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.


The dynamics of the economic state

The unemployment in Yuzhnoukrainsk is growing. By the state on 1 August the total number of jobless equaled 2659 people. The number of women was 1588 (60%), 1096 of jobless were younger than 28 year-old. Every month 30-40 vacancies appear for men. The hidden unemployment had the following structure: 1700 are counted on the unpaid leaves, which makes 11% out of those working at enterprises; 2800 (17%) work part of the work day or the work week. 35 persons were reduced during the first half-year, further reduction of 244 persons is planned. In January -- May 2000 the total list of workers made 16570 persons, not counting the enterprises of the small business. The average monthly pay for this period was Hr 408 (Hr 560 in industry, Hr 219 in building, Hr 217 in transport and communications, Hr 153 in education, Hr 194 in medicine and Hr 222 in trade). By 10 June 16063 workers have not got their pay. The total pay arrears equal Hr 38587 thousand. In the constructive business and related spheres the pay arrears are growing. The total sum of unpaid wages exceeds the five-month fund of wages by 18.7%. In June 1414 families got subsidies for communal services and electric energy, the total sum being Hr 44.6 thousand. The average sum per family equaled Hr 33.5.

During the last 9 months the total number of workers (not counting the enterprises of the small business) decreased has by 3.7% compared to the similar period of the last year and has reached 16 439. The average monthly nominal pay increased by 16.7% and made Hr 414.9. The total pay arrears compared to the similar previous period have grown by 23.4% and made Hr 44513.9 thousand. During the indicated period 1669 people turned to the employment center, which is 15.7% more than during the corresponding period of the last year. The level of the registered unemployment has reached 5%. 33 jobless pretend to one vacancy. 355 persons took part in public works, half of them were jobless. The state fund for encouraging employment sent Hr 384 thousand to aid the jobless.

Mass unemployment in Ternopil

According to the state on 1 January 2001 the registered at the Ternopil oblast employment center number of the unemployed equals 42,620. The total number of jobless is about 85 thousand. It is difficult to determine the level of so-called ‘hidden’ unemployment, since a great number of workers are formally counted as working, but they have not been working already for several years and producing nothing. Such people have to find other occupation in Ukraine or abroad. They do it even without leaving their fictitious jobs, so they are not registered as jobless.

The most proportion of jobless is from the Buchatskiy, Chortkivskiy, Ternopil districts and the town of Ternopil. The unemployment level in the oblast is 7% (to compare, in the average indicator in Ukraine is 4.2%). The situation at the labor market in the Ternopil oblast is rather complicated: 87 jobless pretend to one vacant job. In Buchatskiy district this number equals to 331, in Kozivskiy – 160, the average number in Ukraine being 17.

Only during December 2000 the number of jobless increased by 1100, although the rate of the unemployment increase has somewhat fallen during several last years (in 1998 the increment of the unemployed equaled 12 thousand per year, in 1999 – 6.4 thousand, 2000 – 3.3 thousand).

People without work started to turn to the employment centers more often: in 2000 the number of such people in the oblast was 45 thousand, which is 16% more than in the previous year. 16 246 people were given jobs, 3.5 thousand got first or second profession.

The first place among the jobless is steadily occupied by manual workers. Thus, in 1990 only 6% of jobless were blue collars, in 1995 the proportion increased to 45%, in 2000 – to 55.5%. The sad privilege of being unemployed belongs to women – 60%. The youth up to 25 makes the large proportion of jobless – 33.7%.

The incomes of employment centers are lately growing: they grew by 43% during one year. Owing to that fact if was possible to pay the debt of the doles.

What is the cost of the state reputation?

We shall remind the reader one of the most notorious political scandals of the end of the last year.

On 8 December 2000 MPs S. Golovaty, O. Zhir and V. Shishkin brought to Kyiv the audio and video records of their talks with the USS officer, who had passed to O. Moroz the cassette with the conversations of top state officers about journalist Gongadze. This group of MPs went abroad on the instructions of the provisional parliamentary investigation commission in order to make sure that the cassettes are not faked. Borispol custom officers, having violated Article 80 of the Constitution and Article 27 of the Law ‘On the status of a people’s deputy of Ukraine’, made a search of personal luggage of the MPs and confiscated the videocassette. According to one of the MPs, USS colonel O. Zhir, they returned the cassette some time later in a damaged state.

Because of this on 12 December 2000 the General prosecutor’s office started criminal case No. 47-348. In a month the group of prosecutor investigators of the Kyiv oblast came to the conclusion: ‘… the actions of the Borispol custom officers… have the infrequent character and did not cause any essential damage to state or public interests, or state or citizens’ interests guarded by law; that is why their actions may not be qualified as a crime mentioned by Article 166 part 1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine’. The case was closed.

The deputies appealed against this decision and brought the complaint to court about the compensation of moral damage.

Exactly at the same time in the same Borispol customs A. Tutunnik, the president of the Kherson oblast fund of mercy and health, passed the custom control. She returned from the education course at Helsinki fund of human rights. Lately she testified in the Borispol town court as an eyewitness of the event, about which the deputies and the custom officers tell absolutely different things.

Correspondent: Ms Tutunnik, what has really happened at Borispol custom control on 8 December?

A. T.
: I came from Warsaw together with Olena Volochay (she is from the town of Komsomolsk of the Poltava oblast, a member of the public organization ‘For professional assistance’) and Olga Kononenko (a member of the Sevastopol human rights protection group). We passed through the passport control without delay and directed to the ‘green passage’. But the passage appeared to be closed. We turned our attention at a group of people at the end of the passage, they loudly protested. We recognized one of the protesters – deputy Golovaty. He demanded from a custom officer to show the document, according to which he was detained for personal search and luggage control. The officer answered in a quiet voice, so we did not hear what he was saying. Golovaty cried out: ‘You are going to search me today, not tomorrow – so show me the document now, not in the future!’ The officer answered something again, and Golovaty said even louder: ‘I have shown my documents (waving his ID in front of the officers eyes), and you must show me yours. I have introduced myself – I am a people’s deputy, Sergey Golovaty, and who are you? I want to know who are you.’ Again I did not hear the answer of the officer. And the MP added: ‘I shall speak loudly to enable everyone to hear that here the Constitution of Ukraine is being violated, that you want to search people’s deputies. I warn you for the last time that here the criminals are not those, whom you are going to search, but those, who gave orders to violate the Constitution, and that you will be responsible for it.’

Two more custom officers and several people in civil clothes were standing near Golovaty. They blocked the exit, and when Golovaty rushed to the door, they stood in his way. MP Zhir was standing near Golovaty too, a little aside deputy Shishkin was standing also surrounded by some strangers in civil clothes. At first I thought that the deputies committed some crime, were followed. I thought that their luggage will be checked and they would be detained red-handed. Shishkin standing by the wall and surrounded by sturdy men seemed to be already detained.

Cor.: Did the custom officers try to explain what made them violate the law?

A. T.
: We did not hear what the officers were saying. As the deputies told later, they were told that an experiment was carried out at the custom controls that day, that is why the baggage of all passengers was checked. At the interrogation at the prosecutor’s office the custom officers told that two days before the event they had received the letter signed by the first deputy of the USS head, which read that soon somebody will take a great party of diamonds from Africa, and that the diamonds may be hidden in the boxes with audio or video cassettes.

Cor.: Did they suspect the deputies too?

A. T
.: All the custom officers repeat that they allegedly did not know that they were searching deputies, that the deputies did not show their IDs and did not introduce themselves. And they informed that they were deputies only after the beginning of the search, then the officers immediately stopped the search. But this is not true. Golovaty cried out that he was a deputy at the top of his voice, everybody present heard it. At the court session the militia officer, to whom Golovaty showed hid documents and explained several times that he was a people’s deputy, said that he ill that day with otitis, so his hearing was inadequate. As to the plain-clothed agents, who blocked the way out, the custom officers said that they were just curious passersby.

Cor.: All the custom controls throughout the world are provided with special video equipment, the control is especially strict, when there is a suspicion of smuggling. Was it difficult to look at the video records and thus to establish the truth?

A. T.
: The officers insist that just at the moment of the incident the person in charge of the video recording was sent to baggage store. There was much work and shortage of the personnel. So they had no record taken of the event.

Cor.: And all the three of you decided to become witnesses? Were you acquainted with any of the MPs? Do you support their political views?

A. T.
: We saw them only on TV-screens. And the political views in this case are not important. What is important is the brutal ignoring of the Constitution and the violation of Law in presence of hundreds of people, with many foreigners among them, including the ambassador of Poland in Ukraine.

Cor.: And what happened next?

A. T.
: Next deputy Golovaty came to his valise, opened it and began to demonstrate each item to the custom officers. Doing this, he explained: ‘This is deputy Golovaty’s bathrobe, this is deputy Golovaty’s shaving tackle, this is deputy Golovaty’s pants, this is deputy Golovaty’s socks…’ At this time deputy Zhir came up to his luggage, opened a suitcase it and started demonstrating his things to a lady-officer. He just was taking out a video camera, when the lady saw a videocassette in his suitcase and snatched it. Zhir asked: ‘Is it the thing that you are looking for, for which you are breaking the law?’ After this the woman took her walkie-talkie and said to the mike: ‘Send militia at once, there is a hooligan here’. That was a decisive moment: we saw that there was no hooliganism, that now this woman would frame the deputies, the militia would detain them, and nobody could prevent this. I thought: if such may happen to a deputy, what can be done with me, with all of us, common citizens, unprotected by deputies’ inviolability?

Deputy Golovaty came up to the lady-officer and said: ‘It is my cassette’, took it and tried to go away, but the automatic door closed before his nose. He had to return. He gave back the cassette to the lady-officer and only then he was allowed to get out. We hurried after him to say that if he sued, we are ready to be witnesses.

Cor.: What do you mean ‘hurried’? And what about the custom control?

A. T.
: We passed the custom control in the ‘red passage’ very quickly. Nobody asked our declarations, nobody checked our baggage. I was asked: ‘Were have you come from? – ‘From Warsaw’ – ‘Pass on’. I had an impression that the custom officers wanted to get rid of eyewitnesses as soon as possible. We did not find Golovaty in the airport. That is why we phoned to the main office of the Juridical fund, which he heads and left our addresses and phone numbers for the case if he needs witnesses.

Cor.: Were there any other eyewitnesses except you, who agreed to give testimony?

A. T.
: No. Moreover, no one of the custom officers, who were present at the court session, believed that we were not relatives of Golovaty or Zhir. They have got accustomed that everybody suffers without protest. They cannot believe that someone, without being paid or getting some other profit, but because of one’s dignity and social responsibility, may come from afar to give testimony against state officers, and not tremble of fear in the process.

Cor.: Did anyone try to convince you to refuse from giving evidence?

A. T.
: We felt uncomfortably before the trial. It was clear that the custom officers violated the law not by their initiative and those, who gave orders could turn their anger against us. All of us were summoned to the local prosecutor’s offices at the place of our residence and interrogated. I must complement the Kherson oblast prosecutor’s office because its officers were correct and professional. We felt uncomfortably also because many people asked us: ‘Why do you need all of that?’

Cor.: And indeed, why do you need all of that?

A. T.
: I live in this state, I am not going to emigrate, so I want this country to be civilized and my rights and freedoms were not violated.

This story morally damaged me not less than the MPs. It was convincingly demonstrated to me that in this country neither laws, nor deputies, nor even the Constitution will not protect me against arbitrary actions of the authorities. They even did not attempt to invent something more convincing than the story about African diamonds. My colleagues and I felt humiliated. Moreover, I am convinced that both state and public interests were considerably damaged, since, after this event citizens will have difficulties in trusting the state. I do not say about the respect to our state on the side of foreigners…

Cor.: Is everything so hopeless in our country?

A. T.: I do not reckon so. The very fact that this case is considered in court is very hopeful. I expect this court to be just. If our courts satisfied the claims against state officers, who abuse rights and freedoms of citizens, and fined the guilty (in the case described the sum of compensation is Hr 100,000), then the situation in the country will improve.

The interview was taken by Andrey Matrosov

University rectors bribed students

The Committee of science and education of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine turned to the General Prosecutor with the request to call to account rectors of a number of higher schools, who forced students to take part in the meetings in support of President Kuchma. On 9-10 January rectors of higher schools of Berdiansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Lugansk, Lutsk, Sumy, Kherson and other towns freed students from the lectures and made them attend the meetings.

The rectors promised to the participants of the meetings to put them credits. 30 MPs informed the Parliament committee on science and education about these scandalous facts. The committee, in its turn, addressed the General Prosecutor and the government. The meetings in support of Ukrainian President Kuchma have been going during several recent months throughout the country. The authors of this trick wanted in this way to counteract the massive protest action ‘Ukraine without Kuchma’.

The information is give by Roman Romanov

The regime tries the muscles

According to the information given by Volodymir Zaremba, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper ‘Sicheslavskiy kray’, a deputy head of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast organization of the ‘Sobor’ party, yesterday, at 11:30 a.m. some representatives of ‘Sobor’, Ukrainian Rukh, Socialist party, ‘Batkivshchina’, Organization of Ukrainian nationalists, union ‘Prosvita’, Ukrainian Youth ‘Sobor’ and Youth Rukh gathered near the universal store in Karl Marx street carrying state banners. They protested against Kuchma and Putin’s arrival to Dnepropetrovsk. About 100 of men in civil clothes observed the protest action. Nobody so uniformed representatives of militia.

About noon, immediately after the representatives of local and all-Ukrainian TV left the place, the sturdy boys in the civilian clothes started beating the protesters, among whom there were many elderly people. The state banners were torn to pieces. Volodymir Tsapenko, the head of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast organization of ‘Sobor’ was gravely beaten. Now he stays in hospital.

The beaten people were rudely pushed to the bus with the license plate 092-46 ÀÀ. Ganna Zaremba, a journalist of the newspaper ‘Sicheslavskiy kray’, demanded from the attackers to show any documents. In response she heard foul language. Eleven people were transported to the destination unknown, among them the head of the Kyiv district organization of ‘Sobor’ Ruslan Filimonov, the head of the oblast Organization of Ukrainian nationalists Viktor Taratushka and the head of the city organization of socialist party. Ivan Shulik, the head of the oblast organization of Rukh managed to escape. Now he is wanted by militia.

The editor-in-chief of the newspaper ‘Sicheslavskiy kray’ managed to learn where the detained people are kept: it is the Babushkino district precinct. They are accused of resistance to militia. On Monday the Babushkino district court will consider their case.

The ‘Sobor’ party decisively protests against such illegal actions of law-enforcers. We stress: militia and USS officers, who, wearing civil clothes and carrying no documents, take part in the brutal disbanding of the people using their constitutional right for peaceful protest demonstrations, do not differ from usual gangsters. The power, which uses such gangs for fighting its own people, is doomed. ‘Sobor’ again reminds all officers of law-enforcing bodies: the Ukrainian Constitution strictly forbids executing criminal orders (Article 60). We warn: soon the Ukrainian people will put on a stern trial not only the chieftains of the criminal power, but also those, who thoughtlessly executed criminal orders.

Press-service of the party ‘Sobor’
11 February 2001

On the Decision of the Dzerzinski district court of Kharkov: another juridical commentary

On 29 January 2001 the Dzerzinski district court of Kharkov took the decision on the civil case following the claim of the Kharkov city executive committee on the prohibition to set an agitation post of the Kharkov oblast organization of the Socialist party of Ukraine.

V. Rechitskiy, the Constitutional expert of the KhG

In the motivating part of its decision the Dzerzinski district court used as an argument the proof that ‘in the process of realizing their constitutional rights mentioned in Articles 34 and 39 by Ukrainian citizens and political parties neither the Constitution itself nor other legal acts stipulate the opportunity of erecting tents in public places and other places, where people gather’. This argument the court regarded as convincing to serve basic for the prohibition of setting tents on the Svoboda Square in Kharkov (on the tarmac covered ground near Lenin’s monument).

As to this argument and the court decision as a whole, the KhG finds it necessary to note the following.

The representatives of the Socialist party and some other public organizations, who intended to take part in the tent agitation post, are subjects of the civil society and not representatives of the state (state officers) with distinctly delineated competence. That is why in the legal sense their actions are less limited than those of the representatives of the state. Namely such are (must be) actions of other private citizens. In the given civil case the actions of Kharkovites, who, from the constitutional viewpoint, enjoy freedoms of citizens. That is why the principle ‘Only that is permitted, what is explicitly stipulated by law’ is not applicable to them, This principle may be properly implied to determine the only the freedom of actions of state representatives.

If to apply the principle ‘Only that is permitted, what is explicitly stipulated by law’ to the decision of the Dzerzinski district court, then one must conclude that the court may not prohibit the erection of tents, since neither in the Constitution of Ukraine nor in any operating laws there indications about such measures. Indeed, neither in the Ukrainian legislation, nor in Ukrainian sublegal acts, not in the legislation of the former USSR there are no indications which equipment may be used in public meetings, rallies, marches, demonstrations or pickets with agitation posts. This thesis has a practical confirmation. For example, in the Ukrainian legislation there is no special permission to take the armored cars and tanks to the central street of Kyiv during holidays. As well, there are no norms permitting to create special mechanical stands, pyramids, platforms and even tribunes for participants and spectators of rallies, marches, etc. In other words, all the technical equipment of various public actions in Ukraine is based on political traditions and common sense of the organizers and participants.

The court decision juridically presupposes that the tents and the agitation post were intended to erect in a ‘crowded place’. That was the thesis, which was later used by the court to prove the collision of the intentions of the organizers of the agitation post with the interests of supporting public order, which must be protected by the local executive power. However the court did not take into account that the Svoboda Square by the reason of its tremendous size, by its common arrangement and name is not so much a crossroads as the place specially designed for political and other public (for example, cultural) gatherings. This is confirmed, for example, by recent holding there political meetings organized by the authorities in protection of President Kuchma. In other words the Svoboda Square is the city area, which can and must be a place of great gatherings of people. The square plays its role, in particular, because of the meetings and agitation posts – natural legal forms of the realization of political constitutional rights.

To sum up, one must admit that in its decision the Dzerzinski district court again obeyed the wishes of the city executive power. In every law-abiding and democratic state the juridical and executive power are separated from each other by their functions, although the executive power naturally fulfils the decisions of courts. In the given situation, however, one can see the reverse order. At first the executive power presses on the juridical power making it take the decisions profitable for the former and then energetically fulfils the decisions.

In the motivating part of its decision the Dzerzinski court refers to the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR ‘On the procedure of organizing meetings, rallies, street marches and demonstrations in the USSR’ of 28 July 1998. The court considers this document as an operating law referring to the resolution of the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine ‘On the procedure of temporary application of separate acts of the Soviet le on the territory of Ukraine’ of 12 September 1991.

The Kharkov Group for human rights protection has already commented similar, not very convincing, court arguments. In the given case we would like to point out that the Resolution of 12 September 1991 does not contain a concrete list of the Soviet legal acts, which can be applied in Ukraine. Instead, the Resolution reads: ‘Stipulate that until the adoption of the suitable legal acts by the independent Ukraine, the corresponding Soviet legal acts may be applied in Ukraine, unless they contradict the Ukrainian Constitution and laws’.

Commenting the given norm, the KhG pays a special attention to the fact that in the above-mentioned Resolution of 1991 the Ukrainian Constitution of 1978 is meant, and not the Ukrainian Constitution of 1991. If the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR may be admitted to agree with the letter and spirit of the Soviet Constitution of 1977 and the Ukrainian Constitution of 1978 following from the former, then it is obviously wrong about the Ukrainian Constitution of 1996.

Thus, in it decision the Dzerzinski district court still ignores the fact that the Resolution ‘On the procedure of temporary application of separate acts of the Soviet le on the territory of Ukraine’ includes as a basic one the juridical reference to the Basic Law, which, in fact, is not operable for a long time. As well comrade Dzerzinski is long dead, but the Dzerzinski district court is alive and kicking.

Juridical commentary of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection on the current political events in Ukraine

Recently political actions and events in Ukraine are characterized with unusual intensity, greater diversity and various degree of conformity with the national and international laws. The events directly and essentially concern constitutional rights and freedoms of man and citizen in Ukraine. All this makes the Kharkov Group for human rights protection (KhG, in what follows) to give its commentary.

It should be noted that the level of observance of legal norms in a society never is the same for all subjects of the constitutional (political in its essence) right. It is well known that average citizens have in the sphere of politics a wide choice of behavior patterns. The volume of their political freedom is regulated by common guarantees of the national sovereignty, by all the set of political constitutional rights and by the organic principle of the activities of all elements of the civil society: everything is permitted, which is not prohibited by law.

So, it is not surprising that the public in its political revelations may spontaneous, often not motivated, at a first glance ‘irresponsible’. Sometimes the high political activity of the masses in transitive societies is explained by the back swing of political pendulum, when the depressed during the years of totalitarianism political emotions explode with a noticeable passion and the personal coloring too. Anyway, separate individuals and their social unions act on the basis of the political freedom, universal constitutional guarantees of the realization predominantly popular and not state sovereignty.

In harmonious juridical systems quite other constitutional demands are applied to the political activity of the state and its ruling branches, organs and officers. Here the sphere of politically minded activity is also present, but it is well-structured, well-ordered and is works as formal procedures. All state subjects act not on the basis of political freedom and broad political rights, but on the basis of distinctly determined competence and rights. All that makes a right for a state is, at the same time, its duty. That is why the rights of state agents in the developed democratic countries are defined in the exhausting manner. Another substantial principle works here as well: the higher is the organ or an officer in the state hierarchy, the more limited is the range of its behavior, so, the necessary political procedures are restricted in greater details with special norms. Thus, the demands to political actions of the state and its authorities are strictly determined in legislation both in from and in meaning.

Clearly understanding all of this, the KhG is made to notice the substantial deviation of state organs and officers in Ukraine from the above-mentioned legal principles. The violation of the principle of the limited rule, separation of different powers, organizational autonomy and political neutrality of separate branches of the state power and, as a consequence, disbalance of the mechanism of mutual restrictions often happen now in Ukraine, and lately they have begun to assemble into dangerous precedents. The actions of the authorities listed below present especially significant deviations from the principles and norms of law and right, in particular the constitutions right.

Ungrounded acknowledgement in 2000 of the legitimacy of actions and decisions of the ‘parliamentary majority’, physically (geographically) separated from the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. The sitting of the ‘parliamentary majority’ was held in the ‘Ukrainian House’ under the conditions of the current crisis of the national parliamentarism, which was provoked by a number of unsuccessful attempts of reelection of the Parliament speaker. This substantially abused the universal international standards of parliament democracy, the rights of the political minority of in the Supreme Rada, which is backed by a significant proportion of Ukrainian voters. It is quite clear that the decisions adopted by the majority in the regime of the organizational could be quite different, if the parliament minority participated in the discussion.

As is well known, the principles of liberal democracy, acknowledged and described in a number of modern international juridical and political documents, mainly stress not the rights of the political majority, but the guarantees of the rights of the political minority. The sense of the modern liberalism just lies in the protection of the political minority rights. So, decisions taken under the conditions, when the political minority is forcibly devoid of the right to influence the decision of the majority, may not be quite legitimate, according with the modern ideas on political fair play. In spite of its external efficiency, the coercive (forcible) political split of the Parliament in the course of time encouraged the return to the public consciousness of the traditional totalitarian concepts not only about ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ deputies, but also that the truth and good in politics bring only those, who were upper dogs and won. In his time V. I. Lenin wrote proudly about the invincible force of bolsheviks. We all know very well what was the cost of this democracy simplified to the vulgarity to Slavonic peoples.

Another non-legitimate step of the official power was the recent ‘referendum after the people’s initiative’ concerning changes and additions to the Ukrainian Constitution. As is well known to practically all social-political forces of Ukraine, this initiative was people’s but formally. The uncouth results of the referendum proved the post-totalitarian syndrome in the mentality of the Ukrainian population and, at the same time, the administrative arbitrariness in the central and in the provinces. As a result, the European country got a number of decisions dubious not only from the point of view of their legitimacy and political fairness, but also doubtful as to their practical applicability. One way or another, the referendum appeared to be a project that nearly quarreled voters with their elected representatives. So it became a naive, but at the same time brutal action of the power that essentially damaged the political stability in Ukraine. Today the President of Ukraine speaks about the deficit of the well-balanced political relations on the democratic field. Yet it was his activities about the referendum, which provoked the current aggravation of the political dialogue in the country.

Unmotivated by any real public needs of the top power structures generated, it its turn, ‘the legal instrumentalism’ – the practice of manipulating the legal norms in the interests of the current moment, and sometimes merely in the interests of the Strongest. The right in Ukraine was turning from the universal rules and procedures, which are accessible and transparent to all political subjects, to an administrative club. The nihilistic practice of the power generated, in its turn, the corresponding cynicism of the official mass media. Even a mere taking of the foreign citizenship by former Prime-Minister P. Lazarenko was named a criminal act by a state TV channel, although such an action is not qualified as a crime by law. It is not surprising that after similar ‘disguising’ the Ukrainian public firmly believes that P. Lazarenko is a hardened criminal. This is understood as an axiom. Meanwhile, no court has found him guilty of committing a single crime listed in the Ukrainian Criminal Code.

Official information sources, especially the TV channel ‘YT-1’ described ‘Lazarenko’s case’ as an obvious one, that is found him guilty of the actions incriminated to him by the law-enforcing bodies. All the events around this person were officially elucidated so, as if Lazarenko was condemned in the USA for the violation of Ukrainian laws. But an action regarded as a crime in Ukraine must not be such in the USA of Switzerland. Besides, opening of the bank account in a foreign bank is regarded as a crime according to the draft of the new Criminal Code of Ukraine, whereas in, say, Latvia or in the UK such a step is regarded as an elementary right of a citizen. As is known, the great part of accusations of Lazarenko concerns his actions, which are regarded as crimes in Switzerland and, on the contrary, are not regarded as such in the USA. As to his legal state in Ukraine, Lazarenko’s position is covered by Article 62 part 1 of the Ukrainian Constitution that reads: ‘A person is regarded as non-guilty in committing a crime and may not be persecuted criminally until his guilt is proved in court and acknowledged in the court verdict’. The Ukrainian public under the propaganda pressure organized by the power forgot long ago that there was no trial of Lazarenko in any Ukrainian court.

Similar argument may refer the juridical status of former vice-Prime-Minister of Ukraine Yu. Timoshenko. Now, speaking about her, the prosecutor’s office of Ukraine permits itself to use such formulas, which, according to the operating laws, may be used only after the court indictment. So, a prosecutor’s office may not publicly affirm that someone has committed a crime. It may only suspect and accuse, since any accusation is not a verdict yet, but only an assumption. It is only a necessary base for the criminal investigation and court verdict. The latter, according to the law, may find the accused non-guilty.

Recently high officers from the prosecutor’s office of Ukraine demonstrated on TV throughout the country the schemes of financial transaction, with which Yu. Timoshenko allegedly bribed P. Lazarenko. In the process the said high officers never recollected that what they said was only an assumption of the investigation. They affirmed this quite shamelessly and categorically. Meanwhile, it is obvious even from the TV feature that the case cannot be so elementary, since a bribe, as any other crime in Ukraine, may be done only by a physical person. In this case the money was transacted by juridical persons. Besides, giving a bribe must be motivated, i.e. an activity (passivity), which serves in the favor of person giving the bribe. To prove such an accusation in the absence of Lazarenko can be done only by a Stalin’s troika. Besides, in case of Yu. Timoshenko there is a large possibility to collide with Article 62 (presumption of innocence). It is improper to prompt this to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine.

The so-named ‘cassette case’ has acquired recently very great political importance. Making account of the above-mentioned principles and behavior norms of the subjects of the right, it is necessary to acknowledge that while in the case of individuals and separate links of the civil society there may exist a large spectrum of assessments and hypotheses, in the case of state organs and officers such a freedom does not exist and may not exist. Nonetheless, some statements and opinions of state officers, in particular, from the prosecutor’s office, about the case are too hurried, and others are too slow. Besides the statements are biased and political arguments overrule juridical and technical ones. It does not encourage stability in the society, to say nothing about the transparency of the actions of the power structures, but also result in the deep public mistrust.

If the hurried investigation experiment resulted in the conclusion that it is technically impossible to eavesdrop the President’s office, and in several days it became clear that the conclusion was false, then it is reasonable to suspect that all other similar conclusions of the prosecutor’s office are also politically engaged, with the planned predetermined result. Certainly, we do not speak about the true solution of the case. Even if the prosecutor’s office made an honest mistake, and its technical experts had no necessary equipment and experience, then all the same the question arises about the measure of political responsibility of the General Prosecutor, who made public unreliable and unchecked results and ‘facts’. Just similar hurry and irresponsible attitude to the professional ethics after all destabilize society. A prosecutor, even the General one, unlike a sapper, has the right for a mistake. Yet, in a case of such great importance even one mistake can disturb the political equilibrium for half a year at least.

The prosecutor’s office stated, according to the genetic expertise, that the body from the Tarashchansk forest is that of journalist G. Gongadze (with probability 99.6%). However the prosecutor’s office has other proofs to this fact. Taken separately, they are not absolutely reliable, but in combination with other proofs, in particular with the genetic expertise, they noticeably increase the probability of the conclusion. All this is well known to professional investigators, and now it is clear even to a man in the street. Certainly, the investigators from the prosecutor’s office may have their own opinions, which may differ from the above-given. But it is noticeable that directly or indirectly their actions and words are of the sort that professionals describe as follows: no dead body means no murder.

It is quite possible that the public looks for a culprit in the wrong place. Nonetheless, all this neglect of the juridical and technical norms of the investigation, the multiplicity of different juridical roles in one person, the hurried and unproved character of opinions, which the officers from the prosecutor’s office spread about, make the hot temper of the public still hotter. In this way it is easier to come not the truth, but to the discredit of well-known political authorities. At the same time such methods increase pain and desperateness of the private persons close to the victim.

A joint statement of the President, Prime-Minister and the Speaker of the Parliament also looks rather weird in the juridical sense. And the matter is not only in its juridically dubious stock of words. In general, it is not clear, on which legal grounds the speaker I. Pliushch became an author of this statement. If he signed this document as a mere citizen, it would be not surprising. If there were a consensus or merely a political majority in the Parliament concerning the main problems of the political crisis, than Pliushch’s signature would also look proper. However, no one observes even the hints of the consensus in the Parliament. Then one may ask on which grounds the speaker signed this statement? Signing of the document my Prime-Minister V. Yushchenko also looks ill-grounded juridically. According to the Constitution he is subordinate to the President. He is an administrative, not a political Prime-Minister. This means that his signature under such documents must be not more than a visa. So, after all we observe a consolidation of top state officers not on the juridical base, but rather on a personal one. But what is the worth of such a base in a law-abiding democratic country?

Summing up, the KhG finds it necessary to warn the power structures, separate state organs and officers against the instrumental use of the right, against exceeding their authorities stipulated by law. The KhG also warns structures of one power against using the rights given by law to others. Besides the state organs and officers must bear on mind the benefit of the doubt. The KhG would like everyone to focus attention on the policy of state-owned mass media. It especially concerns the official TV-channel ‘YT-1’, that too often gives the assessments and opinions of the state representatives as confirmed facts, thus ignoring benefit of the doubt and general guarantees of human rights and freedoms.

The KhG supports exact and unflinching execution of the constitutional norms and demand of the national and international laws by the state and all its officers. A power, which uses illegal forcible methods and distortion of the truth, never achieves the strategic victory, but only compromises itself in the final count. The chance of the Ukrainian government to dodge the full political discredit is not completely lost, in our opinion. To this end, the top authorities must timely keep in check their aggressive ambitions concerning the political freedom of the civil society and act strictly within the restraints stipulated by law.

15 February 2001
The Kharkov Group for human rights protection

Freedom of expression

The Poltava media-club: in whose flesh it is a thorn?

As early as in December of the last year the newspaper ‘Trudova Poltavshchina’ informed about threats on the side of P. Shemet, a deputy head of the Poltava oblast administration, to the address of journalist Ludmila Kucherenko (Kalashnik) for her investigation of the Khomutets tragedy. He threatened to sack her from the position of the representative of National council of TV and broadcasting in the Poltava oblast. Then Mr. Shemet began to realize his threats. The political denunciation was issued to the National council. The council received this denunciation, which was long, complicated and was, perhaps, compiled by the entire personnel of the directorate of the internal policy. The stress was done on the ‘political unreliability’ of Kucherenko, since it was difficult to reproach her professionalism. A cassette with ‘compromising’ materials was attached to the letter. It contained a video record by the oblast TV company ‘Ltava’ of the seminar ‘The technology of journalists investigations’, where Kucherenko was sitting side by side with an MP and journalist Ivan Bokiy, the formed editor-in-chief of the oblast youth newspaper, where she had worked. It was compromising indeed! By the way, ‘Ltava’ never informed the public about this seminar, but, in spite of the habitual complaints on the shortage of videocassettes, this cassette was shown to needed people and stored for a rainy day.

A commission of the National council came to check the complaint of the oblast administration, but they did not discover any violations of law in executing the duties by Kucherenko. The ‘Poltava side’ kindly handed the commission not only Kucherenko’s articles and as about her, but also the full file on the activities of the local media-club, which she has headed for six years.

In their turn, the leaders of TV and radio organizations of the oblast, who work with L. Kucherenko, defended her. They sent to address of Boris Kholod, the head of the National council, the letter, in which they expressed their anxiety about the pressure on a representative of the council on the side of some oblast authorities, characterized L. Kucherenko positively and wrote that they wanted to see in this position exactly this honest person.

A sitting of the leaders of TV and radio organization of the oblast was held in Poltava. This sitting was chaired by the representative of the National council of TV and broadcasting in the Poltava oblast Ludmila Kucherenko. Igor Kurus, the head of the control-analytical department of the council took part in the sitting. The question of new conditions of licensing TV and radio companies was considered, as well as the order announcing films with elements of violence and erotic.

Here are some more examples how mass media barons in Poltava harass their opponents. A trial was held in Poltava according to the suit of MP O. Masenko to the TV-company ‘Ltava’. The claimant complained that the company did not give him the screen time in December, as it stipulated by the Law ‘On the status of a people’s deputy’. The court took the decision in favor of the deputy and obliged ’Ltava’ to pay several hundreds hrivnas of compensation for moral damage. Besides the company had to give the deputy the not delivered screen time. This is not the first conflict of this type between the people’s deputy and the TV company: last year a similar conflict happened before the referendum. Still earlier the then editor-in-chief of the oblast radio S. Polshchikova just switched off the studio during the transmission, when O. Masenko started to criticize the President’s activities. As we see, the law does not exist for the state TV and radio company: they do whatever they like…

On refugees

The sociological poll held by journalists from the news agency ‘Pulse’ in Kharkov streets on 24 January 2001

The citizens were asked the one question:

Have you ever witnessed illegal actions on the side of law-enforcers?


36% of the pollees never witnessed illegal actions on the side of law-enforcers.

19% more never witnessed such actions, but heard much about them from their friends and acquaintances.

43% of the pollees assert that they eye-witnessed such cases.

Among them:

22% were refused to discuss details because they were afraid of the consequences;

34% told that the road militia misuse their power most often;

17% were mere by-standers;

9% complaint at the biased attitude of courts.

Other 18% said that they recollected such cases vaguely, but do not remember the details. The remaining 2%, having heard the question hurried away.

The ‘Pulse’ journalists put questions to more than 200 persons.

Gennadiy Sysoev

Interethnic relations

Penitentiary system of Ukraine is reforming

The State penitentiary Department of Ukraine was created by President’s decree of 22 April 1998 on the base of the Main penitentiary Directorate of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine. Since 12 March 1999 it functions as a autonomous central agency of the executive power, which realizes the united penitentiary policy of the state.

By 1 January 2001 in 222,3 thousand people were kept in 180 establishments of the Department, in particular, 171 thousand in 128 correcting colonies and 3.3 thousand of minors in 11 reformatory colonies. 46.2 thousand were kept in 32 preliminary prisons waiting for their trials, 1.8 thousand – in 8 alcoholism treatment colonies. Besides, the Department is in charge of punishments not connected with incarceration, 136.4 thousand people.

During 2000 the penitentiary system accepted 75 thousand recidivists, 64 thousand prisoners were released.

The number of the personnel of the Department is 48.1 thousand.

The preparation of the personnel for the Department establishments is done in Chernigiv juridical school and Dneprodzerzinsk school for basic training of personnel. Besides, in 2001 another school in Belaya Tserkov is planned to be opened.

The goal of a punishment is not only a penalty for the committed crime, but also the prevention of further crimes, shaping of such attitude of the punished, which will give them the opportunity to return to normal social life.

The achievement of this goal is impossible without an active support of the public. This is one of the main principles of our penitentiary policy, which is stipulated by Article 9 of the reforming Code of Ukraine. The thesis of the public participation in reforming the punished is certainly not new. In the previous years the labor collectives often established patronage of reforming colonies, observing commissions carried out the public control over the work of the colonies. But the time passes and the past forms do not always answer the present day demands.

Some reforms in the punishment policy and democratic processes in the penitentiary system made the punitive establishments more open for public.

The activities of human rights protection organizations are a qualitatively new phenomenon in the process of the public control. Mutual relations between the penitentiary administration and human rights protection organizations have already passed the phase of protests and total criticism to the constructive cooperation.

The Penitentiary Department works hand by hand with the International Foundation ‘Vidrodjennia’ in the fulfillment of the program ‘In encouraging the reform of the penitentiary system in Ukraine’. The program supports the realization of public initiatives directed at the process of reforming the penitentiary system in Ukraine towards its humanization, concordance with international standards, greater transparence, increasing the professional level of the system personnel. The Department, the Foundation and the institute ‘Open Society’ (Budapest) signed a joint Memorandum, which determines mutual efforts directed at positive changes in the Department activities and the development of the Department cooperation with NGOs.

In 2000 the Foundation organized a competition of projects, in which 36 NGOs participated. 14 projects were supported by the decision of the state department. 10 of them are realized directly in penitentiary establishments of the Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa, Poltava, Kharkov, Kherson and Chernigiv oblasts. Owing to the help of the International Foundation ‘Vidrodjennia’ fruitful cooperation of penitentiary agencies and establishments with public organizations has developed.

The religious outlook is an important factor in the successful moral reforming of convicts. That is why the conditions for participation of church servants are created in penitentiary establishments. During recent years rooms or even chapels for praying were open in all penitentiaries. Representatives of more than 25 international organizations work now with convicts. Churches existing in Ukraine grant noticeable assistance in organizing the prayer rooms. It can be said that the new type of social and legal relations has been formed in this sphere. This is expressed in the realization of convicts’ rights for freedom of religious outlook. The subjects of these relations are convicts, religious organization and administration of the penitentiary organs.

In the light of modern tendencies to use modern social technologies the process of the adaptation to the life at large becomes more and actual. Here the fruitful cooperation with employment centers and law-enforcing organs becomes paramount. The cooperation of the Department and the Ukrainian State Center of social services for youth is also very important for the reforming and social adaptation. The work was carried out firstly with minor convict, since now the Department concluded an agreement with the Center about realizing the Program of social maintenance of the youths, who do their terms or are expected to be released soon.

In a number of regions (in Kharkov, Donetsk, Zhytomir, Lugansk, Chernigiv, the Lviv oblast and the Crimea) the centers and funds for social adaptation are created with the assistance of the public. However, this is not a complete self-sufficient system. To construct such a system is necessary to unite the efforts of the public and state organs. State guardianship is a future task.

An essential contribution to the reforming of the penitentiary system we reckon the objective information of wide public about the system’s functioning and problems. We hope that the publication of our Bulletin will promote such objective informing.

A new bulletin

The first issue of the information bulletin ‘Aspect’ has been published. The new edition was created by the public organization ‘Donetsk Memorial’ and is intended for the personnel of penitentiary establishments, representatives of NGOs and journalists. The presentation of the bulletin was held in Donetsk on 6 February.

The bulletin is distributed gratis and can be received by sending and order to the address:
Donetsk, 83092, POB 4863 or
E-mail: [email protected]
A. Bukalov, ‘Donetsk Memorial’

Law enforcement agencies

Democracy of the Severodonetsk variety


In autumn 1998 a new leader of the Lugansk oblast branch of the People-Democratic Party (PDP) appeared. He was the deputy head of the oblast state administration Vasiliy Nadraga. At the same time the well-known Severodonetsk businessman Sergey Muranov and the head of the oblast administration Aleksandr Efremov entered the PDP and were elected to the directorate to the oblast branch. By that time a rather efficient party group of the PDP acted in Severodonetsk headed by Anatoliy Terlovoy. The group published its own newspaper ‘Accent’ and sternly criticized Severodonetsk mayor Vladimir Gritsyshin.

In November 1998 V. Nadraga information the directorate of Severodonetsk town organization of the PDP about the complaint about its actions. The complaint was handed to the governor by the town mayor Gritsyshin. According to this information, the governor ordered V. Nadraga to solve this problem ‘in the PDP interests’. Some days later A. Terlovoy, who worked as a teacher at the local musical school (it was a municipal school), was sacked due to a staff reduction.

The trade union of the school at first did not agree with this order, since they considered that Terlovoy was a highly skilled teacher and as such had not to be reduced. Besides, by that time the governor had ordered not to reduce any workers paid from the budget. With these arguments Terlovoy turned to the oblast organization of his party hoping to get help.

However, nobody was in a hurry to help. V. Nadraga came to Severodonetsk only in January, after the trade union was ‘assured’ that if they did not sack Terlovoy, it will mean the closure of the musical school. Finally the trade union agreed and Terlovoy was fired.

The talk between the governor’s representative and the mayor lasted one hour and a half… After this talk Nadraga convinced Terlovoy to give up the post of the head of the town organization of the PDP and pass it to S. Muranov. The same evening V. Nadraga met members of the directorate of the town organization Terlovoy, Svetikov, Kirichenko and Korotkov in Muranov’s office. That is what Nadraga told us about his negotiations with the mayor (it is noteworthy that a part of this talk occurred with Muranov being present).

Gritsyshin declared that it was he, who ordered to fire Terlovoy, he also promised to fire Svetikov and finally send them to a lunatic asylum. To the mayor demanded to dismiss Terlovoy from the position of the head of the town PDP organization. He also demanded to make Svetikov withdraw his claims on the protection of his honor and dignity, in which he complained at the editorial board of the newspaper ‘Severodonetski visti’ for two slanderous publications in 1997. At last, Terlovoy had to publish the refutation in ‘Severodonetski visti’, where he had to declare that everything that the newspaper ‘Accent’ wrote about Gritsyshin was a rancid lie. These demands fulfilled, Terlovoy will be restored at his job. V. Nadraga did promise to fulfil all these demands (except the refutation).

I, as a human rights protector, was especially indignant with these talks in the mayor’s office. The agreement, concluded behind the back of the statutory organ of the town organization, trampled elementary norms of party democracy. That is why I protected directed during the meeting with Nadraga. Next day, at my urgent request, the directorate of the town organization adopted and sent to the town executive committee and to governor A. Efremov a decision, canceling the agreement between the oblast leadership of the PDP and the Severodonetsk mayor.

The full stop was put at the sitting of the directorate of the oblast PDP organization, where I told everything about the negotiations in the mayor’s office. Including the words of Gritsyshin that it was by his insistence that Terlovoy was sacked. V. Nadraga did not reject the fact of the talk, but he said that there were no witnesses. To my surprise, the directorate members not only were indifferent to the monstrous, in my opinion, human rights violations, but even tried to jam my speech. As a result they took a unique verdict: the Severodonetsk town organization directorate must change its decision and approve another that suits the oblast leadership. It was a demand to change their convictions.

What concerns Terlovoy, they praised him and advised to take his case to the court. After this I could not prolong my membership in the PDP.

And Terlovoy is still jobless!


In November 2000 it rumored among students of Severodonetsk technological institute that town mayor Gritsyshin ordered rector N. Tiupalo to fire A. Svetikov within half a year. Alas, these rumors are well-grounded.

Everything started on 2 November, when the collegium of the Lugansk oblast court in charge of civil cases rejected the cassation complaint of the Severodonetsk town executive committee and ruled the committee to pay Hr 1.5 thousand to recompense the damage inflicted by illegal actions to S. Dyakov, a referent of MP Annenkov.

The cassation consideration of the complaint of V. Sakyra, in which I officially represented (without pay, of course) the claimant as a member of the public reception office of the Voters’ Committee of Ukraine, was accidentally appointed at the same day.

On the same day someone phoned from the executive committee and demanded to fire Svetikov for the absence from work. Why, he said, Svetikov wanders to courtrooms in his work time?

Next day my administration demanded from me the explanatory note ‘about the reasons of my absence’. I wrote this explanatory note and registered it at my boss’ secretary’s office together with a copy for myself.

On 19 November rector of our institute N. Tiupalo and head of the trade union N. Kotliar were summoned to mayor V. Gritsyshin. N. Taldonov, the secretary of the town council, A. Moiseenko, the first deputy of the head of the executive committee, and tow advocates were also present in the mayor’s office. Here Gritsyshin, without choosing gentle expressions, for half an hour pressed on the institute administration to force them to fire Svetikov. One of the key sentences uttered by the ‘democratic mayor’ was: ‘This is a ‘bad’ (a stronger word was naturally used) institute, where they cannot sack a lousy assistant professor?!’

However, the institute administration, having previously consulted the lawyer, did not find the reasons not only for dismissal, but even for reprimanding Svetikov. Then an advocate present in the office suggested a compromise: not to prolong the contract with Svetikov, when the contract ends (next summer). This satisfied the both sides.

We are experienced people and we guess what will happen after this publication. This article will be passed to the General Prosecutor’s office, from where ‘normal’, as Gritsyshin said, people will come and write a ‘normal’ formal reply. The sense would be that the facts described here have not confirmed. Our court, independent of justice, would take the decision that the facts made public by me are not proved. But I do it on purpose, since one, who got under the press described, should not be afraid of an unjust court.

I find it my duty to make the pressure public. I believe that sooner or later purification will come to our country, when a spade is called a spade, a scoundrel is called a scoundrel, and criminals will be put in the dock, where they belong.


Report on the fulfillment of the project "Creation and maintenance of the Internet site ‘Human rights in Ukraine’"

The project was financed by the international foundation ‘Vidrodjennia’ and fulfilled by the Kharkov Group for human rights protection (KhG, in what follows).

1. The goal of the project

The goal of the project is the creation and permanent maintenance of the Internet site ‘Human rights in Ukraine’, which could be a powerful information source in the sphere of human rights and the history of human rights protection in Ukraine.

The project in intended for Internet users:

common Ukrainian citizens, who want to get answers about human rights;

members of human rights protection and other non-government organizations, lawyers, historians, etc. – for them the site will serve as an information source and library;

International organizations and embassies -- for them the site will be the source of information on the situation with human rights in Ukraine.

2. Assessment of short-term and long-term results of the project

The work on the site creation was started in the middle of March 2000, the first version was located in the Internet on 6 August 2000, and the announcement about the appearance of the site was published on 6 September. During September-December the site was updated weekly, sometimes mote often: 2-3 times a week. At the same time the site users were informed about the latest additions: we created three address lists for the distribution of summaries in Ukrainian, English and Russian. These summaries were sent by e-mail simultaneously with the additions. The address lists were compiled on the basis of polling of the KhG partners in Ukraine and abroad, as well on the basis of the correspondence with the site visitors. Moreover, the site and its separate components – periodicals ‘Prava ludyny’ and ‘Civil education’ – were registered at several search engines.

Thus, the short-term result of the project is the creation and regular updating of the first version of the information source, which includes the web-site ‘Human rights in Ukraine’ in Ukrainian and English, as well as the distribution service for sending the summaries of the additions to the site and for sending the electronic editions by the KhG via e-mail to all willing.

The total number of web-pages (files) – 1075 (data on 1 January 2001)

The size of the Internet resource – 20 MB (data on 1 January 2001)

The Ukrainian version consists of 11 sections, which are divided into 20 rubrics:



The freedom of speech protection

The protection against torture and cruel treatment







The information and analytical bulletin ‘PRAVA LUDYNY’

The monthly bulletin ‘HUMAN RIGHTS. CIVIL EDUCATION’

The special issues of the bulletin ‘PRAVA LUDYNY’

The quarterly bulletin ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND PRIVACY’ (FS&P)

The electronic edition ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN UKRAINE’


Editions by the Kharkov Group for human rights protection



What is human rights protection?

Preventing torture and cruel treatment

Monitoring the freedom of speech and privacy in Ukraine

Security services under the constitutional democracies

Complex study of the situation with human rights in Ukraine

History of dissent in Ukraine


WE, THE PEOPLE… A CITIZEN AND THE CONSTITUTION (American textbook: 40 lessons on civil education)



The English version consists of 4 sections, which are divided into 10 rubrics:

About Our Group


Protection of the freedom of expression

Protection from torture and cruel treatment

Periodic Editions




What is Human Rights Protection?

Prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

Monitoring of the Freedom of Expression and Privacy in Ukraine

Security Services in a Constitutional Democracy

Analysis of status of Human Rights in Ukraine

History of dissent in Ukraine (1954-1988)

Electronic periodicals of the KhG are regularly places on the site:

Table 1




Information and analytical bulletin ‘PRAVA LUDYNY’

Ukrainian and Russian

Twice a month


Ukrainian and Russian


Special issues of the bulletin ‘PRAVA LUDYNY’

Ukrainian, Russian and English

One time in two months




‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN UKRAINE’. Electronic edition



Informative bulletin of the Kharkov Group for Human Rights Protection „PRAVA LUDYNY“






All the issues of the bulletin ‘Prava ludyny’ in Ukrainian and English for 2000, all issues of FS&P and ‘Civil education’ for 1999-2000, archived ‘Prava ludyny’ in Ukrainian for 1999 and all issues of ‘Prava ludyny’ in English are placed on the site.

It should be mentioned that additionally to the project, given to the ‘Vidrodjennia’ competition, two big sections were formed on the site: ‘Studies’ and ‘Civil education’. Five more sections are being developed now: ‘Organizations’, ‘Campaigns’, ‘Recommendations’ ‘Financing’ and ‘Documents’, which will be essentially complemented and widened during the second stage of the project fulfillment. We plan also to create the sections ‘Discussions’ and ‘Guide’, as well as the section ‘Public reception office’, in which the lawyers will answer the questions asked by the site users and other questions, which have interest for the public, appearing in the practical work of the KhG and similar organizations, which have interest for the public.

The long-term results of the project are
: the creation of the site structure opened for further development and enriching, creation of the system for informing Ukrainian-, English- and Russian-language users about the changes on the site and forming the group of habitual site users that includes both old KhG partners and new organization and individuals; the group is widening all the time and, certainly, will wide further. To illustrate these statements it is necessary to consider the qualitative indicators of the site work.

By the data of the independent statistical counter (‘SPYLOG’), during the period from 11 September 2000 to 1 January 2001 (134 days) 1224 visits to the site were registered. Among them during the last month 312 new visitors appeared.

The following rubrics are visited most often:

- The site news or the pages mentioned in the news;

- The electronic edition of the information and analytical bulletin ‘Prava ludyny’

- The part ‘History of dissent in Ukraine’.

According to the statistical data of the same counter, the geographic allocation of the site visitors is such:

Ukraine — 65,8% ; the USA — 8,26%; Russia — 4,44% ; Germany — 3,82% ; European — 4,16% ; the Great Britain — 2,39% ; Canada — 2,32% ; France — 1,02% ; Poland — 1,23% ; Israel — 1,16%.

The number of persons, to whom the information is sent by e-mail, is shown in Table 2

Table 2

Type of information

Number of addressees

Summaries of the additions to the Ukrainian version of the site


Summaries of the additions to the English version of the site


Summaries of the additions to the Russian version of the site


Information and analytical bulletin ‘PRAVA LUDYNY’




Informative bulletin of the Kharkov Group for Human Rights Protection „PRAVA LUDYNY“, in English


3. Describe in which way the fulfillment of the project improved the image of your organization, the creation of the network and separate parts within it, the increase in communications and cooperation with other national and international organizations (please comment this, having in view the goal of the project)

Owing to the fulfillment of this project, our organization managed to increase its communicative potential, to find new partners within Ukraine and abroad, to raise the run of our periodic editions approximately by 20%, the reason being that some readers prefer to read our editions in the Internet or to receive them by e-mail instead of snail-mail. That enabled us to include in our mailing lists new readers, who have no access to e-mail (the number of those willing to receive our publications always exceeded our financial potential).

4. Which difficulties and obstacles you have come across, if any, in the course of realizing the project? Was it needed to rearrange the stages of your project? If so, in which way you have found the way out?

First of all, processing the information, gathered by the KhG during 12 years of its existing, for placing on the site appeared to be more complicated than we expected, since the size was tremendous and we had difficulties in its structuring and transferring to the electronic form. By today we have managed to process not more than 30% of all information we have within the KhG. But here another problem has appeared: the site size has already achieved the planned 20 Mb, although all files exceeding 100 Kb are stored in zip-format. We can predict with assurance that in 6 months the site size will exceed 40 Mb, and the problems of payment for its placing will appear.

Secondly, it turned out that creating the section ‘Discussions’ is a technically complicated task, since the realization of the planned dialogue with our readers would require the design of special software. Therefore the creation of the section was realized on the second stage of the project.

Thirdly, most of our partners did not send the information about their activities for placing on the site in the section ‘Organizations’. That is why now the section reflects inadequately the human rights protection movement in Ukraine. So this section has to be extended on the second stage of the project at the account of own resources the KhG. We ask our colleagues to fill in the questionnaires, which is appended to this issue of ‘Prava ludyny’.

NGO activities

Resolution of the all-Russia extraordinary congress on human rights protection

The operating Constitution declares Russia as a federative, law-abiding, social, secular and democratic state. However, nowadays the situation with democratic freedoms and human rights in the country became extraordinary. The Constitution is eroding, one can speak about a creeping Constitutional coup during the recent months. Restrictions on and violations of the human rights and freedoms in various branches form a distinct tendency to totalitarianism. The historical experience witnesses that such changes lead to mass repressions and provoke wide-scale military clashes.

The main threats to human rights and freedoms in the Russian Federation are:

anti-Constitutional military operations in Chechnya, that resulted in death of thousands of people, usual violations of human rights, military crimes and crimes against humanity;

practices of ethnic and race discrimination encouraged by the authorities, growth of xenophobia and violence with respect to ethnic minorities and migrants, implanting by the state the image of an enemy as inhabitants of the Caucasus and other regions;

intolerable state of people without propiska and living accommodation: both of refugees and homeless inside Russia; they are deprived of not only social rights (for living accommodation, medical aid, etc.), but also of their political and civil rights, sometimes the right for live itself;

wish of bureaucrats to regulate the personal initiative of citizens and to restrict the activities of public organizations, making citizens intimidated, weak and rightness;

mass violations of social and labor rights of citizens, the threat of the further suppression by legal means;

the growing advance of the authorities on the citizens’ right for healthy environment, pressure on public ecological organizations, demonstrative negligence of the will of millions of citizens, who supported holding ecological referendum;

wish of the presidential administration to usurp extraordinary rights and create a well-controlled constitutional assembly, for changing the Constitution structure of the state by ‘legal’ methods;

policy of submission of the legislative and judicial power to administrations of different levels;

demonstrative disdain to international obligations concerning human rights taken by Russia on the side of all branches of power;

growing tendency of replacing of the Constitution and Russian laws with secondary legal documents, abusing human rights;

tendency to monopolize informational, public, financial and economic spheres by the power;

pressure on independent mass media, attempts to introduce censorship and renaissance of the state ideological indoctrination;

numerous violations of election rights of citizens, manipulating with election laws on all levels, using mass media, election committees and courts by the authorities for removing undesirable candidates;

actual stop in the court reform, absence of the efficient court protection from human rights violations and arbitrary actions of the authorities, frequent disregard of court decisions;

non-efficient protection of citizens’ rights by law-enforcing bodies, moreover, turning law-enforcing bodies into a tool of abusing human rights;

excessive strengthening of special services in the society and state, closeness of state structures from the public, constraints on the access of citizens to the information;

turning the General Prosecutor’s office, USS and other law-enforcing bodies into tools of political struggle, inspiration of witch-hunting processes;

militarization of the power and society, dangerous interference of the law-enforcing bodies into the problems of internal and foreign policy of the country.

The all-Russia extraordinary congress on human rights protection considers such a state of things threatening the stability and safety of our society, to a peaceful and democratic development of our country.

We appeal to structures of the civil society in Russia to consolidate and act jointly with the aim of protecting rights and freedoms of man and citizen. The growth of threats to the Constitutional order and civil society, the superiority of the right and human rights demands from us to step forward as a constructive civil non-political opposition to this regime. The strengthening of the state must be balanced with the consolidated and efficient civil society.

The all-Russia extraordinary congress on human rights protection has decided:

To form permanently acting working groups in following directions: -- antimilitary campaigning; -- civil control; -- court reform; -- prison reform and protection of convicts’ rights; -- social and economic rights of citizens; -- army reform and protection of servicemen’s and their families’ rights; -- right of citizen to the entrepreneurial activities; -- protection of election rights of citizens; -- protection of citizen from ethnic and race discrimination; -- protection of ecological rights of citizens; -- protection of freedom of speech and independence of mass media; -- protection of the right for intellectual property; -- protection of children’s rights.

To form a special working group for legislative provision of human rights incarcerated Russia, preparation of the packet of federal laws directed at the provision of rights and freedoms of man and citizen in the Russian Federation. The coordination of the group’s activities must be carried out by the initiative group ‘Obshchee deystvie’.

To organize the monitoring of political and juridical provision of human rights, which would include the analysis of: -- voting in the State Duma of the Russian Federation on law drafts and other questions, connected with human rights; -- law drafts suggested by the fractions and other subjects of legislation initiative; -- reaction of political figures to the suggestions coming from human rights protection organizations.

According to the monitoring results the human rights protection community must decide, which political forces should be supported and which recommendations should be suggested to the civil society structures and voters.

The congress entrusts the initiative group ‘Obshchee deystvie’ the control over the fulfillment of this resolution and conducting the monitoring of the political and juridical provision of human rights.

Moscow, 21 January 2001

PL commentary. The extraordinary congress of human rights protection organizations has just been held in Russia. It is not surprising for those, who follow the course of events in Russia. President Putin elected a year ago obviously follows the course of introducing a non-democratic rule in the country. It is clearly seen in Chechnya, where the brutal violations of human rights are frequent, it is revealed in the attempts to restrict the freedom of speech, in strengthening the administrative control and pressure in all spheres of the social life. Many tendencies of the Russian life can be observed in our country. That is why we regard the resolution of the congress as actual for our country too.

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2001, #02