criminal history (e.g. drug users) to participate in the operations as ‘civil agents’, secreting their personal data and the following prevention from their examination as witnesses in open court during trial;
-– using of masked search of persons’ dwelling as an examination on the grounds of voluntary consent of the its possessor but in reality under duress for obtaining the consent;
– problems of criminal persecution of the children are without parents’ care: insufficient gathering of evidence characterising personality of this kind of perpetrators, particularly their living conditions and money for existence.
In many cases against Ukraine the European Court of Human Rights having found violations of the provision of Articles 3, 5 in conjunction with Article 6 of the European Convention just on the grounds of using of torture for extracting a confession during unlawful (unacknowledged) police detention with following using the confession as evidence for the conviction. These judgments prove existence of systemic problems in criminal proceedings in Ukraine.
As well the long-standing problem of planning indicators of police activity both absolute and in shares reasoned with the analysis of the MIA official statistics were presented by the KHPG experts.
126.96.36.199. Participation in formation of Legal Aid System
KHPG experts participated in working out of the Law ‘On Legal Aid’ during all time of its dfafting and chahging in the Ministry of Justice. After the Law having been adopted they were included in the working group of the Ministry of Justice on the matter of implementation of the Law, and continued to participate in amending the Law and drafting regulations for implementing of a provision of the Law. The experts were engaged particularly in working out procedures of selection of lawyers, methods of lawyer’s payment. As well one of the experts was involved as the advisor on the matter of setting up the new Centres of Legal Aid, quality management, case distribution, rotation of lawyers etc.
188.8.131.52. Participation in the reseach 'Effective defence in Legal Aid Researchers Network countries’
In 2011 Experts of KHPG participated in a research project, «Effective defence in Legal Aid Researchers Network countries». The study included an analysis of the baseline requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) that protects defence rights principally through article 5 (right to liberty and security) and article 6 (the right to a fair trial), that according to European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case law, have an impact on the status position of the accused persons and also an analysis of how the rights inter-relate. In addition to the general fair trial rights, such as the presumption of innocence, the right to save silence, equality of arms, and the (conditional) right to release pending trial, the rights protected include: the right to information; the right of an arrested person to defend themselves in person or through a lawyer of their choice, to be paid for legal aid by the state if they cannot afford to pay for legal assistance where this is in the interests facilities to prepare a defence, participation rights, the right to free interpretation and translation, and the right to reasoned decisions and to appeal.
The overall aim of the research project was to explore access to effective defence in criminal proceedings across five Central and Western Europe countries including Ukraine. During the project the experts have scrutinized the law and have researched practical implementation of the number of defendants’ rights including the right to release from custody pending trial (using different forms of unlawful detention, overuse of pre-trial detention as a preventive measure both in number and in duration), the right to be presumed innocent, the right to save silence which are tightly bound with the matter of coercion to confession and accordingly with the problem of torture and ill-treatment in police. Ukraine was selected as one of the constituting examples of the legal traditions in Europe – inquisitorial and post-socialist state. Whilst the European Convention on Human Rights embodies fair trial rights, which include the right to legal assistance in criminal proceedings, the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights demonstrates that many people who are suspected or accused of crime cannot, in practice, enjoy such rights.
On completing the research the experts worked out some recommendations for enhancing of the right to defence in Ukraine:
1. Create effectively administered system of free legal aid and secure its sufficient budget funding; while creating legal aid system, develop the system of quality control, securing and maintaining at the same time the principle of independence of lawyer; provide feasible procedure for assessing eligibility of persons applying for legal aid to secure prompt access to a lawyer; provide sufficient funding for defence investigation of the case.
2. Eliminate the practice of unacknowledged arrest and any manipulation by legal procedures and secure practical and effective defence rights of any person “charged” in the meaning of Article 6 of the Convention (including the introduction of a ‘letter of rights’ and the obligation to verify that the person understands his/her rights adequately); to identify the start of the arrest by the moment when the person, by force or obey to the order of the police officer, is made to stay with the police officer or in place identifies by police officer; to extend the guarantees attached to criminal suspect to the persons arrested for an administrative offence;
3. Introduce clear rules of evidence in criminal proceedings; the rules have to provide suppressing any evidence obtained under coercion and due to flagrant violation of human rights as well as detailed procedure for the exclusion of evidence before completion of trial, right to direct examination and cross-examination of witnesses at courtroom, procedure for verifying voluntariness of confession with vast power of court to examine any evidence and issue related to the question; secure equality of arms between parties to the proceedings in proving their cases and limit discretion of the judge in admission of evidence by clear and predictable rules.
Of course, importance of the results of the research is essentially diminished because of adopting of the new Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine which creates new possibility for protection of a defendants’ rights. But in environment of almost absolute impunity of officials for violation of law the problem of torture and ill-treatment cannot be solved solely by means of enacting of new legislation.
184.108.40.206. Performing preparatory work for the Universal Periodic Review
KHPG has prepared description of problem violations of human rights on the issues of right to life (Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)), prohibition of torture and ill-treatment (Articles 7 and 10 of the ICCPR), the right to a fair trial (Article 14 of the ICCPR). In course of preparing of the annual report of HR organisations «Human Rights in Ukraine – 2011» several chapters in which were composed by KHPG experts (see above) the recommendations for improving the situation with human rights observance in Ukraine were worked out. We prepared a list of questions to Ukrainian Government in course the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. As well KHPG experts worked out list of recommendations to Ukraine for amending the law and practice in Ukraine.
220.127.116.11. Participation in reformation of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
Expert of KHPG Arkadiy Buschenko on 9-11 February 2011 participated in the 6th meeting of the Committee of experts on the reform of the European Court of Human Rights for consultations with representatives of civil society and national human rights institutions (Strasbourg, France).
At the meeting the presentations on the issues of information and on the issue of advisory opinions to applicants were given, followed by the open discussion on these and other issues, the following issues were considered: a possible new filtering mechanism for the Court, a possible simplified amendment procedure for the Convention, possible introduction of system of fees for applicants, influence of the fee system on Resources allocated to the Court and on the average timeframes.
In materials of the meeting the information on the fee system for Ukrainian court proceeding of all kinds was included.
On 27-28 June 2011 the expert participated in the seminar conducted by INTERIGHTS (London, UK) ‘The implementation of Human Rights Judgments: The Litigator’s Perspective’ during which the next issues were presented and discussed:
- approaches of the regional systems to implementation,
- non-Discrimination and equality,
- state violence and abuse,
- economic and social Rights,
- emerging themes, challenges and solutions,
- structures for domestic implementation,
- engaging the state party: domestic,
- specific problems (remedies and reparations, the investigative gap),
- enhancing advocacy: regional and international,
- Creating Effective Partnerships.
18.104.22.168. Expert support for NGOs in post-Soviet Asia countries
In 2011 KHPG expert Arkadiy Buschenko was engaged by Open Society Foundations as the expert for NGOs in the countries – former Soviet republics: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for advising and mentoring in drawing up applications to the UN Committee against Torture and UN Human Rights Committee by lawyers of these countries.
22.214.171.124. Preparation of several chapters in annual report «Human Rights in Ukraine – 2011
Members and experts of KHPG was conducting review of legislation, draft law, interim regulation and administrative and judicial practice (including international case law) while preparing chapters of «Human Rights in Ukraine – 2011», such as general review, civil assessment of government policy in the area of human rights, political persecutions, constitutional process in Ukraine, the right to life, the right to protection from torture and cruel treatment, the right to liberty and security, the right to a fair trial, the right of access to information, freedom of expression, the freedom of peaceful assembly, the right to health care, prisoner’s rights. Partners of KHPG has prepared the following chapters of the report: the right to privacy, protection from discrimination, racism and xenophobia, the right to health care, the right of immigrants in Ukraine.
126.96.36.199. Preparation of amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure in order to fulfill the judgment Kharchenko v. Ukraine
On 18 February 2011, ECtHR published its judgment in case of Kharchenko v. Ukraine. In this judgment the Court, applying Article 46 of the Convention, indicated structural problems in detention of defendant pending trial in criminal proceedings. The Court emphasized that the recurrent violations of Article 5 in cases against Ukraine showed a continuing problem with Ukrainian detention law, as people were often detained without any court order, or the grounds for their detention were often formalistic and not regularly reviewed. It is one of essential reasons for deprivation of liberty during many years for some prisoners. Reform of the legislation and administrative practice was therefore urgently needed. The Court requested the Government to submit a reform strategy within six months from the date on which the judgment become final.
KHPG prepared draft of amendments to Code of Criminal Procedure in order to cope the problems indicated in the judgment. The draft is now under consideration of the Ministry of Justice.
188.8.131.52. Preparation of materials for the Subcommittee against torture
Before visit of Subcommittee against torture (SPT), KHPG with its partners prepared analytical brief in order to contribute the SPT in its mission. We indicated the most urgent issues to be touched by SPT at meetings with officials, analytical brief concerning reasons of practice of torture and impunity. We also prepared some factual information to be considered by SPT during planning and implementation of their visit and some other materials recognized by SPT as helpful one. Representatives of KHPG attended meeting with SPT where presented updated important information for implementation of the visit and learning places of deprivation of liberty.
184.108.40.206. Preparing of review of the ECtHR case-law concerning Ukraine and review of its Grand Chamber judgments
Experts of KHPG periodically update overview of ECtHR case-law at the web-site “Strategic Litigations”. We support overview of all judgments against Ukraine and all judgments of the Grand Chamber of the Court. The overview updated on two-week basis. It published at site with user-friendly interface, divided in appropriate rubrics, to enable users to easily find necessary information and then receive more detailed information about a case. The overview is quite popular among user as it indicated by traffic.
220.127.116.11. Participation in elaboration of draft law «On access to public information» and of a new version of the law «On information”
KHPG’s legal experts took active part in preparation and consideration of a new version of the law on information and draft law on access to public information. Both drafts were adopted on January 13, 2011. After the Law of Ukraine ‘On Access to Public Information’ (hereinafter in this subsection — the Law) became effective on May 9, 2011 one could suggest that generally all the information of the governmental and municipal authorities would became publicly available, and restriction of access to the information would be only the exception But in practice enacting the Law has not bring significant changes to practice of obtaining of public information from authorities because of contradiction of regulations on the matter of access to information to the Law as well as due to unwilling of officials to give any meaningful information to public. After enacting the Law to obtain the information is possible rather through an information request than through the agency’s official website or through a registry of the public information. Moreover to get appropriate (full and within time limits prescribed by the Law) answers for information requests happen seldom, if ever.
Judicial practice as well gives reasons to continue the work aimed for effective application of the Law. In particular one local court of Kharkiv has dismissed the claim to oblige a municipality to get a General construction plan of the city after its refusal to give the information upon the request of public. And the reasoning of the judgment was finding of the court that using of the label “For Official Use Only” for these documentd had been legal.
Taking into consideration these legal and practical issues KHPG experts analysed in detail the new Laws «On information» and «On Access to Public Information» acting since 10 May 2011 together with the Law «On personal Data Protection» acting since 1 January 2012. This analysis was published in numeral websites. The experts have work out the recommendations for adjusting the matters of access to the public information to the international standards, in particular to bring the regulations enacted in the past contradicting to the Law to accordance with it, including concerning ungrounded using of the label ‘For Official Use Only’.
18.104.22.168. Other activities
In the reported period our experts together with experts of other human rights organisations have prepared numerous comments and recommendations on legal problems concerning human rights in Ukraine, such as constitutional problems, court system, freedom of expression, right to privacy, freedom of peaceful assemblies, freedom of associations, right for access to court and to fair trial, right to legal aid and particularly to criminal defence, right to health care and to medical aid, human rights observation by the law-enforcing bodies and penal establishments, children rights and others (see:
29.12.2011 War against corruption lost from the outset
30.11.2011 Security Service Information Channel
23.11.2011 Public assessment of police violence
21.10.2011 Parliament adopts Law on Loyal Supreme Court
27.07.11 Hate speech on police websites
26.05.11 Moving closer to biometric passport?
24.03.11 Why classify city plans?
26.02.11 Sign for receipt of more time inside
20.02.11 Ministry of Internal Gloss
14.02.11 Stop the political persecutions!
and in Ukrainian or Russian:
28.12.2011 Війна з корупцією: програна з самого початку
08.11.2011 Огляд оновлень нормативної бази МВС
13.10.2011 Харківське телебачення: потрійний удар
17.09.2011 Особливості національної ксенофобії
15.08.2011 Хто є найбільшими грантожерами в Україні?
10.05.11 Доступ до інформації: наміри і хіби
29.04.11 Відкрите звернення щодо законопроекту про внесення змін до Закону України «Про доступ до публічної інформації»
27.04.11 Лікування… в наручниках
15.04.11 Застосування статті 391 КК України
22.03.11 Смерті в міліції: що робити?
10.03.11 Права людини: новітні тенденції
10.03.11 Права людини: новітні тенденції
02.03.11 Украденная жизнь – «судебная ошибка»
13.02.11 Припиніть політичні переслідування
11.02.11 Загроза для всіх і кожного
08.02.11 Аналіз нових інформаційних законів
03.01.11 Політичні репресії
2.2.2. Development of the system for legal aid to victims of torture and ill treatment
22.214.171.124. Providing legal consultation by KHPG’s Public reception office
During the reporting period KHPG Public reception office has provided consultation and help to 2541 people in question, that is much more than in the year 2010 (2031). 1258 (49.5%) among them were women, 1283 (50.5%) – men. 88 among them were victims of torture and/or ill-treatment. Allocation of visitors to KHPG PRO in time is given in the following table:
Provided consultation and help to the applicants by KHPG reception office
Victims of torture and/or ill-treatment among them
91 were complaining on arbitrary detention, arrest or violations during investigation. 101 people complained as to total ignorance of their complaints and/or applications to competent state bodies. 199 people complained on violation of right to a fair trial, including 55 complaints on exorbitant lengths of proceedings before national courts and 49 complaints – on failure to enforce judgments at law.
KHPG Public reception office and 14 our partners administrating their public reception offices have provided consultation and help to 12,303 people whose rights were allegedly abused during the reported period. 241 among them were victims of torture and/or ill-treatment (complains concerned violations in establishments of MIA and the SPSU). 244 were complaining on arbitrary detention, arrest or violations during investigation. It is necessary to mention that 1586 complains were related to courts of Ukraine. 557 people complained on exorbitant lengths of proceedings before national courts and 456 – on failure to enforce judgments at law. 573 were complaining on violations during proceedings before national courts. 655 people complained as to total ignorance of their complaints and/or applications to competent state bodies. 200 people complained on inadequacy or flagrant denial of medical help, in violation of their right on medical care. 386 people complained on interference with the right of their individual and/or family life. The situation with the applicant’s complains to KHPG Public reception office and those of our 14 partners can be shown more detailed in the following table:
KHPG Public reception office
Total (including reports of our partners)
Torture and/or ill-treatment
Arbitrary detention arrest or violations during investigation
Violations during court procedures
Exorbitant length of proceedings
Failure to enforce judgments at law
Compensation of damage
Ignorance of complains by authorities
Freelance relations in army
Inadequate medical examination before call-up
Inadequacy or flagrant denial of medical help
Right for private or/and family life
Freedom of assembly and associations
Freedom of expression
Freedom of religion
Assault, threat or other influence on human rights defender / activist
KHPG Public reception office and those of our partners have provided various consultations and help that can be summarized as follows:
KHPG Public reception office
Total (including reports of our partners)
Assistance in the preparation of procedural documents
Preparation of lawsuits
Representation in court
Inquire on behalf of the applicant
Preparation of the application to European court
Transference to another organisation
Conduction of campaign
Rendering the literature
Remained without reply
KHPG continued to defend human rights and democratic values in concrete cases of political persecutions and to protest against the actions of the government, violating human rights and fundamental freedoms of speech, assemblies, movement, and so on. KHPG experts analysed actions of the authorities, first of all, the Ministry of Interior and its regional departments, General Prosecutor Office and regional prosecutor offices, Security Service of Ukraine, State Penitentiary Service and its regional departments, and commented on them on its website and in other media. KHPG was also preparing statements, petitions and protest actions, distributing information about the actions of civil society through press conferences and other promotional campaigns (see list of publications in the Appendix 1).
The most laud political cases of former Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko and former Ministry of Interiors Yury Lutsenko are continued to be subject of struggle power and opposition. There were many brutal violations during these court trials. KHPG experts analyzed court decisions on Timoshenko’s and Lutsenko’s deprivation of liberty and convincingly proved that any legal reason for arrest was absent. Assessment of these cases by the U.S. and European institutions and politicians essentially based on KHPG experts’ statements and conclusions.
In addition, the information of the activity of the KHPG public reception office was posted on the other media:
1. 3 January, 2011, Yevgen Zakharov, article “Political repression” (“Ukrayinska pravda”);
2. 28 January, 2011, the press conference of Arkadiy Buschenko, Aygul Mukanova (press-centre “Most”,
3. 31 March, 2011, Aygul Mukanova on on-line conference of “Komsomolska Pravda v Ukraini”
4. 20 May, 2011, Lyudmyla Klochko, the comment for the website(Energodar) “Human rights activist: the prohibition of the authorities to enter the forest is unfounded”,
5. 6 June, 2011, Mikhail Gayevskiy, press conference in the press-centre “Most”
6. 26 July, 2011, the comment of Yevgen Zakharov “President's Changes to the Law “On Amnesty” are positive but they can not solve all the problems of the Ukrainian penitentiary system”, website “Golos UA”
7. 8 August, 2011, the article of Arkadiy Bushenko “Will Our Justice Come of the Vegetative State?” (the KhPG’s website http://khpg.org/1312711567) and the website Politychna Khersonschyna
8. 27 September, 2011, the article of Arkadiy Bushenko “The Administrative Pressure on Judges Continues» on the website “Strategic Litigations”, according to the agreement No. 47 of 1 July, 2011
9. 9 June, 2011, Lyudmyla Klochko, comments for the website «Svodka nezavisimykh novostey, gazeta “Vremya”
10. 28 October 2011, Yevgen Zakharov’s interview «Everything depends on us» given for the website “Ukrayinska Pravda”
11. 25 November, 2011, Lyudmyla Klochko’s comment to the materials on the website “Segodnya”
12. 23 December, 2011, the comment and recommendation given to the consumers of the communal services by the expert of the KhPG Mr. M.Gayevskyy on the KhPG’s website http://khpg.org/1324658425
The consultation made by the KHPG public reception office in the official trips:
Zmiyiv, Kharkiv region
Zmiyiv, Kharkiv region
Chuguyiv, Kharkiv region
Chuguyiv, Kharkiv region
Participation in the court hearing
Lyubotyn, Kharkiv region
Consultation rendered to Mr. Novoseltsev O. Establishment of the facts on the scene (water poisoning in the well).
8 consultations and transfer of HR literature and guides to the local library
Consultations, preparation and filing of the appeals
Chuguyiv, Kharkiv region
Consultations and making of the requests
Chuguyiv, Kharkiv region
Participation in the court hearing (labor dispute of Mr. Kupreyenkov)
Volchanskyy district, Kharkiv region
Establishment of the facts on the scene (investigation of Mr. Artyushenko)– 2 official trips
In September 2011 Mr. Yasinskiy appealed to the KHPG public reception office. He was denied employment on the basis of his old age. The lawyer of the public reception office Ms. Aschenko prepared a civil suit against an employer demanding recognition of his actions illegal and reimbursement of non-pecuniary damage. The first instance court and appeal court have recognized employer’s actions illegal, but have not appointed the reimbursement of non-pecuniary damage.
The KHPG lawyers helped to NGO "Veterans of the Chernobyl" to appeal against the illegal actions of police. The criminal cases instituted against the leaders of the Chernobyl movement and their detention and taking to the police were declared illegal. Besides, the prohibitions of the peaceful actions in Kiev and Kharkov were appealed in the appeal order.
Ms. Atroshchenko lodged a complaint on the lack of effective investigation of the death of her daughter. The volunteer of KHPG succeeds to budging the investigation – the case was transferred to the court.
The KHPG lawyers assisted to the victims in criminal cases. Thus, the case of an accident was finally considered by the court. This case was being investigated for a long time in the courts. In this case our lawyers even had to appeal to the High Council of Justice. The judge, who had been deliberately delaying the proceedings, was brought to disciplinary liability.
The appeals regarding the court orders concerning the payment for municipal services become frequent in 2011. With respect to all persons who had appealed in time to us – the court orders were canceled (30).
126.96.36.199. Providing legal assistance and representation to victims of torture and ill-treatment
The KHPG legal officers provided assistance and representation of victims of human rights violations in 48 cases, including representation before European Court of Human Rights.During the reporting period the European Court delivered 7 judgments in cases of the Legal Aid Centre:
1. Dzhaksybergenov (aka Jaxybergenov) v. Ukraine
On 10 February the Court held judgment Dzhaksybergenov (aka Jaxybergenov) v. Ukraine, (no. 12343/10).
The applicant, Anvar Dzhaksybergenov, is a Kazakhstani national who was born in 1974 and lives in Kyiv. Following the opening in Kazakhstan of criminal proceedings against him for misappropriation – as part of an organised group – of financial resources in particularly large amounts, the Kazakhstani authorities requested his extradition from Ukraine. The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office temporarily prohibited him from leaving the country in view of the extradition request. Mr Dzhaksybergenov’s application to the European Court of Human Rights under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, asking the Court to stop Ukraine from extraditing him, was granted: the Court indicated to Ukraine that extradition should not take place until it has had the possibility to examine the application. Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) and Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial), Mr Dzhaksybergenov complained that, if extradited to Kazakhstan, he would risk ill-treatment and would not get a fair trial. Relying further on Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 (freedom of movement) he also complained of the prohibition on him leaving the country. The Court ruled against the Government concerning violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 (freedom of movement), however it found that it would be no violation of Articles 3 and 6 of the Convention in case of the applicant extradition to Kazakhstan.
Now the applicant’s request on referral the case to the Grand Chamber is under consideration of the Court.
2. Bocharov v. Ukraine
The case Bocharov v. Ukraine case (17 March, No. 21037/05) concerned Mr Bocharov’s allegation that he was arrested in suspicious circumstances and severely beaten by the police in order to make him confess to storing and trading in weapons.
Within hours of his release from the police station Mr Bocharov was taken to hospital in a state of health that was such that he had to stay there for more than 20 days. The injuries initially diagnosed in hospital were further corroborated by Mr Bocharov’s consistent account of the suspicious circumstances of his arrest and detention as well as ill-treatment. As a detainee, Mr Bocharov was under the control of the State and it was therefore responsible for finding and prosecuting those who had caused him such harm. Having failed to do so, the Court considered that Mr Bocharov had sustained his injuries as a result of inhuman and degrading treatment for which the Ukrainian Government was responsible, in violation of Article 3.
What is more, there were delays in: securing medical evidence – for example failure to order an expert medical report while Mr Bocharov was still in hospital – despite the fact that he had told staff there that he had been ill-treated and that he had lodged a formal complaint while still hospitalised; and, furthering the investigation – notably, the accused police officers had only been questioned nine months after the alleged beating and the confrontation between them and Mr Bocharov more than a year later. Indeed, the investigation had even been directed at first – until December 2002 – against the wrong police department. Given those serious shortcomings, the Court considered that the domestic authorities had not adequately investigated Mr Bocharov’s allegations of ill-treatment, in further violation of Article 3
3. Nechyporuk and Yonkalo v. Ukraine
On 21 April the Court held judgment in the case Nechyporuk and Yonkalo v. Ukraine (№ 42310/04). The European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of the first applicant’s having been tortured and of the lack of an effective investigation into his complaints in that respect; violations of Article 5 §§ 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (right to liberty and security) on account of his detention during five separate periods between 2004 to 2007; violations of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (c) (right to a fair trial) as regards the proceedings against the first applicant.
The case concerned in particular the first applicant’s allegation that he was tortured during his police custody in order to make him confess to a murder, that his detention was unlawful and that the criminal proceedings against him were not fair.
In that light, and given the authorities failure to challenge or explain the medical evidence in support of Mr Nechiporuk’s allegations of ill-treatment by electric current, the Court found it established to the standard of proof required in Convention proceedings that the injuries recorded in the medical reports had been the result of the treatment of which he complained and for which the Government bore responsibility. Having regard to the fact that he confessed to the murder for the first time while being formally under arrest for an unrelated offence and noting the allegations of his beatings by the police prior to his renewed confessions, the Court considered it probable that the police had intentionally ill-treated him with the aim of extracting confessions. Given that he and his pregnant wife were questioned by the police at the same time, his allegation of having been threatened with her torture was plausible. Those threats had to have exacerbated considerably his mental suffering.
In view of those considerations, the Court found that Mr Nechiporuk was a victim of very serious and cruel suffering that may be characterised as torture; there had accordingly been a violation of Article 3 on that account.
The Court found also various violations of Article 5 of the Convention.
Mr Nechiporuk’s initial confessions, which had been extracted from him by ill-treatment amounting to torture within the meaning of Article 3, had been admitted as evidence in his trial by the domestic courts. The Court considered that that extinguished the very essence of the his privilege against self-incrimination, irrespective of the weight of the confessions in the evidential basis for his conviction and regardless of the fact that he had confessed again several times during the investigation. There had accordingly been a violation of his right not to incriminate himself under Article 6 § 1.
It was undisputed by the parties that Mr Nechiporuk had not become legally represented until having spent three days in detention. By having formally placed him in administrative detention but in fact treating him as a criminal suspect, the police had deprived him of access to a lawyer, which would have been obligatory under the domestic legislation had he been charged with the offence in respect of which he was in fact being questioned. He had confessed several times to murder at the early stage of his interrogation when he was not assisted by counsel, and had undoubtedly been affected by the restrictions on his access to a lawyer in that his confessions to the police were used for his conviction. The early restrictions of his defence rights had not been remedied in the course of the trial, as the courts had failed to give an adequate response to his complaint of ill-treatment. The Court concluded that that there had been a violation of his right to defence under Article 6 § 3 (c).
The Court further found the responses of the domestic courts to Mr Nechiporuk’s arguments against the testimony of the key witness to be strikingly inadequate. In particular they had failed to comment on the undisputed fact that the witness had been in administrative detention and ignored the existence of the audiotape documenting a conversation in which the witness had allegedly admitted to having slandered Mr Nechiporuk under police duress. By ignoring these specific and important arguments, the domestic courts had fallen short of their obligations under Article 6 § 1; there had accordingly been a violation of this article on account of the domestic courts’ reasoning.
4. Fyodorov and Fyodorova v. Ukraine
On 7 July judgment has been adopted in the case Fyodorov and Fyodorova v. Ukraine (no. 39229/03). The Center supported this case since 2003. The applicants, Vladimir Fyodorov and Tatyana Fyodorova, husband and wife, are Ukrainian nationals who were born in 1948 and 1960 respectively and live in Takhtaulovo of Poltava region. The Fyodorovs had a history of problems with their neighbors, which involved both civil (concerning use of land) and criminal (concerning a fight in which Mr Fyodorov injured a neighbors) proceedings. This case essentially concerns the applicants’ allegation that they were ill-treated by the police in March 2003 when resisting Mr Fyodorov’s forced hospitalisation for psychiatric treatment following complaints from neighbors about his persistent harassment. During the confrontation, both applicants sustained bruising and Mr Fyodorov’s jaw was fractured. They also allege that the ensuing investigation into their allegations of ill-treatment was inadequate. They rely on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment). Further relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life and the home), Mr Fyodorov also complains that, following a complaint addressed to the local hospital by a neighbors alleging that he was dangerous, in June 2001 a doctor subjected him to a psychiatric examination without his consent in his back yard and then had him officially diagnosed with chronic delusional disorder. Lastly, he complains under Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing), that he was not notified of an appeal hearing on the case he had brought against the medical authorities in which he alleged that the impromptu psychiatric examination and diagnosis were unlawful.
5. Balitskiy v. Ukraine
3 November 2011 ECtHR held judgment in the case Balitskiy v. Ukraine. In this case the Court founded a violation of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (c) of the Convention in respect of the applicant’s right to defense and the privilege against self-incrimination.
6. Maksimenko v. Ukraine
20 December 2011 ECHR held judgment in the case Maksimenko v. Ukraine. In this case the Court founded a violation of Article 6 § 3 (c) of the Convention as the applicant complained had not been afforded free legal assistance during the proceedings before the Supreme Court.
7. Teslenko v. Ukraine
On December 20 the ECtHR has found violation of Article 3 of the ECHR in this case both in substantial and procedural aspects. Given that the domestic authorities in the present case neither proved that the applicant had been injured before his detention nor explained the origin of his injuries, the ECtHR has recognized they are to be responsible for those injuries. Noticeable that although the applicant had had multiple bruises and numerous abrasions sustained by the applicant and classified as “light injuries” in the domestic proceedings the ECtHR noted that they attest to the severity of the ill-treatment he suffered. In these circumstances, the ECtHR have concluded that, taken as a whole and having regard to its purpose and severity, the ill-treatment at issue amounted to torture within the meaning of Article 3 of the Convention, and had found that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention under its substantive limb. The ECtHR also considered not only the duration of the proceedings against the police officers allegedly ill-treated the applicant, but also the matter of independence of the investigator, who was in charge of the investigation which admitted his lack of impartiality and sought to withdraw from the investigation. As well the ECtHR observed that almost half the witnesses in question in the case against the police officers continuously had failed to appear to court, resulted to delay in proceedings for several years, and thereafter – must inevitably have taken a toll on the witnesses’ capacity to recall events in detail and with accuracy. There their attendance could have easily been ensured if the authorities had had the will to do so. Taking this into consideration the Court concluded that the State fell had violated its obligation to conduct an effective investigation into the applicant’s allegation of torture by the police, and found that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention under its procedural limb as well.
Strategic litigations in national courts
Yakiv Strogan case
On the very day that a campaign was planned in support of Yakiv Strogan, the wonderful news came that after 15 months remanded in custody, he has at long last been released on a signed undertaking not to leave Kharkiv.
The news is wonderful for Yakiv, his wife and small son.
It unfortunately leaves the question which began the introduction to our appeal unanswered: Where do you turn for protection from lawlessness?
The case of Yakiv Strogan has demonstrated new depths of police impunity in Kharkiv.
For almost 4 months after a scuffle between Strogan and a neighbor in August 2010 Yakiv Strogan consistently accused police officers of torture aimed at extorting money from his family. He was questioned by experienced lawyers from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group who stated equally publicly that he had spoken of things he was most unlikely to have come up with himself. Strogan tried to get a criminal investigation initiated, spoke out publicly, even at parliamentary hearings.
Until one evening in December when police officers from the same police station turned up and arrested Yakiv Strogan, accusing him of attempted murder way back in August 2010. The neighbor with whom Strogan had had a run-in and who had fallen on a broken bottle was now presented as the victim of an attempted murder, with his wife the star witness and a knife, without finger prints, but supposedly the weapon.
Strogan was taken into custody and by the time he was brought to court the next day had clear signs of beating. They were reported by human rights group representatives and journalists in the court and ignored by the judge who remanded Yakiv Strogan in custody.
He was held there until 12 March 2012.
There has been no investigation of his allegations of torture in August, with all courts rejecting appeals against the Prosecutor’s refusal to initiate a criminal investigator and the Supreme Court’s judgment awaited.
The Prosecutor has similarly refused to initiate an investigation over torture in police custody on 9 December, despite the number of witnesses able to confirm the difference in Strogan’s condition by his court appearance the next day.
The road to the European Court of Human Rights seems depressingly clear, as does the Court’s likely judgment.
The hearings into the charge against him began in spring last year. Spring is once again in the air but there is not a sign of any movement towards resolution. For some time the judge even refused to allow Strogan’s lawyer to see his client. It seemed clear that the trial was being dragged out.
There are serious grounds for concern about the course of the trial as well. The judge, for example, refused to hear the testimony of a witness, the wife of the building janitor, who saw the broken glass with blood on it which Strogan has said from the outset was how his neighbor injured himself.
The forensic report which supposedly substantiated the claims of attempted murder was, back in May 2011, so demolished in court that the judge agreed to the defense’s demand that the author of the forensic examination be questioned in court. She also demanded other documentation with that, and the forensic expert’s questioning, enabling a decision to be made as to whether a repeat forensic examination was to be called for.
On 21 September another forensic examination was ordered in Kharkiv. There was one more court hearing at which the forensic expert asked for more documents. Since then there has been silence. New forensic examination lasted about 6 months.
On 12 March Yakiv Strogan was released from custody after 14 months. The decision to release him on a signed undertaking not to leave the city was taken at the latest court hearing in the Kyivsky District Court in Kharkiv following examination of a new forensic examination which had lasted around half a year.
The results of it were passed to the court about one month ago and read out at the hearing on Monday. The examination found that the alleged victim had suffered light bodily injuries which had not caused lasting damage to his health.
The experts were also not provided with the domestic knife (not formally recognized as a non-firearm weapon) and any medical document indicating the level of injuries. The court ordered that the experts be handed this material.
Strogan’s lawyer, Serhiy Medvedev lodged an application to have the preventive measure changed from remand in custody to a signed undertaking. The court allowed the application on the grounds that the court examination is coming to the end and Strogan cannot influence the court proceedings.
It is excellent that Yakiv Strogan has finally been released from custody and can be with his family.
It remains as deeply disturbing as ever that the law enforcement bodies and court persist in refusing to investigate serious allegations of torture against police officers.
In December 2010 the message intended seemed entirely clear: those who dare speak out against lawlessness will live to regret it.
15 months on that message rings out very loudly. It spells danger to any Ukrainian or visitor to the country.
Our lawyers also succeeded in some cases before the Supreme Court of Ukraine initiated following judgments of the ECtHR and, during 2009-2011, managed to change dramatically the approaches of the Supreme Court. While demonstrating total ignorance of the ECtHR’s findings in 2009 and refusing to quash the domestic court’s decisions (for example, in Yaremenko and Shabelnik cases), in 2011 the Supreme Court acknowledged the ECtHR’s judgments’ binding force that resulted in quashing of two convictions, one of which was the convictions in murder case. Such a change became the results of not only litigation strategies, but also of joint advocacy actions from the side of our network directed to national and international actors.
2.2.3. Development and strengthening a network for preventing torture
188.8.131.52. Monitoring cases of torture and ill treatment
KHPG and its partner organisations conducted monitoring human rights in the law enforcing bodies’ activities, including cases of torture and other view of illegal violence. The regional partners in co-operation with lawyers collected information on facts of torture and ill-treatment from different sources (regional mass media, personal complaints to the public reception offices (PROs), official data etc.) and provide various form of legal assistance to victims. The PROs were in constant contact with the staff of the KHPG Legal Aid Centre with the aim to exchange information and knowledge, to elaborate the strategy of the case and adjust existing recourses to the needs of particular case. The KHPG also advised to partners in question, pass them educational materials.
During the project period KHPG members and our partners collected information on facts of torture and cruel treatment in the penitentiary system from various sources (regional mass media, personal complaints on torture to local NGOs and barristers, analysis of the work of the regional public reception offices, visit to institutionss of the State Penitentiary Sevice of Ukraine and so on) and protect victims of torture. They helped to victims of torture to compile claims to local prosecutor’s offices and courts, if the victims agree to complain. In order to render help, we rendered the legal aid in co-operation with the KhPG Legal Aid Centre.
We summarized all data in view of a book «Review of the information sources on torture and ill-treatment in 2010-2011».
184.108.40.206. Conducting Parliamentary hearing on observance of HR in militia
KHPG initiated and with its partners was involved in preparing of the public hearing in the Parliamentary Committee on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement ‘On observance of human rights in activity of internal affairs agencies’.
Volumes of materials were prepared, including analytical reviews and statements of facts, including deaths and tortures in militia. The hearing was conducted on November 5, 2011. Numbers of HR organisations representatives throughout Ukraine, Members of the Parliament and executive official, Ombudsperson, Deputy of Prosecutor General, scientists, victims or their relatives were presented at hearing. The hearing was conducted in the premises of the Parliament.
As the results of the hearing recommendations for the MIA for enhancing the situation with observance of human rights in police were worked out. According to the recommendations MIA has taken the following corresponding steps:
– to provide priority of counteraction safeguards against violations of principles of rule of law and lawfulness, respect to people’s rights and freedoms;
– to enhance continuously legal regulating and Constitutional securing of the mechanism of reacting to addressing of citizens concerning violation of their rights and freedoms on the parts of law enforcement, and amending of regulations according to the European standards;
– to change the criteria of assessment of MIA activity in order to prevent to achieve better results due to violation of people’s rights, to work out and to implement the new quarterly statistics form ‘On state on observance of human rights in activity of internal affairs agencies;
– to introduce a common electronic register of people’s complaints, and internal investigations of alleged human rights violations by police officers, to bring in accordance with national and international law MIA regulations on the matter of people’s appeals;
– to introduce the practice of regular public discussions with participation of MIA leadership, HR organisations, all another organisations are interesting in the matter of observance of human rights and freedoms in activity of internal affairs agencies;
– to establish the unified register of MIA regulations, and to provide free access to it for public excluding acts with limited access;
– to consider the proposal on introducing of examination of knowledge in human rights for candidates to supervisory positions in internal affairs agencies;
– to undertake urgent actions for improving of detainees’ conditions of keeping in custody;
– together with the Ministry of Justice to analyse judgments of the ECtHR on the part concerning of activity of internal affairs agencies, to work out proposals for changing of the law.
220.127.116.11. Developing around the KHPG’s regional partners local networks of partner NGOs, lawyers and experts
KHPG has developed sufficiently strong collaboration with several NGOs, lawyers and experts (hereafter, partners).
Legal aid to detainees and convicts in establishments of Staete Penitentiary Service of Ukraine
Within the scope of the project we have provided legal aid to prisoners together with our partners and relevant state bodies, i.e. NGO in Lviv – «SIM», Department of theSPSU in Lviv region, NGO «Right and democracy», Public board of the SPSU in Lviv region, Lviv State University of Internal Affairs, NGO in Chernigiv CfHRc, Chernigiv monitoring commission, NGO «Donetsk memorial».
In 2011 Public reception office of the Centre for Legal and Political Researches «SIM» (hereafter, SIM) has provided basic legal aid for 146 prisoners and 69 persons without the imprisonment have received free basic legal assistance.
As the 1st part of a project Center ‘SIM’ has performed the following work.
Information about the project, telephone hotline (032-243-25-50) and mailing address for written submissions was posted in most of colonies, and in the criminal executing inspection, whose penalties are not related to imprisonment. The NGO scheduling periods for legal aid have been approved. SIM members have been visited colonies twice a month according to the previously agreed with a chief of the colonies schedules; as well the visits were conducted upon requests.
For the first time Department of the SPSU in Lviv region officially took part in 8th Traveling festival of documental films in regards of human rights. All institutions were films have been shown, held discussions and show willingness to receive legal advice. Between 8 and December 15 all agencies and institutions of the SPSU in Lviv region were involved in participating in the 8th Traveling International festival of documentary films on human rights «DOCUDAYS UA». During the festival, films that were part of the festival were shown in all institutions, without exception, and that includes six penal colonies, educational colony for minors, the prison staff and leadership.
At all 536 prisoners and 30 staff personal screen proposed films. Of all movies the most responds got «Out of Reach», «Wild Detroit City» and «Market».
During the screening there were no claims, complaints or warnings from prisoners or administrative institutions have been reported. Demonstration of documentaries has caused some concern among prisoners, which was accompanied by discussion and debate. After discussions the applicants received legal advice.
In terms of organising, there are some points on which we want to draw more attention to improve them in the future:
— unfortunately not all institutions have an opportunity to show films on the big screens, so in some places screening was held in departments with limited number of people using conventional television sets. If only organisers were able to get appropriate video equipment free of charge for the period of screening, they will be able to attract a much larger number of participants;
— in some movies subtitles imposed in Ukrainian with subtitles in English (especially when the film was still in another language such as «Stinking Ship»), which did not enable them to clearly read and understand complicated content of the film;
— not all prisoners were able to easily and quickly read subtitles and hence follow the developments.
As a possible option to improve the screening process in the future, in our opinion, it is advisable to transfer movies with titles printed version (if possible their simultaneous reading by organisers), or translation into Ukrainian or Russian languages.
Traveling festival DocuDays UA is coming to the city of Lviv next week( )
Publications after the press conference
Lviv began VIII traveling festival DocuDays UA
Lviv begin days of documentary films on human rights in the framework of the VIII Travelling Film Festival DocuDays UA
In housing, police and courts most violated rights of citizens of Lviv — human rights
On the basis of nationalist ideology formed racist movements — human rights
Lviv start day documentary films on human rights in the framework of the VIII Travelling Film Festival DocuDays UA
festival of documentary films on human rights begins in Lviv.
In Lviv will week Human Rights.
Lviv is Human Rights Week.
There will be announcements about the festival on the radio «Lviv Wave» and «Lviv radio».
By prior arrangement with Department of the SPSU, Sambir educational colony for minors was elected for practical exercises to overcome conflicting situations. When choosing a group that will work with psychologists, were taken into account wishes of the leadership of the colony. Request was, to take a group of people to be released in the summer of 2012, and prepare these boys for life outside. Three meetings have been scheduled with the selected group, of which two were held during the reporting period. The first meeting was mainly introductory, in which psychologists have talked with the group and received a wish– list of issues, situations that they would like to consider at meetings, namely: how to prevent aggressive behavior; how to avoid bad company; relationship with women; conflicts with parents and family; trust. The second lesson was practical. It was proposed to define the emotions, describe their own emotions, and then determine the five emotions that a man possesses within specific environment. The next task was to brush certain emotional color, indicating specific place where it manifests itself. Then, each participant was able to talk and analyse his own feelings and emotions. The next task was to combine facial expressions and intonation in the expression of emotions. There have been a number of tests to show the importance of experiencing emotions in the soul, not only through mental perception. On homework guys got the sheet with a list of emotions, from which they must choose those that are unique to them and put a number, which will show how often they occur.
SIM provided legal assistance in the case of Stanislav Lutsenko v. Ukraine in national courts. He was detained in the 40th colony of town Drohobych, Lviv oblast. His criminal case was repeatedly tired to his favour, but the acquittal was reversed by the Court of Appeal upon the prosecutors motion, and the case was remitted for a new trial. After Mr. Lutsenko had won in the ECtHR, the Supreme Court of Ukraine examined the case, and again remitted the case for a new trial. As a result of strained efforts Mr. Lutsenko was released from the custody. SIM helped him to prepare rapidly the papers from his release from the colony.
SIM provided legal assistance in the case in the ECtHR of Matushevski v. Ukraine relating the death of one of prisoners in Lviv SIZO. The ECtHR has found the violations both material and procedural aspects of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human fights. There was the publication in the media about the decision of the ECtHR Matushevski against Ukraine.
The general statistic data of a public reception’s activity
491 persons appealed for a help to the human rights public reception (hereafter – the public reception) (on average, 41 persons per month) in 2011, and 142 persons of them were women (29%). The most numerous category of persons, who appealed to the public reception, were convicted persons and their relatives – 394 people (or 80%). Besides, 5.3% else of people are the defendants and their relatives.
The most part of the legal services was provided to the people during the lawyers’ visits to the penitentiary institutions – 198 persons (40%). 118 persons else (24%) received the services over the phone. The public reception receives many letters, usually, from the prisons. 86 persons (17.5%) received writing services; it’s the third figure among receptions by the quantity and the second one by a percentage. 47 people addressed to the public reception by the Internet. 40 citizens (8%) received the assistance at the personal consultations.
The consolations were held twice a week at the office of the organisation – on Mondays and Wednesdays, the answers over the phone – around the clock, in fact.
344 people (70%) from those who appealed to the public reception received the consultations and advices how to act in certain situations, 75 persons (15%) received the information to whom or to which of the state bodies they should apply for protection of their violated rights. The appeals were sent to the authorities in the interests of 31 persons (6%). Besides, on scores of cases the appeals in the interests of clients were sent simultaneously to the provision of the consultations. The examples of the solution of problems are provided below. 23 convicted persons or their relatives were provided (by mail) by the information brochures which had been issued by the organisation (4.7%).
The clients of the public reception were the most interested in the issues related to their criminal cases – 94 persons (19%), a lot of people were worried about their severe sentences delivered in the cases – 60 persons (12%). The complaints of the convicted persons are related mainly to the issues of ignoring their complaints by the state bodies and officials – 5.9%, arbitrariness – 3.5%, failure to provide medical care – 2.9%, illegal detention and arrest – 2.4%, refusals of parole or amnesty, refusals to transfer to serve their sentences closer to the dwelling of their relatives, etc.
16 persons (3.3%, in year 2010 – 4%) appealed with regard to the torture and ill-treatment, and in 11 cases the staff of the penitentiary institutions was considered to be offender, in other cases – the police.
The most complaints of citizens who appealed to the public reception in 2011, concern the courts – 129 persons (26%), the administration of the penitentiary institutions – 22% and the police – 6%.
The activity of the public reception shows that prisoners often have no real mechanisms for the protection of their rights.
Lawyers’ visits to the penitentiary institutions
42 visits were conducted to the penitentiary institutions of Donetsk region, and 198 persons received consultations in 2011.
Carrying out of the educational events
An important factor influencing on the situation as to the prevention of the torture and ill-treatment in prisons is increasing of the familiarization of the staff of the facilities with international standards of treatment with prisoners. During year 2011 the NGO "Donetsk Memorial" held the following measures aimed at the spreading of the awareness of human rights and their protection: six seminars for the stuff of the police units, including the following.
On 17 of March the meeting with the staff of the Regiment Patrol Guard Service of Donetsk City Police Department was held. This meeting was devoted to the international human rights standards established in the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (hereafter – the ECHR). 90 persons participated in this event (see annexes Nos. 13, 14)
On 21 of April the meeting with the staff of the Voroshylovskyy Police Station devoted to the international standards on human rights established in the judgments of the ECHR was held. 65 persons took part in this event (see annexes Nos. 13, 14).
For the staff of the penitentiary institutions 16 seminars with the subsequent issuance of the certificates was held in four such institutions, including the following.
On 1 of April the meeting with the staff of the Donetskyy Pre-trial Detention Centre devoted to the international standards of human rights established in the judgments of the ECHR was held. More than 20 persons participated in this event (see annexes Nos. 15,16).
On 6 of April the meeting with the staff of the Zahidna Penal Colony No. 97 of Makeyevka City devoted to the international standards of human rights established in the judgments of the ECHR was held. More than 15 people took part in this event (see annexes Nos. 15, 16).
On 27 of April the meeting with the convicted persons of Selidivsa Penal Colony No. 82 devoted to the protection of prisoners' rights and procedures for filing complaints was held. The number of participants exceeded 80 persons (see annexes Nos. 15, 16).
On 4 of July, 2011 in Yenakiyevska Penal Colony the seminar on the topic “The International Standards of Human Rights in the Activity of the Penitentiary Institutions. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture” for the staff of this facility was held. "(see annexes Nos. 15,16).
After the finishing of the cycle of the seminars some of the participants received the certificates (see annex 17).
To improve the public control and the effectiveness of the supervisory commission the Russian-Ukrainianwas held in March of 2011 (see annex No. 18).
The information-methodical seminars for the members of the supervisory committees of Poltava, Zaporizhia and Kharkiv regions were conducted by the organisation (annex 19 – the letters from the Regional State Administrations (hereafter – the RSA). The Heads of the RSA of these regions expressed readiness to organise these seminars, invited the representatives of all the supervisory committees of the region, the representatives of the local penitentiary department and the colonies, the prosecutor of supervision. All the participants of the seminars received the publication of the NGO "Donetsk Memorial", namely, the scientific and practical commentary "The Regulations on the Supervisory Committee" and the brochure "The Activity of the Supervisory Committees in Questions and Replies" (annex 20 – the agenda of the seminars). The grateful letters for the workshops were received by the NGO "Donetsk Memorial" from the RSAs (annex 21).
Actions directed on the introduction of changes in the regulatory framework of the SPSU
A number of problems of the ill-treatment of prisoners are relevant to the imperfect legislation.
The organisation initiated the discussion of more than a hundred proposals of changes to the Internal Regulations and training with participation of the experts – scientists, the NGOs’ representatives, the officers of the SPSU. These proposals were sent to the SPSU, the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecutor General's Office (annex 22 – the letters and the list of proposals).
The SPSU in the reply expressed his attitude to these proposals and intends to take into account some of them when preparing changes to the Internal Regulations (annex 23 – the letter of the SPSU).
The issues of the improvement of the regulatory framework were discussed at the public hearings which took place in Kiev on 1st of July, 2011 (see annex No. 24).
In September 2011 the round table conference with participation of the experts dedicated to the discussion and preparation of the actual amendments to the Penal Code was held. At the meeting the necessity to provide the important changes to the Code was marked, in particular, as to the provision of health services, the order of the pensions appointment to the prisoners, the payment for their work and maintenance for the life prisoners (see annex No. 25).
Besides, the attempt to cancel the registration of the joint Order of the SPSU and the Ministry of Health, which includes the prohibition to provide with the pensions before the prisoners' release, was made. In this regard the letter to the Ministry of Justice was sent. And the NGO "Donetsk Memorial" received the answer, the content of which confirms the presence of the unconstitutional provisions in this order. Later another letter to the Ministry of Justice was sent (annex 26 – the copies of the requests and response the Ministry of Justice).
Preparation of an annual report as to the rights of prisoners
It is important to know the true state of human rights in the penitentiary institutions. The result of the monitoring of the human rights situation in the penitentiary system became the receipt of the information about the facts of violations of human rights. This information is contained in the annual report "The Respect for the Rights of Prisoners in Ukraine-2008", which is presented for the penitentiary institutions.
The public reception distributed the annual report on the respect of the prisoners’ rights in Ukraine in 2010 and the first half of 2011. The following information presented in this report: the statistics data of the activities of the penitentiary institutions of Ukraine during this period, the information regarding the events in the field of the respect for human rights in prisons, its analysis and recommendations concerning the improving of the rights of prisoners and information about the enforcement of the recommendations of previous reports.
This report was presented to the members of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture during the visit of their delegation to Ukraine in November 2011 and members of the Commission in Prevention of Torture at the President of Ukraine during their first meeting in December 2011. The conclusions and recommendations of the report are provided in the annexes (see annex No. 27).
Within the scope of legal aid rendering the NGO "Donetsk Memorial" prepared, published and distributed among the prisoners of all the penitentiary institutions of Ukraine the informational brochure "How to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights", the text of the European Prison Rules and the following brochures:
"The Appeal against the Sentences"
"Taking into the Custody: the Possibility of Appeal"
"The Submission of Claims in the Administrative Proceedings"
"We Have the Right"
"How to Make the Standards Work." The guide on the effective use of prison rules.
"The Review of the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights."
"The Activity of the Supervisory Committees in the Questions and Replies "
The scientific and practical commentary to the Regulations on the Supervisory Committee.
The Guide for the prisoners was published for the penitentiary institutions in Donetsk region (seven thousand copies.) and Kharkiv, Kirovograd, Kherson, Mykolayiv, Lviv regions (from 2 thousand to 5 thousand copies for each region) (annex No. 28 – the copy of the Guide). Each Guide contains the addresses of supervisory commissions and NGOs of the coresponding region.
The Guide for the newcomers-prisoners was published, which was reprinted by the SPSU’s newspaper "The Law and the Duty" (60 thousand copies).
The above and other publications made in the scope of the project were sent to all 182 libraries in the penitentiary institutions of the country and 25 regional offices of the SPSU, 4 education institutions of the SPSU, as well as the public receptions of the human rights organisations. The publications also extended under the requests of the SPSU. In this regard the grateful letters were received by the NGO "Donetsk Memorial".
The information regarding the respect for the human rights in the penitentiary institutions was regularly presented at the press conferences and during the round table conferences.
On 4 of February the assistance was provided in organising and holding a press conference presenting the results of the work of the human rights public reception for year 2010 (see annex No. 33).
On 28 of February the assistance was provided in organisation of the round table conference with representatives of the NGOs of Donetsk region, which render the services to the convicted persons (see annex No. 34).
On 30 of March in Kiev in the agency "Ukrainian News" the press conference of the NGO "Donetsk Memorial" was held on the topic “How the Prisoners' Rights Were Respected in 2008”. The main theses and conclusions of the fourth annual report "The Respect for the Rights of Prisoners in Ukraine-2008" were presented on this press conference (see annex No. 35).
5 of June – the participation as an expert in two-hours telecast on a regional TV channel "Donbass" on the topic of the respect for the rights of the convicted and released persons;
17 of June – the press conference on the topic “The Rights of the Prisoners: How Are They Protected” (see annex No. 36);
15 of September – the participation as a leading of the press conference on the topic "The Violations of the Prisoners Rights: Trends 2011" in Kiev (see annex No. 37).;
3 of October – the participation as an expert in the telecast on the regional TV channel "Donbass" on the topic of amnesty and the respect for the rights of prisoners and released persons (see annex No. 38);
6 of October – on-line conference on the website "Ostrov" (see annex No. 39).
From the spring of 2008 the organisation has been maintaining the website “Prison Portal”.
During year 2009 more than hundred news was placed on the website in the section "News"
The section of the publications contains the electronic versions of publications of the NGO "Donetsk Memorial".
As to the activity in the advisory structures
The representatives of the organisation are the members of the regional supervisory committee, public council in the Department of the SPSU region and the Public Council of the Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Donetsk region. From November of 2011 the head of the organisation is a member of the Commission on the Prevention of Torture at the President of Ukraine.
Internet-conference at the website “Ostrov”
4 of October, 2011
Kherson Oblast Foundation ‘Charity and Health’
In 2001 public reception office of the Kherson Oblast Foundation ‘Charity and Healh’ practically was not adddressed with complaints on the issue of torture. Generally the organization carried out review of the press. There were several cases on the issue of improper medical aid for inmates kept in preliminary detention. In one case a person had mental disorder and required special brain research – tomogram, but the judge trialed the the person’s criminal case did not give the permission for the examination. Due to active advocacy actions of the organizaqtion, by means of involving of a prosecutor’s officethe organization the examination was carried out. After that the person have got adequate medical care in the SIZO. The organization prepared and addressed to the ECHR a complaint on the issue of lack of antiretroviral therapy for the person conveyed form a SIZO to a colony. Importatnt issue of violation of living conditions for prisoners of Kherson SIZO because of owercrowding of the institution at last has beed moved from the dead stop. By means of continuous efforts of the organization, the land has been given for building of a new SIZO frame.
Public Organization ‘Sevastopol Human Rights Protection group’
In 2011 the organization our partner carried out trainings, round tables and public hearings and another activities in question, particularly, on January 14, February 25, March 25, April 21, May 19, June 30, July11, August 15, September 15, October 28-29, November 16, December 9. Activists and leadership of NGOs from Sevastopol, students, local officials participated in the events on the matter of human rights. The activities had mostly aware-raising and educating nature, some of them were conducting with watching of documentary films.
Charity Organization ‘Chernigiv Women Human Rights Center’
The organization together with Chernigiv Advisory Commission rendered legal aid for convicted women serving punishment in Chernigiv Women’s Oclony.They carried out the mohtn og legal knowledge with involvement of specialists of the Main Department of Justice in Chernigiv oblast, principal specialists of governmental and local authorities, lawyers and paralegals of NGOs, members of Advisory Commissions, professors and students of Chernigiv Juridicaldepartment of the SPSU. The event has been completedwith the intellectual game ‘Know your rights and be able to protect them’.
One specific case of ill-treatment was that one minor person was kept in conditions of absolute isolation in breach of both Minimal Rules of Treatment with Minors and national correctional law. Due to the efforts of the Centren the minor was moved to another institution. In another case a person with serious mental illness was convicted by court and was serving a punishment in a colony. Having served the punishment he disclosed obvious signs of a mental disease. The organization initiated complaining theconviction in course of extraordinary proceedings on the grounds of his insanity. Having resulted from this activity the judgment was quashed and the inmate was moved to a hospital.
The Centre provided field legal aid in several penitentiary institutions including one for children. In fact the Centre provided with legal aid all the colonies in the region.
Summary statistical data on legal aid provided by the partners is shown in the following tables.
Ukrainian Helsinki HR Union
Kherson Oblast Foundation of Charity &Health
Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group
Center of legal and political research SIM, Lviv
Society “Donetsk Memorial”
Torture and/or ill-treatment
Arbitrary detention arrest or violations during investigation
Violations during court procedures
Exorbitant length of proceedings
Failure to enforce judgments at law
Compensation of damage
Ignorance of complains by authorities
Freelance relations in army
Inadequate medical examination before call-up
Inadequacy or flagrant denial of medical help
Right for private or/and family life
Freedom of assembly and associations
Freedom of expression
Freedom of religion
Assault, threat or other influence on human rights defender / activist
Ukrainian Helsinki HR Union
Kherson Oblast Foundation of Charity &Health
Sevastopol Human Protection Group
Assistance in the preparation of procedural documents
Preparation of lawsuits
Representation in court
Inquire on behalf of the applicant
Preparation of the application to European court
Transference to another organisation
Conduction of campaign
Rendering the literature
Remained without reply
Anti-award "Thistle of the Year"
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has for the sixth year running marked Human Rights Day (10 December) by identifying the worst violators of human rights during the year and awarding them its Thistle of the Year Anti-Prize.
This year’s “Gold Thistle” has been awarded to Viktor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine, for systematic use of his powers to restrict rights and freedoms, and his indifference to wide-scale human rights violations.
After the reinstatement of the 1996 Constitution, the President received considerable executive powers. He immediately stated that he was taking responsibility for actions by the executive branch of power. The Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka have both stated that they will enforce any order issued by the President. A previously unheard-of system of verbal – mandatory – instructions form the President has been created. These verbal instructions, as far as we can observe, have not been aimed at removing rights abuses or safeguarding the exercises of rights and liberties.
The President has initiated and signed laws aimed at restricting the independence of judges and numerous violations of the right to a fair trial. The High Council of Justice which is controlled by the President has turned into a body for punishing judges seen as stepping out of line. Both Ukrainian and foreign commentators note that the law has been disastrous for many important powers and has placed judges under the control of the High Council of Justice. The latter has dismissed judges for breach of oath on dubious grounds and has become the means for appointing judges and dismissing those who issue inconvenient rulings.
From December 2010 to the present day there have been very few actions by the President pertaining to human rights which can be considered positive. On 9 December 2010 a Presidential Decree reinstated the National Commission on Strengthening Democracy and Affirming the Rule of Law. The position of Children’s Rights Ombudsperson was created (11 August 2011), while in November the long-awaited Decree on creating a Commission on Preventing Torture (prepared back in March) was issued. The President has vetoed a few laws infringing human rights, for example, the Law on Biometric Passports. However there are far more cases where the President ignored numerous appeals regarding flagrant rights violations and signed laws which violate human rights or, even worse, himself initiated them, paying no heed to widespread and systematic rights abuses. Through his failure to act, the President has effectively fostered the serious deterioration in the human rights situation in Ukraine observed in 2011.
The laws which he signed, ignoring numerous appeals for him to use his power of veto, included discriminatory pension reform resulting in reductions in pensions; the Law on Amendments to Some Legislative Acts regarding Examination of Cases by the Supreme Court which makes it possible for judges to decide which rulings are to be placed in the Register of Court Rulings, and which not made public; as well as establishing control over the Supreme Court; the Law on the Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons and others. With his Decree of 30 May 2011 he passed a Concept Framework on Migration Policy which envisages the implementation of a number of measures a priori violating the rights of migrants, with a pronounced law enforcement structure component.
Given that the President effectively controls the law enforcement bodies and Prosecutor’s Office, as well as having decisive influence on judges via the High Council of Justice and his other powers, we should mention the initiating of dubious criminal prosecutions of opposition politicians, where the hearings have taken place with numerous violations of the right to a fair trail, as well as many criminal investigations against civic activists. This has had an extremely negative impact on Ukraine’s image in the world, and led to a huge number of statements from international institutions and European political figures regarding the political motivation of such criminal prosecutions, retreat from democracy and disregard for the rule of rule in Ukraine and has placed in jeopardy the vital EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
The President has ignored appeals regarding serious human rights abuses both from human rights organisations, and from other institutions and individuals.
1.2.3. Awareness-raising and educational activities
18.104.22.168. Two one-day seminars for judges
On 11 April 2011 and on 14 September 2011 we conducted two one-day seminars for local judges in cooperation with Academy of Judges of Ukraine.
In both the seminars judges of common jurisdiction courts, with less than 5-year experience each, took part, in the first one – 30 judges from Kiev, Cherkassy, Vinnitsa and Zhytomyr regions, in the second one – 19 judges from the West region of Ukraine (Ivano-Frankivska, Rivno, Volin, Zakarpatska oblasts).
During the first seminar next presentations were delivered for the participants.
Ivan Lishchina (lawyer and former legal secretary of the European Court of Human Rights) offered participants to talk about fairness of the proceedings under Article 6 of the Convention. The lecturer talked about current issues related to the fairness of the trial separately explaining the issue of criminal prosecution and civil aspect of Article 6. As a result, judges have perceived criteria for evaluating fairness of the trial, learned the practice of the Court in cases against Ukraine. Especially important was the theme of the concept of criminal charges and guarantees of Article 6 within the scope of national criminal and administrative proceedings.
Expert Arkadiy Bushchenko (lawyer) talked about safeguards of Article 5 of the Convention in respect of criminal suspects (accused) and their right to effective defence.
Expert Gennadiy Tokarev (lawyer) presented the problem of ill-treatment with emphasis on case law of the European Court in respect of Ukraine. Discussion on problem of effective investigation of complaints about ill-treatment was launched with aim to receive feedback from the participants.
During the second seminar next presentations were delivered for the participants.
Legal expert of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group Mikhailo Tarakhkalo gave general information of fair trial in the context of Article 6 of the ECHR. He explained the guarantees of fair trial provided by the Article 6, illustrate corresponding proceedings in the Court, relying on the core case-law of the ECtHR on the issue, represented specific cases against Ukraine on the matter of fair trial and the following review of judgments of national courts as a result of the ECHR judgments.
Another our legal expert Yana Zaikina delivered the presentation about substantial and procedural aspects of Articles 2 and 3 of the ECHR. The participants knew about the basic criteria of effective investigation from the view of the ECtHR, as well as about conception of burden of proof. The expert explained to the judges applying of the ECtHR judgments in Ukrainian courts. Judgments of the ECtHR against Ukraine have given to the participants the information about the current situation with tortures and cases against Ukraine and evoked the most interest of the judges which led to sharing of their experience on the issue and to the active discussion. The main issue of discussion was about a notion of effective investigation by the investigation bodies. It should be noted that almost all judges participants of the seminars complained about failure to have sufficient impact on the investigating authorities including because of lack of power provided by law.
Puslan Topolevskyi (assistant professor of law in Lviv State University of Internal Affairs) delivered the presentation on the matter of safeguards of liberty and security of person in the context of Article 5 of the ECHR. The participants were given the possibility to know the ECtHR’s perception of deprivation of liberty that is quite different from that from a practice of national courts as well as examples of the most typical violation of the international standards in cases against Ukraine.
On each of the seminars we invited forensic medical expert professor Nikolay Tagaev in order to give to judges unique knowledge on the matter of medical evidence of torture (physical abuse) in course of criminal persecution which are not learned in any educational institution of Ukraine.. Nikolay Tagaev talked about character person’s injuries resulted from the police’s abuse of force. The judges recognized prevalence of police’s torture in the country. The presentation always roused a large interest of judges and active debates about the quality of forensic findings in cases of torture and other ill-treatment. Judges found the presentation very useful as to assessments of forensic expert reports in judicial practice. At the end of this session judges have been given with an additional list of specific questions to be put to medical experts in cases of ill-treatment.
The seminars consisted of four classic lectures and included an interactive form of education in the form of active discussion about on basic questions about tortures by the police officers, exchange of experience and creating of approach as to applying of the ECHR and the ECtHR case-lawc in corresponding cases in Ukrainian courts.
22.214.171.124. Training course for lawyers
From 20 to 23 April 2011, we have conducted the final training session for participant of the course 18 lawyers from various regions of Ukraine participated in training session. Previous training session has been prepared and held in Kharkiv from 17 to 20 November, 2010. During December 2010 – April 2011 we conducted virtual education through e-mail communication.
During final sessions the next issues were discussed:
Proceedings before the ECtHR (with amendments under Protocol no. 14),
ECtHR case-law and rights in area of health care ,
Right to fair trial,
Discrimination in context of ECHR,
Rights to peaceful enjoyment of property,
Right to privacy,
Freedom of expression, and
Forensic evidence of ill-treatment.
Yevgeniy Zakharov, Arkadiy Bushchenko, Lyudmila Klochko, Oksana Preobragenskaya, Prof. Mykola Tagayev, Mykhaylo Tarahkalo, Aigul Mukanova, Gennadiy Tokarev participated as trainers. The trainees were given theoretical materials and practical tasks, including simulation of proceedings before the ECtHR.
126.96.36.199. Two-days seminar for officials of penitentiary system and prosecutor’s offices
On 29-30 October 2011, KHPG conducted two-day seminar for officials of penitentiary system and prosecutor’s offices. The seminar was organised KHPG together with the National Prosecution Academy of Ukraine and the State Penitentiary Service. It held in the building of the SPSU (81 Melnikova Street). The seminar was attended by heads or deputy heads of all regional departments of the SPSU and high-rank officials from the General Prosecutor’s Office. Also the members of the regional civil councils were present. The total number of participants was 65.
During the first day, after the Deputy Head of the SPSU Mr. Sidorenko and representative of the KHPG opened the seminar, Mr. Paulus Hendrikus Wilhelmus Geurts, Director International Co-operation Dutch Correctional Services, conducted the training. The agenda of the interactive training included standards of UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, European Convention on Human Rights, Commission on the Prevention of Torture in penitentiary service, European Prison Rules (The basic rules), Disciplinary Punishment and the use of force: European Prison Rules and the situation in the Netherlands, Penitentiary Principles Act, Penitentiary Measure. The training also included discussions in sub-groups.
The Deputy Head of the Penitentiary Service informed the participants about the measures of the penitentiary service in securing human rights of inmates.
During the second day of the seminar, Mrs. Valentina Badyra made presentation on activities of the Parole Boards. Mrs. Iryna Yakovets presented the results of research on practice of conditional release of prisoners. Mr. Mikhail Romanov and Mrs. Aigul Mukanova made presentations on conditions of detention and health care in penitentiary system. Representatives of Penitentiary Service actively participated in the discussion. Ms. Alla Mukshimenko, Deputy Head of the Civil Council at Penitentiary Service, launch the discussion on the activities of civil councils.
188.8.131.52. Round table devoted to ECtHR judgment Davydov and Others v. Ukraine
The European Court of human rights held judgment of Davydov and Others v. Ukraine (applications nos. 17674/02 and 39081/02) on 1 July 2010. Applicants, the convict persons, who were served sentences in the Zamkova prison (town Iziaslav of Khmelnitsky region), were twice brutally beaten by the special department in the course of the training exercises.
The Court found four violations of Article 3. Firstly, the applicants had been ill-treated, and had experienced fear and humiliation during the training exercises which had been conducted without the prisoners’ consent, nor any legal justification. Secondly, no effective investigation into the applicants’ complaints had been conducted. Thirdly, it had not been established that the applicants had ever been examined by a medical officer in relation for their complaints; no medical treatment had been provided to them for the injuries sustained during the exercises, and no proper registration system had existed for medical complaints. Last, but not least, the cells in which the applicants had been held, had been continuously overcrowded, which was a problem of a structural nature, which in itself was in breach of the Convention.
The Court held that the Government have failed to fulfill their obligation under Article 38 § 1 (a) of the Convention. It held that Mr. Davydov, Mr. Ilchenko and Mr. Gomeniuk received no medical treatment and assistance for the injuries inflicted on them in the course of the trainings and were detained in poor conditions in Zamkova Prison. It held that their complaints of their ill-treatment in the course of the training exercises were not duly investigated by the Ukrainian authorities in violation of Article 3.
The Court found that there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention, taken together with Article 3 of the Convention, on account of the lack of effective and accessible remedies under domestic law for the applicants’ complaints in respect of their ill-treatment and the injuries inflicted during the training exercises, the lack of medical treatment and assistance for these injuries, and also the poor conditions of detention.
It held that there has been a violation of Article 8 § 1 of the Convention in that interference with the first, second and third applicants’ correspondence was not lawful.
That is why it was necessary to publish the translation and to discuss this extremely important judgment and its consequences for law-enforcing bodies in Ukraine. On 13 December 2011, KHPG conducted round table in Kyiv devoted to this judgment. It held in the conference building of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (55 Volodymyrska Street). Participants of the round table were representatives of the Penitentiary Department, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, General Prosecutor’s and Ombudsperson’s Secretariat as well as representatives of the partner human rights NGOs. In total, there were 35 participants. Each participant will receive the book with translation of this judgment into Ukrainian. Participants discussed other similar incidents and compared with the facts in the case of Davydov and others. KHPG members told on case Karabet and others v. Ukraine that European Court accepted as admissible. Now this case is in the stage of communication with the government. In this case more than 40 convicted persons of the colony No. 31 were brutally beaten on 22 January 2007 by the special department for hunger strike. According to point of view NGOs representatives, the Penitentiary Department as civil service cannot have in its structure the special department for usage of force. Special department has to be included into the structure of the MIA and be used in penitentiary establishments when it is necessary.
184.108.40.206. Press-conferences and other public events
KHPG and its partners held several press-conferences and other public actions devoted to prevention of torture and ill-treatment.
For example, KHPG held press-conferences «26 June – International Day in Support of Victims of Torture» in the agency UNIAN in Kyiv on 23 June and in the Lviv Press-club on 24 June (see press-release of the Kyiv press-conference in the Appendix 2).
On 23 June KHPG together with other human rights NGOs and youth groups also organised demonstration of the modern means of torture near prosecutor offices. In Kyiv human rights activists held a demonstration outside the Prosecutor General’s Office. They demonstrated modern weapons of torture which are used by Ukrainian police officers. Please, find enclosed list of links to publications about the demonstration of the modern means of torture and press-conference in Kyiv on 23 June in the Appendix 3.
KHPG pointed out that the exhibits presented were unique in being prepared from everyday items. Among them were a car battery, bottle of water, plastic bag, handcuffs and others.
Similar demonstrations were held in Kharkiv, Simferopol, Chernihiv, Donetsk, Luhansk and other cities (in total, in 11 cities). KHPG activists Andriy Didenko, Boris Zakharov and leader of the student trade union «Direct Action» Mikhail Kamenev worked as coordinators of these actions in 11 cities near local prosecutor offices. KHPG published and passed to all cities 16 leaflets for dissemination in 1000 copies each. 9 leaflets were printed and distributed in Ukrainian and Russian. Local coordinators distribute these leaflets among participants of the demonstrations. List of leaflets is given below in the subsection 220.127.116.11. All cities, where demonstration held, and coordinators of the action as well as instructions on holding the action were given in the table:
KHPG held the same press-conferences and public hearings devoted to torture and ill-treatment in Simferopol on 5 July and in Kharkiv on 27 July. Please, find links to publications about these events in the Appendix 3.
18.104.22.168. Master classes on the matter of people’s behavior in relationship with police
Series of master classes ‘How to safeguard from unlawful actions of police?’ were conducted by partners of KHPG. The participants were given with printed recommendations (leaflets) on behavior during contacts with police officers (on call to police, arrest, detention, search, unlawful violence, and were given answers for their questions. The dates and places of the master classes are shown in the table:
Zbruyevka, Kherson region
Activists HR organisations of Kherson
Donetsk Industrial Economic College
Donetsk Industrial Economic College
Donetsk Industrial Economic College
Chuguyev, Kharkiv region
Chuguev professional Lyceum
Sevastopol Europe University
Luhansk Lyceum of Foreigh Languages
Gymnasia №1 (3 master classes)
Lugansk National Pedagogic University.
members of youth organisations
members of youth organisations
Simferopol University of Economic and Management
Zaporiggya National University.
Lutsk specialized school of architecture and building and of Lutsk legal Lyceum
round table of HR organisations of Volin
2.2.5. Informing the Ukrainian and international communities about the human rights in Ukraine
22.214.171.124. Informing through Internet
In the reported period KHPG produced a series of publications on human rights in Ukrainian, Russian, and English, and disseminated these publications through website www.khpg.org. There were also be distributed via the periodical bulletin «Prava ludyny» [“Human rights”] (twice a month, with a monthly edition in English). In 2011 KHPG placed to the site http://khpg.org 940 articles, news and other texts in Ukrainian (9 829 565 characters) and 1533 texts in English (6 748 410 characters). More detailed information is given in the following table.
Number of new articles and other texts /number of characters
Prava Lydunu (in Ukrainian)
Research and others (in Ukrainian)
Subtotal (in Ukrainian)
Prava Ludyny (in English)
Research (in English)
Subtotal (in English)
An average number a day of visitors was about 1,300. It should be noted also that a place of KHPG’s web-site in search engines’ ratings in a category of human rights is among first ten in the CIS and first in Ukraine. According to, a place of KHPG’s site is constantly between 3 and 6 in a rating of all Ukrainian public organisations (around 770 sites are being rated), lagging behind only corporate web-resources encompassing sites of many organisations.
KHPG has designed and launched a website «Against torture!» for victims of torture and ill-treatment. It is hosted on the popular civil society portal www.khpg.org and automatically is appeared in appropriate page of . The website has also allowed users to post their own experiences with human rights abuses and comment on the experiences of others. The commenting system has also allowed for follow-ups to the original post by authorities and the original author. Information on the website is divided among several headlines. Now reports are filed according to the location of the incident with tabs for police stations, temporary detention centers, investigative wards, penal establishments, punishment of the MIA officers, punishments of the officers of the State Penitentiary Service, traffic police, criminal proceeding against MIA officers, practice advisements, and other facilities. We suggest to add new headlines in case of receiving information about facts of ill-treatment in other detention facilities, for example, psychiatric hospitals etc. The site was updated on a daily basis. An average number of visitors were about 118 per day. More detailed information on a number of materials, placed to the website «Against torture!», statistics of visits is given in the Appendix 4.. For calling website it is necessary to tape . Technologically, the initial information is posted by KHPG on its web-site
In the reported period KHPG online human rights library http://library.khpg.org was updated on a daily basis and enriched with more than 100 books and numerous other publications. An average number of visitors were 114 per day. Virtual museum and archive of the dissident movement in Ukraine http://archive.khpg.org was also updated on a weekly basis. An average number of visitors were 170 per day.
In the reported period KHPG continued preparation, publication and distribution of the Prava Ludyny bulletin (# 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20 22, 23, 25, 26, 28, 29, 31, 32, 34 and 35 in Ukrainian) and its monthly review in English (# 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12) as well as the monthly bulletin Human Rights. Civic Education' (# 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 21). In addition, we published the quarterly Freedom of Expression and Privacy # 1, 2-3 and #4 for 2011.
KHPG has published and distributthe following books:
Review of the information sources on torture and ill-treatment in the penal system (2007-2009), format 60x84 1/16, 336 pages, 1000 copies.
Selected judgments of the European Court of Human Rights concerning Ukraine – 2008 (format 60x84 1/16, 512 pages, 1000 copies). It includes 27 judgments from 110 adopted by the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Ukraine
1. Human Rights in Ukraine – 2009-2010. Human Rights Organisations’ report, format 60x84 1/8, Ukrainian version 488 pages, 1200 copies, English version 444 pages, 500 copies.
2. Ukrainian journalists against torture, format 60x84 1/16, 208 pages, 1000 copies.
3. Monitoring illegal violence in the MIA establishments of Ukraine. Report on the results of annual sociological survey in 2010, format 60x84 1/16, 208 pages,, 1000 copies.
4. Review of the information sources on torture and ill-treatment in 2010-2011, format 60x84 1/16, 284 pages, 1000 copies.
- Human Rights in activities of the Ukrainian militia – 2010, 296 pages, 1000 copies.
6. Arkadiy Bushchenko. Manual for lawyers. Tactics for the defense of the right to liberty in the course of criminal proceedings. 36 pages, 1000 copies.
7. Arkadiy Bushchenko. Manual for lawyers. Tactics for the prevention of torture and on representing the torture victim’s before a court. 36 pages, 1000 copies.
8. Denis Kobzin, Oleg Maritnenko, Yury Belousov, Andriy Chernousov, Practical Guide for official training MIA officers in human rights observation. – 268 pages, 1000 copies.
- Oleg Maritnenko, Denis Kobzin, Andriy Chernousov, Roman Sheiko, Oleksandr Ignatov. Monitoring illegal violence in the MIA in 2004-2011. – 226 pages, 1000 copies.
- Human Rights in activities of the Ukrainian militia – 2011, 345 pages, 1000 copies.
- Case of Davydov and Others v. Ukraine. Format 60x84 1/16, 184 pages,, 1000 copies.
- Actual problems of improvement of the terminology in the Criminal Code of Ukraine, 152 pages, 1000 copies.
1. Огляд повідомлень про катування та погане поводження в кримінально-виконавчій системі України (2007-2009). 336 с., 1000 примірників.
2. Вибрані рішення Європейського суду з прав людини -2008. 512 с., 1000 примірників.
3. Права людини в Україні – 2009-2010.Доповідь правозахисних організацій. Українська версія – 488 с., 1200 прим., англійська версія – 444 с., 500 прим.
4. Українські журналісти проти катувань. 208 с., 1000 примірників.
5. Моніторинг незаконного насильства в ОВС України. За результатами соціологічного дослідження 2010 року. 208 с., 1000 примірників.
6. Огляд повідомлень щодо катувань та поганого поводження в Україні в 2010–2011 р.р., 284 с., 1000 примірників.
7. Права человека в деятельности украинской милиции – 2010, 296 с. 1000 примірників.
8. Бущенко Аркадій. Тактика запобігання катуванням і представництва жертв катувань у суді, 36 с., 1000 примірників.
9. Бущенко Аркадій. Тактика захисту права на свободу в межах кримінального процесу, 36 с., 1000 примірників.
10. Кобзін Д.О., Мартиненко О.А., Черноусов А.М., Шейко Р.В., Ігнатов О.Н.Практичний посібник для службової підготовки з дотримання прав людини в діяльності МВС. – 268 с., 1000 примірників.
11. Мартиненко О.А., Кобзін Д.О., Бєлоусов Ю.Л., Черноусов А.М. Моніторинг незаконного насильства в органах внутрішніх справ України (2004–2011 рр.), 226 с., 1000 примірників.
12. Права людини в діяльності української міліції – 2011, 345 с., 1000 примірників.
13. Справа Давидов та інші проти України, 184 с., 1000 примірників.
14. Актуальні проблеми вдосконалення та уніфікації термінології Кримінального кодексу України. Упорядкування – З.А. Тростюк, О.Є. Сапожнікова, 152 с., 1000 примірників.
Participants of all educational events received these books and other KHPG editions devoted to prevention of torture and ill-treatment. In additions, the books were passed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and their regional departments, Ministry of Justice and their regional departments, State Department on Execution of Punishment and their regional departments, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, all Appeal Courts, the Security Service and General Prosecutor’s office, their regional departments, Ombudsperson’s Secretariat, law educational institutes, central and regional libraries as well as the libraries of institutes and partner human rights NGOs. Usually we use a post service. Mailing list consists of 730 addresses.
In addition, KHPG published in 3000 copies and distributed in 18 regions of Ukraine 16 leaflets on different themes of human rights. 9 leaflets from them devoted to relations with the police were printed and distributed in Ukrainian and Russian (for the Crimea and other mostly Russian-speaking regions). Members of the partner organization, the Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Observation in the Police Activities, organised meeting (see above information on master-classes) with students, young civil activists and distributed these leaflet during the meetings among participants. List of leaflets is given below.
1. «Open! Police!»
2. Communicate with the policeman.
3. Cause to district department of the police
4. Duties of civil security police when dealing with citizens
5. You were detained for committing an administrative offense
6. You're in the room for detainees
7. You accuse of a crime
8. Beating in police
9. The search in your dwelling
10. Appeal against decision to refuse to open a criminal case
11. Freedom of peaceful assembly
12. What the worker has to do when he did not receive the salary?
13. Violence in the family
14. The duty of parents to keep their child (child support)
15. Reinstatement for wrongful dismissal
16. Execution of the court decisions in civil cases
2.3.Activities that have not taken place
Please outline any activity and/or publications foreseen in the contract, that have not taken place, explaining the reasons for these
By ratifying the 2006 the Optional Protocol, Ukraine took the obligation to establish NPM, i. e. body (or bodies), which would freely make inspection visits and monitor institutions of confinement in order to prevent torture.
In course of committing of the Project it was foreseen to achieve the adoption of the National Conception for Prevention of Torture and Ill-Treatment (hereinafter — the Conception), and the Action Plan fot implementation of the Conception. The draft of the Conception was worked out by our experts, but unfortunately Administration of the President did not approve it because of political environment in the country is essentially decreased. On absence of the Conception and corresponding non-existence of Action Plan KHPG has undertaken active efforts for establishing the NPM.
The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine in cooperation with NGOs in 2008-2009 developed a draft law on national preventive mechanism for preventing torture. It proposed to provide for actual public participation in the visits of monitoring groups to prisons in all oblasts of Ukraine, which were coordinated by the small (6 to 8 persons) Committee against Torture, which should have consisted of experts. KHPG legal experts took part in preparing and discussing draft law on National Preventing Mechanisms (NPM) against torture and ill-treatment. We gave our recommendations to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine in order to improve the draft of the law on NPM, prepared comments on existing mechanisms of the control over places of detention and proposals on models of NPM that include detailed analysis of advantages and disadvantages of each model. We take active part in modification of the text of the draft law. The draft law foresaw the creation of a new body called National commission for prevention of torture. These procedures last longer than we expected mostly due to the State authorities’ attitude. Ministry of Justice sent the draft law to many different state bodies in order to receive their recommendations and/or comments, which takes exorbitant time; we believe that it is not necessary to involve irrelevant state authorities in preparation of the mentioned draft law, because in any case it will be examined in relevant Parliamentary Committee and verified many more times after its registration in the Parliament. Unfortunately, Cabinet of Ministers did not agree with the draft. In August 2010 the bill and two years’ work of ministerial specialists and human rights experts just disappeared. Instead, there appeared a new bill, which, contrary to the advice of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture of the UN Committee against Torture, evaded public discussion, which caused a wave of public protests in Ukraine, bringing the bill back for reconsideration. The bill named “On amendments to the Law on the Human Rights Ombudsperson” was prepared by the Ministry of Justice, and placed responsibility for the NPM on the Ombudsperson.
In September 2010 our partner the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has initiated the Appeal open for endorsement by civic organisations, over the secretive drawing up by the Ministry of Justice of a draft law on the creation of NPM, demanding public discussion of this draft law and that amendments are made to it envisaging public participation in the system of monitoring and prevention of torture. The letter has been sent to the Minister of Justice, the Heads of the Verkhovna Rada Committees on Human Rights, National Minorities and Inter-ethnic Relations; on Legislative Provisions for Law Enforcement Activities; on National Security and Defence and on Health. As well in September 2010 KHPG with another Ukrainian human rights organisations has initiated and has send the open letter of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture of the Committee against Torture on the issue of violating by Ukraine its commitments on NPM and neglect of UN principles and approaches in the formation of mechanisms for preventing torture in the country.
Together with specialists from the Ministry of Justice our legal experts has prepared a regulation on the National commission for prevention of torture at the President of Ukraine. As the result of our continuous efforts the Commission on Prevention of Torture and Ill-Treatment at the President of Ukraine was established in September 2011.
Because of above mentioned reasons notwithstanding that the NPM should have been created within a year, but it took five years to make the first step only – establishing and starting to work the Commission on the Prevention of Torture. Regrettably, the Commission fails to meet the basic requirements of the Optional Protocol. Its main disadvantage is the financial and structural dependence on public organs. Lack of worked-out procedures of Commission’s activity and practice do not allow drawing conclusions about other aspects of its work. So, Ukraine still has no independent preventive mechanism which might meet the requirements of the Optional Protocol and be functionally independent and have independent staff. We hope that we can prepare a new draft law on NPM in the framework of the Commission which has to work before adoption corresponding law on the NPM.
Because of liquidation of MIA Department of monitoring human rights in the MIA activities we could not continue our cooperation. Instead of we helped to create a new NGO, all-Ukrainian Association for monitoring human rights in the law enforcing bodies. We found financing for its activities in the first stage. Now Association of AUMHR became strong organisation. We actively cooperated with our new partner.
The situation in Ukraine unexpectedly arosed a new HR issue requiring appropriate counteraction – potitical persecution of former high rank officials and civic activists. A number of criminal cases against former Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other officials as well as participants of Tax Maidan, members of protest groups became routine practice of our life. All these cases have been ended with a conviction, and the most resonant among them were the ones against the former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and against the former Minister of Interior Yury Lutsenko. The cases had been initiated with a strong political implication caused a very negative reaction of the society and foreign political leaders. The cases showed to all in the world that problems of fair trial, excessive or ungrounded usage of pre-trial detention, ill-treatment are the common for criminal justice in Ukraine.
2.4.What is your assessment of the results of the Action? Include observations on the performance and the achievement of outputs, outcomes, impact and risks in relation to specific and overall objectives, and whether the Action has had any unforeseen positive or negative results. (Please quantify where possible; refer to Logframe Indicators).
We evaluate the results of the Action as satisfactory. Unfortunately we have to acknowledge that there area many factors out of our control that worsening the situation on the matter prevention of torture. Main reason is the policy of the new government which is apparently less sensitive toward human rights issues. There have been evident indications of the strong attack on civil rights and political liberties on the part of newly appointed officials. However, we managed to conduct mainly our planned activities and achieve the planned outcomes as much as possible. Because of lack of joint political will of different state institutions to adopt a Strategy and a National Action Plan on Preventing Torture and create NPM under OPCAT obligations we have not achieved yet to set up a national system for the prevention of torture and ill-treatment. Notwithstanding of the situation we tried to strengthen capacities of existing element of NPM, and due to our activity the Commission on Prevention of Torture and Ill-Treatment at the President of Ukraine was created. The Commission became the standing advisory body at the President of Ukraine for implementation of Ukraine’s commitments under the Optional Protocol. Upon the above mentioned attitude of politicians to the problem of torture it’s hard to say as a whole that there has been established constructive cooperation between civic society and the state to effectively combat torture. Nevertheless, there were indications of enhancing of relationship with the SPSU that became more open for civil society. They became to response to our information about torture, upon our requests substitute several chiefs of regional departments of the SPSU, there leadership began to participate in joint events (meetings, trainings).
Even in unfavourable for HR activities situation in the country the capacity of civic society in influence to state policy in the area of torture prevention apparently has strengthened. While the development in constructive cooperation between civil society and the state slowed down, it resulted in more development of component of strengthening the capacity of civic society to influence state policy in the area of prevention of torture. In 2010-2011, more protest actions relating to police brutality and torture happened. It showed that the society became more sensitive to this problem and began to perceive the problem as related to their personal concerns.
Although we had lost one of the state partners, the MIA Department of monitoring human rights in the MIA activities, former employees of the Department instituted the mighty NGO – Association of AUMHR. Acting as a non-governmental institution the Association has achieved much significant results in monitoring of the police than it was possible in the structure of the MIA. They continuosly carry out moitorings and publish their results. We believe that we could adequately respond to radical changes in state policy, even when one of our state partners was abolished. In the result, now civil society has independent organisation of highly qualified people with police background and strong intention to use it for protection and promotion of human rights.
We have created strong working connections between regional human rights organisations and lawyers on the matter of prevention torture and have provided participation of civil society in their activities. Our partners and other human rights organisations broadened legal advising to people, conducted public investigations cases of torture and provided extended legal assistance rendering by professional lawyers cooperating with the NGOs. All the information about our activity and activity of our partners is collected, summarized and published on our new site ‘Proty Katuvan’ (Against Torture). We conducted continuous awareness-raising and educational activities, and our partners also held a lot of educational events in their regions. More journalists are interested in the problem and information about police brutality promptly became widely published.
Through the activity of Legal Aid Centre and partners’ PROs we developed a system for legal assistance to victims of ill-treatment, improved skills of our lawyers and lawyers in regions engaged in strategic litigation cases. We analysed the legislative framework for the review of the domestic judgments following judgments of the ECtHR. Such a review is quite strong instrument for implementation of HR standards in domestic courts’ case-law. It allows to highest courts to transmit conclusions of international bodies in stronger and more apprehensible for domestic courts language as well as demonstrate direct consequences of violation of HR standards by courts and other state agencies. As outcome of the activity of Legal Aid Centre we developed court and administrative practice. Judgments against Ukraine adopted by the ECtHR have led to amending of national legislation particularly introducing to the CPC new chapter on the matter of extradition. Therefore strategic litigation carried out by the Centre is one of the means to bring the legislation into line with the international obligations. We also analysed the legal framework that preclude effective criminal investigation against particular persons involved in torture and ill-treatment even after ECtHR’s of other international body’s finding that the victim was subjected to torture or other form of ill treatment. We researched the problem of torture and ill-treatment in relation of minors involved in criminal justice system. Our experts participated in formation of legal aid system, particularly relating to Public Defender Offices.
Lawyers, who trained on our courses, spreaded this experience among their colleagues. This has created a good base for broadening the network of lawyers involved in the sphere of defence of public interests. Seminars with judges, law enforcement officers, prosecutor’s offices, personnel of the penal system caused lively debate in the respective target groups, involving not only participants in the seminars. This leads to a dissemination of knowledge about the standards of protection of human rights in the respective target groups. Due to information laws, particularly the Law ‘On Access to Public Information, were enacted, it has become more available to get official information including the statistics information on the matter of police abuse, investigation of the crimes. In order to enhance the role of the press in forming public awareness and inculcating principles of respect for human rights, together with zero tolerance for the use of torture and ill-treatment by society, we conducted training courses for journalists. The courses have developed a general understanding of the basic principles of human rights, the role and activities of human rights organisations, problems in the area of human rights. We carried out public actions against torture in many regions of Ukraine. These and other aware-raising and educating activities has changed attitude of general public and target groups concerning prevention of ill-treatments. By means of all these activities we developed specialized networks of NGOs, lawyers, experts and journalists in order to reach coordinated and consistent policy in relations with the authorities. By informing on a regular and systematic basis about the situation with human rights in Ukraine we have created tangible inside and outside pressure on the Ukrainian authorities and to exert influence on state policy on prevention of torture and ill-treatment.
Please list potential risks that may have jeopardized the realization of some activities and explain how they have been tackled. Refer to logframe indicators.
Ignorance of human rights standards by the state as a whole and some state agencies such as MIA departments, prosecutor offices, courts. It is necessary to change the situation:
- to increase a number of HR activists participating in institutes of public control, successful joint actions and cases before judicial bodies;
- to increase the number of NGO members participating in monitoring visits; to increase in number of criminal and civil cases brought against officials, involved in ill-treatment,
- to present draft laws and relevant amendments to existing laws at relevant committees and public hearings, to get an adoption of laws and regulations concerning issues of protection from torture and ill-treatment;
- to increase in number of criminal and civil cases brought against officials, involved in ill-treatment;
- to increase the number of court and administrative decisions based on the standards, changes in regulations;
- to increase the number of reports on situation in the country, number of recommendations indorsed by international and domestic institutions.
Economic crisis and necessity to cut state programmes, including those related to human rights protection.
Owing to ECtHR judgments against Ukraine and other negative assessment of the international institutions as well as their assistance we could change attitude of the Administration of President and the Government to problem of torture and ill-treatment and increase financing SSPU establishments. So, new housing for women and minors in the Kiev pre-trial investigation centre (Lukianivske SIZO) have been completed.
Probable new changes in top management of relevant agencies. The measures to tackle the issue are the following:
– increasing of the portion of civil society representatives in the mechanisms of external control, developing new procedures for control, number of visits of civil representatives to the places of detention, speediness and adequacy of reaction by the state bodies;
– increasing of the number of NGO members participating in monitoring visits;
– increasing the number and strengthening institutional and operational capacity of existing civil control mechanisms and number of NGO representatives in public councils, frequency of their interventions and their results.
Reluctance by the prosecutor’s office to investigate allegations of torture and cruel treatment. To handle the proplem can with the next actions:
- number of complaints and motions by the lawyers and number of decisions based on international standards;
– to increase the case intake of PROs and Legal Aid Center, increase number of lawyers involved, and number of cases supported and variety of legal issues raised;
Difficulties for regional partners in finding multiples sources of sustainable funding.
To solve this obstacle regional partners ought to be more active in fundraising, to develop their grant proposal, to ajust them to actual problems of the society.
Uncooperative attitude of top-management of relevant agencies
– to create new procedures of public control, constructive response by the authorities to reports about HR violations;
– to prepare frequent reports on implementation, involvement new actors in putting the pressure, establishment of NPM;
– to make up reports about monitoring, comments, articles, generalizations of laws and other regulations in the field of protection from torture and ill-treatment, to spread them among governmental bodies;
– to establish some independent visiting mechanisms, changes in regulations, number of visits to penal system;
– to increase the number of reports and recommendations, number of visits and monitoring reports;
- to increase flow of information in media on the problem, inclusion of question related to the problem in programmes of political parties and in state programmes.
Lack of access to information. To tackle the issue it is possible:
-– to increase the number of requests to state agencies, to increase number of litigations in case of refusal in access to information, adoption new draft of law on information.
Complexity of the issues and misunderstanding of principles of NPM activities by incompetent officials. To solve the proble we can do the next:
– to increase the number of educational seminars, guides, elaborated codes of practice;
– to increase the number of of participants in educational programmes.
Unsufficient activity of civil society in the field of HR protection. To handle the difficulties we can by means:
- spreding the information on HR issues and lighting up the samples of the most rude violations of people’s righs in communities, to give them feelings of their personal connection tu the cases;
- to increase the number of media and journalists involved in coverage of related issues and cooperating with KHPG and its partners, frequency of publications;
- to increase the number of people cooperating with the partners, the number of publications and broadcasting programmes;
- to increase the number of NGOs participating in joint actions, in permanent activities on the basis of consistent and coordinated principles and policy, promptness and effectiveness of reaction, the number of NGOs lobbying the ratification and implementation of OPCAT;
- to increase the number of programmes involving our experience, number of analytical and educational projects involving our experts.
Lack of sufficient number of lawyers willing acting against the system. For improving the situation we need to provide some steps for involving new legal professionals to the area of HR protection:
– to increase the number of lawyers involved in the activities, to promote success of their work, the number of participants of training courses;
– to conduct more trainings;
– to distribute editions on HR issues among the auditory of future lawyers – students of law department of universities.
2.5.What has been the outcome on both the final beneficiaries &/or target group (if different) and the situation in the target country or target region which the Action addressed?
For final beneficiaries:
The victims of torture and ill-treatment have got judgments of ECtHR to their benefit with just satisfaction for violations of their rights. As well a number of judicial decisions to the profit of the people applied for protection of their rights to KHPG has been passed by national courts in specific cases. The Strogan case (see. par.2.2.2.) is one of such the examples. By using of the provision of the Law ‘On Enforcement of Judgments and Usage of a Case-Law of the ECtHR’ and ruling of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine on extraordinary proceedings lawyers of KHPG Legal Aid Centre gradually have changed judicial practice in Ukraine.
In this course we started with Yaremenko case in which the SCU in July, 2009 on the basis of the ECtHR finding of violations of the defendant’s right to fair trial and of the right to defence (Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 of the ECHR) in form of obtaining of the confession and his testimony during police interrogation as a suspect just has excluded reasoning of the sentence with these evidence as inadmissible ones, but has remained the rest of the sentence without changes.
In April, 2010 in Shabelnik case the SCU having issued from the judgment of the ECtHR on the matter of violations of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 of the ECHR (violation of the defendant’s right to fair trial in form of abuse of his right to be silent and of the right to defence) passed the decision to quash the sentence and to remand the case for re-examination by the court of cassation. Then in September, 2011 the SCU as a court of cassation re-examined the case and excluded his witness’s testimonies at questioning and during investigatory experiment conducted in course of police investigation, but kept without changes the rest of the sentence.
In April, 2011 the SCU effused to re-examine the case of Stanislav Lutsenko, but in May, 2011 the district court released him upon a grant of parole. (December 2011) SCU quashed all courts decisions in the case taking into consideration the ECtHR finding about the violations of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 of the ECHR and remanded the case for a new trial, moreover annulled the preventive measure (see. par.2.3.4).
In June, 2011 the SCU in Leonid Lazarenko case on the basis of violation of Article 6 § 1 of the ECHR quashed the sentence and remanded the case for a new trial
In July, 2011 the SCU quashed the sentence in Kornev case in which the ECtHR previously had found violations of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 of the ECHR (the right to examine or have ehamined witnesses against him), and remanded the case for new trial.
In December, 2011) SCU in Nechiporuk case taking into account the ECtHR judgment about numerous violation of Articles 3, 5, 6 of the ECHR quashed national courts decisions sentenced the defendant, and remand the case for new trial, but has not canceled the preventive measure – keeping him in custody.
Some indicators of legal aid rendered by our lawyers during of the period of the Action are shown in the table:
Public reception office
Complaints to torture and/or ill-treatment
Consulting (original and repeated)
Assistance in the preparation of procedural documents
Preparation of lawsuits
Representation in court
Legal Aid Centre
Preparation of applications to the ECtHR
Cases adopted by the ECtHR
For target group:
During the project lawyers have been taught knowledge and practical legal skills in the field of protection from torture and ill-treatment. Legal Aid Centre established contact with lawyers and victims involved in strategic cases and provided them with constant consultative support notwithstanding of granting of a financial support from the Centre: in preparing of applications, combining of national and international methods of legal protection, and provided with appropriate books on the ECtHR case-law. As well the lawyers have got the possibility to discuss the cases in the professional network of lawyers working in the field of prevention tortures and ill-treatment.
On the basis of our educational programs within the framework of this project and other KHPG projects, we have created the permanent centre for teaching human rights. Many state bodies, in particular, the Academy of Judges of Ukraine, have continuously cooperated with us on the matter of education. Our seminars have been included in the program of courses of professional development for judges. The seminars devoted to the study of relevant international provisions and case-law on human rights, approaches to the their protection, different aspects of judicial review of the activities of the executive authorities and implementation of international standards in domestic practice, implementation of the Law "On Enforcement of Judgments and Usage of a Case-Law of the ECtHR", effective legal assistance to the victims of violation, especially detainees and prisoners and other. Judges participated in our seminars in course of the project. They have been given basic knowledge in international HR standards, familiarized with the ECtHR case-law, particularly with its quite strong judgments developing HR standards of in the context of Ukrainian legal system concerning the freedom from torture and ill-treatment, the right for liberty and security, the right for fair trial including the right to defence. Particular attention in the seminars is paid to the problem of confessions given under duress, as well as standards for considering the question of whether or not to remand in custody, and relating to complaints about alleged unlawful actions of the police. Especial interest of the judges was called by the lectures of the forensic expert.
KHPG each year of implementation of the project conducted seminars for prosecutors in cooperation with the National Prosecution Academy of Ukraine. The trainings were devoted to the matter of effective investigation of torture as a tool for combating impunity and to prevent endemic practice. The participants were given the information on the matters: criminal nature of tortures, prohibition of torture, review of the judgments of European court against Ukraine relating to tortures, access to information at the disposal of prosecutors concerning tortures, disciplinary practice in the institutions of the SPSU. During the training the participants were given specifically the knowledge: complaint mechanisms and its effectiveness; independence of investigation and structural, functional and practical means to secure it; assessment of «arguable claim» about ill treatment or misconduct sufficient for initiation of a criminal case; urgent investigative action and securing of evidence; protection of alleged victims; securing alleged victims rights in the proceedings; investigation in context of preventing of ill treatment of misconduct. In 2011 the seminar was carried out both for prosecutors and for officers of penitentiary institutions, so in course of preparation of the seminar we cooperated as well with the SPSU. The agenda of the training included learning of common international HR standards as well as provision of international law providing rights for prisoners, mechanisms for prevention torture, presentation of foreign experience of prevention torture. As well at the training the results of research on practice of conditional release of prisoners and a report on conditions of detention and health care in penitentiary system were presented for the participants.
2.6.Please list all materials (and no. of copies) produced during the Action on whatever format (please enclose a copy of each item, except if you have already done so in the past). Please state how the items produced are being distributed and to whom.
Lists of materials produced in 2009 and 2010 are given in the narrative reports for the first and second year of the project. Please, see list of all materials of the project produced in 2011 in the par. 126.96.36.199
2.7.Please list all contracts (works, supplies, services) above 10.000€ awarded for the implementation of the action since the last interim report if any or during the reporting period, giving for each contract the amount, the award procedure followed and the name of the contractor.
There were no such contracts.
2.8.Describe if the Action will continue after the support from the European Union has ended. Are there any follow up activities envisaged? What will ensure the sustainability of the Action?
Continuing our efforts for establishment of the National System for Preventing Torture and Ill-Treatment in Ukraine we are going:
– to compose comments to the new Criminal Procedure Code to make new terms understandable;
– to insist on carrying out of real judicial reform;
– to participate in drafting of bills relating to the matter of prevention of torture and ill-treatment and another issues relating to this matter;
– to analyse drafts of new law and regulations in the field of human rights and to react to danger of possible threats from implementing the law;
– to participate in discussing of the bill ‘On procuracy’ and ‘On advocacy’;
– to draw up the bill with amendment of information law: ‘On information’, ‘On access to public information’ and ‘On protection of personal data’;
– to monitor observance of fulfillment of legislation in the area of human rights;
– to maintain more actively relationships with the new Ombudsman;
– to defend further victims of torture and ill-treatment in national courts and the European Court of Human rights in the cases on this issue, and to protect the right for life and the freedom against torture and ill-treatment;
– to keep on conducting educational activities for judges, lawyers and HR activists;
– to act against political repressions in Ukraine and using of law enforcement bodies as their instrument.
As well we are going to continue our efforts in representing of victims of torture and receiving a number of positive judgements of the ECtHR that gives us the possibility to be more influent in any discussion with state bodies. As well we continue to develop our cooperation with regional partners, including by means of newly development of case-management system and by continuing of usage of common database with information on torture. This database will allow to undertake timely actions for the cases of abuse of people. We consider as the mainstream of our strategy to achieve the situation when the confession in crime perpetration will not be taken as the decisive evidence of the defendant’s guilt by means of complete extermination from national judicial practice of admissibility of evidence obtained by means of torture. In this course we will continue and develop our strategic litigation activity.
2.9.Explain how the Action has mainstreamed cross-cutting issues such as promotion of human rights, gender equality, democracy, good governance, children's rights and indigenous peoples, environmental sustainability and combating HIV/AIDS (if there is a strong prevalence in the target country/region).
Promotion human rights and democracy
Following the elections, have not only failed to demonstrate any intention to improve the situation, but have even reduced the positive processes which had been underway and new trends in violations of human rights have emerged, together with disregard for such rights. Thus, there has been a strong attack on civil rights and political liberties.
Reports of torture and other forms of unlawful violence by the police, some with a fatal outcome, have recently become more frequent. Thus, during 2010 there were about 50 reports on deaths as a result of police action (in 2009 – 21 reports). According to monitoring carried out by the Kharkiv Institute for Social Research and the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, around 780-790 thousand people are estimated to have suffered from such violence in 2010 (in 2009 – 604 thousand people).
Following the 2010 presidential elections, the new administration steadily moved towards political harassment of their opponents and critics. A lot has been reported about this by the media, Ukrainian and foreign specialists.
There are however a fairly large number of people who have been persecuted for political motives. These are participants in protests who are being intimidated in various ways, sometimes connected with violence – business entrepreneurs, students, members of civic organizations, political parties, trade unions, etc; journalists and civic activists with whom the MIA or SBU [Security Service] have held prophylactic talks, or in relation to whom there has been demonstrative surveillance; staff of public sector institutions who, under threat of dismissal, have been forced to join parties, take part in rallies, etc.
In our opinion, the criminal cases initiated against the participants of the Tax Code Protest, the members of the organizations Tryzub and VO Svoboda, as well as former high-ranking officials – Yulia Timoshenko, Yury Lutsenko and others – should be considered political persecution. All of the accused in these criminal cases who have been deprived of their liberty are political prisoners.
Thus, KHPG started to fight afainst political persecutions and defence democracy. We carried on monitoring political persecutions, analysed corresponding criminal cases and prepare our opinions for the Ukrainian and international general public, disseminate reports on political cases in Ukrainian and English in the popular media as well as defence victims of political persecutions in the courts. Lawyers of the KHPG Centre for strategic litigations represented interests of these clients in the courts. As result, all 25 civilc activists who was imprisoned in political cases, till 1 July 2011 were released.
Ukraine has no mechanisms of legal protection of vulnerable children. The legislation contains no regulations that allow considering such children as representatives of vulnerable groups that need special protection. The violations in appeals of children at risk are not considered with due care and diligence. The refusal to take into account special needs of children from this group and lack of fixed law on effective legal measures intended to ensure special protection allow concluding that this group of children is discriminated. There are no mechanisms of departmental control of the quality of militia investigation and prosecution of violations of the rights of children at risk when the children's rights are violated by law enforcers. The dependence of children and pressure on them by law enforcers significantly complicates attempts to restore the rights of children. The Association of AUMHR revealed such a form of police abuse when homeless child is placed in special police temporary detention facility for minors; they registered the child and filed an operative search case, like against criminals in course of police inquiry. Under the impact of pressure and threat of militia officers they do not dare to protest violation by law enforcers. The children often refuse to incriminate the law enforcers. It is also necessary to pass a law on special procedural due process in cases of complaints about violations of the rights of the child by law enforcers. It is important to provide for opportunities of departmental and inter-agency as well as NGOs’ control. It is essential to avoid termination of investigation on the facts stated in such complaint, if the complainant waives claims and requests to withdraw an action.
Problem of absence of juvenile justice is another one relating to children’s right. Having ratified (1991) the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Ukraine has assumed an obligation to establish juvenile justice at the national level. However, until now, this issue remains unsolved. Even the draft Concept of development of juvenile criminal justice in Ukraine, which was prepared by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, is not optimal, since it takes into account only the rights of those children, who are in conflict with the law, paying no attention to the interests of children, who are in contact with the law, i.e. those children, who suffer from law infringement. Once and again the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe drew attention of Ukraine to the absence of national procedures friendly to children. We researched some aspects of the matter of juvenile justice. The problems our experts addressed to the state bodies are insufficient examination in course of criminal prosecution specific circumstances of children’s living conditions (existence of parents care, dwelling, food etc.); treating them as adult criminals, using their preliminary detention not only in extraordinary cases.
It is necessary to conclude that current criminal procedure legislation does not take into account the interests of children, who have suffered from or witnessed crimes. The analysis of the current criminal procedure legislation of Ukraine gives the reasons to state that the victims of crimes, including children, are left without proper state aid and attention. The current Ukrainian legislation does not take into account the vulnerability of wronged children and has no procedures adapted to recognize their special needs. Even questioning of a minor victim is carried out like the interrogation of an adult. At the end of 2011 two bills were registered in Verkhovna Rada with intention to improve current criminal procedure legislation in terms of the rights of children who had suffered from or witnessed crimes during the pretrial investigation and proceedings in court. It is very important that the Verkhovna Rada accelerates consideration of these bills.
The general principle underlying the Project was to extend aid to victims of torture regardless of their personal differences, including gender. And this principle was followed through in all activities undertaken by KhPG and its partners. Conscious efforts were made to invite equal number of men and women to educational events, though it was not always possible due to “gender inequality” existing in the target groups, where traditionally more men than women: among law-enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and penal personnel. Due to this, among the participants in our seminars, the ratio of women to men was usually higher than it exists in these target groups.
2.10. How and by whom have the activities been monitored/evaluated ? Please summarise the results of the feedback received, including from the beneficiaries.
The impact of the Project to our organisation was very positive in many respects. Because it was the largest and more complex project KHPG undertook in its history, KHPG “grew up” as organisation which became capable of performing multifaceted tasks (educational, monitoring, analytical, publishing) and, consequently, reached out to the wider part of the society at large. Judging from the reports, sent by the partner organisations, they benefited, too, because they gained experience in practical legal mechanisms (including international ones) of protecting people who applied to them.
The network of partner organisations created during the Project proved to be an effective and powerful tool in solving pressing issues both at the regional and national level through information exchange and participation in joint actions and educational activities.
The importance of activities of the Legal Aid Centre in rendering legal assistance to victims of torture and ill-treatment goes beyond this purpose. The Centre’s work will allow us to gather detailed information about not only facts of torture and ill-treatment, but also about the real functioning of system for prevention of ill-treatment, available remedies and their operating. These activities also affect court and administrative practice, as has been proven during and after successful cases before the European Court (for example, judgements in Nechiporuk and Yonkalo; Balitskiy cases). The information collected by the PROs and Centre is also indispensable for drafting efficient amendments to legislation and well-grounded lobbying for changes through public pressure campaigns and other forms of awareness-raising activity. The Centre will also serve as a laboratory for testing the most appropriate scheme of legal aid and developing coordinated policy on human rights defence. The materials of the Centre will also become an integral part of the educational limb of the project. The work of the Legal Aid Centre had significant influence on changing legislation and practice. Rulings of national courts, as well as judgments of the European Court had great influence on these changes. The Office of the Governmental Agent in the European Convention on Human Rights acting under the provision of the Law "On Enforcement of Judgments and Usage of a Case-Law of the ECtHR" is empowered to conduct legal expertise of all bills and regulations and to veto the adoption of regulations if they run counter to the demands of the European Convention. Therefore, even before the Court holds its judgment, the cases communicated to the Ukrainian Government have considerable impact on decision on relevant regulations.
2.11. What has your organisation/partner learned from the Action and how has this learning been utilised and disseminated?
The results obtained from the Project, in particular, reports about torture and ill treatment, results of analysis and monitoring etc. were place on KHPG web-site http://khpg.org and special sites , , published in KHPG periodical biweekly bulletin “Prava Ludiny” (Human Rights) in Ukrainian and English languages. In addition, results of the project are disseminated among target groups through numeral publications in view of books. In total, KHPG published more than 40 books during the project period.
KHPG willingly shared the information of its activities with other public organisations and the media. The information about the project, for example, was regularly disseminated in the partners Internet-resources, in particular by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union on its web-site.
3. Partners and other Co-operation
3.1. How do you assess the relationship between the formal partners of this Action (i.e. those partners which have signed a partnership statement)? Please provide specific information for each partner organisation.
We would describe our cooperation with our partners as successful and effective. It is necessary to mention that goals that were achieved while carrying out the project’s aims create new and modern relationships and lead to comprehension.
Since we and our partners pursue the same aim of our actions were done without delays and with multilateral success. Although there were several local difficulties in collaboration with some representatives of state authorities they did not seriously affect the Actions.
Therefore, we believe that our cooperation finally will lead to a more noticeable influence on legal practice. We will be doing our utmost to gain and provide the support for various institutions of civil society.
3.3. How would you assess the relationship between your organisation and State authorities in the Action countries? How has this relationship affected the Action?
KHPG and its partners previously have developed and maintain good working relations with several state bodies, whom it would like to invite as associates, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its regional Departments, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court, the Academy of Judges, the State Judicial Administration, National Prosecution Academy and the Rule of Law Commission. At the end of the Action we have to mention that collaboration with the state authorities were not smooth or discarded of dilemmas, however the final results may be assessed as satisfactory.
Unfortunately, we lost one of the state partners, MIA Department of monitoring human rights in the MIA activities. This Department was abolished by new Minister of Interior in 2010. The Ministry suspended all the public control instruments (mobile groups, Public Councils at Regional departments of MIA and at the MIA) which before had been quite effective through considering recommendations on the matter of HR on meetings of the board of the MIA and meeting of Public Councils at Regional departments of MIA:
Now slow revert development of public control instruments is observed. The chairman of the Association of AUMHR entered to the body of the Public Council at the MIA.
SPSU is getting more open for discussion, its leadership became to take into consideration our recommendations. Officials of the SPSU has participated in the seminar on the matter of observance HR standards in penitentiary institutions.
We continuously maintain training activity for judges through the National Judges’ School of Ukraine which includes our seminars in its training course agenda. In 2011 we participated in the conference on the matter of using of the European Convention in Ukraine, and were taken interviews for the magazine ‘Human Rights’ (‘Prava Ludyni’).
We have good relations with the Ministry of Justice, our experts have participated in many working groups on the matters relating to HR issues.
Our relationships with the Ombudsperson in specific cases of HR violations, particularly, on the matter of abuse of force on the part of the administration of the colony # 100. We have drafted our opinions as amicus curiae for the Ombudsperson in specific cases.
It seems that except from acceptance of the Concept Note on State strategy of prevention of tortures and ill-treatment we and our partners built a platform for a set of diverse programmes, which will synchronize related efforts to build a national system of torture prevention.
We believe that our relations with the passage of time will improve and get strengthen.
3.4.Where applicable, describe your relationship with any other organisations involved in implementing the Action:
· Associate(s) (if any)
We have stable and permanent cooperation with three offices for legal Aid in Kharkiv, Bila Tserkva (Kiev region) and Khmelnitskiy’ (hereafter PDO(s). We would like to mention here their big role in supporting the main idea of re-establishing on new principles the system of professional development for lawyers.
During 2009 we conducted several meetings with PDOs. On those meetings we discussed their and our cases and tried to create the integrated scheme of dealing with them. We discussed strategy of those cases and cooperated with our partners. It became a practice that we pass specific cases to our partner’s offices when there is a possibility or necessity to work on national level. On the other hand they pass cases when there is a possibility or necessity to work on international level.
We would describe our partnership as excellent. Our cooperation can be a nice example of the prompt and effective activities in combating against tortures and ill-treatment in Ukraine.
· Sub-contractor(s) (if any)
· Final Beneficiaries and Target groups
The main target groups were judges, personnel both of law enforcement agencies and of the penal system, prosecutors, lawyers, human rights activists, journalists throughout Ukraine and the public in general. Our educational programmes were attended by 61 judges, 40 higher state officials of the SDEP, 80 higher state officials of the MIA, 35 former officers of the HR Department at the MIA (who have transferred to human rights activists during the project period), 60 prosecutors, 35 lawyers, more than 200 human rights activists and journalists. A much larger number of representatives of these target groups have received our literature; used our websites and other sources of information (at least 10 thousand people). Our website had visited by 1300 users each day, while each television programme had more than 4 million viewers.
The final beneficiaries were people who were actual or potential victims of torture and ill treatment (especially individuals detained, remanded in custody or convicted prisoners). According to information from our partner and the KHPG public reception offices, in 2010 there were approximately 172 reports related to cases of possible use of torture or ill-treatment, 286 reports on arbitrary detention, arrest or violations during investigation. The Legal Aid Centre supported more than 200 people in strategic litigations and 49 applicants in 2010. During the reporting period the lawyers of Legal Aid Centre have already won 7 cases before the European court of Human Rights and have prepared 17 communications with the Government. We foresee that from 12 to 18 cases to be communicated during next stage of this project. Through the KHPG reception office and through those of our partners, we provided consultations and help to around 929 victims of torture, ill-treatment and other violations relevant to the objectives of this project.
· Other third parties involved (including other donors, other government agencies or local government units, NGOs, etc.)
KHPG accumulated additional financing for the Project from the Open Society Institute (Budapest), National Endowment for Democracy (USA), International Renaissance Foundation (OSI-Ukraine), Embassy of the USA, and OXFAM Novi (the Netherlands). Additionally to partnering state bodies, KHPG successfully cooperated with the Ministry of Justice, State Judicial Administration and their regional departments. Additionally to partnering NGOs, KHPG supported communication and made join actions with many human rights protection NGOs. Their members directed information on cases of torture and ill-treatment, were by authors of information messages and articles of KHPG site and periodic editions, as well as participated at the public hearings on human rights observation in the MIA.
3.5.Where applicable, outline any links and synergies you have developed with other actions.
Some directions are being coordinated with other projects:
The activity of the Legal Aid Centre was coordinated with the activities of the PDOs and other centres on strategic litigations (for example one, set up by Ukrainian Helsinki Union for Human Rights). The educational programmes envisaged by the project were a part of educational programmes of the Academy of Judges of Ukraine, the National Prosecution Academy, various educational programmes of the MIA, and also of those administered by many other NGOs. Yearly training courses for lawyers combining training session and intermediate education through the Internet were coordinated with similar educational programmes conducting in different field of human rights protection (freedom of speech, law and medicine etc.) and became a part of national trend toward enhancement of effectiveness of lawyers’ activities.
Work on drawing up and lobbying for a Strategy and National Action Plan and on effective monitoring of their implementation became a focus point for the various activities of KHPG, other NGOs and state structures, aimed at changing existing legislation and practice with regard to protection from ill-treatment.
The work on training of NGOs’ members participating in the preventive mechanisms in the methodology and tactics of monitoring directly connected with the various KISR’s projects on implementing a mechanism for monitoring inspections of detention facilities under MIA. The activities aimed at receiving access to information formed an integral part of network projects on access to information. Providing information about the project became the part of a more general project aimed at informing the Ukrainian and international communities about the situation of HR in Ukraine.
Several projects of our partners are coordinated with this project:
“Development of national preventive mechanisms (NPM) against torture and ill treatment, Kharkiv Institute of Social Research (Kharkiv);
“Enforcement of the European court’s judgments against Ukraine», Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (Kiev);
Project by the Chernigiv Women Human Rights Defence Centre concerning activity of the Monitoring commissions of the SCSU;
Project by «Donetsk Memorial» that concerns changing legislation on criminal executive system;
Several governmental projects that are coordinated with this project: Reformation of criminal justice in Ukraine, Judicial reform, Preparation of an Act on NPM.
Mentioned above projects are well fit in the system of legal reforms in Ukraine.
3.6.If your organisation has received previous EC grants in view of strengthening the same target group, in how far has this Action been able to build upon/complement the previous one(s)? (List all previous relevant EC grants).
List all previous relevant EC grants is as follows:
1. Campaigning against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine (03/07/2003 – 02/07/ 2006, 830,033 Euro)
2. School for leaders of human rights protection NGOs (01/07/2001 – 30/11/2001, $6,600)
3. Development of human rights protection information network in Ukraine (01/01/1999 – 31/12/1999, $40,047)
Our previous EC grants were aimed not only to build the basis for wider plan of Actions in order to start constructive changes of the legal system in Ukraine, their goals were also to receive some precedents, in particular – judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, and to build the specialised network of NGOs and individuals (lawyers, experts, journalists, etc.) for successful defence of victims of torture and ill-treatment. One of important results of the network activities was definition the torture as crime in the Criminal Code in 2001 and changing this definition in order to its corresponding to definition in the international law during 2001-2009.
In 1996-1999 there were only three non-government non-profit organisations in Kharkiv, Sebastopol and Donetsk that tried to defence victims of torture and to hold educational events for target groups, mostly officers of the MIA. Now specialised network is acting. It includes more than 30 NGOs and 100 individuals.
In 2006-2010 KHPG received really important judgments that contain important principles which due to their compulsory nature lead the state to undertake active actions in changing mentioned system. So, now having those precedents our and those of authorities aims had changed. We have to deal now with enforcement of EC judgments, which cannot be done without revision and serious changes of the legal system in the country. (See also relationships with third parties)
What is also relevant is that our trainings for lawyers, since more and more legal experts started to use effective national and international mechanisms, create new efforts to build a national system of torture prevention. Our seminars for judges and prosecutors brought to an appearance in national court’s judgments of various international documents, mostly European Convention on Human Rights.
How is the visibility of the EU contribution being ensured in the Action?
All purchased furniture; computers and computer equipment are stickered with European commission logos (stickers). Other purchased materials were marked or stickered with European commission logos.
Organisers (KHPG) of all press-conferences that were covered by the scope of the EC project on many occasions underlined that the Action and future events became possible owing to the European commission’s support. Programmes that were distributed on those press-conferences and meetings, hearings had EC logos and the following statement: «…financed by European Commission”.
Programmes, written practical tasks, workbooks and all distributed material during trainings for lawyers, seminars for judges and prosecutors had logo of European Commissions and the following statement: «…financed by European commission”.
All publications that were published under the EC project had the following statement: «This publication was made with financial support of European Commission».
The European Commission may wish to publicise the results of Actions. Do you have any objection to this report being published on Europe Aid Co-operation Office website? If so, please state your objections here.
Any objections are absent.
Name of the contact person for the Action: Yevgeniy Zakharov
Date report due: 21 May, 2012
Date report sent:
List of publications on KHPG site http://khpg.org directed against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms (in English)
20.12.2011 Chornobyl’s Ongoing Victims
The recent efforts by the government to win over some members of the former Chernobyl clean-up workers’ movement and to marginalize others have coincided with worrying use of the police in Kharkiv against certain “dissident voices” within the movement
The leader of the Kharkiv former Chornobyl clean-up workers, Vladimir Proskurin believes the police actions were aimed at stopping him attending the Chornobyl Union of Ukraine conference and opposing the leadership of a person seen by many as selling out the protest movement
The Lukyanivsk SIZO [detention centre] Administration’s treatment of former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition Batkivshchyna party in photographing her in her cell was absolutely disgraceful, Yevhen Zakharov, KHPG Co-Chair says
Kharkiv former Chornobyl clean-up workers active in the protests against cuts and non-payment of social benefits have received summonses from the Kharkiv Regional MIA CID as witnesses in a criminal investigation. With no grounds whatsoever in law one has been forcibly taken in for questioning
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has for the sixth year running marked Human Rights Day by identifying the worst violators of human rights during the year and awarding them its Thistle of the Year Anti-Prize
The report on the events which culminated in the death of protester Gennady Konoplyov who was on hunger strike in solidarity with former Chornobyl clean-up workers points to clear infringements of the right to peaceful assembly and to the near for a thorough investigation by the MIA with public participation
07.12.2011 Stanislav Lutsenko finally released!
A long overdue move given the European Court of Human Rights Judgement in his case from the end of December 2008
19.11.2011 Zero tolerance for Taxpayer-funded TV Lies
Tolerance cannot be expected when the State-owned television channel distorts or conceals information of vital importance and even the Head of the European Commission in Ukraine is stopped from explaining their position to Ukrainian viewers
18.11.2011 New attempts to put pressure on judges
The Strategic Litigations Centre warns that attempts by the Prosecutor’s Office to put pressure on judges and make them obedient to their every whim destroy the last vestiges of an independent judiciary and carry the real threat of total collapse of the justice system.
The court awarded 50 thousand UAH in compensation for unlawful detention; the use of handcuffs; failure to inform relatives of the detention; unlawful investigative operations and delay in bringing the claimant to court
31.10.2011 Ukraine’s Apathy Test
The lack of any united protest against the Tymoshenko verdict, mockery of the judicial system and a whole number of other worrying trends distances Ukraine from the democratic community no less effectively than the brazen stupidity of the present regime
The courts must give attention to a number of specific questions arousing concern over the recent trial and demonstrate “courage and decisive action in defence of society from attempts to undermine] the principles of law”
25.10.2011 Supreme Orchestration
A plenum this week is set to bring the prodigal son of Ukraine’s judiciary – the Supreme Court – back into the fold. That would certainly seem the intention of a law hurriedly passed by the ruling majority in Ukraine’s parliament on 20 October
Despite being declared illegal in early 2008, there is all too much evidence that the notorious "special units" or anti-terrorist units used to intimidate and ill-treat prisoners
Human rights stress the need for a range of measures to ensure that prisoners receive proper medical care, including removing medical staff from under the jurisdiction of the State Penitentiary Service and making changes to the Penal Code and the Law on Pre-Trial Detention.
Measures are planned on 6 October to highlight the grave situation in Ukrainian SIZO [pre-trial detention centers] where people with illnesses, sometimes very serious, are not given proper treatment or moved to the appropriate hospitals
The struggle to resist enforcement of European Court of Human Rights judgments at all cost is now being waged with particular fervour by at least one judge of the High Specialized Court
30.09.2011 If we look in the book we see…
A staggering case where Ukraine’s Supreme Court judges found a European Court of Human Rights judgment too difficult to comprehend … or more convenient to misinterpret
28.09.2011 Administrative Pressure on Judges continues
Following the overt attempt by the Prosecutor General’s Office to have judges whose ruling was not to their liking dismissed, the Strategic Litigations Centre reports a new case where administrative pressure has been brought to bear on a judge whose ruling this time displeased the court president.
On 15 September 2011 a protest on Independence Square in Kyiv ended in a scuffle with police. Mykhailo Kamenyev, a member of the Public Committee under the MIA, and specifically its Commission on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly was present at the event and considers that there needs to be a proper legal assessment given to what took place.
There is no place for selective justice in a democracy. Selective indignation when the violations of democratic freedoms, including freedom of speech, are coming thick and fast, will also create the wrong impression
19.09.2011 Undeclared war waged by Sumy skinheads?
A potentially fatal arson attack against foreign students in Sumy is being treated in isolation from the racist captions against foreigners which appeared during the summer
Joint statement from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and Kharkiv Human Rights Group regarding the unlawful removal from air of three Kharkiv TV companies
The Committee warns that failure to provide medical care for the former Minister of Internal Affairs held in custody since December 2010 is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. It demands that Lutsenko be immediately provided with proper specialized hospital care
As Ukrainian lawyers, we are outraged by the fact that the Cherkasy police, instead of defending the law, acted in flagrant breach of it with respect to our colleague, Dmitry Karpenko, subjecting him to quite unacceptable treatment.
There has been a lot of talk about misuse of detention as a measure of restraint in Ukraine since the arrest of former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. Human rights workers say that it is typical practice for Ukrainian courts to work for the prosecution.
We have already been through a situation where one half of the country was imprisoned and the other guarded them, and it ended in the total collapse of that country. Can the leadership of Ukraine not understand that political persecution leads to the country’s total isolation and collapse?
A person is considered a political prisoner where political motives have played a significant and clearly defined role in the criminal or administrative proceedings against them – and only such prisoners
Political persecution is a challenge to Ukrainian society. The Committee is formed to inform Ukraine and the world of what is going on, to defend victims and, ultimately, ensure that an end is put to practice which has no place in Ukraine
Kharkiv Human Rights Group Anti-Torture Program Coordinator Andriy Didenko spoke to Roman Skrypin on Radio Svoboda about his own experiences and the situation with penal institutions in Ukraine
28.07.11 On 7 June the Deputy Prosecutor General M. Havrylyuk, who is at the same time a member of the High Council of Justice, asked the latter to dismiss three judges of the Kyiv Court of Appeal. The judges had passed a ruling entirely in accord with the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights
26.07.11 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
15.07.11 The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union expresses concern over a new law transferring the authority to determine the size and procedure for receiving social benefits to the Cabinet of Ministers and asks Nina Karpachova to make a submission to the Constitutional Court
An appeal has been sent to the President, Prime Minister and Head of the Crimean Council of Ministers regarding “the dramatic situation which has emerged with respect to one of the two newspapers in the Crimean Tatar language – “Kiyrym”
28.06.11 Only a quarter of the victims dare to complain of unlawful violence from the police because they’re intimidated, or because they don’t believe that it will have a positive result
28.06.11 The case of Yakov Strogan whose arrest following his public allegations of torture by police officers is of enormous significance because of the lesson it is clearly trying to give others, and the very dangerous conclusions which will be drawn by certain police officers if justice does not prevail
24.06.11 Over the last year and a half the situation with torture and ill-treatment in Ukraine has become more acute and there is still no progress on a national preventive mechanism against torture
21.06.11 Around 60 civic organizations have written an appeal to the Council of Europe asking it to pay attention to the situation in Ukraine with the adoption (more exactly, failure to adopt) the Law on Civic Organizations
14.06.11 NGOs stress the need for important amendments to legislation to enable the Law on Access to Public Information to function as it should. They have put forward draft bills to rectify key problems
09.06.11 On levers to stem the wave of human rights infringements and political repression in Ukraine
09.06.11 The first court hearing in his case is scheduled for 9 June 201 and we therefore consider it our civic duty to express our position with regard to the former Minister’s work and the reasons for his prosecution
08.06.11 In a damning article Timur Karadubov writes about police lawlessness in the Kharkiv region where in less than half a year there have been five deaths in police custody and three detainees have thrown themselves out of windows, or, conceivably, been pushed
30.05.11 Various avenues considered included calling on foreign governments to declare persona non grata officials implicated in political persecution, and for the victims themselves to seek redress through international law
27.05.11 UHHRU and KHPG extend a cordial invitation to a roundtable entitled Political Persecution in Ukraine in 2010-2011: Legal Assessment and Prosecutions for Defence in Kyiv on Friday, 27 May
24.05.11 The phrase from Stalin’s times: if there’s a person, an article (of the Criminal Code) can be found, has changed form, not essence. These days the traffic or tax police are sure to oblige. Or they’ll find some regulatory body, or talk with your boss, your lecturer, etc. Where there’s fear and lawlessness, levers can be found
22.05.11 Instead of complying with the recent European Court of Human Rights instruction to rectify abuse of remand in custody, those in power are abusing it for their own political motives
19.05.11 Aigul Mukanova from the Strategic Court Defense Centre reports that people are detained and have a confession beaten out of them for a crime they know nothing about. If the relatives come up with money the protocol of such a “confession” is ripped up
13.05.11 Human rights activists and the relatives of victims assert that incidents of torture in prisons, SIZO [pre-trial detention centers] and police custody are becoming more common and the number of deaths there has doubled in the last year
12.05.11 Representatives of the KHPG insist that an immediate investigation be carried out and information provided about the brutal beating of a number of prisoners held in the Simferopol SIZO [pre-trial detention centre]
07.05.11 Reports have come in from various sources that around 40 Special Forces fighters of the State Penitentiary Service armed with machine guns have been brought into the Simferopol SIZO
28.04.11 The UHHRU and KHPG have addressed an open appeal to Volodymyr Lytvyn, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada regarding a proposed draft bill which could cancel all the positive innovations of this vital Law
31.03.11 The Kharkiv Human Rights Group has given a press conference on the use of torture by police and the worrying increase in deaths of detainees
30.03.11 Following the scandalous tree felling by the Kharkiv authorities last year which led to the illegal destruction of up to 2 thousand trees and flagrant violations of the right to peaceful assembly and a fair trial, the assurances that this time all will be according to law are difficult to take seriously
29.03.11 Open Letter from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and KHPG
07.04.11 On Thursday 7 April a picket organized by the KHPG took place outside the Kharkiv Regional Police Department. Despite the rain the picket was attended by around 70 people, both concerned members of the public and representatives of different civic organizations. On 30 March Yevhen Zvenigorodsky, died after being beaten by police officers. Since the beginning of the year 24 people have died in police stations.
27.03.11 Yakov Strogan is facing charges of attempted murder which were laid almost 4 months after the incident in question and consistent allegations by Strogan, supported by human rights defenders, of torture and gross misconduct by police officers
15.03.11 Under the leadership of the Minister of the Interior, Anatoly Mohylyov, the police have turned into an instrument of repression and represent a danger to Ukraine’s national interests
10.03.11 The following is a petition to President Yanukovych calling for the dismissal of Anatoly Mohylyov, Minister of the Interior, and providing grounds for this call.
1.03.11 Oleh Levytsky, the lawyer defending Ihor Garkavenko calls the criminal case against his client political persecution. He believes the brazen disregard for procedural and legal norms suggests the case has been ordered from above to discredit the peaceful protest against the Tax Code
28.02.11 On 28 February around 300 students took part in a demonstration outside one of the parliamentary committees demanding the rejection of the new version of the Law on Higher Education
11.02.11 In his article under the above title, Volodymyr Batsunov writes of the widespread use by Ukrainian police of violence and worrying increase in the number of deaths in police custody
02.02.11 Over disturbing human rights abuse by the police and cause for concern over two deaths at the Losiv Police Station in the Kharkiv region
01.02.11 The Prosecutor sees no grounds for initiating criminal proceedings against the police officer who allegedly tortured Yakov Strogan.
Press-release. 26 June – International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
23 June, Kyiv, UNIAN
It was on 26 June 1987 that the UN Convention against Torture came into force.
On 23 June 2011 the Kharkiv Human Rights Group (KHPG) held a press conference to mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
Arkady Bushchenko, bar lawyer, KHPG legal expert and Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, and Yevhen Zakharov, KHPG Co-Chair and member of the UHHRU Board spoke of worrying trends in Ukraine and the measures vitally needed.
Over the last year and a half, they report, the situation with torture and ill-treatment in Ukraine has become more acute.
According to research carried out at national level by KHPG, with the support of the European Commission from 2009 to 2010, the estimated number of victims of unlawful violence by police officers in 2010 came to 780-790 thousand, against 604 thousand in 2009. This means that every 40 seconds somebody suffers from unlawful violence at the hands of the police.
We know that in 2010 51 people died in police custody against 23 in 2009.
As of 20 June 2011 there were already 26 deaths.
In some SIZO [remand units], particularly those in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Simferopol, Dnipropetrovsk and others one can say that the actual conditions constitute torture. For example, due to serious overcrowding in some cells the remand prisoners take turns sleeping in bed once every two days, sometimes even once every three. In the Lukyanivsk SIZO [in Kyiv] there are around 4, 000 remand prisoners with only 2, 900 places (in actual fact there are considerably fewer places). The government explains the bad conditions in remand units as being due to the “limited financial and economic possibilities of the country”. Yet the problem of overcrowding in SIZO is only partly linked with funding. It is caused to a much larger extent by the ideology and system of criminal justice. In many cases the assumption remains that a person will be remanded in custody and a bail system is not being developed. Detainees have extremely limited procedural rights during hearings to decide whether a person is to be remanded, and the law does not stipulate a maximum timescale for remand in custody.
We remain concerned by impunity where torture has been applied; the conflict between the functions of the Prosecutor, this impeding effective investigation into cases of torture; the routine violations of the right to liberty and detainees’ rights; the wide-scale use of violence in penal institutions.
The lack of an integrated system for prevention of torture and ill-treatment undermines the meaning of constitutional safeguards.
Although Article 29 of the Constitution stipulates that a court ruling is needed for any case involving deprivation of liberty, legislation and practice show little respect for this norm. The risk of detainees being subjected to torture and ill-treatment since detention in police custody can be extended to 10 days.
It remains rare for State agents guilty of torture to be convicted., while the sentences meted out by the courts are often not commensurate with the gravity of the crime.
Ukraine’s signing of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT), among other things, involves the commitment to create a national preventive mechanism against torture and ill-treatment. In 5 years not one practical step has been taken to implement this.
Laws stipulate that the Prosecutor’s office must investigate complaints and other information regarding cases of torture and ill-treatment. Yet the lack of effective investigation into such complaints is a systemic problem for Ukraine’s legal system.
This creates a sense of impunity among police officers who use torture and leads to most of them treating torture and ill-treatment not as a crime, but as a routine element of fighting crime.
The lack of independent, objective and effective investigation and court prosecution of law enforcement officers over complaints alleging torture and ill-treatment is partly rooted in the ambivalent role of the Prosecutor’s office. It is responsible both for investigation and support for the prosecution in court over criminal cases, and for taking decisions to initiate proceedings against police officers implicated in such investigations. The lack of independent bodies of investigation means that cases against law enforcement officers are investigated inadequately, dragged out, terminated or not initiated at all.
There are very limited opportunities for victims to receive an independent expert opinion. It is also often impossible to receive documents from medical establishments where the victim was examined or treated. This is on top of difficulties in gaining access to file material.
Of particular concern is that the fact that the Prosecutor does not as a rule do anything to ensure the safety of prisoners who have made allegations of torture.
Ukraine’s Civil Code envisages the possibility of receiving compensation where torture has been applied. However in order to make these provisions work, a final rule from the court is needed finding the actions of a particular official unlawful.
The Constitution and Criminal Procedural Code prohibit the use of confessions received with violations of criminal procedure law. Yet in practice it is quite common for confessions to be used in criminal cases where there is serious doubt that they were given voluntarily. The law does not provide a procedure for assessing and excluding confessions which may have been obtained under torture.
Criminal law provides fairly weak defence from the use of force by agents of the state “in order to enforce a lawful order or instruction” when detaining a suspect.
In our opinion, the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture to ensure that the public are informed by the press and other media outlets about the main provisions of the Convention against Torture and that investigation officers and personnel of the penal system should have to study the rules and norms of the Convention, are not being followed by the government.
This gap is partially filled by human rights organizations which publish and circulate a considerable amount of literature on countering torture and hold specialized seminars and training courses for judges, lawyers and Internal Affairs offices. They also provide direct protection for victims of torture. With the help of the Centre for Professional Defence of Victims of Torture, founded by KHPG in 2003, more than 200 people have received proper legal aid. With the financial assistance of the Fund, around 150 applications have been made to the European Court of Human Rights. More than 40 have been won, and more than 30 are at the stage of communication with the Ukrainian Government and the others await review.
Further work will be aimed at ensuring that European Court judgments are enforced by domestic courts and the law enforcement bodies. Recently, for example, the Supreme Court revoked the life sentence passed on Leonid Lazarenko and sent the case for new investigation as a result of the European Court having found the proof used as unlawful and obtained under torture. This should be a signal for the law enforcement bodies that unlawful violations in order to obtain evidence must be stopped.
List of links to publications on press-conference and demonstration in Kyiv on 23 June
24.06.2011 – Поряд з вами (інформація про акцію та прес-конференцію):
23 червня, Новинар:
23 червня, Кореспондент:
24.06.11, Главред (інформація про акцію та прес-конференцію):
24.06.2011р.Б. / ВО «Тризуб»:
Правозахисники наголошують, що тортури в Україні – буденне явище. За минулий рік тортур в міліції зазнали 800 тис. осіб.
Правозахисники, громадські активісти та небайдужі люди 23 червня, у переддень Міжнародного дня проти катувань, провели акції в 11 містах України перед будівлями прокуратур.
Громадські правозахисні організації провели всеукраїнську акцію проти застосування сили та катувань у відділках МВС. Акцію приурочено Міжнародному дню захисту жертв катувань.
Каждые сорок секунд в Украине милиция избивает задержанного. Такие данные приводят отечественные правозащитники. Вчера, в Международный день защиты жертв пыток, по всей Украине прошли акции против насилия. Участники акции демонстрировали орудия пыток, которые, по мнению правозащитников, используются в милиции вместо допросов.
Акумулятор, кайданки та промовисті фото. Правозахисники у День захисту жертв катувань прийшли під Генпрокуратуру, аби показати, як в українських райвідділках знущаються над людьми.
26 червня – Міжнародний день проти катувань. Упродовж останніх півтора року ситуація з катуванням затриманих міліцією погіршилася, заявляють українські правозахисники. За їхньою інформацією у 2010 році майже 800 тисяч людей зазнали незаконного насильства у міліції і більше 50 загинули. Правоохоронці ж ці закиди спростовують і називають зовсім інші цифри.
Вчера, в преддверии Международного дня в поддержку жертв пыток (учрежден ООН в 1997 году и отмечается 26 июня), активисты правозащитных организаций провели в Киеве акцию "Современный музей пыток".
Сегодня под зданием Генеральной прокуратуры Украины правозащитники провели акцию, посвященную Международному дню против пыток.
Біля Генеральної прокуратури України 23 червня опівдні відбулася акція «Виставка сучасних знарядь катувань», присвячена Міжнародному дню проти тортур. Учасники дійства показали представникам прокуратури сучасні пристрої насильства, які застосовують українські міліціонери. Унікальність експонатів, представлених на виставці, в тому, що виготовлені вони із звичайних побутових речей.
На третину за останній рік збільшилася кількість українців, які постраждали від насильства з боку правоохоронців. Таку статистику у Міжнародний день захисту жертв катувань під стінами Генпрокуратури озвучили правозахисники.
Сьогодні біля Генеральної прокуратури активiсти з одинадцяти міст України проводять всеукраїнську акцію «Виставка сучасних знарядь катувань». Захід присвячено Міжнародному дню проти катувань 26 червня.
Понад сотні представників Української Гельсінської спілки з прав людини та Харківської правозахисної групи принесли під Генпрокуратуру сучасні знаряддя катувань, які застосовують українські міліціонери, повідомляє кореспондент Тижня.
List of links to publications on press-conference and public hearings in Simferopol on 7 July
QHA (агенція «Крымские новости») –(новость платная)
Контекст-медиа – Крым –(новость платная)
Газета «Голос Крыма», № 28, от 8 июля 2011 г. «Милицейские экзекуции – преступление?», Зера Аметова
Телепрограма «Сектор безопасности». Ефір 14.07.2011, на ТРК «Черноморская»
Телесюжети в новинах в усіх кримських телеканал, окрім Кримської державної ТРК
List of links to publications on press-conference and public hearings in Kharkiv on 27 July
ИА “STATUS QUO”:
Statistics of visits of the site “Against Torture” for January – December 2011
Month of 2011
Temporary police facilities
Police officers, punished
Officers of penal service, punished
Road patrol officers
Criminal cases against police officers
Deaths in the MIA facilities
There were 118 daily visitors in average.
 “Target groups” are the groups/entities who will be directly positively affected by the project at the Project Purpose level, and “final beneficiaries” are those who will benefit from the project in the long term at the level of the society or sector at large.
 Figures in the parenthesis is the monthly number of reporting.
 Reporting about death incidents in the MIA, as well as with participation of the MIA officers.
 The line includes other acts of law enforcement e.g. beating of football fans after a game or traffic incidents with a participation of the MIA officers as well as non-categorized materials on the matter of illegal violence in the MIA, articles.
 Reporting about any protest actions against law enforcement actions and about press conferences, as well the actions announces and press announces and press releases.
 Reporting which relate to the ECtHR on the issue of the site.