war crimes in Ukraine

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"Revolution" is lasting

On 1 February 2002 the Voroshilovski district court of Donetsk acknowledged as illegal the dismissal of A. Yagoferov from the post of the Lugansk mayor. Besides, all the decisions taken by the town council on the day of the dismissal were also acknowledged to be null and void. The rumors about this flooded the town, thus raising the rating of Yagoferov, who is in charge of the oblast electoral headquarters of V. Yushchenko’s bloc „Our Ukraine“.

V. Pristiuk, the Secretary of the Lugansk town council, might appeal against the court decision and thus postpone its execution. Lugansk dwellers reckoned that Pristiuk would preserve his post till 31 March, then Yagoferov would be elected as an MP, and O. Danilov, who had the greatest rating, would become the mayor (he also had been a mayor, was dismissed and restored by court a decision, but then lost the election). Meanwhile a double of O. M. Danilov, O. E. Danilov, appeared. The second Danilov is a student of the local university. According to the Internet-poll, this man took away almost 30% of O. M. Danilov’s electorate, that is about 12% of the total number of voters. To compare: V. Pristiuk, who uses the administrative resource, has the rating not more than 10% voters.

The decision of the above-mentioned court taken on 1 March 2002 appeared to be a consequent news. According to this decision, Pristiuk is a deputy of the Lugansk town council, but not its secretary. All the decisions of the Lugansk town council signed by his were acknowledges as illegal.

On 4 March A. Yagoferov tried to fulfil the duties of the Lugansk mayor. The local authorities refused to obey the court decision. According to the Laws „On execution of court decisions“, the coercive execution of court decisions must be enforced by a state executor. As expected, the state execution service of the Leninski district of Lugansk refused to obey this law. The reason was obvious: the pressure of the oblast authorities on mere petty executors. And waht6 concerns Mr. Pristiuk, he hurried to go on a leave.

Meanwhile rumors spread around the town that Yagoferov would not have time to return to his post before the election, so certainly he would not be able to win the election. Yet, as a student of law, I think differently: all the decisions signed by V. Pristiuk were regarded by court as illegal. Correspondingly, the decision on creating the town election commission was also illegal, therefore any decisions of this commission were illegal too. Most probably, A. Yagoferov will disband the commission. The new commission will not have enough time to prepare the mayor’s election to be conducted simultaneously with the election to the Supreme Rada. So the election will be postponed. At the election the district commissions will be formed by district councils, where the Yagoferov’s position is very strong. This means that the chances for electing Yagoferov remain rather great.

The discussion of the sitting of the Supreme Rada on 5 March: „A criminal gang headed by President Kuchma acts in Ukraine“ (A. Zhyr)

Presenters: Zinoviy Friz and Yulia Zhmakina.

Guests: MP Aleksandr Zhir, the head of the Provisional investigation commission of the Supreme Rada for investigating Gongadze’s case and other sensational crimes; Mykola Veresen, a journalist, a candidate to the Parliament from the election bloc „Komanda ozimogo pokolenija“ („The team of winter generation“).

Z. Friz: „At first let us discuss the events of this morning in the Supreme Rada. Our Kyivan colleague Viktor Meniaylo will tell what he saw and heard“.

V. Miniaylo: „The morning plenary sitting was lasting, but speaker Ivan Pliushch did not offer for voting the question about a special sitting of the Supreme Rada, and it seemed that he was not going to do it. To express his protest MP Aleksandr Elyashkevich occupied the rostrum“.

A. Elyashkevich: „If someone pretends that he does not understand what is happening, I repeat what I said yesterday at the conciliatory sitting: Kuchma is a murderer…“

I. Pliushch: „Thank you, the floor is given to MP…“

However, several deputies, who had enlisted to make a speech, asked to pass the floor to A. Elyashkevich.

A. Elyashkevich: „They do what they can to prevent Ukrainians learn the truth till 31 March. You will fail, Mr. Pliushch! That is I, who declare it! I will not leave the rostrum until the special sitting of the Supreme Rada is organized. You may carry me out bodily or kill me!“

I. Pliushch: „Switch off the mike. There are no reasons to hold a special sitting, since we have an approved schedule of the work of the Supreme Rada session. I publicly told O. Zhir that he had the time till 4 March to prepare the documents for a conciliatory sitting. Unfortunately, yesterday I got no such documents. At about 4 p. M. I received a document. Stepan Gavrish proposed to write a letter to A. Zhir to ask him, according to the regulations, to compile the agenda of this special sitting and, together with the regulation commission, to make the propositions to the Supreme Rada.

If those propositions were prepared, I would present them for your consideration and voting. Yet, we have nothing except the mentioned letter. What can you vote for?“

I. Sharov, party „Trudova Ukraina“: „Dear Mr. Pliushch, dear colleagues. In the beginning of this session the parliamentary fraction „For united Ukraine“ proposed to find such a from of cooperation in the parliament that would enable us to work only in districts, committees and fractions, because otherwise it was obvious that the work would degenerate to political squabbles, to „cassettes“ and to creating special investigating commissions.

That is why, Mr. Pliushch, I ask you to pass to work according to the agenda and regulations. Besides, I ask you to order to remove Elyashkevich from the rostrum.“

V. Miniaylo: „While people’s deputies were working according to the agenda and regulations, A. Elyashkevich, as the little tin soldier, was standing on the rostrum“.

Z. Friz: „The Internet newspaper „Ukrainska Pravda“, in the note „Zhir was not given 10 minutes for his speech“ wrote, in particular: „Deputies did not support the proposition to give the floor to Aleksandr Zhir, head of the Provisional investigation commission of the Supreme Rada for investigating Gongadze’s case and other sensational crimes. The commission proposes today to hold the special sitting of the Supreme Rada“.

Mr. Zhir, you have had no chance today to say what you wanted. We, certainly, cannot give you 10 minutes, since we have too little transmitting time, but you have the opportunity to say what you wanted to say in the Supreme Rada. Please, do it.“

A. Zhir: „I would like to remind you of 12 February 2002, when the sitting of the Provisional investigating commission approved the decision that, in the case of positive results of the expertise of the tapes concerning Elyashkevich, the commission will approve another decision about raising the question on holding the special sitting of the Supreme Rada for considering the situation in the country.

Why it happened? First, we have obtained the results of the expertise. The expertise confirmed that in the talk between Kravchenko, the then Minister of Interior, and President Kuchma it was said that MP Elyashkevich must be beaten, and beaten so hard that he would never walk again.

Moreover, after it we have no doubts that the records are authentic. A criminal gang headed by President Kuchma acts in Ukraine.

We intended to speak not only about the records. Now I, as the head of the commission, receive a great number of letters from the whole Ukraine, thus obtaining the confirmation of the activities of this criminal gang.

For example, I got materials about bribes, which were taken by Minister of Interior Kravchenko and other persons from his clique. These facts are confirmed with the corresponding documents. I have already declared that I got enough testimony to prove that it is true. I have lots of such materials. They must be considered altogether. It is unreasonable to consider separately Gongadze’s case and then Elyashkevich’s case, since these cases are interconnected.

That is why we sure that it is necessary to conduct the sitting, as separate sitting, if you do not like the word „special“. The Ukrainian President, General Prosecutor’s office, Prime-Minister, the Ministry of Interior and USS head should be invited to this sitting, where the current situation in Ukraine will be discussed.

That is why I would like to point out again that yesterday, obeying all demands of the regulations, I, on behalf of the commission, handed the application to the Supreme Rada. As it was established today, during the interval, this application satisfies all the requirements.

Yu. Zhmakina: „Mr. Zhir, tell me please, what do you expect to get from such a sitting, special or not special, if the Supreme Rada even did not give you the opportunity to make a speech?“

A. Zhir: „Not all deputies were present at the sitting. I am sure that tomorrow the house will be full. On the other hand, Mr. Pliushch promised to raise this question. So, I am sure that the deputies will vote for giving the commission the opportunity to inform the Supreme Rada. The information must sound from the rostrum of the Supreme Rada as official.

I was to turn your attention that today nobody voted against this opportunity“.

Yu. Zhmakina: „Yet, the observers remarked that just those fractions, which are now candidates from the bloc „Our Ukraine“, have not taken part in the voting. How can you explain that?“

A. Zhir: „I think that they have been a little inattentive during the voting and hope that tomorrow that they will show the contrary results“.

Yu. Zhmakina: „Taras Chornovil has something to comment these events“.

Z. Friz: „Yes, he told the radio Liberty that it looked rather strange that most deputies of the bloc „Our Ukraine“, to which you, Mr. Zhir, also belong, voted against giving you the floor. Really, it is very surprising. So, let us listen to Mr. Chornovil“.

T. Chornovil: „What can I say? That is a pity that such events occur. That is a pity that may people, who had to endorse MP Zhir without any hesitations, did not do it, although that is a very important question for us.

I am afraid that the absence of unanimity on the bloc „Our Ukraine“ is a sign that today we have not developed yet a mechanism for approving decisions. This happens because of the position of some political parties, which decided to be on the safe side on the eve of the election. This is painful question for me since I, first, am convinced that Zhir’s report had to be delivered and, secondly, such overcaution, especially before election, may be only harmful.

People want to see a pure, realistic and honest position. If there is no such position, then the success at the election seems very doubtful“.

Z. Friz: „Mr. Zhir, today MPs have approved the request about starting criminal case against Leonid Kuchma. Can we regard it as the beginning of Kuchma’s impeachment? At, least the Internet editions support this conjecture“.

A. Zhir: „Today my main goal is to establish the truth. To achieve this I did very much, as well as the majority of the Provisional commission members.

I must achieve the following results: the Supreme Rada must assess those actions, about which, in my opinion and in opinion of the commission members, we have the proofs.

That is why it is not very important now, whether it is the beginning of the impeachment or not. The main thing is that the Supreme Rada must approve certain decision about the materials that we, the Provisional commission, have“.

Yu. Zhmakina: „Do not you think that the declarations of the type „Kuchma is a murderer“ impede the approval of such decisions, do not they? After all the trial did not happen and there is no verdict.

A. Zhir: „No one ever heard such declarations from me in the capacity of the head of the commission. As a private person I sympathize with Aleksandr Elyuashkevich. I sympathize with him, since he had the opportunity to learn on his own experience what regime is rules in Ukraine. I have the proofs that the records are genuine, it is not a montage, I have the proofs that the dialogue was about him and about beating him.

Yu. Zhmakina: „I have a question to Mykola Veresen. Mykola, you perhaps understand that Gongadze’s case and the tape scandal in general will be inherited by the next Parliament. What is your opinion, what could be Parliament’s role in investigating this case?“

M. Veresen: „I would not like to tell about the mission of the Supreme Rada, I would like to tell that I am deeply convinced that sooner or later the truth will be known by everyone. The needed investigation will be conducted and those, who were executors and who were organizers will be named. I have no doubts that everything can happen as Mr. Zhir says.

I think that honest people want the truth to be learned sooner, while the bureaucrats prefer that it would happen as late as possible. But the truth, after all, shall be found, the truth penetrates the public consciousness, people begin to suspect the power in small peccadillos and then begin to suspect deadly sins. These doubts cover the situation with thicker and thicker layers, and step by step the power becomes suspicious as such. This is socially very dangerous“.

Z. Friz: „Mr. Veresen, if you become a people’s deputy, what will you do to learn the truth about Gongadze’s case as soon as possible?“

M. Veresen: „Regardless of the fact whether I become an MP or not, I believe that Gongadze’s case will not be isolated from me and pout in some special drawer. I will work on this case steadily and doggedly, in the capacity of either a journalist or a deputy“.

Z. Friz: „This is a very profound topic, and I believe that one transmission is not enough for its discussion. I guess that in further transmissions my colleagues will discuss these problems more than once“.

„Vechirnia Svoboda“

Kyiv -- Prague, 5 March2002 - 


Some pre-election events in Marganets

In the end of February 2002 it was announced about the arrival in the town of the leaders of two competing blocs: Sergey Tigipko, the leader of the bloc „For united Ukraine“, and Viktor Yushchenko, the leader of the bloc „Our Ukraine“. It was a marvelous day-off and I decided to attend the both meetings. On the eve of the meetings the local TV announced that the supporters of Yushchenko would not be admitted to the hall of the mining technical school. Yet, MP A. Zhir had already agreed on the rent of the hall with the school principal, so the meeting would be held on the square in front the school.

So, at 10 a.m. I went to the meeting with S. Tigipko to the miners’ palace of culture. Certainly, everything was organized as best as possible: music; elegant cars; an agitation bus; the tent, where they handed out agitation matter of big format and excellent quality, cellophane bags with the name of the bloc, programs of the bloc. The meeting began at 10 sharp. The presidium was occupied by the town mayor, administration of the main town enterprise „Marganets ore mining and processing enterprise“ (the owner of the palace of culture), members of the party „Labor Ukraine“ (candidates to the oblast council and to the mayor’s post). After a short introduction S. Tigipko was answering the question of voters almost for two hours. Then he made an effective and rather reasonable concluding speech. After this the less politically minded part of the audience remained for a concert. By the way, after the concert the enterprise buses transported people home (service!). The more politically minded part went to the meeting with the other political leader – Viktor Yushchenko. The meeting began at 13:30. It was held outdoors, but the weather was, fortunately, the weather was fine. There was no service to speak of: either big-format agitation leaflets, or music, or, what is most important, convenient chairs and the roof over our heads. Supporters of the bloc (and most of the audience were the supporters) attentively listened to the speakers: V. Yushchenko, MPs A. Zhir and A. Stoyan. „Every cloud has its silver lining“ – the open-air meeting had its advantages. The audience, who gathered to listen and see the legendary former prime-minister, was at least two times greater than the hall of the technical school could seat. Nonetheless, we returned home in low spirits. Upon the whole, it was indecent. Political struggle or not, but, I believe, people should be hospitable and benevolent.

A day later I went to the principal of the school to learn why the meeting in the hall was cancelled. I was interested, if our agreement is still valid. It had been concluded between the ecological organization „Zeleny svit“ and the school administration about holding in April in the same hall the ecological seminar. The principal answered that the meeting with Yushchenko was prohibited by the fire inspection. As to the agreement about the seminar, it will be permitted, but in another, smaller hall.

6 March 2002

Pre-election scandals in Kirovograd

A new pre-election scandal burst our in Kirovograd. Valeriy Kalchenko, a candidate to mayor’s post and to the Supreme Rada, who is now the head of the oblast organization of the political party „Batkivshchina“, is taken off the list of candidates.

Kirovograd dwellers up to now are ignorant why Oleksandr Nikulin, the present mayor, is kept in the preliminary prison for such a long time. The opposition press believe that he will be released immediately after the election. O. Nikulin is especially dangerous for the authorities, since he was one of those mayors, who loyally treated the participants of the all-Ukrainian action „Ukraine without Kuchma“. The regional power included into the list of the politically dangerous also Yulia Timoshenko’s bloc. Having to pretexts to put the activists of the bloc to prisons, the authorities take them off the election race. That was what happened with Valeriy Kalchenko.

In the opinion of many regional politicians, Kalchenko is one of a few most suitable candidates, who have the chance to become the mayor.

Kirovograd lawyer Andrey Sirnov said: „The removal of Valeriy Kalchenko from the registration was a political order of his opponents. The court ignored all the arguments offered by Kalchenko’s side.

In fact, according to the court decision, Valeriy Kalchenko overdrew his election fund as a candidate to the mayor’s post. The grounds of the decision were the leaflets paid from the account of Kalchenko in his capacity of a candidate to the Supreme Rada. The leaflets read: „I want to revive the town. Valeriy Kalchenko“. The leaflets were registered in the district electoral commission and did not contain any open agitation of Kalchenko as a future mayor. The court did not take this argument into account“.

Andrey Sirnov stated that Valeriy Kalchenko, as a candidate to the Supreme Rada, had the right to spread the leaflets with the mentioned neutral text.

Now the appeal is handed. The oblast organization of the party „Batkivshchina“ is sure that Valeriy Kalchenko will be restored as a candidate to the mayor’s post. Vasyl Onopenko, a well-known lawyer, will now defend Kalchenko’s rights in Kirovograd.

Levko Lukyanenko: „Power in Ukraine passes from democracy to fascism in its attitude to the opposition“

Every nationally conscious Ukrainian knows Levko Lukyanenko. His lifetime full of struggle for the independence of Ukraine was really heroic. Cells for the doomed to death, Bolshevik concentration camps, where they murdered Vasyl Stus, Valeriy Marchenko, Yuri Litvin and others…

In the first years of the Ukrainian independent L. Lukyanenko was the first Ukrainian ambassador in Canada. Now he is the head of the Ukrainian republican party and the deputy head of the election bloc of Yulia Timoshenko.

Our correspondent Igor Stoliarov took the following interview from him.

Igor Stoliarov: I am sure that many people inside and outside Ukraine are interested to hear you opinion about the pre-election situation in Ukraine.

Levko Lukyanenko: It seems that the power decided to violate openly the Law „On election“. Five pro-governmental political parties making the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ wasted heaps of money for posters, slogans and other agitation matter. This matter covers towns and villages.

The authorities openly abuse laws and exceed the expenditures for the election campaign. Yet, they think that it is not sufficient. Using their power, they exert pressure upon mass media and impede the representatives of Yulia Timoshenko’s bloc to communicate with voters.

Today I have returned from electoral district No. 148, the town of Lubny of the Poltava oblast. There Viktor Bilous is a candidate to the Supreme Rada from Timoshenko’s bloc. He was an MP before, from 1994 to 1998, he is a political experienced person, graduated from two higher schools, defends the independence of Ukraine. He is a member of the Ukrainian republican party.

His rival in this electoral district is, among others, a Salmin, a representative of power clans and the head of the corporation „Ukrainian Oil“. Salmin and his support group hired girls (for 100 UAH each), gave them notebooks and sent them to wander around and to write down those, who promised to vote for Salmin. Salmin’s agitators question, insist and then intimidate the voters.

Such methods can influence the opinion of simple peasants…

I. S.: Are such cases frequent?

L. L.: Yes, rather. The most disgusting fact occurred in the Sumy oblast.

Vladimir Shcherban, the head of the oblast administration, gathered for conference the heads of district administrations and town mayors. At the conference he said that they had to agitate only for the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ and do it as well as they can. Else, he said, is someone does it without proper zeal, he will be sacked. He made all state officers, who are financed from the budget, write and sign the promise (dated by 2 April) that, if on their territories less than a half vote for the bloc „For united Ukraine!“, they will retire.

V. Shcherban ordered the heads of district administrations and town mayors to fight actively against any agitation of the representatives of national-democratic parties, and, in particular, Yulia Timoshenko’s bloc. He appealed to „to tear away leaflets of the oppositionists’ and beat them on the kisser. And never care if they do not look well in the coffin…“

I assess this as a gradual passage from democracy to fascism, since the latter begins when the ruling regime starts proving its rightness not by ideological methods, but by beating and them shooting opponents.

I categorically protest.

On behalf of the Ukrainian Republican party we wrote the appeal to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine with the demanded to start then criminal case against Sumy governor Vladimir Shcherban for abusing election laws.

One more appeal we sent to President Leonid Kuchma, in which we demanded to dismiss Shcherban from his post, since his activities contradict the Ukrainian Constitution and the operating laws.

In the Konotop electoral district slogans and leaflets agitating for Petro Rubin, the counselor in economics of the head of the Ukrainian Republican party, are torn off or painted black. The electoral headquarters of P. Ruban complained about these facts to the Central election commission.

I. S.: Taking into account the horrible events happening in Ukraine we ask whether Yu. Timoshenko’s bloc has any chance to win a significant number of seats in the new Ukrainian Parliament?

L. L.: Upon the whole, people feel sympathy to this block.

Individual candidates from this bloc (in particular from the Ukrainian Republican party) – P. Ruban, V. Bilous, I. Bidyk (in the Chernivtsi oblast) and L. Stasiv (in the Khamelnitska oblast), are very respected by people. They undoubtedly will win and become MPs. But they encounter not only counter-propaganda. The authorities have nothing to say against these candidates and they apply various dirty methods. For example, in the small hours of the morning of 10 March 2002 strangers cut the wheels of the car of candidate L. Stasiv. Is at a method of honest political struggle?

Our people are brave. They cannot be intimidated by such actions, but cutting protectors restricts the candidate’s ability to move around.

I am indignant and I protest. We, republicans, are now forced not to prove our views at meetings with voters, but protect our cars and our kissers from our political opponents.

We are worried by the policy of the government that strives to preserve its rule in the country by hook or crook.

I. S.: Many observers confirm that something similar occurs in Odessa now. Using obedient judges and almost complete information blockade, the authorities do their best to prevent Eduard Gurvits to win the mayor’s post. Bureaucrats are anxious to preserve at this post Ruslan Bodelian, the former oblast communist party chief. Last time this communist came to power in Odessa with the assistance of the Kirovograd oblast court. This time courts are also involved.

L. L.: It worries me even more, because it demonstrates that, obviously, such methods are approved by the top power of Ukraine, with President’s camarilla.

I am certainly indignant, I abhor the actions with which R. Bodelian attempts to prolong his rule.

He is known as a man, who almost for ten years was fighting against the construction of the Odessa oil terminus. It contradicted the interests of Ukrainian. Certainly R. Bodelian long ago had to be sacked and driven from power as far as possible.

At the same time Eduard Gurvits is a democrat, and I would be happy, if he won the election.

Human rights protectors of Sevastopol are disturbed with the violations of election laws

In the opinion of Roman Romanov, the executive manager of the Sevastopol human rights protection group, violations of election laws by authorities are especially dangerous for citizens’ rights and are intended to subdue the citizens’ will. The Sevastopol Group distributed its review „The course of the election campaign in Sevastopol: facts that disturb“ at a press conference. The review contains numerous facts of violating the Ukrainian Law „On election of people’s deputies of Ukraine“.

Sevastopol human rights protectors reckon that Leonid Zhunko, the head of the Sevastopol city administration, having signed order No. 214-p of 10 February 2002, exceeded his authority, did not fulfil the demands of the Ukrainian Law „On election of people’s deputies of Ukraine“ (Article 52 part 8) and thus impeded the free election agitation, as it is envisaged by Article 51 part 1 of this Law. As a result, the agitation matter of the election bloc of Viktor Yushchenko „Our Ukraine“ was destroyed. At the same time other political parties and blocs continued to use the similar methods of outdoor political advertisement that were not permitted to Yushchenko. For example, every inch of Sevastopol trolley buses was plastered with the leaflets of the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ (a pro-governmental block), a big-board with the symbols of the Social-Democratic party of Ukraine (united) (SDPU (u)) was placed near the stadium „Chayka“.

The largest number of the materials with a concealed political advertisement was published in the newspaper „Slava Sevatopolia“. Only during February the newspaper printed more about a dozen of such publications, from which it is not difficult to conclude that the newspaper supports the SDPU (u) and the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ Some issues of the newspaper were so oversaturated with such agitation that space lacked for reporting other city events. For example, the newspaper managed not to mention the V. Yushchenko’s visit to Sevastopol. In such a manner the editorial board restricts the citizens’ right for information, since the readers get for their money not the unbiased information, but propaganda and agitation indoctrination.

Analyzing the facts of the active participation of the organs and officials of state power and local self-rule in the election agitation, R. Romanov, along with the requirements of the Law „On election of people’s deputies of Ukraine“, also reminded the OSCE standards. The standards read: „A government must not misuse the state resources for supporting the candidates of the ruling party (parties). For example, government-owned cars, offices and communication means must not be used for it, except cases, where all candidates have the equal access to these resources“.

Most shops, hairdressing saloons and other convenient places permitted to arrange the placards of the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ in their windows. In private talks the owners and workers of these establishments do not conceal that they did it not on their own free will, but after the orders of local authorities. Many communal services of the city were also involved to the election campaign.

Involving the law-enforcing organs to the election campaign is the most dangerous for the free will demonstration of citizens. Militiamen actively collect signatures for the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ The Sevastopol Group received some complaint from citizens that militiamen turned to them with the proposition to sign a special blank with the promise to vote for the bloc „For united Ukraine!“. The blank was a table without a heading that contains surname, name, patronymics, address and signature.

The Group received similar complaints from car drivers, who were stopped by road militiamen. The militiamen checked their documents and, having learned the addresses, proposed to sign the appeal endorsing Viktor Zaichko, the candidate of the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ from electoral district No. 225, the deputy head of the Sevastopol city administration. Vladimir Litvin, the head of the Presidential administration and the leader of the bloc „For united Ukraine!“, demonstrated a bad example for imitation. Having arrived in Sevastopol on a service car and with the service guard, he held a number of agitation meetings, wasting in such a way the state budget. One of these meetings was held in the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior, which violates Article 56 item 2 of the Law „On election of people’s deputies of Ukraine“. This article forbids candidates to people’s deputies to visit militia units.

Some candidates, including Ivan Vernidubov, the head of the Sevastopol tax administration, sent greeting postcards to their potential voters for the cost of tax administration. The addresses were taken from the database of the tax administration, which, according to the law, must be confidential. Such actions of the head of the tax administration and the candidate from the bloc „For united Ukraine!“ may be a legal cause for excluding him from the list of candidates, according to Article 49 part 3 item 11 of the Law „On election of people’s deputies of Ukraine“, and starting a criminal case, according to Article 182 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (interference into private life).

Human rights protection activists are seriously worried by the passivity of prosecutor’s offices concerning the election violations by candidates and political parties (blocs). In spite of the fact that laws theoretically enable participants of election process to protect their rights, the potential of the laws is used very insufficiently. This, in the opinion of the Sevastopol Group, is the main reason of the abuses of laws.

After the review compiled by the Sevastopol human rights protection Group in the framework of the program „Transparent election-2002“

The complete version of the review is placed on the site  

A feature with Yulia Timoshenko was banned in Kharkov

A plot with the participation of Yulia Timoshenko, one of the opposition leaders, that was recorded for the Kharkov TV feature „Objective review“ was not transmitted. As the feature author Zurab Alasania, the head of the information service of the TV channel „Simon“, told, the feature, as far as he knows, was banned under the pressure of the oblast administration and Kharkov governor Evgeniy Kushnarev. „The program was taken from the schedule, and I was just informed about this without further explanations“, the TV commentator said. According to him, the prohibition was accompanied with the threat that the entire TV channel will be closed. Z. Alasania remarked that the interview with Timoshenko was recorded during the recent Timoshenko pre-election visit to Kharkov. It was planned to show the feature on 2 March. Yet, due to the expected on 3 March President’s visit to Kharkov, the feature was postponed on the insistent request of the oblast administration. However, a week later, on 9 March the interview was not transmitted, ForUm informs. Z. Alasania pointed out that „the feature did not contain anything extraordinary“. „I reckon that it did not matter what Yu. Timoshenko told, the sufficient reason was that she is an un-person“, he declared. The TV journalist also stated that in the nearest future he intends to place on Internet sites the texts of the interviews recorded for the mentioned feature, including that with Yulia Timoshenko.

Freedom of expression

Journalists refuse to discuss the film „PR“

(Journalists’ appeal)

On 27 March the TV channel 1+1“ will show the film „PR“ by Peter Powel and Charles Clover with the further discussion of the film. This film, which is allegedly devoted to investigating the murder of Georgiy Gongadze and the sources of the „cassette scandal“ in Ukraine, was already twice shown on the TV channel ICTV. In our opinion, the film is an example of sly journalism, where the facts are fitted to one version out of several, and the chosen version is full of contradictions. The viewer cannot obtain complete and exhaustive information about the situation in Ukraine and about the death of G. Gongadze. At the same time the goal of this film is transparent and obvious: to compromise certain political forces. We also could not ignore the statements of some personages of the film that their words were distorted in the quotations given in the film. That is why we find impossible to participate in the advertisement of the film on the all-Ukrainian channel. The advertisement, which seems rather doubtful several before the election.

Our decision not to participate in the discussion was also influenced by the prohibition to invite our colleague Olena Pritula. We believe that this prohibition testifies that the „discussion“ will be a form of agitation, which was already demonstrated on the TV channel ICTV. We refuse to put a finger into such technologies.

Журналісти: Наталя Лігачова, Юлія Мостова, Марія Пирожук, Сергій Рахманін

Телекритика, 27 March 2002

Militia pogrom in a Cherkassy printing-shop

These events occurred neither in Chili, nor in Honduras, nor in any other banana republic. All described below happened in the country, which moves along the road paved with good intentions, allegedly to Europe. At the very moment when the President of this country declared in a voice of thunder: „Democracy is developing step by step in the country, it is evident“, brave militiamen attacked a Cherkassy printing-shop and destroyed the run of the newspaper „Svoboda“ („Freedom“). That was a final touch, the apotheosis of the operation, if to use noble terms. The beginning of the operations was even more shocking. In general, all that happened in Cherkassy in several last days, can be described neither in the terms of law, not in the terms of the common sense. It happened just a week before the election.

On Saturday, about 11 p.m. a truck with the consecutive run of the newspaper „Freedom“ moved from the Cherkassy printing shop „Respublika“ to Kyiv. On a highway, near the village of Pischanoe of the Zolotonosha district the driver of the truck was blinded with the headlights of a car standing at the roadside. The militia blue flashlight shone on the car roof and a stranger in a luminescent vest of road police made a gesture with his button ordering the truck to stop. „I stopped and reached to the glove compartment for documents“, told driver Vadim Yurchenko later: „At this moment somebody jerked the door open and pulled me out. Then they pushed me into a jeep that came up and ordered to be calm. The jeep turned and sped about 400 meters from the place of the boarding. Two men set in the jeep. In 40 minutes they got through the portable radio the command: „All clear. Throw him out“.“

They threw Vadim Yurchenko to the ditch, and the jeep, according to his words, started toward Kyiv. „I went to my truck“, the driver continued: „Having come to the bridge over the Supoy river, I petrified: packs of newspapers drifted downstream. The truck was standing near the waterfront. The ignition was on. I pulled the keys from the ignition lock, and the inner voice prompted me: stop, you must not drive“.

In the morning a peg hammered into ground was found near the truck. This trick is widely used by special troops for mining vehicles. An explosive (e. g., grenade) is attached to the chassis, and the pin is fastened with a length of wire to the peg. It is easy to guess what would happen, if the truck started. And the version will be convincing: the truck exploded near the river and the newspaper fell into the water.

Thank God, this did not happen. The driver hitchhiked to the Zolotonosha road police post and told them about the event. It was half past four in the small hours of the morning… by the arrival of the Zolotonosha militia the truck was mine-freed. The newspapers „Freedom“ were drifting downstream.

At this very time the unprecedented operation was developing in Cherkassy. On Sunday morning the prosecutor’s office of the Sosnovskiy district of Cherkassy started the blitzkrieg criminal case. You are mistaking, if you think that it concerned the attack at Vadim Yurchenko and the destruction of the run of „Freedom“. The case was titled as follows: „On the fact of misuse of power by the administration of the printing shop „Respublika“ connected with distributing the confidential information about a state official without the consent of the latter“. Do not you want to know, who was this official? His face decorated almost every page of this issue of „Freedom“, his surname – Potebenko. The General Prosecutor. Several pages was separated for the deputies’ request written by G. Omelchenko and A. Ermak, where they describe in details the mechanism of taking bribes by General Prosecutor Potebenko from Aleksandr Volkov. One more page contains the list of Mr. Volkov’s accounts in foreign banks, names of the firms and organizations, through which he laundered his millions. The page also contained the meticulous analysis why Mr. Potebenko refused to obey the decisions of foreign courts about starting criminal case against the oligarch and how the latter shared the money with the General Prosecutor.

„For dessert“ (on the last page) the newspaper wrote about the „apartment jugglers“ – Mr. Potebenko and his colleagues-prosecutors. It is obvious that such information about the „honest prosecutor“ and communist had to be destroyed it any price.

Fortunately, the operation of exploding the truck failed. Several hours later Oleg Liashko, the editor-in-chief of „Freedom“, arrived in Cherkassy. Together with Stanislav Zhurilo, the manager of the printing shop „Respublika“, he decided to print again 107 thousand copies of the destroyed issue. Yet, the opponents did not sleep. By the moment of the start of printing the building of the printing shop was besieged by militiamen. By the demand of the prosecutor’s office judge Dmitrenko (on Sunday!) issued the warrant for searching the printing shop. On which grounds? On the ground of the newly opened case on „spreading confidential information about a state official without the consent of the latter“! Reasonable people were, mildly speaking, shocked. Is it right is journalists must ask a consent of Potebenko to print even not a author’s material about him, but an official documents – a request from MPs? And about which „spreading“ may one speak if the newspaper spread drifting downstream, and not a single copy was read by public? And the conclusion is: even before the newspaper was thrown into the river, the prosecutor’s office already had some copies. Who except robbers could pass the newspapers to the prosecutor’s office? This is an open secret. It is obvious that the attack at the driver and all the consequent events are links of the same chain.

2 p.m., Sunday. Stanislav Zhurilo, the manager of the printing shop „Respublika“, editor-in-chief of the oblast newspaper „Vechirni Cherkassy“ and the head of the oblast headquarters if the political bloc „Our Ukraine“, comments these events: „Some people from the prosecutor’s office came to us and told that judge Dmitrenko considered the materials of the criminal case (?!) and took the decision to search the printing shop. We just print newspapers regardless of the content. I, as a newspaper editor, always fought with censorship and I will never allow myself to censor others. As to the accusation that we spread the information damaging honor and dignity of citizens, it, firstly, must be proven by a court, and, secondly, no information was distributed yet. Then what are the reasons to open a criminal case? Besides, the new Criminal Code does not contain such article at all. We are shocked by these arbitrary actions!“

Oleg Liashko, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper „Freedom“, came to the Cherkassy printing shop hoping to print again the new run of the newspaper. When, some time later, the shop was crowded by prosecutor officers and militiamen headed by Yu. Oleynik, the editor was infuriated. „We published in our newspaper the MPs’ request reading that Potebenko, in their opinion, took a bribe from Volkov, the former assistant of the President of Ukraine. This is an official MPs’ request. According to laws, nobody must be brought to responsibility for publishing documents of state organs and officials. In this case, MPs, the authors of the request, are the officials of the superior organ of state power of Ukraine – the Supreme Rada. The deputies somehow got the documents connected with the bankruptcy of the bank „Ukraine“. Volkov then headed the fund „Social protection“, his account was in the bank „Ukraine“. The provisional commission of the Supreme Rada found two very interesting payment orders. With these orders Volkov and his fund transferred to the General Prosecutor’s office 600 thousand UAH. It happened exactly at the time when the General Prosecutor’s office received the commission of the prosecutor’s office of Belgium to start the investigation concerning Volkov. In Brussels they arrested more than 40 million USD on Volkov’s accounts and distrained upon his property. Instead of fulfillment of the commission of the Belgian prosecutor’s office, Potebenko took money from Volkov. I, as a lawyer and a newspaper editor, can assess this only as a bribe. As to the today’s events – the document presented by Kucherenko, the prosecutor of the Sosnovskiy district of Cherkassy (he came to the printing shop personally. – Author’s nope), about confiscating the run of the newspaper is absolutely illegal. I am sure that it was an order of Potebenko. If, at the start I believed that all was dine by gangsters in militia uniform, now I am sure that all the events are links of the same chain. We will not obey the illegal decision. There is an article in our Constitution, which envisages the responsibility no only for issuing, but also for obeying illegal orders. I will defend the Constitution as long as I could…“

But the forces of the editor and the not numerous personnel of the printing shop were obviously insufficient to prevent the real assault of the shop building by about a hundred of militiamen and prosecutor officers. It happened on Sunday evening. Beforehand, at daylight, militia cars appeared near the building. Militiamen sitting inside openly watched everybody coming to and going from the printing shop. S. Zhurilo even had his photo taken near one of these besiegers. At a few minutes after six something improbable started. Perhaps all forces of militia, special troop „Berkut“ and… road police were gathered near the printing shop building. Yuri Oleynik, the deputy head of militia directorate of the Cherkassy oblast, commented the situation as follows: „the goal of the militia was to protect the public order during the search conducted by the prosecutor officers in the printing shop“. A nice formulation! Not less than ten militia cars blocked the entrance to the printing shop. After this about a score militiamen rushed to the building through the entrance checkpoint. Any resistance was futile, and Oleg Liashko, who is at the same time a candidate to the Supreme Rada in the Pecherskiy electoral district of Kyiv, tried to burst through the encirclement. The prosecutor officers declared that they had the order to detain Liashko, although they had not the slightest grounds for this. After a lasting exchange of harsh words, they let Liashko go. The officers headed by prosecutor Kucherenko began the through search of the printing shop. All the already printed run of „Freedom“, as well as the printing plates, were confiscated and loaded to the cars without license numbers. The question about the place of destination of the confiscated property the answer followed that the load would be allegedly taken to a militia precinct, this was written in the confiscation protocol. Yet, in the actual fact, the newspaper run was unloaded in the oblast prosecutor’s office.

Journalists of the edition „Antenna“, who were present at that time in the printing shop, phoned to Cherkassy mayor Vladimir Oleynik. The mayor came up to the place of the assault, when the militiamen loaded the last truck with the confiscated newspapers. V. Oleynik said that what was happening was an outrageous abuse of morals and laws, but he was unable to stop the robbery.

On Monday morning all the commanding officers of militia and prosecution gathered in the office of governor Lukyanets. Several hours after the sitting the prosecutor’s office made a search in the editorial board of the newspaper „Vechirni Cherkassy“. That time again militiamen got a search warrant as if by magic.

The building of the printing shop is still surrounded by militia. Several civil cars packed with militiamen stand near the entrance. From a trustworthy source we got the information that, according to the order received, militia and prosecutor’s office would do their best to prevent printing any newspaper writing about the „militia pogrom“. Since this printing shop is the only one in Cherkassy, the strategic task of militia is rather simple.

Olga Shvets, Valeriy Vorotnik


26 March 2002

Access to information

Analysis of the access to governmental information


The analysis of the access to governmental information shows that the executive power organs use the following classifications for making information secret: „for service use only“, „not for printing“, „not for publishing“. These classifications are illegal, since they are not defined by any law, neither is defined the procedure of working with documents classified „not for printing“, „not for publishing“. The instruction for processing the documents classified as „for service use only“ is written in the spirit of the „good old“ totalitarian times and practically bars the access to such documents.

We tried to learn how often the illegal classifications are used. We analyzed all documents issued by several central agencies in 2000 and 2001 to find the number of the documents so classified. To this end, we used the computer legal system „Liga“. The results are presented in Table 1. It is easy to see that most of such documents are issued by the Ukrainian President and the Cabinet of Ministers. The President mainly uses the classification „not for publishing“, the Cabinet of Ministers – „not for printing“ and the agencies – „for service use only“. In the base the titles are given of the documents „for service use only“, from which titles one can conclude the content. The documents „not for publishing“ and „not for printing“ are represented only by numbers and the adoption date. Yet, in some cases, when a document appears in a subject index, it has the title. For example, we learned in such a manner that Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 411-p of 12 September 2001 concerns pensions. But why on earth any information concerning pensions must be kept secret from Ukrainian citizens?! Certainly, such information is of extreme interest for public. Besides the Law „On state secrets“ prohibits to make secret the information concerning citizens’ rights and freedoms. Since the degree of secrecy of the documents „not for printing“ seems to be lower than for the information defined as a state secret, then the documents containing the information about citizens’ rights and freedoms must not have this classification. And the human rights certainly cover any information about pensions. By the same reason documents No. 709/94 of 30 November 1994 might not be classified, since, as it appeared, it is about the identification numbers (the number given to each citizens to be accounted for by the tax administration. – Translator’s note).

Table 1

Number of documents



„For service use only“

„Not for printing“

“Not for publishing“










President of Ukraine





Cabinet of Ministers





Ministry of Interior










Penitentiary department







Ministry of Justice




Frontier guard committee





Ministry of defense



Ministry of foreign affairs



General Prosecutor’s office



Ministry of emergencies



The fact that the Penitentiary Department classified the document „Regime rules in penitentiaries“ (order No. 10 of 6 May 2000) as „not for printing“ is very surprising. How could one obey the rules, if they are inaccessible? It can happen that the access to the documents „not for printing“ is much easier than to those „for service use only“, but we can only guess about it.

Table 2



Cabinet of Ministers



Total for year

Not for publishing

Proportion of classified documents to the total number, %

Total for year

Not for printing

Proportion of classified documents to the total number, %








President and Par-liamentary election





























Parliamentary election








President election








All-Ukrainian referendum








A great number of the untitled documents issued by the President and the Cabinet of Ministers made us learn the dynamics of their appearance for during a longer period. It appeared that the classifications „not for printing“ and „not for publishing“ were used as early as 1994, even before the pre-term President and Parliamentary election. The data on the quantity of such documents issued in the period from 1994 to 2001 are arranged in Table 2, and the Figure shows their proportion to the total number of documents in %. Abrupt leaps of issuing such documents both by the President and the Cabinet of Ministers are clearly seen on the graph. Although leap times are not clearly correlated with political events, more often they respond to elections or all-Ukrainian referendum. It is also remarkable that the President makes secret much more documents than the Cabinet of Ministers or some other agency.

An official working in President’s administration told privately that the documents classified as „not for publishing“ concern the appointments to various posts, and, in his opinion, such documents are not of wide interest and are not worth wasting paper. This simple explanation is difficult believe, especially taking into account the above-mentioned examples of classifying documents directly related to human rights. One thing is obvious: bureaucrats, as before, decide by themselves what public must know, what would be interesting to it, and deprive the public of information.


To check to opportunity to get some governmental information we decided to try to collect the data for preparing the annual report on the state of human rights in Ukraine.

The Kharkov Group for human rights protection and our partners, the participants of the human rights protecting network, in August 2001 turned to various central and regional organs with the requests to give the information for 1998, 1999, 2000 and the first half of 2001.

We requested the data on the mortality rate and its causes, on the number of suicides, on the living standard and minimum consumer’s basket, on the distribution of sizes of pensions, on wages in various branches, on the structure of unemployment, on the state of medical aid; data on the level of secondary and higher education; data on strikes and hunger strikes; data on the mortality rate in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and its causes; data on the level and structure of crime, court statistics, number of appeals for mercy and number of satisfied appeals; data on the number of penitentiaries, on the diseases and mortality rate there; on the number of TB cases and the AIDS-infected in the country on the average and separately in penitentiaries; data on expenditures for the upkeep of the incarcerated , on legal and detained illegal migrants, the number of refugees, the number of the repressed people representatives, etc.

Before sending the requests we analyzed the informational sources, which publish such information: statistical yearbooks published by the State statistical committee, periodicals published by ministries and agencies, such as „Visnyk Verkhovnogo Sudu Ukrainy“ („Herald of the Supreme Court of Ukraine“), „Visnyk Konstitutsiynogo Sudu Ukrainy“ („Herald of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine“), „Ofitsiyny Visnyk Ukrainy“ („Official Herald of Ukraine“) and others. One of the most useful sources was the computer legal database „Liga“, which contains legislative and other normative and legal acts.

Having generalized the results of this analysis, we sent the requests to the President’s administration. Ministry of Justice, Ministry of labor and social policy, Ministry of health protection, Ministry of education, Ministry of defense, the Ministry of Interior and all its regional directorates (the Crimea, 24 oblasts, cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol), General Prosecutor’s office and all its regional directorates, USS, State statistical committee, State penitentiary department, State department in charge of nationalities and migration, Commission on mercy at the President and other agencies.

According to Articles 32-34 of the Law „On information“, information requests must be considered by agencies up to 10 days; during this term the agency must respond to the author that his request will be satisfied or not, since the requested information may not be distributed. The refusal must be well motivated. The requests must be satisfied in a month. If the answer cannot be prepared within a month, then the state agency must inform about the postponement of the response, indicate the reason and the date, when the request will be actually satisfied.

The results of our requests to the Ministry of Interior, General Prosecutor’s office and their regional directorates are described below. As to other agencies, not a single of them did answer during 10 days. The Ministry of Justice, State penitentiary department and State department in charge of nationalities and migration reacted to our request within a month. Answers from the Ministry of labor and social policy, USS, Ministry of education (after the repeated request) and Commission on mercy at the President responded to us even later. The Ministry of defense and the Ministry of health protection did answer at all. The answers obtained were far from being complete, we were often recommended to turn to other agencies, most frequently to the State statistical committee. That is true that all state agencies pass the information to statistical committee in the established format. Yet, we turned to the agencies asking the information according to their specialization and requested mainly that information, which is placed in statistical yearbooks.

We received more or less complete data from the Ministry of Justice, State penitentiary department and State department in charge of nationalities and migration. The Ministry of Justice sent us the generalized numerical data on the budget financing of oblast, district (town) and martial courts (see Table 3; misery sums testify, in our opinion, on the real, not declared, attitude of the executive power to the judicial power), the number of judges brought to disciplinary responsibility and dismissed (in 1997 – 122 and 2, 1998 – 117 and 4, 1999 – 118 and 4, 2000 – 173 and 9, the first half of 2001 – 56 and 11, respectively), the number of the condemned for libel (in 1998 – 123, 1999 – 98, 2000 – 102, first half of 2001 – 49, among them condemned to incarceration: in 1998 – 3, 1999 – 5).

Table 3















Calculation of the Ministry of Justice (need), millions UAH

150, 8

169, 5

271 ,7


Approved by ther Law on the state budget (plan), millions UAH



130 ,1


Ratio of the plan to the need, %





Real financing, millions UAH



130 ,1

Ratio of the fact to the plan, %





Ratio of the fact to the need, %




52 (approx. for a month)

The State penitentiary department answered our questions concerning financing their system (in 1998 the budget plan was 227.5 million UAH, actually obtained – 180.6 million UAH; 1999 – 216.6 and 203.3, respectively; 2000 – planned and obtained 204.4; for the first 9 months of 2001 – 156.3 and 154.7, respectively), mortality rate in penitentiaries, including that of TB (in 1998 – 2108, 1999 – 2969, 2000 – 2222, the first half of 2001 – 865, among them of TB – 725, 1133, 715 and 300, respectively), the number of suicides among the incarcerated and among the personnel (in 1998 – 59 and 6, 1999 – 45 and 4, 2000 – 31 and 8, the first half of 2001 – 13 and 4).

Only the department of higher education answered from the Ministry of education, others were silent. After our repeated request G Naumenko, the deputy of the state secretary of the Ministry of education and science, responded that some answers to our questions could be found in the State statistical committee, other requested data were not collected by the Ministry. Yet, some statistical reference books published by the Ministry itself were appended to the letter. Some actions of state agencies, may be regarded as an oblique answers to our requests. So, the USS opened „The list of information items that are state secrets“ after our request about the legality of classifying this List as „secret“ and many lively correspondence and phone calls about this. The Minister of Interior Yuri Smirnov made public the data for 2001 about violating laws by law-enforcers (186 were brought to criminal responsibility and about 50 thousand – to disciplinary one) -- as far as we know, such data were nor published before. Since the autumn of 2001 the Commission on mercy at the President regularly informs the press on the number of the pardoned convicts.

We think that upon the whole the attitude of state agencies to the fulfillment of the Law „on information“, which obliges them to give the information on their activities to all interested parties, is obviously disparaging. This testifies, first of all, that the state organs, as before, do not pay attention to the society, which entrusted them to fulfil some functions and has the right to control their activities. It was vividly demonstrated in the answers about the illegal activities of law-enforcers.

(To be continued in the next issue)

Prohibition of discrimination

Irresponsibility is a disease… of medicine

The Kharkov Group for human rights protection receives many complaints concerning the quality of medical aid. Coming across violations of rights of patients and doctors we observe a helpless situation in the branch, which is perhaps the most important for citizens and state.

Recently we have received a complaint from Irina T. living in a little settlement near Cherkassy. Even members of the Kharkov Group, who got accustomed to all kinds of wild abuses typical of our life, were shocked.

The matter was as follows. In her complaint Irina describes such facts: two years ago she became ill. The symptoms were: weakness, frequent headaches, her capacity for work diminished. Endocrinologists made the diagnosis: a disease of the thyroid gland -- nodular goitre. Doctors prescribed a therapy, but there was no improvement. Irina learned that a very good doctor, „professor“, who agrees to treat thyroid gland, works in Cherkassy. Irina turned to this doctor. Being ignorant in medicine Irina was not surprised that the „professor“ receives patients in a drugstore and agrees to treat almost every disease: people with different illnesses stood in a line. Having examined Irina the „professor“ assured that she would cure her during half a year and proposed to do it by massage of the thyroid gland. It is easy to guess that neither in six months nor in a year Irina became better, on the contrary -- the nodes enlarged and became harder. Then the „professor“ told that a year is not sufficient, and the massage must be prolonged for another year. Irina got frightened since after the procedures the bruises appeared on her neck, and she felt herself worse and worse. Fortunately, Irina’s husband found a job in Kyiv and began to earn enough money to take his wife for a medical consultation in the capital.

The first examination in the state endocrinology center that Irina’s disease became more virulent as a result of the „treatment“ with massage – the node became malignant. Irina was urgently operated, then she was treated with radioactive iodine. Irina became a second group invalid, she is unable to work. Who will be responsible for this? Neither Irina herself nor her family can afford to turn to court – they have not enough money and energy…

Why the oblast and town medical directorates of Cherkassy disregard how swindlers from medicine maim trustful patients? The question is rhetorical…

We observe the same sad picture in Kharkov, which once was famous with its medical school. Several years ago patient Natalya D. was treated in a small cozy private clinic headed by doctor Akimov, a specialist in ultrasound examinations. The patient suffered from a malignant blood disease. Doctor Akimov examined the sick woman and, having done all the necessary analyses in some laboratory, found a rather exotic disease – histoplasmosis, and agreed to treat the disease. The treatment cost Natalya’s life, since when she turned again to the official medicine, the time was lost. Why is it possible in our country? Why do all kinds of healers and quacks flourish? First of all, because a patient gets into a vicious circle of irresponsibility, since neither official nor non-traditional medicine carry responsibility for the results of treatment. Secondly, the official medicine demonstrates its helplessness so often, that citizens do not trust it and turn to various quacks. Besides, now it is important whether the sick can afford official medical aid. I know a family, which treated their son’s kidneys for several years using quacks’ services, since they had no money for doctors and medical drugs. There are other reasons too: I know about well-to-do patients, who for years wandered from one official medical „magician“ to others, wasting heaps of money, and, after all found a healer, since they were disappointed with the results the traditional medicine. And not in vain. The level of medical aid cannot be high, when no one is responsible for nothing, when the information about the world achievements in this branch are not mastered. How can it be, you will ask. The Internet now can carry to anyone interested the newest information. Yet, our doctors are very poor as all budget-paid people. They are not only poor, but also overloaded, they already do not believe that the prestige of their profession will ever grow and their work will be respected by the state. A medical doctor cannot feed his family and even survive himself for the salary of 200 UAH per month (less than 40 USD, which is the salary of a highest category physician). So, a doctor seeks where he can to earn an extra kopeck instead of learning new achievements in his profession. Rank-and-file doctors try to earn money wherever they can, but stars of the profession having private practice do not feel any competition, and this spoils. Besides, any mistake may be explained with a bad laboratory base, which is really archaic, the needed apparatuses are absent.

Thus, desperate clients search for alternative ways. That is why quacks assuming various names: professors, healers, magicians, wizards, etc., blossom as never.

I am not against folk potions, on the contrary, I support such methods, if real professionals use them: homeopaths, physiotherapists, who have needed knowledge and experience.

But the trouble is that immorality and ignorance grow on the same soil – such as in the case of Irina T. And here we may say assuredly: we have what to reproach the state about. It does not protect its sick citizens either when it pays misery salaries to medical specialists or when it refuses to control the practitioners of both traditional and non-traditional medicine.

In Russia, in St.-Petersburg, 700 claims were handed to courts against medical doctors, the majority of the claims were satisfied. We will never tear this vicious circle of irresponsibility unless we do the same.

If at last the Ukrainian Parliament adopts the law on insurance medicine, which will account for the Ukrainian realities and, at the same time, will answer the European standards, then it will help to create the real competitive medicine. Then, we hope, such wild cases as the case of Irina T. In Cherkassy will not be possible.

Now we are going to pass the complaint of Irina T. to the Ministry of Health protection. We shall inform our readers what answer we shall get.

Women’s rights

Our jurisprudence comes to a crisis phase

In the good old times of socialism most of cases concerning the violations of human rights were solved either out of court (communist party, state and trade union organs took the decisions about the complaints of citizens) or were not solved at all. Civil affairs made a small proportion in court practices.

Nowadays the court becomes the basic, or even the only, instance for protecting civil and other human rights. The number of cases on protecting honor and dignity, labor and property conflicts has increased abruptly. In 2000 the number of civil cases equaled 76.1% of the total number of cases considered by courts. At the same time the number of criminal cases increased too. Besides now the court has the duty to apply coercive reforming measures to minors.

Since the institute of people’s representatives in district courts was liquidated, a judge solves practically all the cases by himself. He is responsible only before God, when he inquires the Law and his consciousness before taking a decision on behalf of the state and court.

In 2000 courts considered 1,975,209 cases, that is 13% more than in 1999. The average number of cases solved within a month by one judge reached 54. This number was 72 in the Volyn oblast, 70 in the Crimea and 60 in the Kherson oblast („Visnyk Verkhovnogo Sudu Ukrainy“ -- „The Herald of the Supreme Court of Ukraine“, No. 4, 2001). The average monthly load of a judge of an oblast court reached 13 cases. This is too much. District courts carry the main burden in court practices, since they consider cases of every kind. That is why judges must answer very high criteria and must permanently improve their professionalism. Appeal courts consider more complicated cases, which also requires high professionalism from the judges.

In 2001 the load on courts increased again. They began to consider the cases on violating traffic rules, which had been considered before by the road police. At last, the courts have begun to issue search and arrest warrants. All this may result in the overloading of courts, which, in its turn, will make the judges incapable of careful consideration of cases and issuing the decisions, which are based on laws, and take account of all substantial circumstances.

Here are some examples from the court practices, which characterize the real situation in courts. IN the Moskovskiy district court of Kyiv a case was considered. The judge absent-mindedly listened to the prosecutor, the advocate and the accused – they all confirmed that there was no fact of theft, but rather of swindling; witnesses asserted the same. Nonetheless the verdict quoted the accusation conclusion, which confirmed the theft. The Kyiv city court corrected the mistake.

Judge Tsokol from the Starokyivskiy district court of Kyiv stubbornly – 10 times – issued the obviously incorrect decisions on the affairs concerning returning of money investments from the bank, which went bankrupt, in order not to be involved in these doubtful affairs. These decisions were regularly cancelled by the city court.

There are many examples of this sort. The public is convinced that judges take bribes or are interested in some other manner in issuing unjust and illegal decisions and verdicts. Now, because of the overloading of judges, the situation may become such that a bribe or influence would be needed just to make the judge consider the case carefully and take a legal and unbiased decision or verdict.

The number of reconsidered cases, decisions and verdicts is negligent – 5%, the results of reconsiderations are very infinitesimal. What can be the quality of reconsideration in the Kyiv city court two reconsiderations were appointed to be conducted by the same judges in the same hall at the same time.

To be just, this is not the usual routine. For example, the well-known case of B. Savlokhov was considered by the same judge collegium at the same time, but in different halls (at least so it was written in the official announcement).

After the realization of the so-called „small court reform“ some positive changes did happen. For example, in the Kyiv appeal court the cases now are considered not during five minutes, but sometimes about half an hour, and the court now works not once a week, but all weekdays. Perhaps, these are all positive changes. To study the problem in more details, one must monitor the situation for a noticeable time.

The quality of considering civil affairs raises is alarming. The number of such cases in courts has substantially increased, many of these affairs concern civil and human rights. In my opinion, many demands of the new Civil-Procedural Code (CPC) of Ukraine are rather inadequate, and they must be immediately reconsidered by legislators. For example, the demand to hand in complaints against court decisions in civil cases only in typewritten form will hinder, first of all, the poorest citizens. I believe that human rights protecting organizations must fight for canceling this obviously unjust and discriminating norm stipulated by Article 293 of the CPC, since this norm violates the right for court protection guaranteed by Article 55 of the Ukrainian Constitution.

The operating procedure of cassation in civil cases impedes the procedure and will lead to an even more overload of judges and, correspondingly, to further deterioration. The right to change or denounce court decisions is given only to court chamber, to which the affair may be passed by the judge collegium after the consideration. Article 328 of the CPC envisages passing the affair to the complete composition of the court chamber of the Supreme Court only infrequently, only when rough distortions of the law were committed during the consideration. More complicated cases have, unfortunately, very few chances to be considered by the court chamber. In fact, now the judges of the court chamber of the Supreme Court usually respond with a standard answer repeating Article 328 of the CPC and containing the refusal to pass the case for the consideration by the complete composition of the court chamber. This happens even with those cases, which have a great public importance and must be later used by courts while considering similar cases. Although, according to Article 328 of the CPC the court chamber of the Supreme Court ought to do it. So, for example, the complainers in the affairs of returning money from the State bank of Ukraine received formal refusals from the Supreme Court. These cases, obviously of great public importance for the entire Ukraine, were not considered by the complete composition of the court chamber. The answer takes approximately one and a half page of the text, which was compiled by the judge collegium during a month after taking the decision. Another month the special department of the Supreme Court in charge of court activities prepared these court rulings to be mailed.

Even if a case will somehow get to the complete composition of the judge collegium, the probability of the canceling or changing the decision is close to nil. This is envisaged by Article 336 of the CPC, where the reasons are listed, which enable the Supreme Court to cancel a decision. Such reasons are mainly the violations of the norms of the procedural law, which may be easily removed in the process of considering the appeal. For example if the decision was not signed by judges, or if the case was considered in the absence of the sides or by am improper court composition.

These fuzzy and ambiguous clauses adopted in 2001 will result in getting more problems. According to the information given by the administration of the Supreme Court, during the last year the Court received 30-40 thousand surveillance complaints.

In 2000 oblast courts considered 5.4 thousand surveillance complaints, a part of them was satisfied. Thus, oblast courts managed to correct a part of court errors.

The new legislation of 2001 deprived oblast courts of the right to reconsider decisions and verdicts, which already came into effect. Since only the Supreme Court has now the right to consider cassations, the flow of the complaints will increase, quality of considerations will decrease and the number of uncorrected court errors will accumulate. More and more facts of abusing human rights will not be legally solved or will be solved illegally.

Human rights protection activists must improve the norms of justice by addressing MPs to suggest the improvement of the legislation practices. Human rights protectors must, jointly with advocates’ NGOs, generalize court practices, make public the facts of court misuses and illegal court decisions.

The absence of glasnost, the absence of public knowledge about court practices generates the irresponsibility of courts.


Our brave warriors got afraid…

This is the only way to evaluate their „over-carefulness“, when we – the public organization „M’ART“ – turned to the Commandment of the troops of the Northern military okrug. We suggested in writing to conduct the educational measures directed at the fulfillment of the state conception to increase the legal culture of the participants of election process for youths, who serve in the armed forces. We got no answer.

We suggested the training that we have already successfully implemented among students. The training is carried in the interesting from with using interactive methods. During the training its participants acquire the practical knowledge of the election procedure, the knowledge how to make the well-grounded choice and how to protect one’s voter’s rights.

The letter was addressed to General-major Oleg M. Shustenko, the Commander of the troops of the Northern military okrug. The latter was mailed on 29 December 2001 of outgoing No. 32. We were proposed to do so in the headquarters of the Commandment after our first, oral, address. Yet, we could not imagine that the Commandment would violate the Ukrainian Law „On citizens’ appeals“, which envisages the written answer to an appeal not later than in a month.

Having got no answer and having in mind the wise saying „Knock and your knock will be answered“, we resumed the oral negotiations. These negotiations conducted through telephones and from mouth to mouth with colonels and generals were very interesting. Sometimes we had an impression that they make reports to us. They told that a great work was being conducted: „voters’ corners“ were created, special training was conducted, etc. We were fooled for a long time: sometimes they referred to some mysterious checks, sometimes they promised to meet us and did not come or came very late. At last they appointed the day, when we, together with the headquarters representative had to develop the schedule of our work. We were told that an officer would be present at our training sessions, who would prevent us to break the main principle of our work – not to agitate for any political force or candidate. Yet, it seems they were not going to fulfil their promises, and, after all, we got a diplomatic refusal. It was a classical red tape.

So, what were our gallant warriors afraid of?

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2002, #03