war crimes in Ukraine

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Torture in law-enforcing bodies of Lugansk oblast

The Public Committee of protecting constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens held a press conference in Lugansk. The experience of the Committee and its contacts with citizens enables it to conclude that torture is a routine practice in militia while interrogating the detained. The main two factors which support the application of torture is the low professional level of crime investigators and the corruption in law-enforcing bodies.

There exists a strong barrier in investigating facts of torture and punishing the guilty — the corporate amoral mutual assistance of law-enforcers. The reason lies in the absence of any public control in the law-enforcing practice. The other reason is that either in militia or in prosecutor’s office or in the court system nobody is eager to clean the profession from amoral people who subvert the authority of the power.

Ukraine ratified the European Convention on human rights in 1997. According to Article 9 of the Constitution of Ukraine international norms must be regarded as a part of the national legislation. The international documents that must become a part of the national legislation are mostly not published and are not known to law-enforcers, such as, for example, prosecutor Shvachko in the town of Krasny Luch.

The Committee finds it necessary to carry out the following actions:

to inform about the events in the Lugansk oblast the following addressees: the President of Ukraine, government of Ukraine, ombudsperson, General prosecutor, Supreme Court, Council of national security and defense, Supreme Rada, administration of the Lugansk oblast, human rights protection organizations of Ukraine, Council of Europe and a number of international organizations, such as Amnesty International, the World Organization against torture, Advocates without frontiers, Helsinki foundation on human rights;

to prepare materials on the inadmissibly low professional qualities of prosecutors and judges for passing the materials to the Supreme Council of Justice;

to send our materials to all court instances up to the European Court in Strasbourg and monitoring how they are considered.

At the press conference the following facts were made public.

Anatoliy V. Zhovtan, residing at 19/51, 16 line, Lugansk.

On 27 November 1998 was detained as an accomplice to the murder of Yu.M.Zaskalko and was taken to the precinct of Leninskiy district. There he was interrogated by militiamen R.R.Ushcepovskiy, O.M.Serbin and K.V.Kiyanitskiy, who tormented the detained by cruel beating, suspending in handcuffs, suffocating with a gas mask, burning intimate parts, thrusting a stick to the anus, etc.

With many traumas, broken ribs and concussion of cerebral brain A. Zhovtan was later taken to the hospital, where he stayed 42 days. A criminal case was started against the militiamen, and now it is in charge of Leninskiy district court. Contrary to Article 147 of the Penal-Procedural Code the militiamen were not suspended from work and they had many opportunities to influence the ODA, to intimidate witnesses and the victim himself.

Sergey I. Lazarenko, residing at 17/16, micro-district 3, the town of Krasny Luch.

On 9 June 1999 detained at home by detective Vasilenko on suspicion of theft in a private flat on 4 March 1999. At the town precinct the militiamen Vasilenko, Popeta, Vasitskiy and Slobodeniuk tormented Lazarenko 37 days on end. All this time they beat the detained forcing him to confess several crimes which he did not commit; among them was one murder. As a result of this criminal investigation Lazarenko got a cerebral brain trauma, concussion, injuries of the chest, broken lower jaw and many smaller injuries. After the demand of his cell-mates a motor ambulance was summoned three times. The doctors demanded putting Lazarenko to a hospital, but it was not done. As a result, Lazarenko got festering of the lower jaw bone and shrinkage of his left arm. As a grave criminal he is still under arrest. And all this time Shvachko, the prosecutor of the town of Krasny Luch, did not take into consideration numerous complaints from the victim and from his mother. Shvachko refused to start a criminal case. The tormentors were not called to the criminal responsibility and were not suspended from their jobs. They used their service position to threaten the victim and his family, ordering them not to start the criminal case. Lazarenko’s mother turned to the oblast prosecutor’s office, the oblast directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to the General Prosecutor, to the Minister of Internal Affairs and to the ombudsperson. Absolutely no response followed.

Taras V. Maslov, resided at 10 Repin St., the town of Krasny Luch.

24 July 1998 was detained in a street with his friend Maksim on a complaint (faked, as a turned out later) about an attempt to rape. In the office of V.P.Kostiuk, the head of the crime investigation department, Taras and Maksim were third-degreed. In the evening they were released. It was Friday, the corresponding medical department was closed for the week-end, and they could not pass the medical expertise. On Saturday and Sunday Taras was at home and felt himself very badly. On Monday morning he died. All the attempts to draw the guilty to responsibility were unsuccessful. The town prosecutor Shvachko refused to start the criminal case because of ‘the absence of the event of crime’. The post-mortem of Maslov showed that there were numerous injuries, internal hemorrhage in intestines and in the cerebral brain shell.

4. Vladimir S. Vodolazov, resided at 22/46, micro-district 2, the town of Krasny Luch.

Was arrested at home and brought to the town precinct. There in the office No.16 he died during the interrogation. The forensic expert Ovchinnikov determined the reason of death as cordial deficiency. When the body was taken from the mortuary Vodolazov’s relatives could not recognize it: all the body was black and blue, the flesh on hands was cut off to bones. Before the arrest he was healthy and never complained at his heart.

A criminal case has been started. However, Vodolazov’s relatives cannot get any information about the course of the investigation.

Dmitry N. Zinchenko, residing in the town of Krasny Luch.

Was arrested at home on 2 June 1999 as an accomplice to the theft. On 5 June 1999 he was beaten during the interrogation by militiaman Vasilenko. As the result the motor ambulance was called, but the doctors were forbidden to testify about the beating. The expertise was carried out only on 20 June. For the second time he was interrogated in the precinct on 11 August. Again he was tormented, this time with the participation of Kovbasa, a deputy of the commander of the precinct.

About all the above-mentioned facts more than 20 complaints were directed to various control instances. The result is nill.
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