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.


A pension reform is a necessity

(The information is given by the Chortkiv district social provision directorate and sent by Volodymir Kompaniets)

The population of the Chortkiv district is 81400 people.
The number of pensioners (by 1 April 2001) is 25685,
among them:
pensioners, who lost their providers – 1262;
pensioners retired after long service – 157;
pensioners getting social pensions – 231;
pensioners with the status of suffered from
the Chernobyl catastrophe of 1-3 categories – 114;
usual pensioners — 9387;
(10 villages of the district are related to the zone of intensified radiological and ecological control, so the inhabitants have the right to retire on a pension earlier: women at 50 and men at 55).
civil servants — 52;
members of families of the perished — 237.

Handicapped people — 2070,
among them:
because of a disease – 1957;
because of the labor traumas – 113;
war invalids – 120.

Members of families of the perished — 237;
rehabilitated — 358.

The common pension fund of the district in 2000 – Hr 18 800 000.
Minimal pension (since 1 April 2001) – Hr 34.
Maximal pension – Hr 107.
Additional payment for distinguished service – Hr 70.
Additional payment to participants of military operations – Hr 27.
Additional payment to blood donors – Hr 4.6.

A lawyer killed in Kyiv

Advocate Sergey Nechitaylo, one of the most active members of the all-Ukrainian public organization ‘Gromadskiy kontrol’ (‘Public control’), a high-skilled professional, was murdered in Kyiv.

In whose flesh was he a thorn? Obviously, he was hated by those who could not compete with him professionally. A criminal case was started considering the murder. The investigation must find those who ordered the murder and who executed the order.

The public organization ‘Gromadskiy kontrol’ made public that recently the advocate was occupied with the case of inhabitants of a 124-flat house situated in 6 Novodarnitska St. Owing to the efforts of ‘Gromadskiy kontrol’ and high professionalism of Sergey Nechitaylo, the case began to look unfavorable for the pharmaceutical firm ‘Darnitsa’. The illegality of the piratical seizing by the firm of the house, which was built with the financial participation of future inhabitants, became obvious and soon had to come to the court.

Now, the completion of this case is not only the duty of our organization, but also our tribute to the blessed memory of the late Sergey Nechitaylo.

The all-Ukrainian public organization ‘Gromadskiy kontrol’ would like to attract the attention of the press and public in general that when ‘Gromadskiy kontrol’ began to demand some concrete results in the struggle with corruption, the activists of the organization began to be threatened. Ivan Bezsmertny, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper ‘Tretiy sektor’, the head of the Bureau of journalist investigations in ‘Gromadskiy kontrol’, after making public the details of the murder, which was organized and partially executed by Ivan Andrushko, a deputy of the Vinnitsa oblast rada, is permanently threatened by the accomplices of the deputy.

Volodymir Lichen, the head of the Bila Tserkva district organization of ‘Gromadskiy kontrol’, was beaten several times.

The directorate of the all-Ukrainian public organization ‘Gromadskiy kontrol’ declares: our organization cannot be broken, whatever heavy persecutions it will have to survive. We shall be as active as before in establishing the civil society in Ukraine.

Press service of ‘Gromadskiy kontrol’

PL commentary. Strange as it is, but Nechitaylo’s murder did not raise public interest. The advocate was found by his neighbors in the doorway of his house brutally beaten. He could be identified only by his clothes. He died in a hospital.

No mass media informed about this tragic event, although it is obvious that the death is due to the victim’s professional activities, most probably with his last case.

Sergey Nechitaylo was born in 1057. He graduated from the faculty of international relations and international right of Kyiv University named after Taras Shevchenko. During five years he worked as an investigator in a prosecutor’s office, in 1990-92 – in the juridical department of Rukh. He was one of the defenders of Stepan Khmara in 1990.

‘Will you walk into my parlor?’, said a spider to a fly

Strange things happen in Kharkov. Almost every Kharkovite knows about People’s Democratic party (PDP). Almost every manager of a state-owned enterprise entered this party. Now the oblast party organization is headed by vice-governor Vladimir Shumilkin, a former army officer, a candidate of technology, and from 1990 – the head of the Dzerzinski district rada of people’s deputies, in which dominate democratic forces.

But recently something wrong happened in the party: maybe the number of party members decreased, maybe the party bosses decided to prepare for the coming election beforehand and decided that they had to get some subordinates, who will vote for the needed candidates and bring documents that they voted before the term. These tricks were well tested by the authorities during the previous referendum… But that can be insufficient.

Our group has learned that in many budget organizations, first of all, in medical and educational organizations, that is in the places, where the personnel most of all depends ion the administration, the bosses ‘invite’ their subordinates to join the PDP.

Some dare to refuse, but they are few because the majority has stronger troubles than ideological principles: they fear to get sacked… All, even the bravest, those who refused to join the party, are afraid to male public the information about the PDP campaign.

The ways to convince the obstinate depend on a boss’ temper. ‘Some do the thing without a tear, and some without a sigh’, as Oscar Wilde said.

As a result, the elementary organizations of the needed size have been created. Nobody is interested in the quality…

Certainly, all such actions brutally violate civil and political rights of citizens.

It seems that the authorities, like in the Soviet times, more and more neglect laws. The attention of the public must be focused on this aspect and not on the inter-party and inter-clan clashes. The power must act exclusively in the framework of laws.

Edition board of ‘Prava ludyny’

Whose work was assessed as unsatisfactory?

(On the retirement of Yushchenko’s government)

F. Venislavskiy, candidate of law, Kharkov

Not a single government of Ukraine during the ten years of its independence provoked as many hot debates both among politicians and among public as Yushchenko’s government. A rather wonderful situation was observed: as a rule, people in the street actively supported the government, whereas the so-called ‘parliamentary majority’ criticized the government for their shortcomings, from which allegedly suffer the very people in the street.

It is certainly impossible to analyze in one article profoundly and in details all the main and secondary reasons of the situation around Yushchenko’s government. This was not the author’s goal. But one aspect, very important in our opinion, in the mutual relations of the cm our opinion, in the mutual relations of the Cabinet of Ministers and Supreme Rada in March – April of the current year must be analyzed. We mean the constitutional and legal relations of the parliament and the government concerning to the activities of the latter.

Nowadays not only professional lawyers, but also common public know well that the state power in Ukraine is organized and realized according to commonly accepted democratic principles: accounting for its division into the legislative, executive and juridical branches. Another fact is also well known: the main task of the legislative power is the creation and adoption of laws, the executive power must execute the laws, and the juridical power must solve discussions about the right. God knows why, but the above-listed obvious truths have become rater obscure today. This relates not only modest citizens, but to some national mass media and, what is more amazing, even for the majority of MPs, who represent the very organ of legislative power -- Supreme Rada of Ukraine.

We have in mind the report of Yushchenko to the Parliament and the related events. For example, announcers of the national TV channel ‘Inter’ in their analysis of the shortcomings in the work of the Cabinet of Ministers for the past year affirm without hesitation that the main drawbacks in the work of the government were, first, not adoption of the tax and some other codes and, secondly, failures in realization of some structural economic reforms. It is very doubtful that professional journalists of the TV channel, as well as their bosses, do not know some obvious truths: first, that a code is only one variety of a legal act, which, according to the Constitution of Ukraine, only the Supreme Rada has the right to adopt, and, secondly, that the structural economic reforms may be carried out only when the corresponding legal ground exists, only after the adoption by the Supreme Rada of the necessary laws (it is the same to cook soup without water). That is why in this case the fundamental principles of informational relations are violated, the principles stipulated by the Law ‘On information’. These are the principles of objectivity and accuracy of information. Such practice nowadays is not amazing, since it became standard in Ukraine.

Much more astonishing is another circumstance. We mean the attitude of most MPs to the assessment of Yushchenko’s report that was delivered on 17 April 2001 and the parliamentary vote on no confidence to the government, which took place on 25 April. According to the assessments of many politicians (including those, whose attitude was anti-governmental), who spoke on TV and radio, the Cabinet of Ministers had fulfilled its program by about 60%. This figure makes the decision on the no confidence doubtful. But we want to consider another angle. As is known, some political forces in the Supreme Rada lately insisted on signing various ‘political agreements, ‘memorandums’, etc. about the ‘joint responsibility’ of the parliament and government for the results of the work of the latter. To say nothing about the anti-Constitution character of such demands, we remark that the operating Constitution envisages such responsibility (although it is done indirectly).

We mean the Program of work of the Cabinet of Ministers, which, according to item 11 of Article 85 of the Constitution, must be considered and approved by the Supreme Rada. This Program must include not only the main directions of the government activities in the forthcoming year, but also concrete steps, which the government plans to realize. What the approval by the Parliament means from the viewpoint of the power division? On the one hand, this means that the government obtains the vote on confidence from the Supreme Rada, and thus, according to Article 87 of the Constitution, the Rada may not consider the question of the responsibility of the government during one year. On the other hand, the Parliament, having approved the government program, takes on itself political and legal responsibility for the proper provision of the legal aspect, which is not less important. In other words, the Supreme Rada agrees to adopt such laws that are needed for the proper juridical base of the government efficient activities. These two sides must be considered as closely linked. It is senseless to speak about any ‘carte blanche’ without the needed laws.

In this process the Cabinet of Ministers facilitates the task of the Parliament: as a subject with the right of a legal initiative, the government sent to the Supreme Rada a large package of law drafts. Most of them were handed to the President, who acknowledged some of them as urgent. That makes the Parliament consider the drafts out of turn (Article 93 of the Constitution).

The Supreme Rada should have adopted these laws and thus to empower the government to execute the Program (which, we recall, was approved by the same parliament). It is surprising, but all this did not happen. Thus, according to the data given by I. Pliushch, the speaker of the Parliament, on the plenary meeting of the seventh session of the Supreme Rada on 17 April 2001, more than one hundred drafts (58%) continue to be regarded in various committees of the Rada, thus they may not be considered at plenary sessions. The situation at the seventh session was not better: only 37 law drafts out of 142 included into the agenda were considered. Two thirds of these drafts were marked by the President as urgent.

So the Parliament never attempted to fulfil his legislative functions, but violated straight away Article 93 of the Constitution. As the result, the Program of work of the Cabinet of Ministers became deprived of legal base. In spite of all this Yushchenko’s government managed to execute the Program by as many as 60%! Is it possible to assess the work of the government under such conditions as ‘unsatisfactory’? Is it the assessment of the government only? Why do the heads of the parliament fractions that make the so-called ‘majority’ forget their appeals for the ‘joint responsibility’ of the parliament and the government? Why d the former vote against the law drafts so often? They spoke, discussing the government report, nly about various shortcomings of the government, never mentioning their own role. It should be stressed that, during the discussion of the report, MPs did not air a single convincing argument that would objectively testify that the work of the government was unsatisfactory.

Moreover, the MPs from the ‘parliamentary majority’ do not conceal that the main reason of both the negative assessments of the work of Cabinet of Ministers and the vote of no-confidence were not serious economic breakdowns which led to the abrupt fall of the living standard in the country. The main reason is quite different. It is not in the sphere of economic relations and living standard, but completely in the sphere of politics. Both representatives of the ‘parliamentary majority’ and many mass media openly confess that the main reason of the dismissal of the government is the consequent behavior of the Prime-Minister, who did not want to meet the demands of some political forces in the Supreme Rada and did not want to create the coalition government. However, all of them are silent about such demands being absolutely anti-constitutional. The operating Constitution is quite clear and distinct in describing the procedure of forming a Cabinet of Ministers. According to the Constitution, the parliament has, at first, the duty to create the Law ‘On the Cabinet of Ministers’ (which, by the way, doe not exist yet), and, secondly, to give the consent to the candidature of the Prime-Minister. Other constitutional rights in this sphere, including the personnel of the Cabinet of Ministers, the parliament does not have. The members of the ‘parliamentary majority’, who almost unanimously voted against Yushchenko’s government, know it very well.

A rhetoric question arises: what do these political forces wish to achieve for themselves and for Ukraine as a whole? Whose interests do they back in the parliament: national of any others? Unfortunately, the Ukrainian people will feel the answer on their own skin. And very soon at that. Since Yushchenko’s government has been already dismissed.

Declaration of the Vasyl Stus ‘Memorial’

The Vasyl Stus ‘Memorial’ is deeply disturbed by the situation caused by the dismissal of Yushchenko’s government.

‘Memorial’, being a human rights protection organization that supports the principles of democracy and independence, assess the act of disbanding the government of reforms committed by the hostile to Ukraine forces – communo-oligarchs -- as a coup d’etat.

It is well known that communists and nouveau riches never accounted with the interests of the Ukrainian people. Their cynical attitude to the most painful problems of the Ukrainian society – if it concerns the human rights, freedom of Ukrainian press, granting privileges to publications in Ukrainian, obeying the Ukrainian laws about the state language, support of Ukrainian workers –was always based on the principle ‘the worse, the better’.

Yushchenko’s government did not suit communists, because it, during the brief period of their work, proved the vitality of the ideas declared by the rightist parties. It did not suit oligarchs because the implementation of the ideas supported by the government closed them the approach to state resources for obtaining super-high profits.

What bolsheviks dreamed about has come true. The link was established between anti-Ukrainian communist idea and the money robbed from the Ukrainian people. Communists, who during seventy years tormented Ukraine with famines and repressions, and oligarchs, their brothers in spirit, who during ten years of independent managed to rob all the riches of the Ukrainian people, now struggle for power in order to master uncontrollably our Ukrainian house.

The last event in the Parliament on 26 April 2001 is already called by the people as ‘the spiritual Chernobyl’. The union of communists and oligarchs is not only robbing of people’s riches, not only termination of the reforms and fall of the living standard – it endangers the very existence of the independent Ukraine.

It is not a secret that Russia played an important role in the fall of the government. Yushchenko’s government, which was the guarantor of democracy and entering the community of civilized European countries by Ukraine, did not agree with the interests of our northern neighbor, which tries to gather its former territories. Now Ukraine may become one of the group: communist Belarus, red Moldova, Putin’s Russia…

The Vasyl Stus ‘Memorial’, which assists citizens, who suffered from the communist terror, the organization that unites more than 30 thousand of members representing many various parties and public organizations, appeals to all Ukrainians to realize the threat that this new ‘spiritual Chernobyl’ may bring and make the only correct step: to unite efforts in order to resist the red and oligarchic plague, side by side with rightist parties and public organizations. It must be done in memory of the murdered and tortured in communist concentration camps, in memory of our countrymen starved to death in organized famines, in memory of many generations of fighters for free Ukraine, and for the sake of coming generations.

Les Taniuk,
Head of the Vasyl Stus ‘Memorial’

The right to life

Escape from life

In the 20th century thousands of investigators tried to understand the dependence between the number of suicides and the tempo of industrialization, urbanization, feminization, crime, migration, average living area, prices of bread, coffee and fuel, sun activity, the level of radiation pollution (in the region near the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground the level of suicides during the last 20 years is constant: 20.5 suicidal attempts per 100 thousand population), etc. It is also established that in the countries, where the patriarchal mode of life was preserved, the suicidal level is 10-15 times lower than in the developed countries of Europe, North America and Japan.

Unfortunately, during the last decade the suicidal level in Ukraine has grown (by about 1.7%). Now we belong to the ‘top five’ European countries with the highest suicidal level. The most ‘risky’ professions are, first of all, so-called ‘free’ professions (musicians, artists, writers), then physicians, miners and law-enforcers. Such classification is true for the most countries of world. This phenomena is explained by permanent stresses they experience in their professional activities.

There exists the International Association of preventing suicides. Its branches are created in many countries, including Ukraine.

The weekly ‘Politika i kultura’, No. 13 (96), 2001

Suicides in Yuzhnoukrainsk

‘Last year nine suicidal attempts were registered among minors (1 in Voznesensk), three of them finished tragically. Why our children are so psychically unbalanced?’
An extract from the report of V. Sikirinskiy, the town prosecutor, at the interagency conference in February 2001.


On 11 January 2001 ‘Energetik’ (the newspaper of the Yuzhnoukrainsk atomic power station) printed an article about suicide containing the following statistical data.

During the first half of 2000 21 suicidal attempts were committed, among them 16 men; 12 persons aged under 30, 3 minors, 11 jobless. 10 cases out of 21 finished in death.

During the second half of the year 10 persons attempted suicides, including 9 people aged under 26, 5 minors and 6 jobless.

From 1997 to the first half of 2000 113 people attempted suicides, two thirds of them were men, 15 minors, 49 attempts finished in death.

During the same period in the town of Neteshin (the Kmelnitskiy atomic station) – 84 cases, 24 deaths; in Slavutich – 11 attempts. The number of suicidal attempts in Yuzhnoukrainsk is much larger than in other towns – satellites of atomic stations.

The article also contained analysis of the causes of such situation made by specialist from ‘Social-psychological center’.


During 4 years (1997 – first half of 2000): attempts 113, deaths 49.

During all the period (we multiply the data by two, since there is no complete data): attempts 226, deaths – 98.

The average values per year (are obtained by dividing by 4): attempts – 56.5, deaths 24.5.

In October 200 the population of Yuzhnoukrainsk equaled 41.7 thousand. Thus, per 100 thousand of the population we have attempts – 135 (135.4), deaths 59 (58.7).

According to the data given by the World health protection organization, the ‘critical’ level of suicides is 20 per 100 000 per year.

The conclusion: the number of suicidal attempts in Yuzhnoukrainsk exceeds the critical level by the factor of 6, and the number of ‘successful’ suicides is three times larger than the critical one.


It is fine that the newspaper ‘Energetik’ more and more frequently pay attention to really important problems. The defects of the society are necessarily influencing everyone of us, and, in the final count, the work of atomic stations. The fashionable motto ‘culture of safety’, in my opinion, must include before all such a factor as stable psychics of workers. But not everything is in order in this sphere.

The noticeable growth of the number of suicides is a serious indicator of very serious moral difficulties in our society. And the further growth of the number is a worrying factor. If to be realistic and include difficulties connected with alcoholism, drug taking, crime and uncertainty of the future, then it is high time today to think about what awaits us, to try to change the future to be better.

It is obvious that this phenomenon is based on the deep spiritual shock born by the seemingly hopeless life. The attempt top analyze this phenomenon in a newspaper, basing on the opinion of ‘competent professionals’, is rather strange, because the ‘professionals’ were bred in the Soviet times. The official Soviet science not only neglected the existence of the soul and the life after death, but also the existence of the Creator, reducing the man’s role as that of an animal originated from apes. A psychologist-atheist is nonsensical. How can one cure a soul without acknowledgement that it exists? Man is not an animal. So it is not wonderful that a psychologist cannot suggest anything except ‘merry, full life’: having parties, concerts and other recreations. But today only gay recreational music sounds on the air, is not it? And TV transmits shows, thrillers, lechery and violence for every taste round the clock. Our schoolchildren get acquainted with nicotine, alcohol and drugs while they loose baby-teeth. And what about rock-music? So why they strive to die in such a gay life? What do they lack? Consultations from telephone helplines?

No, my dearest countrymen, something is very wrong here. And we cannot neglect the question – we may not neglect the lot of our won children. What kind of problems have they? Do you believe that it does not concern your own children? Let us analyze this knot of problems, without giving away our children to school, street and factory education. Let us think about our future in the old age.

Suicides are indicators not only of economic collapse of Ukraine, but also of the spiritual one. They are fruits of the state atheism, which has lately been replaced by a decade of permissiveness, which in essence is a continuation of atheism. Instead of confession and return to God, our country is plunging deeper and deeper into darkness.

Along with the Social-psychological center expressing the official medical attitude, we have in Ukraine the Association of Christian-medics (‘Slovo very’, November 1995). This association grounds its approach to psychology on the Bible.

And what do the Holy Scriptures say? They render the laws of the common life of humans. The Good Book clearly tells about soul, life after death, the superior judge and the way to salvation. It shows the way to God and real spiritual equilibrium. What is a suicide according to the Bible? This is a violation of the commandment ‘Do not commit murder’, after which there is no time for repentance. So one, who commits suicide, is directed right away to the hell. That is why, in his great love to his own creatures, God gave people the fear of death, which atheists call ‘the instinct of self-preservation’, like that of animals.

In the modern world billions (!) of people live in poverty, suffer from starvation, wars, epidemics, and nevertheless they cling to life with all their forces. Why do they do this, if the atheism and oriental religions teach them not to be afraid of death? The Creator gave us a beautiful and comfortable planet, and he gave man the power over this world. His creatures feel the harmony of the nature and God, the harmony of the Cosmos, and strive unconsciously to this harmony.

Unfortunately, the humanity not always chooses the best ways and reap the consequences. The humanity not only forgets about God, but it turns to the forces of darkness – witches, fortune-tellers and extrasensory quacks. The latter often have not only diplomas of medical doctors, but also licenses of the Ministry of Health. There are many similar subjects, such as homeopathy and acupuncture, hypnosis and yoga, and valeology in secondary schools. And what are the results? The temporary improvement is replaced buy nervous breakdowns and depressions. In many cases a doctor’s assistance comes too late – the disease came too far. In any case the occult impacts leave a trace – dependence is formed. The Church knows thousands of such dependencies: turning to forces of darkness – depression – fixed ideas about suicide. We would never know about this, if the victims did not turn to God with their prayers of confession. This liberates them not only from the obsession, but also from the sin, they start a new sensible life full of God. What is the real sense of the new life? ‘The Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God’ (Micah 6,8).

If we are really disturbed with the suicide problem, then why should not we tell the potential 30-40 candidates of 2001 about the real hope and the way out of dead end?

PL commentary.
We are very thankful to our correspondent for the statistical data on suicides in Yuzhnoukrainsk and for his commentaries. In our opinion, it would be very instructive to obtain the data on suicides in different regions of our country, as well to collect the data on social and economic state in these regions, to compare them and to try to understand the causes of suicides. A priori, it does not seem correct that there is a direct relation between the growth of the number of suicides and the growth of poverty. The record of the number of suicides in Europe belongs to Hungary, a economically successful country, especially compared to Ukraine. Perhaps, the causes of suicides are more profound than merely economic and are related, as the author justly remarks, with the spiritual crisis, including the conscious or unconscious atheism of most people. The believing Christian may not commit suicide. At the same time, the causes of the atheism are more profound than the author believes. Seductions always existed, and always, in the epochs of spiritual crises, people turned to unorthodox religions. Besides, I believe that V. Beloded somewhat simplifies the problem referring homeopathy, hypnosis and yoga to the forces of darkness. It seems to me that our knowledge of man is so small and poor that we cannot explain yet many mysterious phenomena connected with man’s health and illnesses, his psyche. Moreover, our knowledge will always be limited, and the field of ignorance will always be endless. What is completely incomprehensible, why the author refers rock music to drugs. For me the rock opera ‘Jesus Christ – Super Star’ is one of the spiritual foundations.

The editorial board of ‘Prava ludyny’ would be pleased to obtain similar data and commentaries on suicides from other our correspondents.

Eugene Zakharov

Access to information

Independent press in the Internet

Having collided with the sanctions from the authorities, the Odessa independent press is leaking to the worldwide network Internet. A site has been created, where two Odessa newspapers are placed. In these virtual newspapers it is possible to dare to speak things unthinkable in the so-called ‘real’ press.

Editor-in-chief of the newspaper ‘Odessa glasnost’ Aleksandr Knop was the first, who created the Internet-page of his newspaper. To publish the newspaper in hard copy was already impossible. Before this the newspaper collective went through a fight with the administration of local trade unions. Assisted by militia, the trade union bosses did not return them the needed equipment. After the newspaper was ousted from the building of the Odessa law-enforcing academy (headed by Valeriy Kochetov), it found the final refuge in the Internet, where they updated the information every week. Yet, this lasted not very long. The newspaper was not financed. Potential donors are afraid to support the independent press in Odessa, since they may be pressed by the authorities and law-enforcing organs.

Now the site is not updated any more, but the editor is not loosing hope. He works in the Jewish newspaper ‘Shomrey Shabos’. He said to our correspondent that, if a sponsor appears, the ‘Odessa glasnost’ will be resumed, at least in the Internet.

The same lot has the well-known oppositional youth newspaper ‘Rabota ta vidpochinok’: it stopped to be updated because of lack of financing.

Only one independent newspaper – ‘Odesska zagalna gazeta’ is still being printed. Eight issues of the newspaper have already been published. The newspaper publishes articles of such well-known Odessa journalist as Ganna Berdichevska and Igor Rozov, excerpts from a new book by Lev Vershinin, which satirically reflects the events of the recent election of the city mayor.

On the pages of this newspaper several interesting interviews with MPs Yuri Karmazin and Eduard Gurvits were placed. A lot of photo materials of the action ‘Ukraine without Kuchma’, the reference to the site of the committee ‘Za pravdu’ (‘For truth’) and the Appeal of its city organization are placed there as well.

The popularity of ‘Odesska zagalna gazeta’ is also confirmed by the forum placed on the site, where everybody has an opportunity to express his opinion about the published materials. A torrent of comments was caused by the article ‘Vlada ta korruptsia’ (‘Power and corruption’) by Svitlana Obukhova. Not a single ‘real’ newspaper dared to reprint the article.

Sergey Kovalinskiy, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper commented: ‘Not only users from Ukraine attend the newspaper site. The statistics fixed even readers from the Caribbeans, Peru, the USA, Germany, Canada and Australia.

What do our authorities conceal?

Information is the breathing air of democracy. Only a well-informed society can control the authorities in order to make them serve public interests. On the contrary, bad power needs secrecy in order to bury their incompetence and corruption. That is why the transparency of the power, making public the information what and how the power makes secret is always an actual political question, litmus paper that shows the power’s intentions and plans.

Ukraine inherited a heavy load of the totalitarian past, when practically all the state activities were kept secret for decades, whereas any attempts to procure and distribute the information about the state activities was interpreted as anti-state crimes. In such a manner the Soviet power hid its crimes, the collapse of economics, as well it own incomes and privileges. It is rather difficult to forget this sad inheritance. Recurrences of the past, alas, have recently become too frequent. In this article we shall tell about one part of the totalitarian inheritance – the impossibility to learn, what concrete pieces of information are related to state secrets.

But first we shall discuss some general principles. The international right has developed a number of standards that enable one to determine whether the internal laws provide the access to information. We shall need two principles. The first – the principle of maximum publicity: all the information stored by state organs must be made public, the exceptions are made for a few kinds of information. Another principle characterizes the restrictions on making public the information: a) the exceptions must be determined unambiguously; b) they must be determined precisely and concisely; c) they must be sternly controlled concerning the ‘damage’ and influence on the ‘public interests’. This means that a refusal of a state organ to make an item of information public is justifiable only when, first, the information belongs to some legitimate goal, secondly, its making public must be clearly dangerous for the legitimate goal and, thirdly, the damage caused by making public the information must overweigh the damage to the public interest of obtaining the information. These principles unambiguously imply that that the list of information items, whose publication must be constrained, has to be exhaustedly determined and accessible. The access to information in our country is governed by the Law ‘On information’ that was adopted in October 1992 and the Law ‘On state secrets’ that is operable since January 1994. The adoption of these laws was certainly a success of the young state. Before the adoption of the Constitution these laws determined such a system of relations and duties in this sphere that is commonly typical for democratic countries.

Article 1 of the Law ‘On state secrets’ the latter were defined as a sort of secret information in the sphere of defense, economic, foreign relations, state security and defense of the public order, whose divulging can cause essential damage to interests of Ukraine and so must be guarded by the state. A special organ – the State Committee in charge of keeping secrets (the Committee, in what follows) – had to determine the level of secrecy depending on the possible damage the divulging could bring about. The Committee had to introduce various constraints depending on the level of secrecy and to provide the protection of state secrets. Article 6 of the Law lists the topics, which may be defined as state secrets, Articles 7, 8, 9 described the procedure of relating information to secret by special state experts in charge of secrets. Article 10 formulated that the procedure if forming and publishing the Collection of information items, which are state secrets (CIISS) is determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

On 28 April 1994 the latter adopted a corresponding Resolution No. 278, whose item 3 envisaged publishing the CIISS and the list of corrections and amendments to it in the periodical official bulletin of the Cabinet of Ministers. Item 4 of the resolution confirmed the norms described in Article 10 of the Law: corrections and amendments to the CIISS must be published not later than three months after the reception of the corresponding decision of the state expert in charge of state secrets by the Committee. Item 5 stressed that records in the CIISS may not contain state secrets. Yet, the CIISS was approved as late as in 31 July 1995 and published in ‘Uriadovy kuryer’ (‘Government messenger’) on 17 August 1995.

We do not mean to analyze the CIISS here, but it is difficult to refrain from some questions. Why is the quantity of the customs personnel secret (item 4.18)? Which vital interests of Ukraine would suffer if these data were divulged? The same question concerns the size of the personnel of the USS (4.14). Why to conceal from the public the information about the state, results and prospects of the cooperation of the USS with security services of other countries (4.17)? One may put many similar questions.

Yet, the very fact of making the CIISS public is very significant, since the free access to it is important. One should mention that the CIISS was reprinted many times: in issue 41 of ‘Zakon i biznes’ (‘Law and business’), in the book ‘Ukraina: svoboda slova i informatsii’ (‘Ukraine: the freedom of speech and information’), in collections of legal acts ‘Zasoby massovoi informatsii’ (‘Mass media’) published by Information press center IREX I?iIaa?a and other editions.

Unfortunately, the attempts at openness ended. The first amendments to the CIISS introduced by the Committee orders No. 2 of 29 September 1995, No. 3 of 12 December 1995, No. 1 of 16 January 1996 and No. 2 of 6 February 1996 were not published: the first two are classified as ‘secret’, the others – as ‘for service use only’. In my opinion, this is a brutal violation of operating laws and norms.

In the beginning of 1999 the Committee was disbanded, and its functions were passed to the USS. In September 1999 the Supreme Rada adopted substantial changes of the Law ‘n state secrets’. One principal change, in my opinion, was made: other spheres – science and technology -- were introduced, the information about which may be related to state secrets. Yet, the procedure of forming and making public the CIISS was not changed.

In December 2000, having worked with the newly created database of normative acts of the Ukrainian legislative information center, I unexpectedly learned that the CIISS is absent in the database, since it is classified as ’secret’. This database also did not contain the above-mentioned four orders of the Committee. I sent an inquiry to the well-known computer legislative system of the information and analytic center ‘Liga’ and obtained the same answer: the CIISS is classified as ‘secret’ and is inaccessible. Moreover the original text of the CIISS published in Nos. 123-124 of the newspaper ‘Uriadovy kuryer’ for 1995 disappeared from the database. Now one has to guess what data are secret now. It is hardly plausible that the four changes of September 1995 – February 1996 were the last. I think that the CIISS had to be changed to the great extent, as in the version of 21 September 1999 the Law the circle of secret information much expanded. The information about science and technology, as well as about some aspects of state security and protection of state order were added to the initial part of the list: defense, economic, foreign relations, etc. (Article 8). But the ‘Liga’ database does not contain any more mentions of changes.

In my opinion, such brutal violations of national and international information laws are inadmissible in a country that is a member of the Council of Europe and pretends to be European. It is interesting that the perpetrator was the USS, the very organ of the state power, which is always very touchy about any mentions of its illegal actions. The bosses of the Service always pointed out that their organization always acts within its legal bounds. Yet, we got no answer to our request of 18 January of the current year to L. Derkach, the head of the USS. When Mr. Derkach was dismissed and V. Radchenko became the USS head, I sent (on 9 March) the letter about the absence of any answer to my previous request. This time I received the answer very soon, though it must be noted that the answer was signed on 9 February by the previous chief, but was posted from Kyiv on 16 March and reached Kharkov on 20 March. Here is this letter verbatim.

‘The Ukrainian security service considered your letter concerning classifying the Collection of information items, which are state secrets (CIISS, in what follows) as ‘secret’.

We inform you that the CIISS was approved by the order No. 47 of 31 July 1995 by the State committee in charge of state secrets, registered in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine on 3 August 1995, No. 278/814 and published
in Nos. 123-124 of the newspaper ‘Uriadovy kuryer’ for 1995.

The CIISS for service use of agencies containing the information on the levels of secrecy of secret documents was classified as ‘secret’ by the State committee in charge of state secrets’.

Thus, there are two CIISSs -- opened, published and closed, for service use of agencies. But the Law mentions only one CIISS – ‘act, which the list of information items from the spheres determined by Law related to secret by special state experts in charge of secrets’ (Article 1). This document may not be closed according to any law! Nonetheless, it is this text, which is omitted in the legislative databases of normative acts of Ukraine. Pay attention that the USS answer does not mention the number and the date of state registration in the Ministry of Justice for the order of the Committee in charge of state secrets about making secret ‘The CIISS for service use of agencies’.

I believe that the USS, which, according to Article 12 of the Law’ On state secrets’, forms and publishes the CIISS, must stop the violation of the law. Namely they must remove from the document secret data, revoke the classification ‘secret’ and make it public with all changes made during five years.

P. S.
When this issue was already prepared for printing, we learned that the USS took off the secrecy of the CIISS. According to order No. 52 issued by the USS head on 1 March 2001 the CIISS published in August 1995 was considered null and void, and a new CIISS was approved. The order was registered in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine on 22 March 2001 with No. 254/5455.

The order and the new CIISS appeared in the computer legislative system of the information and analytic center ‘Liga’, and now it is time to expect the appearance of this document in official mass media. I should be mentioned that, unlike the version of 1995, the new document contains, beside the headings of information items related to state secrets, the secrecy level, the term of secrecy, the registration number and the date of state expert’s decision. This is certainly a positive step made by the USS.

Prohibition of discrimination

People’s attitude to the agrarian reform

In April the All-Ukrainian public organizations ‘The committee of voters of Ukraine’ (CVU) held a poll of the rustic folk on their attitude to the agrarian reform and to the processes that develop in the rural areas. The poll was held in 3 – 4 districts of each oblast, the number of the pollees was 600-800 in each oblast, not more than 15-30 dwellers from one village. The pollees filled, with their own hand, the questionnaire that contained 15 questions with the proposed versions of the answers.

In the Lugansk oblast the poll was held in 40 villages of four districts: Svatovskiy, Kremenetskiy, Novoaydarskiy and Popasnianskiy. The program in the oblast was managed by Mykola Kotliar, the head of the town organization of the CVU, a teacher of political sciences at Severodonetsk technology institute.

Pensioners made 32% of the pollees, 20 % -- agricultural workers, 20% -- jobless, 7% -- farmers.

More than 17% of the pollees had not get any documents confirming their right of property for land, but the majority already had the certificates.

More than one quarter (27%) of the rural population do not wish to own land, and one can consider that the same proportion of people do not approve of the reform. Among those, who had not got the land yet, one quarter complains that they have no money for paperwork needed to get the documents, 22% complain at the absence of the knowledge about the reform.

The opinion about how the land was distributed is rather similar: two thirds of the respondents consider that this was done by heads of agrarian enterprises, 22% have no definite opinion. Three quarters of the pollees are satisfied how their plots are situated, maybe because they do not process the land themselves, but lease it. The great majority made contracts for short-time (1-3 years) and middle-time (3-7 years) leases, the ratio of the pay in cash to the pay in production, in the opinion of the pollees, is 5:2, the size if the pay for leasing is, as a rule, 1-2% of the land cost.

The attitude of the rustic folk to the right to sell land is significant. About 32 % of the respondents consider it possible, 28% -- principally impossible, 20% consider that it is impossible under the current conditions. At the same time only 13% consider that the rural population got any profit from the reform, 41% thinks that mostly chiefs of agrarian enterprises got the profit, 10% consider that businessmen have profited, 33% -- that it was the state.

People get the information about the agrarian reform mainly from newspaper (28%), from TV (30%) and from their acquaintances (31%).

Actual statistics on Ternopil oblast

(The information belongs to the Ternopil oblast directorate of health protection)
Aleksandr Stepanenko, Chortkiv

Unfortunately, the volume and quality of the data collected by the directorate has recently deteriorated, due to the lack of financing.

The population number:
Ternopil oblast — 1152.6 thousand;
town of Ternopil — 233.3 thousand;
Chortkiv district — 81.8 thousand.

Demographic indices:







Birth rate






Death rate






Natural growth






The mortality rate among babies up to 1 year (per 1000 of newborns) in the oblast is 12.0, in particular:

Chortkiv district


Zborivskiy district


Shumskiy district


Lanivetskiy district


Kozivskiy district


Comparing to previous years, the mortality rate of babies changes its structure. The proportion of inborn defects, infectious diseases and pathological states, which appeared in the perinatal period (that is from the 28th week of pregnancy to the 7th day after birth) grows.

The differences between the baby mortality rates in various districts of the Ternopil oblast can be explained, in my opinion, by the lower level of social and economic development and medicine in particular in northern districts of the oblast: Lanovetskiy, Zborivskiy, Shumskiy. The fact that recently the proportion of above-mentioned causes of the baby mortality in Ukraine is growing, witnesses of the accumulation of genetic defects, decrease of the immunity and weakening the natural selection factor (this is the negative influence of medicine).

Infectious diseases in 2000:

Total number

Number except influenza and respiratory virus infections

Ternopil oblast



Town of Ternopil



Chortkiv district



Pidgayetskiy district



Kozivskiy district


Zborivskiy district


Such great variation within one oblast is explained by the character of diseases and the accessibility of medical aid: for instance, an inhabitant of a far off village would not go to a district hospital with influenza; as a result, most cases are not registered at all.

Intestinal infections (per 10 thousand):



Ternopil oblast



Chortkiv district



Viral mumps:



Ternopil oblast


Chortkiv district



Town of Ternopil






Ternopil oblast



Chortkiv district



Town of Ternopil



Infectious hepatitis:



Ternopil oblast



Chortkiv district






Ternopil oblast (absolute numbers)



Ternopil oblast

(per 100 thousand)






Ternopil oblast


Chortkiv district


Dynamics of catching TB:











Number of beds:









Rather high number of infectious diseases (intestinal infections, viral hepatitis A, leptospirosis), in particular in the Chortkiv district, is due to the low quality of drinking water. The reasons of the unprecedented raise of mumps in 1999-2000 are the total decrease of immune resistance and bad vaccination. Not only TB, the frequency of which grew almost twice during last five years, can be called a disease caused by poor social and economic state. As risk factors for a larger number of diseases become: chemical and radiation pollution, inadequate nutrition, irrational medicinal drug therapy, mass alcoholism and other harmful habits, spontaneous migration, psychical and emotional stresses, unhealthy way of life, etc.

Court practices

Soldiers’ mothers improve their skills

On 6 April 2001 Kharkov Union of soldiers’ mothers held a training seminar for volunteers of their organization. The training was supported by the National democratic institute of international relations. 25 volunteers of the Union of soldiers’ mothers from Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast participated in the seminar. F. Ibragimov, a legal consultant of the oblast recruiting committee, told about the legal aspects of army service. Besides, medical examination of recruits, social problems of servicemen and their families were discussed. The participants were especially interested in practical trainings conducted under the guidance of experienced workers of the Union. All the participants got the materials compiled by Kharkov Union of soldiers’ mothers. These documents will be of use for self-education. Each volunteer obtained a certificate on his participation in the training seminar.

Violations of human rights in the army

Ukraine, as most of post-Soviet countries, has the army, whose structure, principles of forming and service conditions are inherited from the Soviet army, with all its drawbacks and genetic deficiencies. The Ukrainian army, according to the official doctrine, must defend the state from the external aggression. From 1997 to 2000 it was reduced from 370 to 310 thousand, and by and by it prepares to pass to the contract system. The reform must be completed till 2015.

Yet, even in the reduced form, the army suffers from the same hardships and economic difficulties, as the entire society. It is impossible to understand the roots of violence in the army without analyzing all stages when the rights of mobilized youths are abused.

The violence in the army, that is criminal or administrative offences the rights of an individual, is caused by a number of abuses of human rights during the recruiting campaign and the life in the barracks. That is why we must analyze these abuses one after another.


At this stage some rights are abused which, according to our experience, later become very important. We think that the violations are due to the following reasons.

1. Economic.

Parents of the future recruits have not money to examine and treat their children in time. Medical establishments, especially in rural areas, are not duly equipped and staffed. The number of adolescent doctors is diminishing.

2. Corruption during the recruiting campaign.

We come across vice of the system not very often, since, as a rule, those who turn to us are poor. But the newspapers ‘Fakty’, ‘Vechirniy Kharkiv’ and others even gave the exact sums to be paid to free a healthy recruit from army service. And then the place of the healthy is taken by the sick.

3. Ignorance of the population of their rights.

Citizens of Ukraine are ignorant not only of the laws in this sphere, but also of their own health (especially in the rural areas).

All this causes that the sick youth are often enlisted to the army. Especially dangerous id the penetration of people with psychic deviations to the arms. They are the first, who become victims of violence or they commit violent actions themselves.

So, during 1998-2000 we dealt with 18 deserters, 9 of which were later dismissed due to psychic diseases (Kharkov Union of soldiers’ mothers insisted on the additional examination). Not-able-bodied soldiers suffer from their inability t adequately fulfil their duties, because they cannot bear the loads of a modern army. The recruiting of sick youths that contradicts Article 18 of the Law of Ukraine ‘On the total military duty and military service’ is not only a crime against the youths and the army, but also a social danger.

Drawbacks in the Law, as well as a low level of control in medical establishments, cause the growth of the irresponsibility.

As a rule, the ‘responsibility’ comes only after getting a bribe by a medic or an officer of a recruiting commission (which is difficult to prove, so it is uncovered very seldom).

We apply at this stage the method of studying the quantity of recruits by monitoring in army units. Having analyzed the results, we turn to the authorities, recruiting commissions and specialized medical establishments. We also use the method of preventive visits to recruiting commissions, talks with parents and teachers. We pass the complaints of the parents to recruiting commissions and analyze together the causes of the complaints and possible consequences.


1. Such a notorious phenomenon as dedovshchina, when old soldiers responsible for functioning and training of younger soldiers, was inherited from the Soviet army. In such units the old soldiers usurp the duties of officers. This phenomenon is born by passivity of underpaid officers and their irresponsibility for what happens in the unit.

It is in such units where the cruelest conditions are formed, where the dignity of a soldier, his personal inviolability and even his life are endangered.

2. The Law ‘On the total military duty and military service’ and other legal acts do not stipulate criminal responsibility of officers for the disorder in the unit. Even if the dedovshchina in the unit has serious consequences (a soldier committed suicide, or murder, or deserted), the responsibility is put on the direct participants of the events.

It should be noted that the Ministry of Defense always reacts to such incidents, considering the situation as a disciplinary one and dismissing the guilty officers. Yet, in most foreign countries, where the mass army still exists, the responsibility of the officers is criminal.

3. A real mechanism for protection the rights of servicemen does not exist. According to the Articles of War, a soldier has the right to turn with a complaint only to his direct commander. But if the commander himself entrusted old soldiers to keep the discipline in such a way, than the complaint will be senseless. Soldiers’ complaints to the garrison prosecutor’s office also are fruitless, since the prosecutor’s office defends the officers of their garrison and not the rights of servicemen. This results in the system, when cases of suicide are considered by civil prosecutor’s offices, which are biased; the witnesses among soldiers are either not interrogated or intimidated. The prosecutors do all they can in order to shield officers. As a rule, a suicide is not ended in opening the case according to Article 99 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (‘driving to suicide’), although all the materials of the case confirm that. Sometimes the conclusions of regional prosecutors are amazing. We have come across to the case, when a young man with two bullet wounds in the forehead was considered to have committed a suicide. Another astonishing case happened with to privates, who agreed to have met with the third one in some place; when the third one came, he found his friends hanged. The prosecutor concluded that the two soldiers committed suicide.

The results of forensic expertise are rather variable and usually they change for closing the case in the most innocent way.

Kharkov Union of soldiers’ mothers knows a lot of cases when nobody did nothing in order to establish the truth.

The situation with deserting is not less obscure. Recently the Main military prosecutor’s office of Ukraine, having confessed that some servicemen deserted their units because of ‘unbearable conditions’ (dedovshchina, diseases, etc.) appealed to the deserters to give themselves up and come to prosecutor’s offices. If the causes of their escape are considered mitigating, they will be pardoned.

Not all regional prosecutor’s offices executed the order of the Main prosecutor’s office. We have come across cases when regional prosecutors demanded bribes (Lviv) or did not close the cases (Kharkov, the Crimea). All this was done although it was obvious that the soldiers escaped from their units either because of dedovshchina or because of the diseases that were not treated or because they were unwilling to be dragged to some criminal activities by officers or older servicemen.

All these cases illustrate well that a serviceman does not know real mechanisms of protecting his rights, if any exist. Not a single amendment to the Law ‘On the total military duty and military service’ promotes the creation of such mechanisms.

It should be noted that servicemen are often used at works not connected with their service. This phenomenon is so common that it does seem strange either to officers or soldiers. The public is also very cool about this. There are many few complaints about coercive work, as a rule they are mentioned in connection with other complaints, by we learn that such works are quite usual from soldiers in hospitals or from demobilized soldiers.


Usually that is a defected law that causes violations of personal rights. The Ukrainian Law ‘On the alternative service’ may be an example. First of all, this law does not mention pacifists, those, who refuse to take arms not because of religious, but of political motives. Article 65 of the Constitution is vague and requires additional interpretation. Besides, the Law includes the opportunity of the direct violation over believers, since Article 8 of this law envisages that a person, who executes the alternative service inadequately, may be sent to the army upon the decision of the recruiting committee.

We have developed methodical materials for the servicemen and their parents about how to behave in the above-listed cases. As to the question of suicides, we have never manages to start a criminal case about ‘driving to a suicide’, which testifies that the article is impractical.

Recently Kharkov Union of soldiers’ mothers compiled instructions for servicemen containing concrete advice about the protection of their rights. We questioned parents of demobilized servicemen and the servicemen, who turned to our organization for help. We are sure that, even having such incomplete laws, a soldier can protect himself, of he knows his rights, if his parents and public organizations help him. On the contrary a youth, who does not know his rights, who does not have assistance from his parents and who does not know where to turn outside his military unit, will have great difficulties in protecting himself.

We suggested amending the laws in such a way that an independent juridical consultations were created at oblast executive committees – hotlines, which could be used free of charged by any serviceman. Unfortunately, these amendments were not introduced.

To sum up, violence in the army is mainly due to the following factors:

Defects of the operating laws on the army.

Insufficient public control over the human rights protection in the army (although it should be noted that the Ukrainian army is perhaps the only enforcing structure that willingly cooperates with public organizations).

Absence of the mechanism of protecting servicemen’s rights, since the existing system of regional military prosecutor’s office and martial courts do not guarantee the protection; absence of professional legal counselors in military units.

Recruiting to the army of badly examined by medics or not examined at all youths, who later appear to be psychically of physically sick.

Low level of the common and legal education among recruits.

Low level of interest in the results of their work among underpaid officers.

Absence of administrative or criminal responsibility of medical and recruiting commissions and officers for results of their work.

Kharkov Union of soldiers’ mothers


The fifth competition of essays devoted to human rights protection for students of high and higher schools has ended. The seminar ‘Problems of civil education and human rights protection in Ukrainian schools’

On 30 March the fifth competition of essays devoted to human rights protection for students of high and higher schools was solemnly closed in Kyiv. The competition was organized by the International society for human rights and the Kharkov Group for human rights protection.

33 victors out of almost four thousand of participants of the competition were invited to Kyiv. Their age is from 15 to 25. After declaring the results the honorable guests handed diplomas and congratulated the victors. Among the honorable guests Ditmar Hoffmann, the Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary Ambassador of Germany in Ukraine, Martin Schaeffer, the General Consul of Germany in Ukraine, Holdar Sven, the consultant on political questions of the Delegation of the European Commission of the Council of Europe in Ukraine, and Aleksandr Pavlichenko, the manager of Information office of the Council of Europe in Ukraine were present.

That very day a two-day seminar ‘Problems of civil education and human rights protection in Ukrainian schools’ commenced its work. The seminar organizers invited well-known professionals in civil education, teachers – authors of articles published in the bulletin ‘Human rights. Civil education’, teachers-instructors of the authors of best essays presented at the competition, representatives of human rights protection, education, youth and other organizations. The participants were given a big package of literature. The literature collection consisted of publications of the Kharkov Group: ‘International mechanisms of human rights protection’, ‘Complaints to the European court of human rights’, ‘Teaching history in the spirit of democratic values and tolerance’ by Carmel Gallaher; books published by the American embassy in Ukraine: ‘Portrait of the United States’, ‘History of the United States’, ‘Geography of the United States’, ‘Economy of the United States’, Literature of the United States’, ‘Introduction to human rights’, ‘Democracy is a discussion’ ‘Collection of document of the Council of Europe’ issued by of Information office of the Council of Europe in Ukraine. Besides, all the participants had an opportunity to get familiar with all editions of the Kharkov Group and to order the literature, which interested them.

Special sittings of the seminar were held as round table talks, where the following topics were discussed:

Monitoring human rights observation in Ukrainian secondary schools.

Civil education, juridical science and human rights protection at school: the problem of real efficiency.

Collection of experience: youth organizations, pupils’ self-rule and other forms of civil self-education.

Development of teachers’ community. Creative and professional unions of teachers. Civil cooperation of pupils, teachers and parents as a necessary condition for solving problems of modern school.

More detailed information on the results of the competition and on the work of the seminar will be published in a bulletin ‘Prava ludyny. Civil education’.

Poltava Center of right protection

In the Poltava oblast the Center of right protection and control over keeping laws works. The center was organized at the Union of army veterans.

Recently the center celebrated its third anniversary. The press conference devoted to this data was held for the local and all-Ukrainian mass media.

The center is well known in the oblast. Since most inhabitants of the oblast do not know laws and their rights and cannot protect themselves, the appearance of the center was a must. In the beginning the activists of the center worked on their enthusiasm, having no office, no finances and no equipment. They received clients from the entire oblast in their home.

In March 1999 the project of the center members V. Boroday and Z. Kovalenko won the competition of the National-democratic institute of foreign relations, after which the center got some equipment that greatly facilitated the work.

Last September the center won an international grant of the Trans-Atlantic initiative Europe – USA and now works in the framework of the project ‘Democracy and superiority of the right’.

The center of right protection represents citizens’ interests in various state organs, at trials; renders juridical consultations; assists in compiling claims, complaint, protests, appeals; carries out legal enlightenment in education establishments and other organizations; makes public facts of abusing human rights by authorities; hands it propositions as to the improvement of work of law-enforcing bodies.

During three years of the work the center members rendered citizens more than 1600 consultations, compiled more than 600 claims and complaints, conducted a score of their own investigations of human rights violations, participated in almost 200 trials as representatives of public organizations. The members began to organize groups of assistants in different districts and held for them some seminars and practical training with the aim to create the network of human rights protection organizations in the oblast.

At the press conference the general situation as to observing human rights in the oblast was discussed. Head of the center Vitaliy Boroday said: ‘The situation with observing and protecting human rights is bad in the Poltava oblast. Most abuses occur because citizens know badly both the laws and basic human rights, whereas the bosses of all levels use this ignorance. Militiamen brutally violate human rights during detention, arrest and keeping in custody. They do not explain people their rights, as it is required by law, but even mistreat them. The courts permit to break the legal procedure, they drag out even very simple cases, if authorities take part in the trial’.

Center member Zoya Kovalenko said: ‘I happened to be a representative of public organizations at trials in neighboring oblasts: Sumy, Kirovograd, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov and Kyiv. Everywhere the postponement of trials is not so shameless as in Poltava, where, during a year, not a single trial on a case without any mitigating reasons. Case documents often disappear partly or in full. For example, the case of citizens M. and G. about their capture of the flat of the late citizen K. disappeared from the archive of the Kyivskiy district precinct of Poltava, although there was no fire or flood.

Judges are sometimes very rude. The reason is that many former militiamen became judges. They have juridical education, which they got in extramural manner, which is quite insufficient’.

The center members in their speeches pointed out that the court reform in Ukraine is not only ripe, but also long necessary. To postpone the reform is next to criminal, for each day of using old codes and related court customs multiply people’s sorrows.

All the same, nowadays more and more people appear, who feel themselves personalities, and will never stand the abuse of their honor and dignity.

‘Center of legal aid’ in Zhytomir

A public reception office ‘Center of legal aid’, which grants free juridical consultations and other legal aid, was opened in Zhytomir in November 2000. The Center was created on the base of the Zhytomir oblast branch of ‘International society of human rights’, and is sponsored by the international foundation ‘Vidrodjennia’.

Up to now the lawyers of the Center have already received more than 300 clients, who got legal aid: juridical consultations, assistance in compiling suits and complaints to various state organs, consultations about the current laws.

The more frequent problem, with which people come to the Center, is violation of the law on the wages by managers enterprises of all forms of property. Many complaints of this class are about the court executive service that practically executes nothing. Court decisions on pay arrears on wages, compensations and other payments have not been executed during 2 – 3 years.

Many people complain about law-enforcing and court organs. They more often complain about bureaucracy and ill-grounded decisions of these organs. Thus, citizens’ rights for just court are massively abused.

The clients came to the Center from almost all districts of the oblast, although the Center exists not for a long time.

Complainers from rural districts turn about the violations or misuse of the land legislation made during privatization of land. They complain about absence or shortage of the official information on the procedure of privatization and on their rights as owners of land shares that, in its turn enable the officials to distribute the land unjustly.

Almost 70% of clients do know their rights, when they turn to state organs, and the duties of the authorities.

To sum up, it is possible to single out several spheres, where the citizens’ rights are abused most often: labor laws, law-enforcing and court defense, social protection and privatization of land.

Under such circumstances ‘Center of legal aid’ proved that it is a necessary and useful structure. In the situation that is formed in Ukraine, poor people cannot afford qualified legal aid, because the legal aid is rather expensive.

NGO activities

Declaration of the international union ‘Memorial’

The people, who remember the Soviet history, have no doubts about the events connected with the TV company HTB: the authorities return to the old well-proven methods of controlling mass media. The replacement of the editor-in-chief and the common ‘strengthening’ of the company administration is a well-known scheme, frequently applied to talented, popular and liberal mass media during the 70 years of the Soviet power. However, there is another aspect: the attempts to replace the discussion of urgent problems with lies of servile journalists brought the country to a collapse, from which Russia cannot free herself up to now.

The financial problems are not more than a pretext. Likewise, in the Soviet times, the people were incarcerated for parasitism, previously being sacked from their jobs. The erratic actions of court authorities, hardly testifying of the independence of courts, also resemble the blessed times.

The attitude to oppositional mass media is the main characteristic that permits to distinguish a responsible politician from a common power-seeker. The Russian public now has learned which power it voted for.

As to the journalists, who worked with HTB, they must know: the Russian society is grateful to them for their firm and principal opposition, although lost at the present. We are grateful to them because they were not afraid to loose. We hope that their professionalism and civil firmness will be demanded in today’s Russia.

International union ‘Memorial’
14 April 2001

Point of view

Curfew for youth

Officers of the Starobelsk district administration suggested the town rada to adopt the resolution about the introduction of a ‘curfew’ for youth for autumn and winter.

Now minors under 16 must stay at home after 22:00. If they are older, up to 18, they may stay at large till 23:00, and till midnight in holidays. Correspondingly, the timetable of cafes, discotheques and other entertainment centers must be corrected. The innovators believe that these measures will diminish the crime, alcoholism and drug addition among minors.

As to the legal angle of these reforms, the authorities in Lugansk do not believe it substantial.

Dissidents and their time

A new book

A book ‘Mezhdunarodnye mekhanizmy zashchity prav cheloveka’ (‘International tools for human rights protection’) by Ivan Lishchina, a juridical consultant of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection, an post-graduate of the National juridical academy of Ukraine, was published by the KhG jointly with the publishing house ’Folio’ in special issue No. 57 of the informational and analytical bulletin ‘Prava ludyny’.

The book is devoted to realization of part 3 of Article 55 of the Constitution. This article describes the situation when a Ukrainian citizen, having exhausted national facilities for rights protection, may resort to international tools for human rights protection. The book renders in details the way of organization and work of such tools, as well as the procedure of handing, by private citizens, the proper documents on the violation by a state of its international obligations to protect citizens’ rights and freedoms.

In particular the author describes the procedures and rules of addressing the European court for human rights, International committee for human rights and International committee against torture (a separate chapter is devoted to every one of these organizations). Universal and regional organizations for citizens’ social and economic rights are considered in details, as well as the tools for the complex protection of rights (the UNO commission of human rights, organizations fighting against race, sexual, national and other discriminations, institute of international ombudsmen, etc.).

Besides, some chapters of the book contain theoretic deviations and commentaries, concerning the definition of human rights, separate aspects and features connected with human rights protection on the international level.

One chapter is devoted to the definition of the juridical concept of ‘exhausting national facilities for rights protection’, which limits the opportunity to using the international tools for human rights protection.

The book was refereed by L. Zavadskaya (Moscow), a candidate of law, the head of the gender program of the American Association of lawyers in Central and Eastern Europe.

The book was published sponsored by the Program of the legal initiative of the American Association of lawyers in Central and Eastern Europe and the NED (USA).

Deported peoples

On 6 April Dmitriy Neverovskiy, a young Russian human rights protection activist and a partisan for peace, was buried...

On 6 April Dmitriy Neverovskiy, a young Russian human rights protection activist and a partisan for peace, was buried.

Our bulletin described the trial, at which Dmitriy Neverovskiy tried to defend his right not to serve in the army because of his pacifist principles.

Dmitriy perished in a fire. What happened at that tragic night in his house in Obninsk? Was it arson, accidental ignition or defect in the electric mains?

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2001, #04