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.

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2001, #12

70% of Ukrainian population suffer from poverty. Elections
Two thirds of Ukrainian are skeptical as to the results of the election-2002. Members of public organizations again will not be able to be observers at the election. A special center was opened in Lviv. Viktor Yushchenko approves. Association of the network broadcasters is against the law about TV debates German experts do not believe in free journalism in Ukraine before election Politics and human rights
Parliamentary hearings on how Ukraine observes the UNO Covenant and the Council of Europe demands about torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and punishment Freedom of expression
A journalist was driven out of a conference. An Internet newspaper is pressed in Odessa. Press release of the Sevastopol Media Center All national TV channels refused to cooperate with Timoshenko’s block State-owned enterprise ’Press’ refused to distribute the newspaper of the party ’Batkivshchina’ The newspaper ’Ridne Pribuzhzhia’ prohibited in Nikolayev Journalists are beaten again No free press in Bukovina Ukrainian Internet providers must prepare to license their activities Kharkov authorities cannot master article 39 of the Constitution. Prohibition of discrimination
TB is advancing in Ukraine Children’s rights
Russification or idiocy? Women’s rights
A citizen and the prosecutor’s office . Right of cassation in the Supreme Court: myth or reality? Army
More than 300 complaints about violating human rights were received by the profile parliamentary committee in 2001. Guaranteeing constitutional rights and freedoms by perfecting regulation norms. On addressing law-enforcing organs in concrete criminal cases. Court consideration of the case on the terrorist act against Natalya Vitrenko is over. Public hearings in Lugansk Point of view
Every fourth inhabitant of the Donetsk oblast has a criminal record The number of convicts in penitentiaries is gradually diminishing. Ukrainian intellectuals demand to try the participants of the events of 9 March by jury. Victims of political repression
Do not open the door to militia!


70% of Ukrainian population suffer from poverty.

According to the data of ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva, more than 70% of citizens of Ukraine may be related to the poor. This was told by Nina Karpacheva at the round table ’Protecting rights and freedoms of the most vulnerable groups of population’.

At the same time she quoted official data, according to which 26.7% are poor, among them about 14% -- paupers. N. Karpacheva noticed that there exists the tendency of increasing the number of the handicapped in Ukraine. According to ombudsperson’s data, the number of the handicapped grew by 1.5% from 1 January 2000 to 1 January 2001.

Now this category includes, along with war invalids (274.8 thousand people), 79.5 thousand of victims of the Chernobyl catastrophe, 1,552,800 invalids of common diseases, 104.8 thousand of invalids of labor and professional diseases. The total number of invalids in Ukraine is more than 2.5 million people, nonetheless guaranteeing the right of this group of population still remains unsatisfactory, UNIAN informs.


Two thirds of Ukrainian are skeptical as to the results of the election-2002.

The assessment formulated in the heading was given by Olga Balakireva, the manager of the Center ’Social monitoring’. According to the Law on election, the official election campaign must start only on 1 January 2001. In spite of this, the election campaign had really started as early as in spring and became more active in autumn. 29% of voters answered that they, maybe, will take part in the election, 48% of respondents are sure that they will participate in the election, 14% (every seventh) declared that they were not going to vote and 7% hesitate. 63% of respondents agreed with the statement that ’the election is intended to create the illusion of democracy in Ukraine, whereas it does not exist’, 20% consider the election to be ’a demonstration of the democratic character of the Ukrainian political system’. The sociologist also remarked that the analysis of the social position of the respondents showed: such statistics is typical not of some concrete layer of the population, of supporters of some definite political party or of inhabitants of a certain region, but it is the opinion of the society on the average.

Members of public organizations again will not be able to be observers at the election.

Observers of the Voters Committee of Ukraine will have the same problem at the coming parliamentary election of 2002, which they had at the previous presidential election. According to the operating laws, members of public organizations may not be observers at election, pointed out Aleksandr Chernenko, the press secretary of the Voters Committee. This problem was solved at the previous election by registering the observers of the Voters Committee as journalists of the newspaper ’Tochka zoru’.

A special center was opened in Lviv.

A special center was opened in Lviv. This center will help to the handicapped during the election campaign. The project was organized by the regional department of the fund ’Rehabilitation of the handicapped’ and the Alliance of the Partnership ’Counterpart’.

The handicapped in Ukraine refuse from voting rather frequently. According to Yaroslav Gribalskiy, the chairman of the directorate of the Lviv department of the fund ’Rehabilitation of the handicapped’, the state did not provide the handicapped with the needed tools for voting. For example, the blind cannot vote without help, since they need bulletins written in the Braille system. There are no convenient drives for people, who move in wheelchairs.

’The voting center of the legal competence of the handicapped’ is the organization, whose duty is to change such a state of affairs. As the Ukrainian service of ’Deutsche Welle’ informed, the work in the center would be fulfilled by volunteers, who want to help the handicapped to taking an active part in voting process. The brochure ’Your vote’ will be handed in the framework of the project. The brochure will contain the information for the handicapped about their voters’ rights and the opportunities to realize the rights.

The project also envisages the creation of a special analytical group, which will deal with urgent problems of the handicapped appearing in the process of election.


Viktor Yushchenko approves.

The leader of the block ’Nasha Ukraina’ (’Our Ukraine’) supports holding the pre-election TV debates during the election campaigns of the President and MPs. He confirmed that at the press conference in Lutsk. V. Yushchenko told that he would endorse ’any kind of public dialogues, especially when it will have the form of TV debates’. ’I am convinced’, V. Yushchenko stressed, ’that a dialogue is a road to truth and mutual understanding’. A public dialog of candidates will enable voters ’to comprehend strong and weak sides of a politician and to determine their sympathies’.

Association of the network broadcasters is against the law about TV debates

The association of the network TV and radio broadcasters turned to the Ukrainian President ’with the request to use his veto’ and not to sign this law. It was said in the application of the Association. (The Association unites 8 all-Ukrainian TV and radio companies). In particular, the protestors state, the new law contradicts the Ukrainian laws on entrepreneurial activities, on National Council in charge of TV and radio broadcasting, on TV and radio broadcasting and actually forces private mass media to provide for their own means not only appointing the best time for political discussions, but also the preparation of such programs. Besides, the authors of the appeal see in this law an attempt of ’the brutal intervention of state structures into the activities of privately owned mass media’ and ’introducing the state control over the activities of privately owned mass media’. This is ’absolutely inadmissible and contradicts the international practice’.

German experts do not believe in free journalism in Ukraine before election

German experts from the European Institute of mass media declared at the conference ’Mass media and election’ that free journalism is impossible in Ukraine before and during the parliamentary election of 2002.

As ’Deutsche Welle’ informs, professor Barbara Pfetsch pointed out that the relations between mass media and power being as they are, journalists cannot conduct investigations, obtain needed information for unbiased assessment of the power and inform the public fully about the pre-election situation.

’Transparency is a unique way to solving problems of the development of democracy and integration of the modern Ukraine into the world society. And the unbiased informing is the cornerstone of making election and power activities transparent’, she told.

Politics and human rights

Parliamentary hearings on how Ukraine observes the UNO Covenant and the Council of Europe demands about torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and punishment

On 4 December 2001 the Committee of the Supreme Rada on human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations held parliamentary hearings on how Ukraine observes the UNO Covenant and the Council of Europe demands about torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and punishment. Representatives of the General Prosecutor’s office, Supreme Court, USS, State penitentiary department, Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, State tax administration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives of non-government organizations, which fight with torture, were invited to the hearings. Ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva was also present.

Opening the hearings, G. Udovenko, the head of the committee, pointed out that Ms Karpacheva turned to the Supreme Rada with the application to give the financing for the nourishment of persons detained by militia. The term of detainment may reach 72 hours, and all this time the detainees are not fed. This may be regarded as a torture with hunger. Yet, the committee members decided to consider the question in a broader sense. G. Udovenko referred to the TV feature ’Without taboo’ by Mykola Veresen and to the book ’Against torture. Survey of complaints about cruel treatment and torture’ published by the Kharkov Group for human rights protection. Along with it, G. Udovenko remarked in his introductory speech that the work over the new Criminal-Procedural Code is still lasting, so the discussion of the legal opportunities of protection from torture and cruel treatment may not appear superfluous. Nina Karpacheva told that during the events of 9 March all district militia precincts of Kyiv were overcrowded, people from other towns of Ukraine could be found among the detainees. According to the observations of the ombudsperson, 25 thousand persons were detained in 2000 for longer than 24 hours. All these people did not get nourishment during their detainment. Such attitude may be regarded as a torture. In the Ministry of Interior they explained to us that the budget does not envisage the expenditures for feeding the detained. That is why Nina Karpacheva turned to the Supreme Rada during the discussion of the budget. She demanded to introduce the expenditures as a separate line. The government agreed to increase the financing of militia. Unfortunately, the budget will not specify for which purpose is this money intended, so the Counting chamber will have to control how this money will be spent.

Besides, Nina Karpacheva pointed out that the situation in Ukraine concerning torture is very disturbing.

MP M. Gutsal told that militia treats brutally not only common people. So, militia beat him, an MP, and his deputy’s ID was taken away and still not returned.

O. Ptashinskiy, the deputy head of the Penitentiary department, told in detail about the state of affairs in his agency. He informed that after the amnesty of 30 thousand convicts the number of those, who remained in penitentiaries equals 193.5 thousand. This number is in compliance with the norms. Yet, as Mr. Ptashinskiy said, courts continue to convict too many people with incarceration. Thus, this year 53.3 thousand persons were convicted, among them 8 thousand got the terms up to one year, and 59% got the terms up to 3 years. O. Ptashinskiy also told about rendering medical aid in penitentiaries. He told that there exist 21 hospital, which render qualified medical aid to convicts. It should be remarked that among the convict there are 4200 persons sick with TB, who acutely need treatment.

I. Zhilka, a representative of a prosecutor’s office, told that during 10 months of the current year the prosecutor’s office released 137 persons, which were detained illegally, 3300 orders were issued about violations of laws and 4461 persons were brought to disciplinary responsibility for these violations.

V. Zubchuk, the first deputy of the State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, complained that financing militia in the budget draft is only 26.3% of the needed sum, in spite of the fact that 122 thousand of crimes and felonies are registered annually.

V. Khristich, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that it becomes more and more difficult to endorse the positive image of Ukraine abroad.

There were many speeches, in which MPs and representatives of NGOs, mass media gave examples of torture and cruel treatment. They remarked that, in spite of under-financing, militia does not need money to stop beating the detained. It was also said much about the ignorance of the public, concealment of the facts of torture and the reaction of state structures to these facts. The openness in these questions will not bring shame on Ukraine in the world public opinion, but, on the contrary, will add to her authority.

The Kharkov Group for human rights protection prepared a package of documents for all participants of the hearings. The package contained the books ’Against torture. Survey of complaints…’ and ’Observance of human rights in Ukraine in 2000’ (the report of the Bureau of democracy, human rights and labor of the USA State Department concerning the practices in the sphere of human rights in the country with the comments by the Kharkov Group), as well as the text of the fourth periodical report of Ukraine about the fulfillment of the UNO Covenant against torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and punishment, the comments by the Kharkov Group for human rights protection to this report, conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against torture concerning the 3rd and 4th reports of Ukraine. It appeared that MPs have not known the contents of the fourth report and the conclusions concerning it. The MPs were indignant that they got these documents from an NGO and not from the Ministry of Justice. An official from the Ministry of Justice told in his emotional speech that the report was published on the UNO site, besides everybody willing could familiarize with it by addressing the Ministry.

As to the hearings as such, we want to understand what it really was: pre-election activities of MPs, as state officers suspect, a consecutive reaction of power structures to the UNO Committee conclusions, as MPs suspect, or the actual start of fighting for the European face of Ukraine.

It is worth adding that after the parliamentary hearings representatives of the Kharkiv USS directorate appeared in the Kharkov Group and asked to be given 30 copies of the book ’Against torture. Survey of complaints…’ They explained that they needed these books for oblast directorates, which must, according to the order from Kyiv, check the facts described in the book. We shall hope that it will be done not for refuting ’the slander’, but for starting the real fight.

Freedom of expression

A journalist was driven out of a conference.

For the umpteenth time the Poltava authorities showed their real face. They incessantly pay lip service to the basic democratic values, including the freedom of speech, but in fact they suffocate this freedom.

On 28 November the conference of heads of village councils and agricultural enterprises was held. Pavel Kandyba, the head of the Mirgorod district administration, disliked the presence of Viktor Kozoriz, the editor of the opposition newspaper ’Mirgorodska Pravda’, who is also an assistant-consultant of MP Oleksandr Kulik. Actually it was a meeting with a potential MP – M. Kilipok, the head of a Poltava enterprise connected with natural gas production. He, by the way, began his election campaign of 1998 with a scandal connected with the violation of election laws: he distributed with a discount sugar among the pensioners of the Kyivskiy district of Poltava. Mr. Kandyba, ordered to drive the journalist from the hall. This was done bodily by A. Trinko, the secretary of the Mirgorod district council, and M. Levchenko, the head of the directorate of land resources, and one head of an agricultural enterprise. Eyeglasses of Viktor Kozoriz were thrown down, his jacket was torn, so the journalist suffered not only morally, but materially.

I phoned to P. Kandyba and demanded explanations, since it was he, who gave the order. Yet, he retorted that he has the right to dive out a journalist from the conference, to which this journalist was not invited, since the firm may have some secrets concerning forming prices, putting out candidates, etc.

I think that it was not a slip of the tongue of the head of the Mirgorod district administration, when he called the organ of the executive power a ’firm’. This is the way, in which he considers the organ when committing arbitrary actions, although, according to his status, he must be a guarantor of constitutional rights in the region, and not an abuser of laws and ethics of a state official.

The Poltava media-club compiled the appeal about the brutal fact of harsh treatment of our colleague and sent it to the President, head of the Supreme Rada, General Prosecutor of Ukraine, head of the National Union of journalists and head of the Main State service. Here not only citizen’s right to get the publicly important information was abused, but also the right of journalists for access to information sources and the right to attend the organs of state power and of local self-rule. According to the new Criminal Code, impeding journalist professional activities implies criminal responsibility.

Thus, we must state that the freedom of speech is threatened in the Poltava oblast. The distribution of the printed mass media, whose point of view differs from that of the administration, is harassed, using different pretexts such newspapers are ousted from printing shops, disagreeable TV companies are switched out from cable networks, businessmen are ’recommended’ to give their advertisements only to appointed editions, journalists are not permitted to be present at the sessions of various councils, and now they added the application of brutal force. Shall a journalist, going to a conference to state organs, take with his a militia patrol or private guards?

An Internet newspaper is pressed in Odessa.

It is not a secret that in Odessa there remained no real independent newspapers. Their absence is felt especially acutely now, before the election to radas of all levels. It seems that today some people in Odessa dislike free thought, even in the virtual space. I am speaking about the pressure upon the Internet newspaper ’Odesskaya obshchaya gazeta’ (’Odessa general-purpose newspaper’).

Now the Russian-language newspaper ’Odesskaya obshchaya gazeta’ is blocked by one of the Odessa Internet providers. The publisher of the newspaper was informed that the provider received the letter from a physical person, who intends to complain to courts against the materials distributed in the Internet. Who was the author of the letter and which materials caused such indignation is unknown. Yet, the independent newspaper ’Yug’ drew the conclusion that this is the first testimony that the local power wants ’to establish order’ in the virtual space. This conclusion is not ungrounded.

’Odesskaya obshchaya gazeta’ rather critically characterizes the activities of some regional top authorities, including the city mayor. Besides, opposition journalists more then once published their materials on the site of the newspaper. In particular, they criticized and analyzed the events of 1997-98 in Odessa, loud crimes and kidnappings. Maybe, in a week or so it will become known who namely ’ordered’ to block the newspaper. If it happens, the founder of the newspaper intends to hold the press conference. That will be especially interesting at the eve of the visit to the city of the group of well-known Ukrainian journalists for holding the conference on the observance of the freedom of speech in Ukraine and, in particular, in Odessa.

For the time being, until the problems are solved, ’Odesskaya obshchaya gazeta’ moved to Russian virtual space.

It may found by the address  

Press release of the Sevastopol Media Center

On 7 December the Sevastopol Media Center, created by the Sevastopol human rights protection group, held the round table ’The role of journalists in a democratic society’.

More than 20 representatives of printed and electronic mass media of Sevastopol took part in the round table, among them editors, journalists, founders of mass media and the head of the Information directorate of the Sevastopol city state administration.

Some participants expressed the opinion that the current state of mass media in the region objectively reflects the level of the society development. Mass media are not prepared to be better than the society as a whole, but the improvement of mass media will bring about the improvement of the society.

Other participants told that the role of mass media must change in the conditions of the society transformation: to change the role of a collective agitator and propagandist, which they played under socialism, for the role of ’Cerberus of democracy’, providing citizens with the information that arises public interest.

During the round table the most acute professional problems, which the city journalists encounter, were debated: the access to information, journalist ethics, absence of technical facilities for operative presentation of materials, low salaries and low level of professional preparation of journalists. Many participants were interested in the problem of the selective approach by state organs to the accreditation of journalists. Owners of printed mass media were worried by the fact that the newspapers distributed gratis oust better quality printed informational editions from the market. Some other participants believe that such situation is normal for any competitive environment, and the local mass media have not learned yet to exist in the conditions of free market.

Many participants expressed their common wish to organize the educational program of mass media management in the Media Center.

Roman Romanov, the executive manager of the Sevastopol human rights protection group, and Svetlana Rantsants, the head of the Sevastopol Media Center, presented the program of actions for journalist, which would be organized and held by the Media Center in the nearest two months. Such actions as training in journalist ethics, conducting journalist investigations, elucidating questions connected with human rights, protection of personal data, providing access to information, educational seminar on the legal basics of journalist activities in Ukraine and others are planned within this program.

Because of the coming election it is planned to hold the special meeting devoted to the rules and ways of elucidating election campaigns in mass media. It was decided that the discussion of this topic and the educational seminar would be organized in the second half of December.

All national TV channels refused to cooperate with Timoshenko’s block

State-owned enterprise ’Press’ refused to distribute the newspaper of the party ’Batkivshchina’

The state-owned enterprise ’Press’ sabotaged the subscription to the newspaper of the party ’Batkivshchina’. According to Yu. Timoshenko, since 1 January of the current year 1 million 300 thousand citizens had to obtain the newspaper ’Slovo Batkivshchiny’, since the subscription was paid by the party through the enterprise ’Press’. She told that last week ’Press’, without any reasons, dissolve the agreement about distributing the newspaper. Yu. Timoshenko does not exclude that soon the enterprise ’Press’ will refuse to print the newspaper. She believes, that all this is done ’by the order of the authorities to deprive the party and the block headed by her of all opportunities to communicate with future voters’.

The newspaper ’Ridne Pribuzhzhia’ prohibited in Nikolayev

The sooner the election, the bloodier is the fight of power against mass media. Today the Ukrainian-language Nikolayev newspaper ’Ridne Pribuzhzhia’ was not issued. The reason is the publication in the newspaper of the open letter of the labor collective of the scientific and productive enterprise ’Mashproekt’.

The conflict between the authorities and the collective of ’Mashproekt’ is well known in the town and nothing can influence the situation. The oblast administration systematically tries to blend ’Mashproekt’ with another productive enterprise ’Zoria’. This can become a mortal blow for ’Mashproekt’, which has a good reputation as a producer of gas turbines.

In order to elucidate the situation and to familiarize the population with the opinion of the labor collective of ’Mashproekt’ about the conflict, the collective sent the open letter to ’Ridne Pribuzhzhia’ and paid for its publication. Yet, the newspaper was not issued. Several days before the prohibition representatives of the oblast administration turned to Galina Parfiryeva, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper. They demanded not to publish the open letter. The editor did not obey. And here is the result…

The recent events were commented in the election headquarters of Viktor Yushchenko’s block ’Nasha Ukraina’ (’Our Ukraine’). According to Yuri Didenko, the head of the regional organization of the People’s Rukh of Ukraine, ’the power prohibited publishing the newspaper because they are afraid of alternative points of view. Something like that is occurring around the discussion of broadening Tashlitskaya GAES.

As it is known, the labor collective of the enterprise ’Mashproekt’ rejects pointblank the proposition of privatization and selling it for a song’.

As we learned, the head of the Nikolayev oblast administration visited today ’Mashproekt’ with the purpose of putting press on the collective and realizing to 15 December the plans connected with the privatization of the enterprise.

Journalists are beaten again

Yuri Mativos, a correspondent of the well-known Kirovograd newspaper ’Vecherniaya Gazeta’, a member of the headquarters of Yulia Timoshenko’s block, was attacked in Kirovograd.

Strangers attacked the journalist in several meters from his house and hit him on the head with a heavy object. Then they continued to kick him, although he was unconsciousness. Fortunately, a car drew in to the yard, where the journalist was beaten.

Now the journalist is staying in a hospital. Militia fidgets in order to represent the case as a hooligan attack with the aim of robbery. An acquaintance of the victim was interrogated and asked whether he drank vodka with the journalist during their last meeting in the day of the crime. The oblast organization of the party ’Batkivshchina’ distributed its statement, where the beating of the well-known opposition journalist with his political and professional activities. The party organization demanded from militia to investigate objectively the circumstances of this crime.

No free press in Bukovina

Four leading newspapers of Bukovina, namely ’Molody Bukovinets’, ’Chas’, ’Doba’ and ’Chernivtsi’, whose total run is almost 100 thousand copies, published the documents, which testify that the Chernivtsi oblast state administration carry out coercive actions to force people to subscribe to the newspapers controlled by the power. They are the newspapers ’Bukovina’ and ’Chas-2000’. This was confirmed with a xerocopy of the official appeal of Mykhaylo Voznoy, the head of the communal directorate of the oblast administration, t6o the director of the communal department of the Chernivtsi town executive committee. In particular, the document proposes to organize at the state-owned enterprises of Chernivtsi the subscription to the newspaper ’Bukovina’ in 640 copies and to the newspaper ’Chas-2000’ in 511 copies ’in the framework of the fulfillment of the order of Frans Fedorovich, the deputy head of the oblast state administration, concerning the subscription to local printed mass media’.

Ukrainian Internet providers must prepare to license their activities

This follows from the President’s decree of 6 December 2001, which brings into effect the decision of the Council of national security and defense of 31 October 2001 ’On measures of perfecting the state informational policy and providing the informational security of Ukraine’.

As the official President’s web-site informs, the Cabinet of Ministers must prepare within two months the law draft on making the necessary changes in the existing laws, which draft should envisage the licensing. Besides the Internet providers must obligatorily store the information about the Internet traffic during half a year. This is mentioned in the President’s order to the government. The order makes it obligatory for the government to hand, within six months, to the Supreme Rada the law draft ’On the protection of information in informational computer systems’. As the newspaper ’Day’, close to Marchuk, wrote, at the last two sittings of the Council of national security the participants drew the conclusion that telecommunication sphere in Ukraine is connected with crime, and ’in the informative sphere one can observe negative tendencies, which endanger national interests and harm its international image’. The dreams of the President about suffocating the Ukrainian Internet are embodied in the Decree of 6 December. So, handing of licenses for rendering services concerning inter-town and international communications is suspended until the law ’On telecommunication’ is adopted and until the package of shares of the national operator of communications ’Ukrtelecom’ is sold to an industrial investor. The Cabinet of Ministers must develop the corresponding propositions during one month. Nowadays nine companies have the licenses for rendering the services concerning inter-town and international communications. Six more companies want to get such licenses. The tendencies singled out by the Council of national security and pointed out in the President’s Edict of 6 December will be also considered by the anti-monopoly committee that will check if regional companies observe the anti-monopoly laws. Evhen Marchuk, the head of the Council of national security, will control the execution of the Decree, the agency ’Interfax-Ukraine’ informs.

The material sent by Roman Romanov

Kharkov authorities cannot master article 39 of the Constitution.

On 14 December 2001 the Kharkov youth headquarters of the party ’Batkivshchina’ (’Fatherland’) headed by Yulia Timoshenko and the Kharkov region organization of the committee ’Za pravdu’ (’For truth’) planned to hold an action against President Kuchma. The main motto of the action was the appeal to Russian President Putin (who had a meeting with Kuchma in Kharkov): ’Vladimir! Take him with you!’. About two dozens persons distributed leaflets with this appeal and intended to meet the motorcades of the two Presidents holding these and similar mottoes. Alas, the Presidents had no opportunity to see either the placards or the picketers.

Plain-clothed law-enforcers detained the young activists from Timoshenko’s block, took them to the city park, which is situated not far away, and advised to express their protests on the park alleys.

At the same time the motorcade of the Presidents, like in the good old times, was met by flag-waving schoolchildren and students, which were lined up along the route. The meeting crowd was handpicked by the administration, taken into the streets and forced to stand in the frost for about an hour.

As to the members of the organization ’For truth’, they decided to protest against the illegal actions of law-enforcing organs, which impeded them to greet the Russian President. They decided to picket the Kharkov oblast militia directorate. To this end, they handed an application to the executive committee of the Kharkov city council. The picket had to be conducted on 20 December from 14:00 to 16:00. Yet, the Kharkov city executive committee handed the claim to the Dzerzinski district court with the demand to prohibit the picket. Their motivation was that the organization ’For truth’ was not registered in the proper way, that holding the picket on the Day of militia may provoke the clashes with supporters of militia and that the territory chosen by picketers is not large enough.

On 19 December D. Loseva, a judge of the district court, considered the claim of the executive committee and issued the resolution: ’Taking into account that the mentioned organization plan to hold the action… on 20 December 2001, whereas the court prepare to the consideration the case somewhat later, …it is necessary to prohibit the picketing of the building of the oblast militia directorate… until the case were considered in essence’.

Representatives of the Kharkov committee of the movement ’For truth’ and representatives of the youth headquarters of Yu. Timoshenko’s block reckon that the authorities brutally violated Article 39 of the Ukrainian Constitution, since the first picket did not require any permission at all, and the second picket had to be permitted by the court, if it appeared impossible to consider the case in time.

And certainly, there are no legal reasons according to which leaflets and slogans were confiscated from the picketers.

Kharkov authorities, in spite of the scandal connected with ruining the tent camp on the Svoboda Square in January 2001, cannot master the Basic Law of Ukraine.

Prohibition of discrimination

TB is advancing in Ukraine

The news is discouraging. Two years ago 700,000 TB cases were registered in Ukraine. Several months ago some mass media published the data that every 25 minutes one person dies of TB in Ukraine. Investigations at schools showed that the majority of Ukrainian children carry TB germs.

The Ministry of Health has recently informed that the rate of acquiring TB has grown by about 10% during the last year. Olga Bobyliova, the head of the Main sanitary inspection of Ukraine, said that it is twice more than in 1995. Ms Bobyliova regards low living standard of the population as one of the main factors. Pensioners and jobless are the most vulnerable layers. At the same time Ms Bobyliova criticized the closure of TB sanitariums and the slow implementation of modern methods of diagnostics and treatment. The needed medical equipment is in the great shortage. Several months ago Nikolay Zhulinskiy, the former deputy Prime-Minister, also pointed out that the medical infrastructure intended to fight TB has substantially diminished since the late 80s. According to him 11% of TB clinics and 44% of TB departments in general-purpose hospitals were closed. The number of TB sanitariums has diminished by 28%. If to do nothing, Ukraine may turn into a big TB barrack in several years.

It should be added that in recent years the number of AIDS-infected has grown dramatically and that the infected (and especially already ill) are most vulnerable with respect to catching TB. In some TB hospitals every third patient is simultaneously AIDS-infected.

The state in prisons, where it is very easy to catch the infection, is especially grave. That is why there are plans to release convicts ill with TB.

It seems quite plausible that the Ukrainian system of health protection is incapable to master the situation.

There was such a case: a young man from Kyiv caught TB and AIDS. He wanted to be treated, but the hospital, where he was directed, refused to treat him. If does not want to starve, he must work as long as he can, that is every day to use the public transport… Meanwhile, the number of TB carriers is unknown, since the corresponding medical examination stopped to be obligatory.

Provincial hospitals lack the most needed equipment.

Several months ago the Ukrainian Parliament adopted in the first reading the law on the fight with TB as a contribution to the strategy of fighting this disease worked out by the World Organization of Health (WOH). However, it is obvious even now that the financing for the needed medical drugs, equipment and for the diet nourishment for patients is unsatisfactory. Medical specialists in this disease, who run the risk to catch the disease from their patients with the open form of TB, cannot hope to earn any benefits.

On paper the treatment of the patients looks gratis, in the actual fact the situation looks quite contrary. Those, who want to be treated well, must pay, and the pay is higher that they can afford. On the other hand, parents take away their children from the TB sanitariums to save them from starvation.

Meanwhile the World Bank developed the program of crediting equal to 30 millions USD for fighting TB. Yet, the main financial burden must be taken by Ukraine. And this is becoming more and more difficult, since now the patient must be given not a single drug, as before, but the combination of drugs efficient even if the patient developed resistance to some of them.

There is one positive feature: the problem of the TB epidemics in Ukraine is not hush-hushed any more. Some communities, for example, Bavaria, which is connected with our country by the treaty on friendship, takes part in fighting TB in Ukraine in accordance with the WOH and the World Bank. Bavaria donated 300,000 DM from her budget for building the diagnostic laboratory in Ukraine. It is situated in Kyiv in a specialized TB hospital. It is a consulting center, being a part of the international network of similar laboratories. The aim of such laboratories is both the diagnostics and the investigation of the resistance to the disease, rendering aid in training specialists and the development of new methods of treatment. Technical and medical consultants came to Kyiv from Bavaria and delivered some lectures on new methods of examination for the personnel of the laboratory.

Now the laboratory has but a local importance, but soon TB patients from the provinces will also come there. Mr. Feldman, the head of the laboratory, clearly understands that the struggle for daily bread for many Ukrainians is more important than prophylaxis of the disease. This means that the Ukrainian government will have to give more money for struggling TB. As to the countries abroad, they must be prepared to spreading of the TB infection, since workers and tourists from Ukraine go abroad.

Children’s rights

Russification or idiocy?

In the beginning of December I and several acquaintances of mine came across with some facts of the pressure on the side of tellers (during the national census) concerning language. Before the census started officially (on 5 December) the tellers conducted the so-called ’instructing’ census, during which they also visited me. On Saturday, 1 December a teller wrote down some data about me in a notebook and only after my insistent remind she agreed to come to me during the official census with the official questionnaire and to feel it in my presence. Most of my answers were accepted calmly, but when it came to the question ’Your native language?’ and the girl heard the answer ’Ukrainian’, she asked me several times why I speak Russian with her, whether I actually know Ukrainian and if I insist on my answer. She wrote down ’Ukrainian’ about my native language in the notebook and I hope that it the same answer will be written in the questionnaire. I heard similar stories from some other people, so I believe that it is a result of some instruction. The local organizers of the census negate all accusations concerning the attempts of russification, but it would be naive to expect them to confess. Along with the doubts as to the ’language’ peculiarities of this census, the are some questions about the procedure itself. The cases, when, even after 5 December, the data were filed not in the questionnaires, but in some notebooks were rather frequent. So, it is not clear whether the information will be reflected truthfully in the results of the census.

Women’s rights

A citizen and the prosecutor’s office .

This December is the workers of prosecutor’s offices celebrate their jubilee: ten years have passed since the independent Ukraine adopted the Law ’On prosecutor’s office’. In the combination with the Day of human rights, celebrated annually in December, this jubilee makes one meditate about the place of prosecutor’s office in the structure of law-enforcing organs and its opportunities in the protection of human rights in Ukraine.

My personal experience of turning to prosecutor’s offices for protecting legal rights of citizens testifies that, before the new Constitution that defined courts as the main organ of citizens’ rights protection was adopted, the mechanism of general surveillance over the execution of laws by prosecutor’s office was acting parallelly and rather successful. prosecutor’s reaction by the way of protesting in the framework of the surveillance against illegal acts has an advantage over the court consideration by the time needed for restoring the violated citizens’ rights.

Yet, if a prosecutor did not find the grounds for protest, then this decision could be appealed in a court, but very infrequently, in separate cases established by law. Maybe, it was right, since nobody wanted to conflict with prosecutor’s office, taking into account its power.

In the new Constitution the status of prosecutor’s office was defined in Part 7, between the parts about the executive power and the judicial power. Thus, prosecutor’s office was treated as a state organ belonging neither to legislative, nor to executive, nor to judicial power. The activities of prosecutor’s office were oriented to court process: supporting of state accusation and representation of state interests, as well as the surveillance over preliminary investigation and the legality of the coercive measures. Such a cardinal narrowing the functions of prosecutor’s office by the Constitution, in spite of the five-year period of the application of the transitive norms that retained some former functions of prosecutor’s office, had to be reflected in the new version of the Law ’On prosecutor’s office’.

Let us consider the changes introduced in the Law ’On prosecutor’s office’ acting since 26 July 2001.

It is seen at the first glance that about the half of the text of the changes is devoted to the new version of Article 501 that is titled ’On pensions of prosecutors and investigating officers’. It is clear from the text that a prosecutor, who protects in court interests of common citizens, is an especial kind of a citizen, who obeys the Ukrainian Law ’On pensions’ in a limited degree.

The question is: why prosecutors are worse than MPs, judges and some other categories of statesmen, whose pension is much bigger?

Article 24 of the Constitution reads: ’Ukrainian citizens are equal before the law’, but some citizens are more equal, because there are different laws for different citizens.

I agree that the state officials, who realize ’irreversible processes of reforms in Ukraine’, are the best citizens. Even Demokretes told in IV century B. C.: ’the nature dictates that the best must rule, the common sense demands to obey laws, power and intellectual superiority’.

Let us note that such the philosopher did not mentioned qualities of rulers as honesty and modesty.

It is interesting to see how the new version of the Law ’On prosecutor’s office’ reflects Article 3 of the Constitution that reads: ’Rights and freedoms of man and their guarantees determine the content and direction of state activities’, whence it follows that what protects the legal interests of a individual also protects the interests of a state.

Article 361 of the Law ’On prosecutor’s office’ divides the interests of an individual and the state in court. While the reason for representing state interests by a prosecutor in court is the presence of damaging state interests or the threat of it, the reason for representing interests of an individual is his inability to protect his rights in court because of his physical of material status. So it means that representing private interests, as opposed to state interests, is done by a prosecutor as rendering social aid.

Yet, if to bear in mind the material status while paying court expenses (prosecutors in such cases must not pay the expenses), then such legal norm is rather progressive for court protection of citizens.

In spite of different interpretations of the mentioned article of the Law ’On prosecutor’s office’, this article stipulates the functions of prosecutor’s office to defend interests both the state and of an individual.

Does the information distributed by mass media about state officials, who are blamed for violating the Criminal Code, serve the state interests? Certainly no, it undermines the state prestige. So, Article 94 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine states that a piece of information published in the press can be a pretext for starting a criminal case.

According to Article 4 of the same Code a prosecutor is obliges to start a criminal case after the publication in mass media, which contained the information about illegal actions of a state official and to answer the question: are their thieves and swindlers among the authorities or newsmen acted as slanderers.

Alas, I have never heard that prosecutors started criminal cases after some publications and finished these cases with court verdicts. That is why readers have to believe that there are both honest people and swindlers among administrators.

There are such problems in Ukraine, which concern the rights of the majority or at least of a great proportion of the population. For example, the activities of the monopolist in selling natural gas for population ’Neftegaz Ukrainy’ it is incomprehensible how the prices of the gas may be different for different groups of citizens.

The existing policy contradicts Article 24 of the Constitution about the equality of citizens independently of their income. So, the price of one cubic meter of gas is 17.5 kopecks, when the consumer has a gas counter, and 19 kopecks otherwise. Since 1 September 1995 the price of gas grew. The increment of the price had to be directed for purchasing and free installation of the counters for citizens. It was done according to resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 422 of 14 June 1995 ’On the production and implementation of the equipment of gas consuming’, Order of the Ministry of Economics of Ukraine No. 103 of 4 July 1995 and the Regulations of the off-budget fund for assistance to the production and implementation of the gas counting equipment approved by orders of the Ministry of Economics, Ministry of Finances and the State Committee of gas industry of 19 July 1995 No. 115/127/1469.

The question of consumers ’Where are our money?’ can be answered only by a prosecutor’s investigation.

Let us consider another example of arbitrary actions of ’Neftegaz Ukrainy’. The court decision confirmed that demanding the additional sums for gas from citizens in the period from 9 June 1999 to 10 February 2000 was illegal.

Another monopolist – electric energy supplying service – demands from consumers beside the established price of 13 kopecks an extra pay of the VAT -- 2.6 kopecks. Yet, according to the norms of corresponding laws, the payment for communal services is done after the approved costs, and, according to item 1.2 Article 1 of the Law ’On the VAT’, the payers of this tax are physical persons: legally registered businessmen.

Certainly, the prosecutor has to right to send such cases to court or to express grievance about the passivity of the ombudsperson or anti-monopoly committee, but I believe that there exist prosecutors, who take such violations to heart. And congratulating personnel of prosecutor’s offices with their jubilee, I appeal them to emulate their colleagues, for whom the protection of citizens’ interests is the protection of state interests.

Right of cassation in the Supreme Court: myth or reality?

The Ukrainian Constitution envisages that a court decision may be appealed, and the new version of the Civil-Procedural Code (CPC) of Ukraine stipulates, since July 2001, that the cassation instance is the Supreme Court of Ukraine.

According to Article 320 of the CPC, the right to appeal is limited with one condition: a court decision may appealed only because of the violation by the court of norms of the material or procedural right, which led to the incorrect decision. Here a question arises: who determined whether this condition is violated – a citizen, who has the right to appeal, or judges representing the Supreme Court?

The new version of the CPC implies that the condition, under which a citizen may realize the right to appeal, is determined by the Supreme Court. This condition is determined by different organs of the cassation instance after different criteria, procedures and with different rights.

The consideration of a cassation by the Chamber in charge of civil cases of the Supreme Court envisages the participation of the citizen in the trial, and, hence, taking account of his arguments on violating legal norms in the court decision.

The new version of the CPC is paradoxical, since, before the cassation is passed to the Chamber, it is obligatorily considered by another organ of the cassation instance – a collegium of three judges. The collegium has the right, according to Article 329 of the CPC, to take a decision either to pass the case to the Chamber, or to reject the cassation.

The both decisions are taken without the presence of the person, who handed the cassation, and the decision of the Supreme Court collegium may not be appealed. Thus, the law stipulates the opportunity of consideration in absentia and the refusal to satisfy the cassation.

May one speak in such a situation about the right for cassation? It is impossible to realize this right in absentia, without competition and proving the violations of legal norms in the appealed court decision!

The Chamber of the Supreme Court, having agreed with the arguments of the cassator and having being convinced in the violation of the norms of the material or procedural right, is obliged to cancel the court decision being appealed.

At the same time, the collegium of the Supreme Court, even having found in absentia some violation of the norms of the material or procedural right, is not obliged to pas the case for the consideration by the Chamber. The case must be passed by all means to the Chamber only if the cassation contains proofs of incorrect application of the norms of the procedural right (part 3 Article 328 of the CPC). If the appeal contains arguments on violating the norms of the material right, then the collegium may or may not pass the case to the Chamber (part 4 Article 328 of the CPC).

One may be sure about how the collegium, as always overloaded with work, will act. Below we shall give an example of the choice.

Article 342 of the CPC reads: ’according to the results of the consideration of the case the court of the cassation instance issues the decision ’on rejecting the cassation’…’. Article 343 of the CPC defines such a decision, but these legal norms do not concern the decisions about the rejection of the cassation, issued by the judge collegium according to part 4 Article 329 of the CPC.

This ambiguity of law presents vast opportunities for court arbitrariness. For example, let us consider the decision of the judge collegium of the court Chamber in charge of civil cases of the Supreme Court of Ukraine of 8 October 2001. According to this decision, the cassation by K. Ustimenko was not satisfied.

The beginning of the decision: ’having considered the cassation of K. Ustimenko about the decision of the district court of 9 August 2000 and the decision of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast court of 23 October 2000’ -- is already false, since the cassation also contained the protest the decision of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast court of 12 March 2000, which cancelled the decision of the district court of 10 December 1999 about satisfying Ustimenko’s claim to pay him the wages.

This mistake enabled the judges to circumvent the concept ’guaranteeing unambiguous application of law by Ukrainian courts’) Article 328 of the CPC) and not to notice the request presented in the cassation complaint: to leave valid the court decision of 10 December 1999.

The cassation complaint contains references to the proofs in the case documents, which demonstrate the violations by the court of the norms of the material right (Articles 97, 103 of the Labor Code and Article 22 of the Law ’On payment for the labor’) and the norms of the procedural right (Articles 30, 62, 202 and 203 of the CPC), which led to the incorrect decision.

Leaving the cassation without satisfaction, ’since the arguments presented in the appeal do not indicate at any incorrect application of the norms of the material and procedural rights by the court’, the collegium judges do not mention not a single argument out of the six presented in the cassation, which, according to Article 343 of the CPC, is necessary for taking a decision by a cassation instance.

The existing situation concerning the right of cassation is convenient for judges: they get an opportunity to violate the judge’s oath without any control and punishment. The situation is convenient for advocates: they will take their fee for compiling the cassation in any case. The situation is convenient for the Supreme Court: it will take the taxes for all appeals considered in absentia and left without satisfaction. The only loosing side is a citizen, who, for the umpteenth time, is fooled with the reference to the constitutional basis of justice.

In my opinion, some state figures are quite right, when they demand to control the independent activities of judges.

’PL’ commentary:
As is known, the European court on human rights, having acknowledged the complaint Kucherenko vs. Ukraineas invalid because of the expiration of the term of handing complaint (6 months), concluded that that appeal to the Supreme Court in the surveillance order is not an efficient instrument of legal protection. Thus, the cassation instance is the last efficient instrument of legal protection.

Is the Supreme Court an efficient instrument of legal protection as a cassation instance after the recent changes in the CPC and the Criminal-Procedural Code? The majority of professional regard that it is, so appeals to the cassation instance are necessary for exhausting all possible means of legal protection.

In our opinion, the circumstance presented by K. Ustimenko (preliminary consideration of the cassation complaint by the collegium of three judges in the absence of the complainer and his advocate, a similar norm is also contained in the Criminal-Procedural Code) may be a ground to acknowledge the cassation instance as an inefficient instrument of legal protection. So, it is reasonable to turn to the European court after the decision of the appellation instance, which does not exclude handing a cassation complaint.


More than 300 complaints about violating human rights were received by the profile parliamentary committee in 2001.

In 2001 the Parliamentary Committee for fighting with organized crime received more than 300 complaints and appeals about violation of human rights and freedoms by law-enforcing organs, among them 50 complaints and appeals about the application of psychical and physical violence. This information was presented by Gennadiy Udovenko, the head of the Supreme Rada Committee in charge of human rights, during the Parliamentary hearings on how Ukraine observes the UNO Covenant and the Council of Europe demands about torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and punishment.

G. Udovenko also told that the pretext for holding the Parliamentary hearings was the appeal of ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva to the Supreme Rada chairman concerning violations of constitutional rights during the detention and investigation. In particular, the ombudsperson described some cases, where testimonies were ’beaten out’ during the investigation.

According to Mr. Udovenko, such cases, unfortunately, are not infrequent in Ukraine. Nonetheless, it is rather difficult to get any information about applying torture.

G. Udovenko informed that his Committee has no information on measures used by law-enforcing organs to stop the application of violence in penitentiaries.

Besides, G. Udovenko considers unacceptable to leave such cases without punishment. He reminded that the UNO committee appealed to Ukraine to observe strictly the norms of the new Criminal Code of Ukraine that regards torture as a grave crime.

According to the information provided by the Secretariat of the Committee in charge of human rights, during several recent years the tendency is formed in Ukraine of worsening the health of people, who stay in preliminary prisons. 3251 convicts with the active form of TB and 3332 with venereal diseases were registered in 1999. The number of prisoners, who died in penitentiaries, increased by 2.3 times from 1995 to 1999.

Along with diseases the cause of the high mortality rate in penitentiaries are undernourishment and insufficient medical aid. If the finances given for nourishment in 1996 equaled 57.8% of the needed sum, then in 1999 this number was 18.9%. The financing for medicinal drugs and anti-epidemic measures in 1996 equaled 68% of the needed sum, in 1999 this proportion diminished to 6.6%, or almost by 10 times.

Guaranteeing constitutional rights and freedoms by perfecting regulation norms.

The realization of the project ’Guaranteeing constitutional rights and freedoms by perfecting regulation norms’ has begun in Ternopil. The project is realized by the public union ’Association of consumers’ with the support of the international fund ’Vidrodjennia’. The goal of the project is to increase the knowledge by Ukrainian citizens of the operating legal norms and acts in those spheres of the public life, which they encounter daily. This will increase, in its turn, the level of their legal enlightenment and thus increase their role and participation in the local self-rule and in taking the decisions that directly influence the life of the local community. The project envisages compiling the database of legal norms and acts, both local and state level, which regulate relations in spheres as health protection, education, living accommodation, etc. The collected documents will be analyzed as to their compliance with the law, economic and social concordance with the programs of development of the town, agreement with the interests of the town community. After the analysis the experts of the project will develop the propositions concerning the removal of existing violations or ambiguities, new regulating norms and rules, which will reflect the interests of the town community.

Радіо Тернопіль — 106.1 FM

On addressing law-enforcing organs in concrete criminal cases.

The Kharkov Group for human rights protection (KhG) repeatedly obtained from their colleagues the information that law-enforcing organs refuse to consider the complaints from human rights protection organizations on behalf of persons, who turned to these organizations for help. We decided to comment one of the latest complaints of this kind (from the Donetsk ’Memorial’) with the purpose of elucidating the situation.

Mr. V. Kiselev turned to the Donetsk ’Memorial’ and asked to direct to the court and prosecutor’s office the requests to elucidate a number of facts concerning the criminal case, in which Mr. Kiselev took part as an accused. In Kiselev’s opinion, the affair was investigated with a number of obvious violations of procedural laws, and the conclusions of the court did not comply with the actual facts, found during the trial. ’Memorial’ sent the requests to the Supreme Court of Ukraine and to the General Prosecutor’s office asking to carry out an unbiased check of the case. The both organs refused to consider the request referring to the fact that ’Memorial’ has no documents stipulated by law, which would confirm its right to act on behalf of V. Kiselev.

In our opinion, there are certain shortcomings both in the request of ’Memorial’ and in the responses of the General Prosecutor’s office and the Supreme Court. In its request ’Memorial’ asked the mentioned agencies ’to conduct the unbiased check of the facts presented by Mr. Kiselev’. Such a check may be conducted by the Supreme Court only in the framework of a supervisory before, and now as a check of a cassation. As a result the Supreme Court regarded the request as a petition concerning the criminal case or a cassation of some kind. The procedure of handing such documents is governed by the Criminal-Procedural Code (CPC); the list of persons, who have the right to hand in such documents, is given in Articles 384 and 348 of the Code. ’Memorial’ was regarded as a defender, while only a person defined by Article 44 of the CPC may be a defender. The rights of such person must be confirmed by special documents: an order of advocate union, the agreement or commission of the defended. Thus, the actions of ’Memorial’ related to the Supreme Court had to be based on the corresponding documents. The situation is somewhat different when dealing with the prosecutor’s office. Changes of the criminal-procedural laws in the framework of ’small court-legal reform’ weakened substantially the rights of prosecutor’s offices concerning the obtestation of court decisions: according to Article 384 the rights of prosecutor’s offices, including the General Prosecutor, are equalized with the rights of the condemned and his advocate. Besides, the General Prosecutor’s office had the opportunity to satisfy the request of ’Memorial’ in two ways: to hand the cassation in the framework of criminal trial or to conduct the service check of the activities of the prosecutor’s office, which investigated Kiselev’s case. The first way is also connected with the status of the advocate in the criminal trial and with corresponding documents confirming this status. The second variant is connected with administrative procedures, and the appeal of ’Memorial’ must be regulated by the Law ’On appeals of citizens’. Actually, Article 5 of this law stipulates that an appeal on behalf of other citizens may be handed only by the person, who has this right according to the law. However, Article 16 of the law directly envisages as subjects of handing such appeals ’organizations, which carry out human rights protection activities’. This list also contains labor collectives. It is obvious that neither human rights protection organizations nor labor collectives can act as defenders in criminal cases or representatives in civil or economic conflicts. The norm on handing complaints is special related to the norm on handing appeals in general and has a greater juridical weight compared to complaints. Therefore, it may not be said that the representation of citizens by human rights protecting organizations, i.e. such organizations, whose statutes include human rights protection, must be restricted by rigid frames of corresponding codices. I believe that in the given case a copy of the letter from Kiselev to ’Memorial’ with the request to help him would be a sufficient proof for the General Prosecutor’s office. However, it would be legal if ’Memorial’ compiled the appeal as a ’complaint’ sensu Article 16 of the law.

It should be noted that the presented position is nothing but an interpretation of the legal norms by the author. This interpretation requires a correspondent substantiation, being not an obvious consequence from these or those legal norms. Undoubtedly, for any state organ a proxy compiled according to Article 65 of the Civil Code (i.e. attested by a notary) would be more convincing. In the given situation ’Memorial’ should direct the appeal in the form of information request. In this case handing the appeal would be regulated by Articles 32-35 of the Ukrainian Law ’On information’ and Article 20 of the Law ’On appeals of citizens’, which would completely remove the case from the procedural norms, and the Supreme Court and General Prosecutor’s office had to act as state organs, but not as juridical organs. The prosecutor’s office and court could not then refuse to a human rights protecting organization to give the objective information about the circumstances and the course of investigating the given case and the reaction of competent organs to the obvious violations of laws.

Court consideration of the case on the terrorist act against Natalya Vitrenko is over.

On 11 December the Supreme Court of Ukraine considered the appeal by the accused of the terrorist act against Natalya Vitrenko during the election campaign of 1999. The court approved of the verdict. Sergey and Vladimir Ivanchenko and Andrey Samoylov, who did not plead themselves guilty, were condemned to 15 years of incarceration; Sergey Ivanchenko will stay the first 5 years in a prison. In our opinion, the court decision is rather doubtful, all the contradictions found in the case were ignored.

The motives of Sergey Ivanchenko, who allegedly organized the attempt, remain absolutely unclear: why did a respectful businessman, an owned of several mass media and the father of six children need this? It looks absurd.

Public hearings in Lugansk

On 8 December public hearings devoted to the International Day of human rights had to be held in Lugansk. Public hearings are somewhat similar to public meetings, which our forefathers veche. But unlike veches, where cardinal decisions were taken, modern meetings have no juridical consequences.

The initiators of the hearings (some opposition public organizations) declared that they wanted the opinion of the important citizens of Lugansk on the problems interesting to the organizers. For example, they wanted to learn, why Article 144 of the Constitution does not operate in our oblast, which reads that the action of the decisions of organs of local self-rule, being considered in court, must be suspended. Or why the oblast authorities do not react to numerous publications in central press about the corruption at the top local power? Or why enterprises of the coal concern ’Luganskugol’ send gob instead of coal to local power stations?

The organizers of the hearings do not doubt that all the above-listed facts really occur. The organizers had sent invitations to President administration and committees of the Supreme Rada before the event. The governor, MPs from the Lugansk oblast, town and oblast prosecutors were invited to the hearings. Almost nobody accepted the invitation. Only three MPs attended the hearings: Valeriy Kolomoytsev, Fedor Maramzin and Leonid Deyneko. Deputies of the town council at their session took a decision that the conduction of the hearings was inexpedient. Yet, the organizers were resolute. They rented the building of local museum. In the morning of 8 December it appeared that the heating system of the museum was damaged. The initiators assessed the unexpected breakdown as a well-planned provocation.

Audience of the hearings, mainly pensioners, hooted. The crowd discussed the presence of soldiers armed with Kalashnikovs, who appeared near the museum. ’Intimidation action’, decided the participants continued to criticize the authorities even mote hotly. At last the crowd managed to come to the building of the TV company ’Efir-1’, where the hearing at last began in more or less organized form. Many people took the floor: Andrey Ivanov, a town council deputy, Vasiliy Serdiukov, the chairman of the local self-rule committee, Viktor Bakumenko, a representative of all-Ukrainian organization ’Public control’, Tatyana Kozhenovskaya, the manager of the TV company ’Efir-1’ and Valeriy Kolomoytsev, who, perhaps, was the most active. The speaker regarded Vladimir Pristiuk, the present secretary of the town council, as illegitimate. According to Andrey Ivanov, the Supreme Court has taken a clear and unambiguous resolution: Anatoliy Yagoferov must return to his post until the Donetsk court takes the decision.

Tatyana Kozhenovskaya also more then once turned to court, which suspended the action of the decision of the town council about the liquidation of ’Efir-1’. Yet, the TV company is still not operating, and four workers of it have already been hunger-striking for a month. Vasiliy Serdiukov accused the oblast governor of corruption. He referred to the decision of the Supreme Rada committee for struggle with corruption and organized crime, which was taken a year ago. It is interesting that nobody, except communist MPs, did extend their criticism to President Kuchma. According to Serdiukov, Lugansk governor discredited Leonid Kuchma. Then Fedor Maramzin burst out: ’I do not agree with you! A horseradish is not sweeter than a black one’. Leonid Deyneko also burst out with a long critical speech, which he ended with another proverb: ’One must not live by the principle: my home is at the farther edge’. The hearings resulted in taking the resolution.

Representatives of town community expressed their distrust to Vladimir Pristiuk, Aleksandr Efremov and oblast prosecutor Vladimir Solodkiy. ’All this (violation of laws, corruption. – Author’s note) became possible not only owing to the passivity, but, as it follows from the materials of parliamentary hearings, owing to the direct protection of the oblast prosecutor’s office’, the resolution states. The organizers plan to send the resolution to the Parliamentary Assembly the Council of Europe, to embassies of the USA, Belgium and Sweden.


Point of view

Every fourth inhabitant of the Donetsk oblast has a criminal record

’This is not a secret that every fourth inhabitant of the Donetsk oblast has a criminal record’, Vladimir Malyshev, the head of the Donetsk oblast militia, said at a press conference. He pointed out that the Donbass is ’a very complicated region’ as to the criminal situation. He reminded that ’in the late 40th people with criminal past were sent there to build mines’. Many of them remained and ’thus contributed to the creation of the criminal situation’, said V. Malyshev. Yet, in spite of the great difficulties, the Donetsk militia ’controls the situation in the oblast’, assured the militia head. So, according to his words, the percent of uncovering murders is 92%, which is one of the largest in the country.

The number of convicts in penitentiaries is gradually diminishing.

According to the information of the press center of the Penitentiary Directorate, 190 thousand people are kept in penitentiaries by 15 October. (Before the recent amnesty there were 235 thousand, 35 thousand were released by the amnesty. By the way, as UNIAN agency informed, keeping in custody as a preventive measure became more seldom after 21 June, when the decisions about preventive measures began to be taken by courts and not by prosecutor. – Editor). The reason is that cases are reconsidered owing to the adoption of the new Criminal Code. Yet, the number of the detained is still too large. These people need moral support to step on the path of reforming and to return to the society as law-obedient citizens.

Filaret, the Patriarch of Kyiv, all Russia and Ukraine, signed the agreement about the cooperation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyivan Patriarchy) and the State Penitentiary Directorate. The document stipulates the guardianship of church over convicts.

The situation in Ukrainian preliminary prisons remains very complicated even after the significant reduction of the number of prisoners. Overcrowded cells, a large number of TB cases, undernourishment, shortage of needed medical drugs – all this became a routine of the Ukrainian penitentiary system. That is why the initiative of church deserves the greatest publicity.

Signing the documents, General-lieutenant Vladimir Liovochkin, the head of the Penitentiary Directorate, highly assessed the role of church in the reforming process and thanked for the cooperation. The beneficial influence of church on convicts was observed in the Kyivan Lukyanivska prison, where church of St. Job Long-suffering began to act two years ago. In the opinion of Patriarch Filaret the process of public servicing, which is the ancient function of church, resumes step by step.

Now the all-Ukrainian inter-confessional Christian mission for spiritual guardianship in penitentiaries is created and acting. The mission, among others, coordinates the ties with Catholic and Protestant churches throughout the world. As Patriarch Filaret informed, Christians from different religious communities of the world will help materially to Ukrainian penitentiaries – will share medical drugs, food, etc.

Ukrainian intellectuals demand to try the participants of the events of 9 March by jury.

Representatives of the Ukrainian intelligentsia demand ’maximum objectivity’ of the court trying the participants of the events of 9 March in Kyiv. They also demand to call, as a precedent, a jury to this end. This is said in the appeal passed to the agency ’Interfax-Ukraine’. The appeal is addressed to President Leonid Kuchma, speaker Ivan Pliushch, head of the Supreme Court Vitaliy Boyko, and Yuri Karmazin, the head of the parliamentary committee in charge of legal provision of law-enforcing activities and the struggle against organized crime and corruption.

The documents points out that the case ’promises to become… the most important trial for all the years of the independence of Ukraine’. ’The Ukrainian public must obtain unambiguous answers to a number of questions that concern the reasons of the collision of the demonstrators with law-enforcer on that day in Kyiv’, -- the documents stresses. The appeal reads that the demands of the accused in this case, viz. ’to be judged by a jury, is well-motivated and legal’. The institution of a jury is envisaged by Article 129 of the Constitution, whose norms have the direct effect. The program of the court reform in Ukraine also envisages jury. ’The fact that this article of the Constitution is still not legally regulated, must not constrain the rights of Ukrainian citizens for justice’, the authors of the appeal remark. They ask the addressees of the appeal ’using their right of legislative initiative to agree the current legislation with the Constitution in the shortest time possible and to set the precedent of using jury in the trial’.

The appeal points out that its authors – representatives of public organizations and political parties, representatives of science and creative intelligentsia – ’are worried with inadmissible slow rate of carrying out the court reform in Ukraine, which threatens the protection of constitutional rights of citizens and advancing the state into the European community’.

As is known, 19 members of the UNA-UNSO are accused of organization of and active participation in mass disturbances in Kyiv on 9 March, which resulted in essential consequences (several scores of people suffered as a result of the clashes). The trial of the 19 activists has been started in Kyiv.

Victims of political repression

Do not open the door to militia!

On 28 October about 6 p.m. an operator of the Severodonetsk trolley directorate (let us call her Larisa) was cruelly beaten in the presence of the gallant Severodonetsk militiamen. The act was done a militiaman, who came to out town from Kremennaya, the spectators were our native so-called ’law-enforcers’.

We have never observed such one-hundred-per-cent pure cynicism!

Larisa worked at the ’Ozerny’ station in the second shift. Perhaps, she could not imagine, WHAT would happen to her. She could not imagine that to be an involved and brave person is dangerous for health, bot moral and physical. On 28 October she convinced herself on her own bitter experience while trying to stop a brawl of two young men, who were fighting near the dispatcher’s office. One of the fighters, who was somewhat more broad-shouldered than his opponent, waved with handcuffs so swiftly that he could splinter the pane of the office. Larisa went out of the office, fearlessly trying to bring to reason the conflicting sides, threatening to summon militia. In response the knight with the handcuffs produced a long chain of obscenities with the general sense that he himself was a militiaman.

Possibly, such self-assured and insolent behavior of the cop could intimidate someone, who wanted to call militia. But not out lady. She locked herself in the office and without hesitation dialed 㤊’ (militia phone number. – Translator’s note) and asked to come as soon as possible. While she was phoning, the brawl stopped: the cop’s opponent ran away. The winner, having lost his victim, began to brake into the office, waving his ID and swearing.

The militia came ’soon’, 24 minutes after Larisa’s call. It would be better for Larisa, if they did not come at all. She opened the door and… the first, who rushed in was the fighter-cop. He jumped at the woman and began to beat her against the wall. Larisa fell down, colliding with metal stairs, the fighter fell on top. The woman’s boned crackled, everything went dark before her eyes. The Severodonetsk militiamen observed the scene and did not try to save the woman from the hands of the bandit with a militiaman’s ID, who ran amok. Larisa cried asking to call another militia patrol. Perhaps, even then she continued to believe in people, whose calling was to guard public order and protect citizens. One more patrol car came. They took the fighter-cop to their car. But their prisoner, drunk and bloodthirsty, jumped out and again rushed to the dispatcher’s office to finish his victim. He took Larisa by the hair and hit her against the windowsill. Somehow he did not kill her. All this happened in the presence of two militia patrols!

According to A. Brynza, the head of the trolley directorate, the letter was sent to commander of the town militia I. Shovikov, where the accident (to be exact, an assault with local militia as spectators) was described. It means that the militia commander had to learn about the crime five days ago.

It is still unknown what was done with the militiaman from Kremennaya. Was he detained? Has he got the accusation? The crime is as evident as bruises on Larisa’s face and body. As to the moral damage, can you fancy what a young frail woman feels being beaten by a brute of a man in the presence of militiamen quietly observing this scene? Mr. Shovikov, have you imagined this hell at least once during the passed days?

’Severodinetski Visti’, 2 November 2001

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2001, #12