war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.


Arrests have begun

Late at night on 10 December Valeriy Popovich, the mayor of the town of Vasylkov (Kyiv oblast), was arrested. The reason of his arrest is the position at the recent presidential election. Before the arrest the mayor got insistent hints from the administrators of the oblast: ’You are not ours, you are from Moroz’s camp, write the application to leave your post or you will be arrested’. Lately the town mayor heard such persuasions more than once.

Yesterday it happened, and certainly the arrest will be well-grounded: misuse of power, corruption, bribe-taking, rape, at last. They are all time-proven reliable methods of the struggle with political opponents.

Author’s commentary. This piece of information came from the influential public organization - the Association of towns of Ukraine - on 11 December 1999. The Association had been headed by the Cherkassy mayor Volodymyr Oliynyk, one of the participants of the Kanev Foursome. If I am not mistaken, after the election he resigned from his post in order to facilitate the lot of the Association. Oleksandr Omelchenko, the mayor of Kyiv, has become the new head of the Association. Nonetheless, some mayors have difficulties connected with their sympathies not to the ’main’ candidate revealed in the course of the election, and this is dangerous for the future of democracy in Ukraine.

On 20 January I phoned to the Association and asked about the lot of mayor Popovich. I was answered that his case had been passed to Chernigov in order to provide more objective investigation. The Chernigov militia found nothing compromising the mayor and he was released.

In my opinion the case was completed objectively because of the active position of the Association of towns of Ukraine.

Politics and human rights

Declaration of the Committee of voters of Ukraine about holding the all-Ukrainian referendum

On 15 January the President of Ukraine signed the Decree on holding the all-Ukrainian referendum. It must decide some problems that concern changes in the distribution of functions among different branches of power, as well as changes in the Constitution. A referendum is a form of the direct power on the side of the people, and the right to participate in a referendum is guaranteed to Ukrainian citizens by the Constitution.

The Constitution of Ukraine, which has the superior juridical power, proclaim in Articles 155 and 156 that any changes in the Constitution have to be previously approved by the majority of the constitutional composition of the Supreme Rada. But the Decree of 15 January has been issued without the consent of the Supreme Rada, or, at least, without the consent of its majority.

The Committee of voters of Ukraine insists on the urgent consideration of the questions concerning changes in the Constitution by the Supreme Rada. The referendum may be held only under the conditions of the operating law ’On all-Ukrainian and local referendums’, as follows from the Constitution of Ukraine, or after the adoption of a new edition of the above-mentioned law by the Supreme Rada. Otherwise holding the referendum can result in the aggravation of the social crisis and the opposition between different branches of power, it will result in drawing to conflict not only political parties and movements, but numerous layers of citizens.

Besides, the constitutional correctness of the decreed referendum must be examined by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

Ukraine is left without her FBI

During recent three years one of the popular topics among Ukrainian MPs and civil servants was the creation of the analogue of the FBI in Ukraine. The aim of the new-created organization was the struggle with the most painful problem in the country - with the organized crime. The organization had to unite in its ranks the best professionals in militia, security service and prosecutor’s offices. However, after the presidential election the popular idea of fighting the organized crime stopped to be so hot, and the organization which existed only on paper died without being born. The Presidential Decree of 15 December 1999 and the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of 27 December cancelled the intentions of organizing the Bureau.

The right to life

Death penalty is abolished, but the related problems remain

At the New Year’s eve the Constitutional Court of Ukraine took a decision that the article of our Penal Code permitting the death penalty is unconstitutional. Surely, this is a very important step on the road of Ukraine to the civilized democratic society. But I cannot feel joy because of a number of reasons.

First of all, I would like to remind the reader that it was in the year of 1995, when Ukraine, joining the Council of Europe, voluntarily promised to introduce the moratorium on the execution of death penalties since the moment of joining. This obligation has not been fulfilled. At first, after joining the Council of Europe Ukraine continued to execute the convicted to death for a year and a half. All in all about 200 people were killed. Then, starting with March 1997, the death penalty stopped to be executed without the official introduction of the moratorium. This stubborn refusal of the leading political forces to solve the problem of the legal capital punishment was very suspicious. The reasons are as follows.

The refusal of both the Supreme Rada and the President to introduce the official moratorium on the execution of the capital punishment during more than four years is not the consequence of the ’unpreparedness of the society’ to such a step, as some politicians hypocritically declare, but the actual unpreparedness of the politicians to put the human rights higher than their political interests. It is this ranging of priorities among our politicians that is dangerous for the society. One is embarrassed and even ashamed when reading in respectable newspaper ’Golos Ukrainy’ the description of the press conference given by the General Prosecutor where he said that the West ’demands’ the abolishment of the death penalty in Ukraine and that ’this is not the right tone in which they should converse with Ukraine’ and that ’any hurry in this question leads only to the noticeable rise in murderous deeds’.

Firstly, the statement of the General Prosecutor on the ’rise in murderous deeds’ after the abolishment of the death penalty is not true. Actually, t is contrary to the truth: the world experience witnesses that there is no correlation between the number of murders and the number of executed criminals. Even the Ukrainian experience confirms this: suspension of executions in March of 1997 DID NOT CAUSE the noticeable increase of the number of murders. So, the idea of a ’rise’ - that is just words and nothing more.

Secondly, maybe the top official considers that any demands from a country to fulfil an obligation taken voluntarily is ’not the right tone in which they should converse with Ukraine’. Certainly, we know well that many of our politicians use another tone: they promise one thing and do the opposite. But this is not a social problem, that is the problem of honesty of politicians.

Another myth spread by our politicians, supporters of this barbaric punishment, is the statement that it is too expensive to keep especially dangerous criminals in special prisons. Yes, it is expensive. However, in this case the number of the criminals kept is counted in hundreds, maybe in a few thousands. Now there are about five hundred criminals in Ukraine condemned to death. But, on the other hand, our courts incarcerate many tens of thousand, who committed petty offences. Their upkeep costs enormous sums. Yet, the Supreme Rada does not hurry to adopt a new, more humane, Penal Code. The prepared draft of the Penal Code, which already passed the first reading, in many respects is more cruel than the operating one and may cause even greater overcrowdness of penitentiaries. Why are silent those, who want to economize spending other people’s lives?

This position of the authorities and politicians, which is really a populist declaration is a very alarming symptom. In a society which is eager to become civilized the task of a politician is to protect humane values, to make them the norm of life. Alas, our politicians do the opposite and although the decision of the Constitutional Court on the death penalty is an important step on the road of humanization of our society, this is one step. A long road awaits us, and on this road we must explain to the society that we must not have the death penalty. Our politicians for the time being dodge this work.

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine took a decision that application of the death penalty is unconstitutional

On the New Year’s eve the Constitutional Court of Ukraine considered the appeal of 51 MPs and took a decision that the application of the death penalty is unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Court’s decision is obligatory for the executive power on all the territory of Ukraine. The operating laws must be agreed with this decision in the nearest future. Certainly, it gives good grounds for hope. Not only because Ukraine at last fulfilled the obligations taken by Ukraine before the Council of Europe, but because one of the branches of power took the responsibility for this unpopular although necessary decision. We believe that this decision is not less important than the abolition of the death penalty, because up to now our authorities and the most of our intellectual elite stubbornly confused democracy, as the state establishment, with populism, that is the opinion of the majority. Politicians and journalists supported the capital punishment, referring to the ’will of the people’.

Those, who, together with us, proved the necessity of canceling the death penalty in Ukraine, certainly feel great satisfaction. Nonetheless, we cannot help seeing that the majority of the population is not on our side. In fact, there is nothing strange in it - Ukraine in this respect is not worse and is not better than the majority of the European developed countries. Sociological polls in European countries have shown that only in Scandinavian countries and in Italy the idea of returning the death penalty is supported by about 40%. In other European countries the number of supporters of the death penalty exceeds 50%. The expressive example is the quiet respectable Belgium which suddenly had many-thousand demonstrations for returning the death penalty after the arrest of a pedophilic maniac, who killed little girls. Here we see how unstable is the public opinion even in the country where people are not so irritated by their rightlessness and beggarly living standard, like in post-totalitarian countries. Thank God, the Parliament of Belgium did not agree. This is a normal phenomenon in a ripe democracy, when the power does not follow opinion of the majority in order not to break the very essence of public interrelations. This way of behavior demonstrates the proper role and duty of the state. Power-bearing elite must take the responsibility to be more humane to support higher moral principles than a man in the street, and this attitude must be embodied in the operating laws. Those who write laws and adopt them, those who, by profession and experience, may take part in discussing and estimating laws, must account for historical, geopolitical and cultural tendencies of the country development and its place in Europe and the world. Whereas we are afraid most of all to do something, which the majority dislikes, while an individual is worthless in our country, the people is the magic watchword. All politicians, parties and representatives of different branches of power bewitch each other with this word, since using this word gives them the chance for irresponsibility. The modern society is a very complicated mechanism that requires permanent and experienced agreement of interests of all society members. The majority often have not sufficient information to form opinions on many questions. By the Constitution Ukraine is a representative democracy, so those, who represent the voters, are not just their loudspeakers, as our leftish politicians believe. The majority of voters in our country do not know how to manage our state so, that it would become a convenient place for living. Up to now we have not managed to build such a state. Those, who are in power, must bear in mind a certain model of the society, modern and capable of self-development. The steady incorporation of humanism and moral at the state level can improve the situation in the country, where the relations between the power and an individual have been distorted by existing in the abnormal world for about a century. Abolition of the death penalty is the first real step in the correct direction. The first of many steps aimed at smoothing the cruelty of our society.

On 3 January in the TV program ֻ days’ an interview was shown among Kyivans devoted to the decision of the Constitutional Court. We were grieved less by the reactions of the participants, than by the attitudes of the TV journalists. They are clearly lacked some tact and the knowledge of the problem. Everybody agreed that Onoprienko (a maniac who killed 52 victims) should be torn to pieces without investigation and trial. But if the same people were put the question: ’Do you agree if our husband (or son, brother, grandson) would be arrested and beaten until he confessed to be a murderer, and then would be executed?’, we are sure that, since the suggested circumstances are rather realistic, this question would make people think. But the journalists preferred another, provoking, manner of asking questions. They finished their feature with the remark: ’The Council of Europe will be satisfied, but will the decision satisfy the majority of Ukrainians?’ This rhetoric question can be easily answered: no, they will not be satisfied, as well as Britons, Germans and Frenchmen. Politicians should not condescend to the level of a man in the street; on the contrary, they must educate their citizens, by and by convincing them that the human life is the top value.

To our pity, articles and interviews of such kind as we saw in the program ֻ days’ are very usual. Our establishment does not like to think. That is why the grave and progressive decision of the Constitutional Court must be doubly praised.

Thus, the decision is taken, but there remain many questions.

On the Orthodox Christmas eve the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection received a letter from a mother of a young man who had been convicted to death on 27 December. The court determined that the man was guilty of serial murders with the purpose of rape. The mother describes evidence that the confession was drawn by means of cruel torture, but neither the court nor the prosecutor’s office paid attention to his complaints. To our pity, this is not an exceptional case in the court practice.

Well, now those who were forced by torture to the confession in the crimes, which they had not committed, will not be executed, and their relatives, advocates and human rights protection organizations will have some time to fight for the acquittal of the innocent and, maybe, for their life since the living conditions in our penitentiaries are very dangerous for life itself. The ODA methods and the level of justice in our courts often leave no chances for the culprits to prove their innocence. Until we have such ODA and such court, the cancellation of the capital punishment is the cancellation of the most brutal neglect of human life by our juridical system.

The importance of the Constitutional Court decision is understandable today only for absolute minority of the society. The so-called ’man in the street’, to whose opinion our press likes to refer, until he himself is concerned, does not identify himself either with the criminal or with the victim. He just wants to live under protection and he is irritated when the power is unable to do it. If a citizen sees daily that his life and peace is a subject of care on the side of the state, then the cruelty in the society will decrease.

The death penalty as a criminal sanction of the Penal Code is abolished, but the price of life of our citizens remains very low. The citizens’ rights and dignity are under threat all the time. The Constitutional Court was the first to take the responsibility. It would be great if all our politicians and men in power follow the example.

Access to information

A swindler, not a spy


6 January 2000 Sevastopol

On 17 November the bill of indictment was handed to Sergey A. Piontkovskiy in committing a crime specified by Articles 19 part 4 and 80 part 2 of the Penal Code of Ukraine. At present necessity has arisen to complete the indictment by wording it in the following form.

The investigation has established that S. A. Piontkovskiy, from October 1998 to September 14 1999, organized, jointly with his former wife G. N. Piontkovskiy, the group and illegally used the foreign currency in the sum of $16,850, equal to Hr 66,590.87 as a mean of large-scale payment, thus committing a crime specified by Article 80 part 2 of the Penal Code of Ukraine.

The concrete criminal activity by S. A. Piontkovskiy was revealed in the following:

In 1997 S. A. Piontkovskiy, a senior research fellow of the A. O. Kovalevski Institute of Biology of Southern Seas (IBSS) of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Sevastopol), personally handed the claim and got the grant (financial support) for the scientific work on the topic ’Distribution of data on the environmental characteristics by means of the new direction of electronic data (CD-ROM): instruments of protection of bio-variety in the threatened zones of the World tropical ocean’ or, briefly, ’Zoo-plankton of Indian Ocean’ in cooperation with the international organization INTAS (INTernational ASsociation for support of the cooperation with scientists of new independent states of the former Soviet Union), Brussels, Belgium.

For the work at the project ’Zoo-plankton of Indian Ocean’ Piontkovskiy attracted a group of researchers from the Institute of Biology of Southern Seas: A. V. Kovalev, G. N. Piontkovskiy, I. Yu. Prusova, T. A. Melnik, A. R. Boltachev, E. V. Popova, O. A. Cherepanov, as well as the former researcher from this Institute V. N. Nikolskiy and researchers from the Marine Hydro-Physical Institute (Sevastopol) of the NAS of Ukraine: V. L. Vladimirov, V. V. Miroshnichenko, all in all 10 persons whom he promised to pay for the work, with their agreement, in US dollars. The group members had to extract from the IBSS archives the data on marine research, to process them, to accumulate them on computer media and pass them to S. A. Piontkovskiy. Some researchers have used the accumulated data, generalized them, created the computer database about marine ecological systems and prepared scientific reports. However, these persons personally did not conclude oral or written agreements for fulfilling the mentioned works with the INTAS.

In 1998 the INTAS transferred the money in the sum of $25,000 for financing the work at the mentioned project to S. A. Piontkovskiy’s account No. 936095482 in the Marine Midland Bank (New York, USA). S. A. Piontkovskiy took the obligation to divide the money by which he violated the proper order of financing the works at the grant. In particular the currency from the INTAS was transferred not to the counts of the researchers at the First Ukrainian International Bank (Kyiv), as it was stipulated in the Agreement on financing joint research projects in the framework ’Ukraine - INTAS - 1995’ on March 1 1997 and the Agreement between the INTAS and the First Ukrainian International Bank of July 2 1996, but to S. A. Piontkovskiy’s personal account in a bank in the USA.

Staying in the USA on a mission, Piontkovskiy decided to transfer the mentioned currency to his currency account No. 2001139258 in Sevastopol branch of the ’Privatbank’, and he entrusted his former wife Galina N. Piontkovskiy to get the money in US dollars and distribute it among the members of the group as the payment for the fulfilled work.

From 10 December 1998 to 10 September 1999 S. A. Piontkovskiy, in several tranches, transferred to the ’Privatbank’ $31,393.95. Earlier, on 18 November 1996, he handed Galina N. Piontkovskiy the proxy to dispose his account in this bank, in particular to withdraw the money and realize all operations linked with the proxy.

In May 1998 S. A. Piontkovskiy suggested G. N. Piontkovskiy to withdraw, according to the proxy, from his account in the ’Privatbank’ the foreign currency (in USD) and distribute it, using the money as the means of payment, among the group members. G. N. Piontkovskiy agreed, and thus, contrary to the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine ’On the system of currency regulation and control’ of 19 February 1993 with the amendments of 14 July 1999, joined in a criminal collusion aimed at the violation of the rules of currency operations.

On 6 October 1998 G. N. Piontkovskiy on the proxy of S. A. Piontkovskiy withdrew from the ’Privatbank’ $1,816 according to the voucher No. 1. On the same day she violated the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine ’On the system of currency regulation and control’ of 19 February 1993 with the amendments of 14 July 1999. According to Articles 3 and 4 of this Decree the only means of payment in Ukraine is Ukrainian currency, and according to Articles 4 and 5 the use of foreign currency as a means of payment on the territory of Ukraine is allowed only is one has an individual license of the National Bank of Ukraine. She, without the said license, paid in foreign currency the following sums to the following persons in the following places:

A. V. Kovalev got the money in his office No. 72, A. R. Boltachev and E. V. Popova - in the laboratory of the former department ’Nekton’ (office No. 70); each got $100, the total sum being $300.

I. Yu. Prusova and T. A. Melnik got the money in office No. 70, O. A. Cherepanov - in his office No. 65, and V. N. Nikolskiy - at his home by the address 41 Oktiabr Revolution Ave, Apt. 20, Sebastopol; each got $150, the total sum being $600.

All in all they got $900, which, by the then official currency rate of the National Bank of Ukraine ($100 = Hr 341.2) made Hr 3,070.8.

This was how S. A. Piontkovskiy in collusion with G. N. Piontkovskiy used US dollars as a means of payment (personally the money was handed by G. N. Piontkovskiy).

On 7 October 1998 V. L. Vladimirov got the money (through his colleagues) in his office No. 70 $100, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 341.2.

On 13 October 1998 V. V. Miroshnichenko got the money (through his colleagues) in his office No. 79 $150, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 513.3 ($100 = Hr 342.2).

On 29 January 1999 R. Boltachev got $200; Kovalev, Popova and Vladimirov got $300 each; Prusova, Melnik, Miroshnichenko and Cherepanov got $450 each, the total sum being $2,900, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank ($100 = Hr 342.7) equaled Hr 9,938.3 (that day G. N. Piontkovskiy withdrew by the proxy $4,410 from the ’Privatbank’).

On 30 January 1999 Nikolskiy got $450, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 1,542.15.

On 2 March 1999 Popova and Vladimirov got $200 each; Prusova, Melnik, Miroshnichenko, Cherepanov and Nikolskiy got $300 each, the total sum being $1,900, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank ($100 = Hr 362.3) equaled Hr 6,883.7 (that day G. N. Piontkovskiy withdrew by the proxy $3,100 from the ’Privatbank’).

On 9 March 1999 Kovalev got $200, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 740.6 ($100 = Hr 370.3).

On 14 April 1999 Vladimirov got $200; Kovalev and Popova got $300 each; Prusova, Melnik, Miroshnichenko, Cherepanov and Nikolskiy got $450 each, the total sum being $3,050, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank ($100 = Hr 394.01) equaled Hr 12,017.31 (that day G. N. Piontkovskiy withdrew by the proxy $2,630 from the ’Privatbank’).

On 5 June 1999 Kovalev and Popova got $100 each; Prusova, Cherepanov and Nikolskiy got $150 each, the total sum being $650, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank ($100 = Hr 395.1) equaled Hr 2,568.22 (that day G. N. Piontkovskiy withdrew by the proxy $1,000 from the ’Privatbank’).

On 15 July 1999 Melnik got $150, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 592.38.

S. A. Piontkovskiy, having returned from the USA, on the same day personally paid G. N. Piontkovskiy $150; together they paid $300, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank ($100 = Hr 394.92) equaled Hr 1,184.76.

On 2 September 1999 Popova got $200; Prusova, Melnik and Cherepanov got $300 each, the total sum being $1,100, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank ($100 = Hr 438.35) equaled Hr 4,821.

On 6 September 1999 Miroshnichenko got $450 in his office No. 70; Nikolskiy got $300 in his flat, the total sum being $1,050, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank ($100 = Hr 443.26) equaled Hr 4,654.23.

All in all S. A. Piontkovskiy and G. N. Piontkovskiy paid $11, 850, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 45,205.82.

For the work at the given INTAS grant S. A. Piontkovskiy and G. N. Piontkovskiy paid to the members of the group the following sums: G. N. Piontkovskiy - $450, A. R. Boltachev - $300, V. L. Vladimirov - $800, A. V. Kovalev - $1000, E. V. Popova - $1200, I. Yu. Prusova - $1800, T. A. Melnik - $1800, V. V. Miroshnichenko - $1800, O. A. Cherepanov - $1800, V. N. Nikolskiy - $1800. The total sum is $12,760, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 18,267.62. For the foreign currency obtained they wrote cash vouchers to G. N. Piontkovskiy, where they indicated that the money was in US dollars and confirmed that it was the fee for the work at the INTAS project.

In July 1999 the fund ’The Darwin initiative’ (Great Britain) gave to S. A. Piontkovskiy the money for financing the works on the project ’Bio-variety and bio-variability of plankton in tropical ecosystems (the Indian and Atlantic Oceans)’. The fund transferred the money to S. A. Piontkovskiy’s accounts in the banks of the USA and England.

To work at the above-mentioned project S. A. Piontkovskiy organized the research group from researchers of IBSS: A. V. Kovalev, G. N. Piontkovskiy, T. A. Melnik, E. V. Popova, Yu. A. Zagorodniaya, T. M. Rogach, as well as the former researcher from this Institute V. N. Nikolskiy, all in all 7 researchers, to whom he promised to pay the salary in US dollars. According to the project the work was to record the archive data of the institute on the computer magnetic carriers, to create the catalogue on zoo-plankton of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and to pass the collected and generalized materials to S. A. Piontkovskiy. The above-listed researchers did not conclude either oral or written agreements with the fund ’The Darwin initiative’.

On 29 July 1999 $985 were transferred to S. A. Piontkovskiy’s account in the ’Privatbank’ he withdrew it by the voucher No. 4 on 4 August 1999. On 26 August 1999 he personally transferred from his account in a New York bank $4,000 to the ’Privatbank’ in Sevastopol. On 1 September 1999 he personally withdrew this sum from the ’Privatbank’ by voucher No. 6. In the same way he transferred ..1980 from his account in the national Bank of London to his account in the ’Privatbank’ on 10 September 1999 he converted them to $3,217 and personally withdrew them from his account.

During the period from August 1999 to 14 September 1999 S. A. Piontkovskiy, acting in an organized group with G. N. Piontkovskiy and violating the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine ’On the system of currency regulation and control’ of 19 February 1993 and without the proper license from the National Bank of Ukraine personally handed out the currency in the IBSS building to the following persons and in the following sums:

In the end of August 1999 Kovalev and Nikolskiy got $300 each; Melnik, Popova and G. N. Piontkovskiy got $400 each, the total sum being $1,800, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank ($100 = Hr 349.71) equaled Hr 7,914.78.

On 2 September 1999 Zagorodniaya got $100, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 483.5; the sum was given by G.N.Piontkovskiy.

On 10 September 1999 Kovalev got $300 and G. N. Piontkovskiy got $500, total sum being $800, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 3,609.44 ($100 = Hr 450.43).

On 14 September 1999 Rogach got $100 in the archives of the institute; Popova and Melnik got $500 each; Nikolskiy got $300, total sum being $1,400, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 6,357.68 ($100 = Hr 451.12).

For the work at the grant given by the fund ’The Darwin initiative’ S. A. Piontkovskiy and G. N. Piontkovskiy paid to the members of the group the following sums: Yu. A. Zagorodniaya - $100, T. M. Rogach - $100, A. V. Kovalev - $600, V. N. Nikolskiy - $600, G. N. Piontkovskiy - $900, E. V. Popova - $900, T. A. Melnik - $900. The total sum is $4,100, which by the exchange rate of the National Bank equaled Hr 18,314.25. S. A. Piontkovskiy used the remaining money at his own judgement. For the foreign currency obtained the researchers wrote cash vouchers, where they indicated that the money was in US dollars and confirmed that it was the fee for the work at the project of the fund ’The Darwin initiative’.

All in all S. A. Piontkovskiy, jointly with G. N. Piontkovskiy for the oversight at the projects ’Zoo-plankton of Indian Ocean’ (the INTAS) and ’Bio-variety and bio-variability of plankton in tropical ecosystems (the Indian and Atlantic Oceans)’ (’The Darwin initiative’ fund) paid to the above-listed persons $12,750 (Hr 48,276.62) and $4,100 (Hr 18,314.25), all in all $16,850 (Hr 66,590.87), which exceeds 100 minimal salaries (Hr 74), thus being an especially large illegal operation with currency (100x74 = 7,400).

Thus S. A. Piontkovskiy in the period from 6 October 1998 to 14 September 1999 within the organized group, jointly with G. N. Piontkovskiy, in several steps illegally used $16,850 (Hr 66,590.87) as a means of payment in large sums to Yu.A.Zagorodniaya, T.M.Rogach, A.V.Kovalev, V.N.Nikolskiy, G.N.Piontkovskiy, E.V.Popova, T.A.Melnik, A. R.Boltachev, V.L.Vladimirov, I.Yu.Prusova, V.V. Miroshni-chenko, O.A.Cherepanov, thus they violated the rules on currency operations, i.e. illegally used currency as means of payment; they acted in a organized group and on a large scale - this is a crime specified by Article 80 part 2 of the Penal Code of Ukraine.

Prohibition of discrimination

Electricity cut off

In a number of districts of Kerch the electricity is supplied to blocks of flats and resident houses only after midnight. Besides, gas is not provided and central heating is cut off. So the temperature in living quarters is, according to physical laws, equal to that out-of-doors, and the population is tempered like steel. The most active process of tempering lasted in the beginning of December. It appeared that the central heating uses mazut (black oil). The town needs 6000 metric tonnes, and the available stock was 250 tonnes. At the same time frequent cuts of electricity began for 6 - 8 hours per day. It made crowds of people to flock in the streets and to block roads.

Nobody knows how road blocks increase the production of heat, but electricity appeared in houses and in three days the central heat-producing station started to work. It warmed 80 thousand inhabitants of Kerch. The remaining 70 thousand, whose houses were heated by small boiler-houses fed by mazut exclusively (the central station needs mazut only for triggering the process), envied their luckier neighbors.

By the beginning of January the electric cuts off steadily became more and more frequent, but the tempered citizens coolly disregarded the new troubles.

Just at that time Osadchiy, the mayor of Kerch, visited the warm country of Norway and felt, after returning to the arctic Kerch, some remorses, which made him turn to his fellow townsmen on the local radio. He confessed that some guilt may be put on the local administration. The unique precedent had been with the Minister of Finances of the USSR, who promised to cut off his right hand if the prices increased. The mayor of Kerch, taking account of many Moslems in the Crimea, who may cut a hand in earnest, did not risk his extremities. Instead he begged from the central administration 4000 tonnes of mazut and 20 megawatt of electric energy. Now the citizens look to forward with optimism: the cuts of electricity reduced to 6 - 8 hours per day and the temperature of radiators cause discussions, whether they are heated or not. The prosperity ends outside the boundary of the town - suburbs of Kerch get much less. So, in the settlement of Arshintsevo (40 thousand inhabitants) cuts of electricity achieve 12 hours per day; in suburbs Marat-1 and Marat-2 there is no heat and light; in the settlement of Adzhimushkay drinking water is not supplied; in the boarding school No. 1 and town hospital No. 2, situated in the picturesque country, neither electricity, not heat, nor water is supplied, but there is a 100% epidemic of flue.

To compensate, light and heat are cut off very seldom in downtown, where the local administration resides. People grumble, but the local authorities are not afraid. ’This epoch needed heroes’, as Friedrich Engels said, ’and it gave birth to many’.

On refugees

Results of law-enforcing bodies’ activity in the Kharkov oblast

11 January a press conference was held in Kharkov with the participation of Volodymir V. Kryvobok, the prosecutor of the Kharkov oblast, and general-major of militia Oleksandr A. Gapon, the head of the Kharkov directorate of the Ministry of Interior. They spoke about the results of the activity of law-enforcing bodies in the Kharkov oblast. They promised that such meetings would become regular in the future.

The oblast prosecutor told that in 1999 in the Kharkov oblast 44,023 crimes were registered, which is 1.26% less than in the previous year; 15,267 from them are grave crimes, which is 2.3% less than in 1998. The proportion of the criminals, who neither work nor study is steadily increasing. In 1999 their number achieved 64.8%. A sizeable proportion of crimes (16.8%) are committed in the state of alcoholic intoxication. The ODA department of the prosecutor’s office finished 1480 criminal cases; 13% of them were considered after the established deadline, 5.7% were returned for additional investigation, 21.8% of cases were closed.

The prosecutor pointed out that in 1999 his office worked more fruitfully in supporting the accusations in court.

During the year 279 cases of corruption were started (plus 17%). Three deputies of the city council were accused of bribe-taking, two of them have already been condemned to 5 and 4.5 years of incarceration with confiscation of property. Now the ODA is going on relative to the deputy head of the permanent commission of the city council. Besides, four deputies of the city council are accused of the administrative violations.

General-major O. A. Gapon declared a complete openness of his agency for journalists and for all society. General Gapon has been appointed to be the head of Kharkov militia recently, only two months ago, so this statement looks rather promising. He also said that the pay arrears to militiamen have reduced from Hr 10 million by 1 January 1999 down to Hr 5 millions by 1 January 2000.

As to the operative state in the oblast, the militia chief said that on the territory of the oblast 12 criminal gangs operate, that there are channels for laundering dirty money, that there are abuses of rules of currency operations, of faking strong drinks and many other crimes. He said that a group of telephone swindlers, who learned to switch into the telephone network and speak over telephone for the account of normal users. This is a pleasant news, for such an operation was carried out in Ukraine for the first time.

On 10 January a joint operation was carried out for checking the work of 23 custom posts. As a result two custom officers were detained for corruption, and the prosecutor’s office has already given the warrant for their arrest.

An operation is planned for disclosing economic crimes in the agrarian-industrial complex. In general the Kharkov directorate of the Ministry of Interior has vast plans for fighting with crime.

Everybody was interested in the changes of personnel. It was made public that recently more than 600 persons were dismissed from militia, 129 of them were dismissed for negative acts. 23 criminal cases have been started against militiamen, nine of them for crimes. Seven of them have already been passed to the court. Militiamen hold monthly conferences, where they discuss the discipline.

Our informant

Some considerations of a participant of the seminar ’International standards on preventing torture and cruel treatment in connection with perfecting the Ukrainian legislation’

Militiamen are, nominally, law protectors, and we are rights protectors. It would seem that they (investigating officers) and we (doctors, lawyers, journalists) must regard torture in the same way: ’This shameful illegal activity must not be tolerated, we shall extirpate it in practice’.

Yet, it does not happen so. When reporters talked about abuses of rights in general terms, somewhere and sometimes, the militiamen present heard quietly. Yet, when I risked to reproach the prosecutor’s office of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast by recalling several cases, when I turned to the office with my complaints about the detained beaten in militia, I heard a pack of reproaches: ’This is a pack of lies’ or even ’You support criminals and prevent us to do our work’.

I told about the case of a Kobets, who was beaten by transport militiamen, which was confirmed by an eyewitness. In spite of the handed complaint, the district prosecutor’s office refused to start the criminal case. The details of this case, the pressure on the victim and many convincing details are worth of a special report. Yet, the main idea is clear - it is next to impossible to prove that one was beaten by militia. The chiefs of militia negate the facts, and our ombudswoman N. I. Karpacheva is either silent or passes the investigation to a local prosecutor’s office, from where the standard negative answer had been already obtained. The root of the evil lies in the law ’On complaints from citizens’, according to which the complaint must not be investigated by those, against whom the complaint is directed. But in similar cases there are no other witnesses except ’law protectors’. So the result of a complaint is a kind of the paper roundabout.

Another reason to apply torture is extracting the confession. According to section 3, article 62 of the PC, a suspect must not be considered guilty if the accusation is based on arguments extracted by illegal methods. Practically this article is ignored.

Our Constitution declares that an incarcerated criminal has all the rights of a citizen except the limitations which were imposed by the court verdict. In the case of a detained, whose guilt has not been proved yet, the demands of the law must determine his treatment, not the criminal practice of torturing. An investigation of each complaint on torture and degrading treatment by militia must be thoroughly investigated not by district precincts, but by top officers of the oblast level, jointly with advocates or human rights protection activists, who has handed the complaint.

There were suggestions to turn to the European Court of human rights. I think that such a shameful phenomenon as torture and cruel treatment must be extirpated by joint efforts of law protectors and human rights protectors, must be made public in mass media, must be followed by sacking cruel and unprofessional militiamen. Otherwise the European Court will make our country go bankrupt by imposing fines on our beggarly state. The mechanism of taking fines from the direct culprits has not been developed yet.

Court practices

Soldiers’ mothers unite

The constituent conference of the Crimean Union of soldiers’ mothers was held in Simferopol on the initiative of the republican military commissariat. 37 delegates from 23 districts and towns of the Crimea approved the statute of this public organization, elected the directorate of 11 persons and unanimously voted for A. Finenko as a chairwoman. A. Finenko protected rights of the Crimean servicemen for a long time. Now representatives of the Union of soldiers’ mothers will work in every district center, and the chairwoman can be contacted by telephone 292 - 480 or by the address: A. Finenko, room 152, 13 Kirov Ave., Simferopol. Every Friday A. Finenko will receive servicemen and their parents by this address from 10:00 to 17:00. Parallelly lieutenant colonel Viktor Beregovoy, the assistant of the head of the indoctrination department, will receive daily from 9:00 to 17:00 recruits and members of their families by the address: Republican military commissariat, room 348, 152 Kievskaya St., Simferopol. He can contacted by the telephone 267 - 187.

The level of legal defense of servicemen in Ukraine is very low

The Kharkov oblast Union of soldiers’ mothers reviewed and generalized our observations relative to such dangerous social phenomenon as deserting. The army and its problems should not be considered separately from the society and the social problems. This banal truth is not followed in real practice. Very often the military remain with their problems out of the focus of public attention and control.

For a year and a half (from May 1998 to September 1999) 18 youths, who escaped from their units, came to us. The experience of communication with these young men makes us conclude that the level of legal defense of servicemen is extremely low. The same was said by V. Artamonova, the chairwoman of the Union of Soldiers’ Mothers of Ukraine (USMU), at the all-Ukrainian USMU conference that was held in March 1999.

Out of 18 young men, who turned to our organization, 16 complained at dedovshchina and explained their decision to leave their unit exactly by this reason. The remaining two explained their escape by the grave diseases that became even more virulent during the service. What have we found analyzing their complaints? Out of 18 soldiers 11 (!) suffer from various diseases (sometimes psychic). Their cases appeared so obvious that later 9 of them were considered not able-bodied, which means that they had been called to the army contrary to law.

Among these nine there were two deserters N. and G, convicted for their escape as deserters. N. was convicted by Article 241 (desertion) to 4 years of incarceration. His parents turned to our organization with a complaint that the verdict had been made without accounting of mitigating circumstances, namely grave chronic diseases, with which N. had been called to the army. The medical documents, which N.’s advocate used at the court, testified that N. had suffered to cerebral brain traumas, that he suffered by partial loss of memory and that during staying in the prison he was observed by the psychiatrist. Besides he had a grave proctologic disease. With this bouquet of diseases N. was called to the army and then, disregarding the recommendations of the military hospital, to which he got in the first months of service, he was not directed for treatment, even after the second cerebral brain trauma. He was only directed on leave to his parents. Father did not permit the son to return to his unit, where his son was not treated and turned to the local military commissariat, asking to help. Any help was refused. The legal illiteracy of his parents and the state of his psyche made him run away. But what about military doctors? Are they not guilty, when at first they recruited the invalid, then did not treat him, then gave the incorrect estimation of his health? The last happened when N. was detained and directed by the military prosecutor to the military hospital of Kharkov garrison for investigation. The investigation was carried out very negligently. Having considered the complaint of the advocate and the documents of medical examinations of N. the Supreme Court of Ukraine entered the protest to N.’s verdict, regarding the circumstances making N. to desert as extraordinary (namely this term is used in the resolution of the Supreme Court). Then the verdict was changed, reducing the incarceration to that which he actually passed, that is he got two years instead of four. He was ill during the two years of incarceration, and, thanks to the prison personnel, he was under the permanent observation of doctors.

The case with another deserter, G., was not less revolting. The young man suffered from neural-psychiatric disorders, but nevertheless was taken to the army. There he immediately became the object of tortures and jokes from the side of his fellows. Investigating officers could study G.’s letters to his family, in which he described various aspects of dedovshchina. These letters were passed to the investigating officers by G.’s mother and sister, together with a medical certificate form the children psychiatric dispensary. Yet, G. was not directed to the medical expertise, his relatives were not summoned to the court as witnesses, G. had no advocate. the latter fact is explained by the following: the court is usually held at the place of service, sometimes very far from the place of residence of the serviceman. The relatives usually have difficulties in finding an advocate in the unknown town, even if they can afford an advocate. This happened in G.’s case, and, as a result, he was convicted to three years of the disciplinary battalion by Article 240 of the Penal Code of Ukraine. Our requests to the commander of the disciplinary battalion were duly answered and read that G. behaves very strangely and is kept separately from others. By decision of the commander G. was directed to the psychiatric department of the Kyiv military hospital. There he was considered unable for service. The court martial released G. from the punishment and his court record was cleaned.

This is a case with a relatively happy end. Less happy ends happen. Private A. escaped from his unit billeted near Simferopol. Two more privates had run away before him (one of them, like A., is a Kharkovite). Then two more ran away. A., having come to Kharkov, turned to the local military prosecutor’s office and, according to the law, he was examined by forensic medical experts, who found injuries resulting form beating and burns of glowing cigarettes on his skin. The prosecutor’s office recorded the fact that A. came on his own will, added the results of the expertise and directed him to the prosecutor’s office in the place of his service. Yet, Simferopol prosecutor’s office did not consider the results of the expertise as evidence of dedovshchina, although soldiers ran from this unit in crowds. A.’s parents told that in Simferopol the officials exerted pressure on their son and demanded that he should refuse from his initial testimony. As a result, A. ran away again and his present residence is unknown. If he is caught, then he will be responsible, but not those who encouraged dedovshchina and not Simferopol prosecutor’s office which did nothing to improve the situation.

All this happened with Kharkovites, who serve in different regions of Ukraine. If a serviceman runs from his unit, then his case, as a rule, is considered in the prosecutor’s office of the place of his service. Mostly this is far from home; the soldier and his parents do not know either advocates, or journalists, or human rights protection organizations. To prove that some time ago there were facts of dedovshchina in the unit is practically impossible, especially because the members of the regional prosecutor’s office support officers of the unit. That is why deserters prefer to dodge the officials. When servicemen on the run turn to our organization, we recommend them immediately to turn to Kharkov prosecutor’s office and their military commissariat. In very acute cases we turn to the Ministry of Defense and the General Prosecutor’s office. Such ’fresh deserters’, if they come to organs of military justice, are considered as not deserters; moreover, according to directive MO No. 115/337 of 28 January 1993, the commandment must transfer them to some other military unit. Unfortunately, we often observe that this directive is ignored. Having returned to the former unit (as it happened with A. in the Crimea) a young man does not feel himself safe and deserts again. Unpunished deds, irresponsible officers, negligent or incompetent of doctors of recruiting commissions cause that ill youths get to the army and are tormented there.

Recently in the interview to the Kharkov newspaper ’Vremia’ P. P. Panasenko, the deputy of the military prosecutor of Kharkov garrison, declared with a note of triumph that ’not a single deserter has dodged responsibility’. This declaration did not produce in us any satisfaction. We are sure that such deserters do not deserve incarceration. It would be much better for them and for the society if they are given the opportunity to get the alternative service. In our country we have about 226 thousand incarcerated, in this respect we are far ahead of all developed countries of Europe. We, tax payers, must think whether we can afford such cruelty.

Our authorities are very stern with those, who (because of weakness, legal illiteracy or desperation) run from the army and hides, without a hope to any justice. It would be more reasonable and efficient to be stern with supporters of dedovshchina. The Union of soldiers’ mothers sent a number of suggestions to the Supreme Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers. Here are some of the suggestions.

Creation at the local administration of legal aid to servicemen, organizing of ’hotlines’ by which a serviceman may phone or write a letter about his problems. To this end there must be at least one public telephone in a military unit for the free connection with the oblast center. Near this telephone there must be numbers of hotlines and of unions of soldiers’ mothers. To put obstacles to this communication must be considered a service offence and punished correspondingly.

The responsibility of officers, in whose units dedovshchina exists, must be made sterner. The existence of dedovshchina testifies of the professional unfitness of officers - they must look for other jobs.

Now a new practice is spreading in Russia: the recruiting side is materially responsible for recruiting of non-able-bodied. Concretely, military unit bring a suit against medical establishments who found the ill recruit suitable for army service. This is a good initiative, and it must be accepted in Ukraine.

There are auxiliary proposals of the Union of soldiers’ mothers of Ukraine, which were published in the documents of the USMU conferences and passed to the Cabinet of Ministers and to the President of Ukraine.

Returning to the question on the criminal responsibility for deserting, we turn to the organs of military justice with a request to be humane and to punish deserters with incarceration, if they committed some other criminal actions.

Recently the Kharkov newspaper ’Vremia’ published an interview with Zelinskiy, a deputy of the military prosecutor of the Kharkov garrison, in which he spoke on the corruption in the army. The officers, who were considered guilty of corruption and caught red-handed during taking bribes, were not incarcerated and punished in alternative way. We liked these humane steps on the side of the military justice. Here the military judges did not follow the public opinion that, as a rule, encourage the most cruel methods in the struggle with corruption. We are quite convinced that the guilty of non-violent crimes ought not to be punished by incarceration. We are also convinced that deserters should not be incarcerated, because in the most cases the one who must be blamed is the society, that was unable to support order in the army, to give a sufficient salary to officers, to prepare a reasonable legislation and to establish an efficient mechanism of servicemen’s rights protection. We beg the pardon of the military, but in our opinion it is better when boys primed by dedovshchina run form the army than commit suicides. Alas, only during last months we have learned about three such cases. Two of the boys, who killed themselves, were from the Kharkov oblast. In all these cases the investigation has not ended yet, and officially we may say nothing. But we saw letters from one of them. There were letters from a healthy normal boy. Such boys commit suicides only if they get under very hard circumstances.

We have turned to military and civil lawyers, as well as to our legislators, with the request to make Article 241 milder. Soon a new Penal Code of Ukraine must be adopted. We hope against hope that our suggestions would be accepted.

We are very glad that the action that was initiated by the General Prosecutor’s office has been prolonged. Now, as in 1998, the General Prosecutor’s office proposes deserters to come to recruiting commissions, and if they did not commit other criminal actions, they will be released from the criminal responsibility.

Servicemen or their parents, if they want to get free legal counseling, can turn to the Kharkiv branch of the USMU by telephone 143-171.


The conference ’Access to justice’ was held in Poltava

E. Volochay, director of the project on legal enlightenment and informing the population about their civil rights

There exist such problems that unite different social and professional groups of people. Realization of Constitutional rights of citizens, tolerance and esteem, the problem of access to justice - they all are a part of universal problems of a society.

There are not many conferences which bring together lawyers, teachers, public organizations and journalists. One of such gatherings was held in Poltava in the end of 1999; it was the conference ’Access to justice’. This conference was organized by the public organization ’For professional aid’ (Ukraine), by the Institute for training and development (USA, Massachusetts), by Rural Justice Center (USA, Vermont) and by probationers of the program ’Public connections Ukraine - USA’.

Acting advocates, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, civil servants, representatives of public organizations and mass media, teachers, students participated in this conference.

The organizers of the conference did not want to turn the conference either in a series of academic reports, or in a tribune for airing social indignation. The organizers of the conference based their plan on the social pragmatism.

First of all, the Constitution of Ukraine theoretically is a sufficient guarantor of rights and freedoms; it must act as a norm of direct action.

Secondly, it is necessary to act at once - evaluate and use the available resources and account of the operating le of the operating legislation of Ukraine.

Thirdly, an interesting experience of legal aid to citizens has been accumulated in Ukraine. the pioneers in legal enlightenment of citizens are some public organizations, which outstripped the state project of legal enlightenment of the population by a year, if not more.

Kathryn Fahnestock, the co-director of the Center of legal aid, said, while opening the conference, that one should not think that there are countries where the juridical structure is absolutely perfect. The USA are trying to perfect the mechanism of access to justice for citizens for two hundred years. The road to such a system is full of pits, they stumble, they fall, but they proceed. It does not mean that Ukraine will need as much time, since the integration in a modern world proceeds faster. But people in Ukraine must not wait for the time, when they will borrow other nations’ achievements. Ukrainian citizens must care of the realization of citizens’ rights in their country and assist in all ways to the development of this process.

The participants of the conference ’Accept to justice’ gathered in order to discuss five important ideas, on which the Constitution of Ukraine is based: guarantees of the independence and neutrality of the judicial power; presumption of innocence (benefit of the doubt); the right for legal aid in the criminal process; honesty and transparency of the court trial; realization of citizens’ right to be aware of their rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine.

The peculiarity of the conference was that no advantages were given to the participants because of their profession or other characteristics. Judges and NGO members, teachers, journalists and students were equal participants of the discussion, unlike the usual procedure, when some participants make reports and others make notes. Discussions and exchange of opinions in small groups concerned important aspects of access to justice and realization of citizens’ rights.

The social role of the judicial power was discussed. All understand the role of the court defense during the trial, but few understand the importance of observing rights of the accused. The conflict between the state and the accused citizen is obvious, but the creation of the mechanism of defending rights of the law-obedient citizen is not less important, if these rights are acknowledged by the state and, at the same time, are abused by the state.

Which is the mechanism of supporting neutrality and independence of the judicial power? The way out is in the situation when judges do not search the evidence, but only assess the evidence in the course of the trial. Their duty is to support competition of the sides during the trial. Up to now, advocates have not equal status with investigating officers in the search for evidence, and this makes difficult the work of the defense. Rejection of judges stipulated by law does not really work.

Benefit of the doubt and gathering evidence were the topics which attracted especial interest of the participants. If someone is detained under the suspicion of having committed a crime, it is important how long he stays in the indefinite state under the pressing. This state determines the psychological readiness of the suspect to defend his rights. If the suspect will refuse form defense under the pressure, will he have an advocate at this stage of the ODA, - all these factors influence the course of events during the trial. Participation of an advocate at the early stages of the ODA happens to be the only guarantee of gathering evidence without abusing the Constitution. All the participants of this discussion noticed how difficult to realize Article 62 of the Constitution, which stipulates that the evidence gathered illegally must be excluded from the case.

Confession of the suspect still happens to be the basis of the incriminating evidence. Majority of citizens do not even suspect that in the Constitution there are Articles (such as Article 63) which give the suspect or witnesses the right not to give evidence against himself or relatives.

Many participants spoke about the existing practice of non-execution of resolutions of court. Citizens’ suits on the pay arrears are accepted by courts, and the courts often rule out to pay the wages, but these resolutions are systematically not executed. This makes courts activities a farce.

If to apply the Constitution as a norm of direct action, then a citizen has the right to suit the state, which in the person of its executive services does not act properly and thus inflicts material or moral damage to the citizen (Article 56). The same can be said about illegal detainment and keeping in custody.

There is another important problem of the equal access to justice, including guarantees of the state for the free legal aid for poor suspects in criminal cases. Practically, the advocates, who defend such clients, do not get any pay from the state. In various regions of Ukraine the situation differs, but there are towns, where the state did not pay advocates’ work since 1996! Usually every practicing advocate wastes some time of him to this kind of activity, although his fees are guaranteed by the Constitution.

Some town councils in Ukraine took resolutions to finance form local budgets the legal defense of minors accused of crimes. Public organizations from different regions of Ukraine carry out juridical enlightenment of citizens, teach citizens how to behave correctly in court, organize ’hotlines’ for consulting, consult the poor free of charge or by means of the proper materials in mass media. Such programs are often financed by international organizations, such as TACIS, the US Agency of international development and others. Besides, such programs are financially supported by Ukrainian businessmen. The latter phenomenon is new and very important because soon various international funds will leave Ukraine, and our citizens are still very ignorant about their rights and other democratic values.

The participants of the conference sketched some projects which they are going to realize in the nearest future. In spite of the difficult situation in Ukraine, people live and work here who understand all and can do much useful.

Here are some concrete projects:

The project of creating students’ ’juridical clinics’ in Poltava and Kyiv for free juridical consultations of citizens. The contact is Elena Volochay, 011-380-44-5658934, E-mail: [email protected]

The project of creating a juridical library in Poltava for students, barristers and common citizens. The contact is advocate Yuri Motorny, 011-380-532225760, 011-380-532133358.

The project of publication court resolutions acquitting citizens in mass media. The contact is editor of the magazine ’Business and safety’ Sergey Belenkiy, mailto:[email protected]

The project of holding the second interregional conference on the problem of protecting civil rights with the participation of judges, advocates, investigating officers, mass media, public organizations, civil servants. The contact is Svetlana Garmash from the juridical firm ’Maksima-advokat’, Kremenchug, 011-380-536638970 (No. 5), mailto:[email protected]

Creating the databank of public initiatives in realization of the Constitutionally confirmed rights and freedoms. The contact is NGO ’For professional aid’, Sergey Volochay, mailto:[email protected]

Seminars within the project ’Development of Ukrainian human rights protection information network’

From 21 January 1999 to 21 January 2000 ten seminars devoted to the topic ’International standards of preventing torture and cruel treatment in connection with Ukrainian legislation’ were held in the framework of the TACIS project ’Development of Ukrainian human rights protection information network’. The seminars were held in Lviv, Zhytomir, Cherkassy, Chernigiv, Simferopol, Sevastopol, Vinnitsa, Khmelnitsky, Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk. All in all there were 870 participants. They were workers of justice, militia, the USS, prosecutor’s offices, as well as advocates, public organization activists and journalists.

The reporters at the seminars were: Oleksandr Pavlychenko, director of the Centre of Information and Documentation of the Council of Europe, who spoke on the prospects of the cooperation of Ukraine with the Council of Europe and who explained the procedure of handing complaints to the European court; Evhen Zakharov, a co-chairman of Kharkiv Group for human rights protection, who spoke on international standards of protection from torture and degrading treatment and on how these standards are realized in Ukraine; Roman Romanov, the executive director of Sevastopol human rights protection group, who told about the Ukrainian legislation on detaining and arrest, as well as how they agree with international standards.

Along with the basic reports at the seminars in Zhytomir, Chernigiv, Cherkassy, Simferopol, Sevastopol and Donetsk some additional reports were made. Andrey Sukhorukov, the head of the International Union of human rights (Ukrainian branch), made the report on the role of public organizations in preventing torture. Aleksandr Bukalov, a co-chairman of the Donetsk society ’Memorial’, spoke on preventing torture and the reform of the penitentiary system in Ukraine. At the seminars in Khmelnitsky, Vinnitsa and Dnepropetrovsk Yuri Zaytsev, the editor-in-chief of the quarterly ’Practice of the European Court of human rights: decisions and comments’, spoke on the use of the European Convention on human rights in the court system of Ukraine. In Lviv professor Petro Rabinovich spoke about the peculiarities of the interpretation of the norms of the European Convention on human rights by the European Court of human rights; professor Yaroslav Dashkevich discussed the methods of assessment of the situation with human rights.

In the framework of these seminars general discussions were held on the following topics:

what are human rights?

what threatens human rights in Ukraine?

activity of public human rights protection organizations;

mechanisms of human rights protection.

Our informant

Conference of representatives of human rights protection organizations of Kharkov, Vinnitsa and Odessa

On 17 December 1999 representatives of human rights protection organizations of Kharkov, Vinnitsa and Odessa had a conference where they discussed some urgent questions. They again considered the necessity of building a system of interaction between human rights protection organizations of Ukraine. They agreed that a promising solution of the problem is the creation of human rights protection Coalition, which would better guarantee the observance of human rights.

This initiative has been suggested many times before, but the Coalition has not been organized yet. This was prevented by the following factors:

Up to now human rights protection organizations are not formed in every region of Ukraine.

Public organizations, which consider themselves participants of human rights protection movement, have reached rather different stages of their development.

The acting human rights protection organizations, being developed autonomously, use rather different approaches and methods.

In spite of these objective reasons and subjective obstacles, the time has come to organize interaction among human rights protection organizations of Ukraine. The political changes that occur in Ukraine lead the country to a mafia-kind dictatorship where the basic value is money. In this type of the state human rights will play a negligible role. In order to correct the situation and make human rights protection efficient we must interfere into the social processes on the national scale.

I appeal to all NGOs of Ukraine, which work in the sphere of human rights protection, calling them to unite. The first steps in this direction are the following:

Establishment of regular information exchange among human rights protection organizations (electronic messages, information bulletin ’Prava ludyny’, snail-mail, personal contacts, round tables, etc.).

Carrying out joint actions in order to protect concrete victims or organizing enlightenment actions, etc.

Development of the standards to which human rights protection organizations, which enter the human rights protection coalition, must satisfy.

As to these standards, they must be the following:

such organizations must act in the following three directions:

- distribution of information about human rights, their abuses, enlightenment of the public about news in the legislation, about international instruments of human rights, about methods and mechanisms of protection;

- human rights protection as such (protection of concrete victims, legal counseling, assisting the victims to protect their interests in administrative bodies and in court);

- analytical angle (monitoring of abuses of human rights in the region, collecting statistical data and its analytic processing, contacts with national and international analytical centers concerning human rights).

keeping activity open and transparent;

juridical competence;

good reputation in their region.

I ask interested readers send their comments and proposals to the addresses:

[email protected]

[email protected]


The Association of independent creative intelligentsia awarded its Vasyl Stus prizes

Every year on the Orthodox Christmas eve the Association of independent creative intelligentsia awards the Vasyl Stus prizes. The date is selected because on 12 January 1972 a successive wave of repressions against the Ukrainian intelligentsia began, and, as a result, Vasyl Stus and the most active people from the generation of the 60s appeared behind the bars. By the initiative of the late Viacheslav Chornovil this day was declared as the Day of Ukrainian political convicts. In Soviet times this holiday was marked by hunger strikes and protests in prisons and concentration camps. Now it is marked by handing Vasyl Stus prizes.

This first non-state public prize was handed in 1989, at the time when nobody dared to establish any prize and hand it without agreement with the communist party organs. Evhen Sverstiuk, jointly with Igor and Irina Kalinets, organized this prize in Lviv, and then the authorities reacted very energetically. The first laureates of this prize were warned: either you remain on your job or you receive the prize.

During the last decade the laureates of the prize became Panas Zalyvakha, Ivan Svitlychny, Myhaylyna Kotsiubynska, Serhyi Moroz, Igor Zhuk, Olga Bogomolets& According to Evhen Svierstiuk, the president of the Association of independent creative intelligentsia, the Vasyl Stus prize is given for talent and bravery. All the awarded are unselfish people having great civil temper. There are many talented people, but only a few of them possess preparedness to serve the people like Vasyl Stus.

On 12 January 2000 three men were considered deserving the Vasyl Stus prize: composer Volodymir Guba, poet Moisey Fishbein, and the publicist and pedagogue Vasyl Ovsienko. At the ceremony of handing the prizes people spoke about a past and a present, about the growth of Vasyl Stus’ influence, on shaping the Ukrainian nation. V. Guba’s music sounded (it was his piece ’Horrors’ from the cycle ’This pain’ to poems of Vasyl Stus). This music was in profound harmony with piercing, very Ukrainian poems of Moisey Fishbein, who, according to his passport, is a citizen of Israel, but he is more Ukrainian than many of those who live in Ukraine.

The former political prisoner Myhaylo Gorbal pointed out in his speech the great services in preservation of Vasyl Stus’ spiritual inheritance on the side of Vasyl Ovsienko - Stus’ old friend and cellmate. All agreed that the prize was handed to the most deserving.

M. Kazimir, newspaper ’Ukrainske slovo’, 20 January

PL commentary: We sincerely congratulate Vasyl Ovsienko, a member of the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection, the coordinator of the program ’History of dissent in Ukraine’, a frequent author of our bulletin.

We wish you luck, Vasyl! We wish you good health, creative inspiration and successes.

Point of view

Cemetery of Lviv prison No. 25 and oblast MIA hospital

Documents about burial places of rehabilitated political prisoners of the period of communist repressions are still not accessible to public. The authorities explain it by the fact that under the Soviet regime the documents about political prisoners and criminals were kept together, and the documents about the criminals are still classified.

The burial of victims was done secretly, usually at night in special cemeteries or special parts of common cemeteries. From the archives we learned that before 1949 political prisoners were buried on Yanivske and Levandivske cemeteries, the location of the latter cemetery is still unknown. From 1949 to 1957 the prisoners were buried on Zamarstynivske cemetery. The wife of the late driver from the funeral bureau Maria Martyniak told searchers from ’Memorial’ that her husband just in those years was attracted to transport and bury prisoners from the NKVD prison. She showed the part of the cemetery, where the prisoners found their last refuge. She knew the place because she had a vegetable garden adjoining this place. We managed to find in the oblast archive the document No. 800 of 1 July 1952 where 2.8 hectares were appointed for the burial of prisoners. Later, by the decision of the city executive council No. 317 of 1 June 1967, the listed city cemeteries were closed and the mentioned 2.8 hectares were ploughed, and the plots of this land were given for planting orchards to some city organizations. At present there are private orchards there.

Some of the beneficiaries knew that their plots were situated on a cemetery, and they exchanged their plots for ones in some other places. One of the new owners, a KGB-man, built a house on his plot, but it was set on fire.

Having received from the administration the permission for exhumation, ’Memorial’ searchers started to dig and exhumed 20 remains from the graves. The corpses had metal tags on the ankle, and part of the tags were readable. Yet it did not help since the prosecutor’s office refused to open the corresponding cases. So, the identification of the remains became impossible.

We organized a forensic medical expertise. The experts did not find any traces of violent death, except in one case (perhaps it was a prisoner who tried to escape and was shot down).The age of the interred varied from teens to very old. The concurrent archive studies revealed that in the 40s less than 10% of prisoners were criminals. The overwhelming majority were political prisoners, usually convicted for various sections of notorious Article 54. They mostly were ’accomplices of the gangs’, i.e. relatives and neighbors of the OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) soldiers. Another proportion of the prisoners was repressed for non-fulfillment of the communist regime’s demands, such as non-fulfillment of labor norms, non-payment of taxes, violation of the passport regime and so on. Teenagers who finished vocation schools and were sent to Donbass mines or to the Siberia pits ran home and were put to prisons as well. As to the nationality of the prisoners, the majority of them were Ukrainians.

In 1999, by the initiative of ’Memorial’, the oblast administration permitted to continue the investigations on the Zamarstynivske prison cemetery. From 20 September to 9 October 1999 a group of five researchers from the ’Poshuk’ (’Search’) society worked here; 20 servicemen from a near-billeted unit of the national guard helped them in excavating. 122 remains were exhumed, which were rather similar to the score exhumed in the previous year. Since forensic medical experts were not available, the remains were interred again. Nonetheless, 74 metal tags were passed for investigation to the laboratory at prosecutor’s office. The works were stopped because of lack of financing.

Further works are planned to continue next summer.

’Poshuk’ may send on order slides, publications and a video-film about this action.

Arrested members of Limonov’s party are handed to Russian authorities

More than five months ago, on 24 August 1999, several members of Limonov’s party penetrated into the tower of the Seamen’s Club of the Russian Black Sea Navy in Sevastopol, welded the door after them and scattered leaflets with separatist appeal.

On Monday, 31 January, 15 detained were passed, according to the Minsk Convention of 1996, to Russian authorities.

The four above notes are prepared by R. Romanov, Sevastopol

Morally damaged general

General Vivat Beloborodov is well-known in Sevastopol by nickname ’marksman general’, but an international reader may forget him. So, we shall remind.

In the beginning of 1999 general Beloborodov was driving to his country house and noticed two youths who were carrying some bundles. The general suspected that they had broken in one of the country houses. He stopped the car and tried to detain the alleged thieves. By the general’s version, the thieves (15-year-old boys) attacked him and he had to use his gun. As a result, one boy was killed on the spot and the other was gravely wounded and later had to spend much time in the hospital. His left lung was shot through and the bullet passed in a few centimeters from the heart.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs investigated the case and approved of the general’s application of his service pistol. Against the boy, Andrey Shevchenko, who survived the shooting, the criminal case was started: he was blamed of attacking a militiaman. The court, certainly, condemned the potential killer, and Andrey Shevchenko got two years of imprisonment conditionally.

The public did not like this suspicious case, and the nickname ’marksman general’ stuck to Vivat Beloborodov, the more so that he was notorious with his hot temper.

Many local mass media preferred to be on the safe side and kept mum. They even did not react when the advocate, who agreed to defend Andrey Shevchenko, was arrested at night by a senseless pretext. The chairman of the Supreme Court of Ukraine had to intervene to release the advocate. Only two Crimean newspapers: ’Krymskoye vremia’ (Simferopol) and ’Slava Sevastopolia’ (Sevastopol) dared to print not only the materials of the press service of Sevastopol militia, but some doubts as to the general’s versions of the events. However, not a single publication contained open criticism of the shooting match.

Unexpectedly this story had a happy end: general-lieutenant of militia Vivat Beloborodov was sent to retirement. Now he has nobody to fight with, what is unbearable for a belligerent man. So he started libel cases against Sevastopol mass media, which, in his opinion, inflicted grave moral damage on him. In Leninskiy district court of Sevastopol the general’s claim against the newspaper ’Slava Sevastopolia’ is considered. TV and radio company and some other newspapers are waiting for their turn. The newspapers are lying low. They do not dare to comment on the libel cases.

An Orthodox priest benedicts the troops

A priest of the Sevastopol congregation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchy Father Georgiy visited Chechnya. For several months the marines of the Russian Black Sea Navy (based in Sevastopol) have been taking part in the Chechen war. The commandment of the Navy has close contacts with the Orthodox priests of Sevastopol. Father Georgiy, who used to sanctify new ships, has widened his occupations: now he benedicts the warriors directed to kill Chechens. Frankly speaking, he is not the first and not the last priest who benedicts slaughter.

Lenin in the box

An important change happened in the building of the former Leninskiy district committee of the communist party, where the district court is located now. Up to now the Lenin’s marble bust was seen behind the judge, as if it prompted the judge Lenin’s favorite words: ’Kill, kill and kill’. Now the former leader is covered with a box. The box looks respectable: it is yellow and blue (i.e. of colors of the state flag) and the trident (the state symbol) is painted on it, that very trident which during decades symbolized the national resistance to the communist regime. We hope that the judges will stop listening to what Lenin prompted to them and will listen to laws.

The bust of Feliks Dzerzinski embellishes the building of the city militia. Perhaps the militia bosses are still waiting for communists to come and give the command: ’Kill!’. But the offices of the most commanders are decorated with the portraits of the current boss Leonid Kuchma. When will his busts appear?

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2000, #01