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A human rights protection activist brings an action for material and moral damages

I.Sukhorukova, Kharkov
The name of the prominent human rights protection activist academician Anatoliy Rybalko is known to most readers of our bulletin. Perhaps, they remember the dramatic events of 1996, when Anatoliy Rybalko began to act as a public defendant of illegally condemned militiaman. He came to conflict with law-enforcing (rather, law-breaking) agencies of the Crimea, as well as with the Crimean judicial power. As a result, during half a year he was constantly threatened by representatives of the power. Many our readers wrote letters in defense of Anatoliy Rybalko demanding from the power to stop persecuting the man.

Few people know that academician Rybalko became a human rights protection activist when he personally came across with violence of law. In 1994, without any grounds, he was accused of bribe-taking, and a criminal case was started against him.. Anatoliy Rybalko was arrested two times, he passed a preliminary imprisonment, searches and threats. The case was absolutely ungrounded and all the proofs collapsed at the first consideration in the Supreme Court. But it was extremely difficult to break the way to the Supreme Court. Anatoliy Rybalko was helped by human rights protectors from Kyiv, from the Ukrainian-American Bureau of human rights protection. All the accusations were cancelled, he was acquitted and re-employed on his work: Anatoliy Rybalko is a physician, professor of gynecology, head of the gynecological department of Simferopol medical institute. Yet, when Anatoliy Rybalko was incarcerated and interrogated, he saw with his own eyes such cruel violations of the law that he could not live any more without the attempts to improve the situation.

Human rights protection became his second calling. Now he is the head of the working group of the International Union of human rights, a member of the presidium of this union; he also works in Amnesty International and in the Helsinki Civic Assembly. The group headed by Anatoliy Rybalko is very efficient — they manage to win many court cases that seemed hopeless.

At present Anatoliy Rybalko turned to us with the request to publish a number of documents concerning his civil suit. The suit is unusual, since the defendants are the prosecutor’s office, the security service and the Supreme Court of the Crimea.

The first suit application concerning the compensation for moral and material damages was handed by Anatoliy Rybalko to Kyivskiy district court of the city of Simferopol in 1996. A part of material damage was compensated, but Anatoliy Rybalko continued to insist on the complete compensation, including moral damage, by the defendants listed above.

In 1997 he handed the second suit application to the same Kyivskiy district court. The court refused to take the suit application since the Supreme Court of the Crimea was one of the defendants. The Supreme Court of the Crimea confirmed this decision and explained that if a suit is directed against the supreme judicial instance of the Crimea, then the decision to take this application must be given by the Supreme Court of Ukraine.

The Supreme Court of Ukraine passed the case to Odessa region court, and the latter passed the case further to the court of the central district of Odessa.

All this red tape has lasted since November 1997 up to the present. In particular, the case lies without consideration in the district Odessa court for one year.

Anatoliy Rybalko is a very busy and not very healthy man. He cannot visit Odessa too often. The general economic and social circumstances in Ukraine have led to the situation when the courts are overloaded and first of all consider criminal cases. A delay of 3-4 months in considering civil cases is quite usual, but the delay of one year is unusual and suspicious.

We hope that the region court of Odessa and the Supreme Court of Ukraine will take under special control this unusual for the judicial routine case. The Kharkov Group for human rights protection turned to the both above-mentioned instances with the request to explain the situation with Anatoliy Rybalko’s suit.
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