war crimes in Ukraine

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Security Service of Ukraine and Human Rights



(some aspects)

Some general problems

 The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) is both the security service and law enforcement agency. Nowhere in the world the security service carries out law enforcement functions; its purpose is to collect information within its authority.

 In accordance with part 1 of article 1 of the Law on SSU “The Security Service of Ukraine is the state special purpose law enforcement body, which furnishes state security of Ukraine[2]. At the same time, a significant part of the SSU units performs law enforcement functions related to the effort to combat corruption, organized crime, smuggling, drug traffic, and economic crimes. These powers actually duplicate the functions of other law enforcement agencies: procuracy, State Tax Inspectorate, State Customs Service, Directorate General for Organized Crime Control of the MIA of Ukraine, Department of Government Service for Economic Crimes Control of the MIA of Ukraine and others.

 This dualism should be done away with. At the first stage the SSU could go on performing the law enforcement functions relating to Ukraine's national security and control of terrorism. To this end, such powers as conducting inquiry, investigation and other powers related to the control of corruption, organized crime, smuggling, and economic crimes should be taken off the SSU.

 It should be noted that the reform of the SSU in 2008-2009 was planned to move this centaur towards the modern security service. The relevant legal basis for changing the SSU included the Concept of reforming the Security Service of Ukraine and Complex target program of reforming the Security Service of Ukraine approved by the decisions of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine and enacted by the Decrees of the President of Ukraine on 20 March 2008 and on March 20, 2009, respectively. Both the Concept and the Program issued the challenge to transform the SSU into purely counterintelligence agency without the law enforcement functions.

 After the 2010 presidential elections and reshuffling of the leaders of the SSU both the Concept and the Program were rejected like the new redaction of the Law of Ukraine “On the Security Service of Ukraine” (no. 4839 of 16.07.09). These documents lost their topicality after the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine in order to bring them into conformity with the Constitution of Ukraine”. The respective bill was registered in the Verkhovna Rada on October 7, 2010 and on the same day it was passed without any prior review of parliamentary committees, expert institutions and so on. The law was intended to harmonize with the Constitution of 1996 a series of laws after the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine of 30 September 2010 in the case of the constitutional petition of 252 people's deputies of Ukraine regarding the conformity with the Constitution of Ukraine (constitutionality) of the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine” of December 8, 2004 no. 2222-IV (case of compliance with operating procedures for amending the Constitution of Ukraine). This Ruling of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine abolished the amendments to the Constitution of 12.08.2004, and the Yanukovych’s team was in a hurry to consolidate its power by forcing Verkhovna Rada to vote for rather questionable amendments to 32 laws according to which the President received authorities which previously belonged to the government and the parliament. This was especially true of amendments to the Law on the SSU.

 According to these amendments (Law no. 2592 -VI), the SSU the SSU is subject only to the President of Ukraine. Head of the Security Service and his deputies are appointed and dismissed by the President without any involvement of Verkhovna Rada; the same applies to the SSU board. §16 of the article 24 “Duties of the Security Service of Ukraine” binds the SSU “to perform by order of the President of Ukraine other tasks that are directly aimed at ensuring internal and external security of the state”. There is no explanation what “other tasks” include. Note that the phrases “other actions”, “other tasks”, “in other cases” after enumerating legal causes can extend the limits of state agency intervention in a particular sector and threaten human rights. The amendments to the Law on SSU actually eliminated parliamentary control over the activities of the SSU, which had already been quite weak. The annual reports of the SSU or even public information from these reports, to our knowledge, are not published; nothing is known about the activities officials designated by the President to oversee the activities of the SSU; the Regulation that determines their powers and legal guarantees of their activity remains a mystery as well. It seems certain that the SSU operates almost uncontrollably, or at least the public knows nothing about this control.

 It is also necessary to pay attention to the shortcomings of the Law on SBU, as a result of which some of the actions of the SSU are illegal.

 1. Though the responsibility of the SSU includes detection, suppression, detection and investigation of crimes within the competence of the SSU, inquiry and investigation in these cases, search for people wanted in connection with the commission of these offenses (clause 3, article 24), the Law does not mention the right to detain and arrest suspects and accused. The Law “On Militia”, for example, regulates this right in great detail. The Law on SSU contains no reference either to the Law “On Militia” (as is done on the procedure of storing, carrying, application and use of weapons and other special means), or any other legislation. However, since the Security Service uses the detention and arrest very often, they are probably regulated in closed departmental instructions. But under article 57 of the Constitution “Laws and other normative legal acts that determine the rights and duties of citizens, but that are not brought to the notice of the population by the procedure established by law, are not in force.” The lack of regulation of the arrest and detention in this open parliamentary act is a violation of the fundamental laws and may lead to a complete lack of control of the SSU.

 2. §5 of article 25 of the Law gave SSU right to have detention centers to keep persons arrested and detained by the SSU. However, the Law of Ukraine of 06.02.2003 no. 488 -IV excluded this paragraph. Therefore, the isolation wards of the SSU are operating illegally. This fact was also repeatedly underlined by former Ombudsman of the VRU Nina Karpachova[3]. As is known, the investigatory isolation ward of the SSU was at 3b, Askold Lane. In 2009, there was a complete renovation meeting all European standards. The institution keeps individuals there against whom the investigation is conducted by the SSU and General Prosecutor, individuals arrested by the SSU before their transportation to Lukyanivka investigatory isolation ward. In fact, this institution serves as a detention center.

3. Paragraph 1 of article 25 “Rights of the Security Service of Ukraine” entitles its agencies and officers “to demand from citizens and officials to cease violations of the law and actions that hinder the exercise of the powers of the Security Service of Ukraine, to check in connection with this their IDs, and to inspect persons, their belongings and vehicles, if there is a danger of escape of a suspect or destruction or concealment of material evidence of criminal activity.” However, no mention is made of the offer of proofs by the SSU officers of the said danger in connection with which such actions are carried out. The SSU officer is not even obliged to show her/ his service certificate. Moreover, article 36 of the Law requires mandatory fulfillment by the citizens and officials of the legal requirements of SSU officer and disobedience or resistance to lawful demands entail liability under the current legislation.

 SSU activities relating to human rights

 On March 11, 2010 Valery Khoroshkovsky was appointed the Head of the SSU; at the same time all deputy heads of the SSU and other heads of departments were relieved of their positions. On the same day the newly appointed Head of SSU told reporters about the termination of the process of establishing the truth about the history of the twentieth century Ukraine and declassification of the archives: “a lot of materials have been already declassified… all truth Ukrainians needed has been given them”, “and the special services are supposed to guard their secrets in the first place, protect the laws that created these secrets.”

 The most glaring was the fact that the top official was confident that the truth people needed had already been given, and that’s enough. So, there is truth one should not know? The officials are trying once more to decide for the society what it needs to know and what it needn’t.

 After the 2010 presidential elections the political freedom shrank significantly, and the SSU was in the picture significantly boosting its activity as compared with the previous five years. On the whole, it should be noted that the SSU intervenes in social life and social processes in general much more than before. Moreover, the aims of this intervention, generally speaking, go beyond the limits of competence of the Service determined by the law as “defense of national sovereignty, constitutional order, territorial integrity, economic, scientific and defense potential of Ukraine, legitimate interests of the state and rights of citizens against intelligence and subversion of foreign special services, encroachment by individual organizations, groups and individuals, and guarding state secrets.”

 This may be attested by such facts[4] as visits of the SSU officers to rectors of universities bringing up the requirement to sign a letter where the rector would agree to forewarn students of participation in any protests “unauthorized by the government”, complaints of students from many parts of the country who participated in the protests against the new minister of education and against the practice of paid services in public higher educational institutions in accordance with the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers no. 976 against being pressurized. The “prophylactic conversations” were held in the Dean's office with parents and even with threats of expulsion if the students did not give up their protest actions. The similar “prevention” of protest actions the SSU applied to NGO activists. About such facts informed the activists of “Democratic Alliance”, Foundation of Regional Initiatives, Student self-government in Kyiv, Cherkasy, Mykolayiv, Kharkiv regional organization "Union of Ukrainian Youth” and others.

 The SSU also attacked the problem of journalists in the form of conversations and in the form of surveillance. For example, correspondent of the newspaper “Komersant-Ukraine” Artem Skoropadskyi about such conversation with the SSU officers, Victoriya Siumar, director of the Institute of Mass Information, and other journalists informed about the surveillance. In the course of such “prevention” the SSU swore blogger Oleg Shynkarenko to stop “sharply” criticizing the government in his blog. The same were the steps of the SSU checking international fund “Vidrodzhennia” with the NGOs in the Kyiv Oblast.

 Inadequate was the response of SSU to the actions of director of the Ukrainian office of the Conrad Adenauer Foundation in Ukraine Nico Lange, who was detained at the airport “Boryspil” for 10 hours trying to deport him as a person whose presence in Ukraine is undesirable. Only the intervention at the highest diplomatic level saved Nico Lange from deportation. This SSU response to the critical article of Nico Lange about the first 100 days of the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych is simply illegal.

 Saving face, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine together with the SSU officially recognized his actions as “interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine”, but what was the point of this "interference” remains unknown. The SSU refused to explain the reasons for the ban on entry to Ukraine of Nico Lange even in response to the parliamentary inquiry of Lesia Orobets[5] where the first deputy head of the SSU Volodymyr Khimei wrote: “The SSU barred Nico Lange entry into Ukraine under the provisions of paragraph two of the part two of article 25 of the Law on the legal status of foreigners and stateless persons. According to the law on information, it is impossible to mail you a copy of the test of the instruction of SSU prohibiting Lange’s entry to Ukraine.” And according to the second paragraph of part 2 of article 25 of the Law on the Legal Status of Foreigners “the entry into Ukraine for foreigners and persons without citizenship is not permitted in the interest of security of Ukraine or maintenance of a public order."

 Commenting on the detention of Nico Lange, former Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk said[6]: “The fact of SSU’s barring the representative of the Conrad Adenauer Foundation entry into Ukraine demonstrates the repressive, authoritarian character of law enforcement bodies and Security service of Ukraine… At the time when the state borders are reopened for such Russian chauvinists like Luzhkov, Zatulin and others, they bar entry of representatives of international organizations that are essentially democratic and in no way violate Ukrainian laws. This indicates the curtailment of democratic freedoms in Ukraine and the beginning of practice that goes well beyond the practice of Kuchma times.”

 Correspondent of the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Conrad Schuller told the Ukrayinska Pravda that the SSU interrogates persons contacting with foreign journalists. He said that the SSU men repeatedly met with people whom he contacted in Ukraine during the preparation of journalistic materials on the presidential campaign. These meetings took place in late April 2010. “At least two” of those with whom he contacted were invited to hold a talk with the officers of the SSU. According to these people, the conversation was about the “journalistic work” of Schuller.

In June the correspondent wrote in to Valery Khoroshkovsky, head of the SSU, demanding to explain the purpose and basis of such meetings. The SSU answered that the SSU did not take any actions concerning the correspondent of the German newspaper Frakfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Conrad Shuller[7]. However, later Khoroshkovskyi had but acknowledge that Conrad Schuller was under surveillance. The Head of the SSU admitted it in his interview in the Sunday issue of Frankfurter Allgemeine. Khoroshkovskyi said that checking did take place due to the fact that Schuller had problems with accreditation. “Therefore the officers wondered whether you traveled as a journalist, or in some other capacity,” said the Head of the SSU addressing Shuller[8].

 The German journalist let no grass grow under his feet. Conrad Schuller said the Deutsche Welle[9] that the SSU could call him about accreditation and not spy on him and intimidate his informants.

 Schuller admitted that at the time when the SSU began to show increased interest in his activities in Ukraine, he had no valid accreditation. But he stressed that he was not informed about binding character of compulsory accreditation for journalists in Ukraine.

 The journalist wondered why only now Ukrainian agencies took interest in the absence of accreditation which fact had not prevented him from interviewing four Ukrainian Foreign Ministers (Tarasiuk, Ohryzko, Poroshenko and Hryshchenko), two prime ministers (Tymoshenko and Yanukovych) and two presidents (Yushchenko and Yanukovych).

 “I wonder that such facts of my biography apparently escaped from the notice of SSU and Ukrainian government and that they entertained suspicions as to whether I was really a journalist, or a spy,” said Schuller.

 He believes that even if accreditation is mandatory for foreign journalists--although the wording on this in the Ukrainian legislation is rather vague--such incidents should not become the subject of the scrutiny by SSU, let alone become a pretext for surveillance.

 It is obvious that in all democratic countries they practice secret surveillance to timely prevent terrorist attacks or real threats to the life of a public figure or public safety. It is also clear that all of the above Ukrainians and foreigners did not constitute such danger. In a democratic country the like intimidation and pressure on citizens and visitors is not only forbidden, but unthinkable, and there is no place for so-called “prevention".

The SSU also expanded its competence with respect to the courts. Valéry Khoroshkovsky claimed that the SSU monitored the legality of judicial decisions in criminal matters, which the agency investigated, explaining it by the corruption of the judicial system: “Things are falling apart, which actually have been completed and all evidence has been collected."

 Absurd seems the criminal investigation into the preparation for the transfer of information containing state secrets and seizure of archival materials in the office of director of the museum department of the "Prison on Łącki Street" Ruslan Zabily and archival materials in the museum. The archival documents on Soviet-era political repressions cannot contain state secrets of the independent Ukrainian state.

 All the above indicates a significant expansion of preventive and operative actions of the SSU comparative with the previous period, which had a serious chilling effect on the public and political life.

 It is also necessary to rivet attention to active involvement of SSU in criminal cases against former statespersons Yuliya Tymoshenko, Yuriy Lutsenko, Anatoly Makarenko, Igor Didenko and others: in the “gas” case, debts of UESU etc. All of these cases were politically motivated and therefore the SSU was used as a tool for political persecution of oppositionists[10]. The leadership of SSU was twice reshuffled: in January and February 2012 and January 2013; however, the use of the SSU as an instrument of struggle against opponents of the regime of Yanukovych continued in all cases.

 The SSU officers often acted in the worst traditions of the Soviet era. This is evidenced by their actions against Yuliya Tymoshenko, in Kharkiv criminal case against Professor Volodymyr Chumakov and young engineers Serhiy Rud and Olexiy Chychotka charged with treason in the form of espionage in favor of China[11], Academician of NAS of Ukraine, Director of the Institute of Sorption and Ecology of the NAS of Ukraine Volodymyr Strilka, who was suspected of spying for the USA[12], call for questioning of the whole Academic Council of the Institute of Sociology of the NAS of Ukraine[13] and others.

 During the direct collision of the people and the Yanukovych regime in November 2013 - February 2014 the SSU was quiet and canny at first. On November 25 the activists halted a bus on Yevromaidan, which was full of listening equipment, weapons accompanied by several men. The SSU acknowledged that the bus belonged to them and demanded to investigate this case[14]. On December 8 the SSU began an inquiry in connection with the actions of certain politicians aimed at seizing power in Ukraine; on February 8 it terminated the proceedings under the law about amnesty[15]. During February 19 the SSU reopened the same criminal proceeding[16]. The inquest will establish whether the SSU participated in shooting Maidan activists on February 18-20 and the extent of such participation.

Information Security

In January 2012, the President decreed to reorganize the data protection bureau of the SSU into the “Department of counterintelligence protection of state interests in the field of information security”. The President said that the new body shall “promote concentration of forces and facilities, optimization of management activities tackling the issues of protecting the legitimate interests of the State and civil rights in the information area against intelligence and subversive activities of foreign intelligence special agencies, and illegal encroachments of organizations, groups and individuals”.

Information security is mentioned in hundreds of normative acts with dozens of documents directly focused for 15 years now on its protection.These include the Doctrine of Information Security; decrees of the last three Presidents; several decisions of the National Security and Defence Council; international documents regarding cooperation within the CIS.In not one of them is there a definition of this concept, and what in fact is being protected we must try to understand from a list of the numerous threats and measures for overcoming them.

Article 17 § 1 of Ukraine’s Constitution states that protection of “information security is …a matter of concern for all the Ukrainian people” It is quite difficult to comment on this essentially meaningless assertion since in it the purely governmental task of protecting information on restricted access in the possession of State bodies is viewed virtually as a strategic task for the whole of society. Or should this be understood as the protection of freedom of information from the arbitrary interference of the State?

We suggest adding the following definition of the term information security to the Law on Information:

«Information Security

The information activities of subjects of information relations fall within the constraints of information security.

Ukraine’s information security shall involve ensuring (guaranteeing) free access of each person to open information and the protection and guarding of state or other secrets envisaged by law.

The safeguarding of Ukraine’s information security is one of the most important functions of the State and a matter of concern for all the Ukrainian people»[17].

Information security is effectively not viewed within the context of protection of freedom of information. My address will focus on particular mistakes with legal regulation of freedom of information in Ukraine as a component of information security and some negative consequences of these mistakes.

The formulation of the right to information and its restrictions (Articles 5 and 6 of the Law on Information and Article 6 of the Law on Access to Public Information) do not meet international standards, in particular, Article 10 of the European Convention.Article 10 § 1 states that: «Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.»

Nowhere in the Ukrainian legislation do we find mention of the right to information being exercised regardless of frontiers although in the age of the Internet this is axiomatic. Then, according to Article 5 § 2 of the Law on Information «The exercise of the right to information must not infringe the civil, political, economic, social, spiritual, environmental or other rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of other citizens, the rights and interests of legal entities». This norm is impossible to implement: the exercise of the right to information, as a rule, infringes somebody’s interests. This norm effectively jeopardizes the exercising of the right to information and makes it possible for officials, when the wish arises, to refuse to meet the majority of information requests.

Article 10 § 2 of the European Convention states that: «The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary».

Compare this with Article 6 § 2 of the Law on Information which firstly restricts the very right to information, and not its exercise, and secondly, contains no presumption that the restrictions must be those needed in a democratic society.

The norms of Article 10 needed to be fixed in the new version of the Law on Information since the judgments of the European Court are a source of law in the domestic legal system in accordance with Article 17 of the Law on Implementation of the Judgments and Application of the Practice of the European Court of Human Rights.

Mistakes in the definition of basic concepts lead to a significant reduction in freedom of information in legislative regulation. In practice the situation is even worse.

From approximately the middle of 1995, a trend gradually developed towards ever more classifying of information and restriction of freedom of information exchange observed throughout the post-Soviet realm.This would seem more dangerous for the country’s future than any other violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The reasons are as follows.

The information sphere is the foundation on which all political, administrative, economic and other decisions in the sphere of human activity are based.The more information used when taking such decisions, the more well-founded and effective these decisions will be. The most important political decisions are usually consolidated at the level of law and set down in various normative acts.

We thus have a three-tier system for decision-making: information, politics, legislation.One can use the metaphor of a tree: roots, trunk and crown.The more developed the root system, the stronger the tree. And when at the legislative (third) level acts are passed which prohibit or limit access of the participants in controversial political debate (the second level) to information (to the first level), then the quality of the political decisions will inevitably deteriorate. An unnatural situation arises where the crown does not let its own roots nourish the tree. This happens particularly often in cases where there are attempts by the State executive or even parliamentary institutions to limit and control the information flow. This is usually done with the best intentions, yet societies thus blighted by isolationism end up in stagnation, their intellectual elite emigrating and their economic complex turning into a supply of raw materials for their more open and therefore more dynamic neighbours.

This situation seems to some degree natural if we consider the organic nature and character of the relations between information and the authorities:in the cybernetic sense information is the “amount of unforeseen things contained in a notification” (Abraham Mohl). For the purpose of social stability the government pushes information novelties into the far background and at first it seems as though nothing bad is happening.Crisis and profound social frustration appear later. As a result, the government’s good intentions and the government itself are discredited. To avoid such situations experienced democracies draw up constitutional safeguards prohibiting anybody from interfering with freedom of information. A vivid example of such guarantees is the First Amendment to the US Constitution which prohibits even Congress from taking decisions which threaten freedom of information.

Since specifically new knowledge makes it possible to effectively resolve social problems, restriction of access to information indicates unconditional hampering of social development and runs counter to the idea of scientific progress. As the XX century western philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend said, in the interests of scientific progress everything is permissible since science is a collage and not a bureaucratically organized system. It therefore seems a mistake to classify the Law on State Secrets to items of information which are a state secret, information about scientific, scientific research, research-planning and planning work, which should form the basis of progressive technologies, new forms of production, or technological processes which have important defence or economic significance or greatly influence foreign economic activities and Ukraine’s national security.The state can and should restrict access to information where this is needed to carry out the functions of protecting order and safety, information which at their own risk are gathered by the information bodies and which are clearly items of information which if divulged can cause harm. However one must under no circumstances restrict access to information regarding the content of what is not yet known for the future.

These days it would be hard to find people still doubting that it is those societies in which creative thinking develops most freely and swiftly and finds inspiration from the information sphere which develop most efficiently.It is for this reason that the linear defensive trend in Ukrainian legislative work seems so systemically dangerous for the country. In general science in which the political and economic future of the country is scarcely scratching out an existence.The one possibility for defining real values of scientific and technical creation is taking part in international projects since the scientific market within the country in any other form is virtually non-existent.However the free exchange of scientific information to foreign colleagues, unhampered scientific discourse clearly worries the State bodies as is clearly evidence both by normative acts passed, and by everyday practice.

The following cases are typical: the accusations later withdrawn against Volodymyr Strelko, a member of Ukraine’s Academy of Sciences of leaking secret information to the USA; accusations against Volodymyr Chumakov and two young Kharkiv engineers of spying for China (see above); the sentences in criminal cases under Article 333 of the Criminal Code «Infringing the procedure for international transfers of goods which are subject to State export control».

Physicist V. worked on a contract from one of Ukraine’s leading higher education institutes, with a Chinese institute on creating a device which has no military purpose.In accordance with the contract he passed on quarterly reports on the work.These actions were deemed by a court to constitute elements of the crime under Article 333 § 1 of the Criminal Code and V received a 3 year suspended sentence. The Court of Appeal reduced the sentence to a fine. The device was, post factum, recognized as being dual purpose, although all the necessary assessments had been carried out and a permit received for making it. The Chinese are demanding either return of the money paid, or the device itself, yet neither has been provided.

At present the main asset of any country is people able to create new things. It is they who bring the country much needed investment. John Locke once said that individuals differ in terms of their intellectual capacity more than people differ from animals.

The above, in my opinion convincingly demonstrates that with incorrect information orientation points the SBU as specially empowered state body on protection of state secrets is swiftly turning into a direct threat to Ukrainian civil society.

There is no need to prove that lack of openness regarding information in the entire world has only one result:it leads to stagnation and mass exodus of talented people. We therefore need broad public discussion regarding what information should be controlled and how such cases in our long-suffering country can become impossible.

 Control of terrorism

 According to the SSU, in 2009 and 2010 proceedings were commenced one case each year under article 258 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine “terrorist act”[18]. The paper “The results of the SSU activities in 2010 in numbers”[19] states that in 2010 “135 displays with the signs of a terrorist nature were exposed”.

 The SSU investigated the case under article 258 of the Criminal Code on charges of blowing up the bust of Stalin at the office of Zaporizhzhia Oblast Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine 20 minutes before the New Year on December 31, 2010. There were no accused in this case and the search for the criminals continues.

 According to the SSU, in 2011, 8 crimes committed in a socially dangerous way and with signs of terrorist act[20] were solved.

 On January 20, 2011, in Makiyivka, early in the morning there were two explosions at a distance of 600 meters from each other: the first one in the downtown near the administrative building of Public Enterprise “Makiyivvuhillia”, the second one near the mall “Golden Plaza”. There were no victims and injured people. The perpetrators allegedly demanded from local celebrities in Makiyivka €4.2 million. Head of the SSU Khoroshkovskiy on the same day stated that the explosions would be prosecuted under article 258 of the Criminal Code.

 On February 15, the law enforcement officers reported about the arrest of two suspects. According to the militia, after the holdup of a taxi driver in the same Makiyivka close in the tracks of perpetrators the officers arrested two young men, 23 and 24 years, who during interrogation confessed to carrying out terror attacks on January 20 as well.

 In the course of investigation into the case of "Makiyivka explosions” the SSU investigators received evidence that the suspects arrested by the militia could not commit this terrorist act. The ZN.UA reported about this[21] citing an informed source in Donetsk Oblast Department of the SSU. “The interrogation revealed that they knew absolutely nothing about blasting work. They burst out into a lot of drivel… Their testimonies have nothing to do with reality,” said the source. Nevertheless, the detainees are still held in the investigatory isolation ward and continue to assert that they were the perpetrators of the terrorist attack.

 In addition, the explosives experts finally found what explosives were used by criminals in committing the terrorist attack. According to sources, this was the ammonite used in many industries, including the mining.

 The investigation continues. The basic version is still “demands for ransom”.

 Despite the SBU doubts about the ability of the accused to commit an explosion in early September the Makiyivka court sentenced the accused in the January blasts in Makiyivka Dmytro Onufrak to 15 years in prison and Antin Voloshyn to 8 years of imprisonment.

 On April 27, 2012, in Dnepropetrovsk, the ransom demands of $4.5 million were announced within short time intervals, or explosions would continue. On June 1, 2012, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Viktor Pshonka said that the investigation into the explosion had been fully solved and that in this case there was sufficient evidence to arrest four suspects detained the day before. The investigation established that two years earlier the same group of terrorists carried out explosions in Dnipropetrovsk, in the fall of 2011 in Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia and again in Dnepropetrovsk. Two of the defendants admitted their guilt: Victor Sukachov in part and Vitaly Fedoriak in full. The trial is now underway.

 Two others accused of complicity in terrorism Dmytro Reva and Lev Prosvirin did not plead guilty: Reva refused from the start, Prosvirin at first owned up to a crime, then he repudiated his evidence, and now he adheres to his stand. Usia received SMS from his friend Sukachov. Reva does not know Fedoriak. The Reva’s lawyer said that there was no evidence of his guilt in his file.

 The lawyer of Prosvirin also believes her client innocent and gives serious arguments to support her position. Meanwhile Prosvirin wrote an open letter to the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, in which he stated: “Instead of exculpating me, the officials of the investigation department of the SSU and prosecutors began to actively falsify evidence of my alleged involvement and put pressure on me to obtain false data”. Basing on these facts, Prosvirin as early as on August 29, i.e. before the end of pre-trial investigation, wrote a statement. Having received no reply to this statement, on October 16 he wrote to the prosecutor of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast another application. However, these claims have not been verified.

 Can we expect that the court will objectively examine all the materials related to the case and admit the absence of the proof of guilt and announce Reva Prosvirin innocent, when the first persons of the country told nationwide about four terrorists, when the awards were received, when in the movie “Hellish hell” televised on the First National Channel they were called criminals?

 As can be seen from the above, in all cases of terrorism investigated by the SSU all judgments gave rise to doubts.


[1] Prepared by Yevhen Zakharov, KHPG. Since this section is included in the report for the first time, it examines not only the events of 2013, but what was going on in previous years as well.

[2] Hereinafter in this report the excerpts from normative acts are quoted from the computerized legal system "Liga-Zakon".


[4] For more detailed description of the facts, see: Http://






[10] The participation of the SSU in political persecution of politicians is covered in a separate report KhHRG. See: Http://

[11] Read more in the section "Political persecution".






[17] A draft law on amendments to the law «On information» produced by the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group. The bill was registered in the Parliament on 15 May, 2009, registration number 4485.








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