war crimes in Ukraine

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“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2003, #04

Implementation of European Law
The European Court acknowledged the violations of rights of the Ukrainians condemned to death penalty The claims of six Ukrainians were partially satisfied by the European Court of human rights (Volodymir Yavorskiy). Privacy
Communal services are divulging confidential information. Freedom of expression
Court satisfied the claim of the former head of the Chernivtsy oblast department for fighting organized crime against the newspaper “Chas” The statement of the prosecutor’s office on the violation of Ukrainian laws by Severodonetsk mayor V. Gritsychin “Absurd is real and reality is absurd …” Five editorial boards are already involved in “Kuchma’s case”: lawyers’ comments The lawsuit between MP P. Kuzmenko and the Uman newspaper „Vulyk“ will continue in the Supreme Court Who dares to protest against the Iraq war? On the attitude of the Odessa mayor’s office to journalists and opposition Journalists got the proposition to abandon pseudonyms. Correspondent of the newspaper "Krymskie novosti" was brutally beaten by strangers. The prosecutor’s office interrogated editor of "Antenna" Valeriy Vorotnik on the case of anti-President publications. Women’s rights
A claim against the state Judge Lubianoy did not dare to pass to the Supreme Court of Ukraine the most part of the documents on Feldman’s case On refugees
Officers of Evpatoria militia robbed a scientific society Army
On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine. Self-government
Who will help the released? Results of human rights and media grant competition (Press release of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine). The seminar „Monitoring and protection of the freedom of the press and other human rights and freedoms in Ukraine“ was hold in Kharkov Point of view
Kyiv city administration rendered 7.3 thousand UAH to "Memorial".

Implementation of European Law

The European Court acknowledged the violations of rights of the Ukrainians condemned to death penalty

This story began in 1994, when Borislav Poltoratskiy, a 19-year-old dweller of Ivano-Frankivsk, was condemned for the murder of the family of Gomonays. This mysterious assassination was described by all mass media, and not only in our oblast. Evhen Poltoratskiy, Borislav’s father, is sure until now: the crime was committed by other persons, and the boys (his son and Mykhaylo Kuznetsov) were the accidental witnesses of this terrible tragedy. The youths were condemned to death penalty, and law-enforcers got higher ranks, flats and popularity. Some days ago the European Court issued the decision concerning the conditions of the upkeep of six Ukrainians (including Borislav Poltoratskiy and Mykhaylo Kuznetsov), who were condemned to death penalty, which was later replaced by life imprisonment. I want to tell about the story that happened nine years ago and about the decision of the European judges.

Militia juggled with the facts

Evhen Poltoratskiy (he is now heading of the Parents’ committee „Poriatunok“ that unites the parents of those, who were condemned to the capital punishment) is sure: this was a tragic concourse of circumstances.

– To their misfortune, the boys were in the neighboring flat, – recollects Evhen. – When they heard the noise, Kuznetsov went out and came across the criminals. One of them entered the flat, where the youths were and ordered to be silent about what they saw, else, he said, the criminals would murder them and their families. Having seen the bloodstained hands of the murderer, the boys froze with fear. What could they do? To be silent, of course!

Law-enforcers could not or did not want to find the real criminals and decided to lay the blame on Poltoratskiy and Kuznetsov. For this falsification they applied the illegal methods of investigation: threats, humiliation and beatings, intravenous injections, hypnosis, stoolpigeons, night interrogations and other Stalin’s methods.

The criminal case is throughout false and mendacious, it contains the enormous number of contradictions and inanities. For example, the protocol of the first interrogation is absolutely senseless. At first Kuznetsov allegedly confessed that he murdered four persons: Gomonay, his wife and their two children. After this the investigators understood that this confession was somewhat fantastic: it seemed doubtful that the 18-year-old youth, whose weight was 48 kilograms and who was drunk, was able to murder the physically healthy, sober man with psychical disorders (he was deaf-mute), and then three persons more. Then the militiamen modified the case: they invented the non-existent events and forced the youth to confess to some incredible things.

Long before the trial the officers of Ivano-Frankivsk militia shared the awards: ranks of general and captain, two-room flat, carpets, furniture, money bonuses, which they were expecting to obtain for the „conscientious service“ and „disclosure“ of the murder of Gomonays family. At the same time, Evhen Poltoratskiy believes that they purposely concealed the fact that the victim was a drug-pusher.

– Unfortunately, this method of investigation is not new or unusual in our oblast, on the contrary, it is quite typical, said E. Poltoratskiy. – I will mention several examples of the most sensational cases: the arrest and illegal custody of former banker A. Prut and of lieutenant colonel Shkurashivskiy, the former head of the financial-economic department of the militia directorate (who stayed in a solitary cell for six months), illegal condemnation of two youths: I. Vovk and M. Shevchenko (the case of ruining the crosses on the graveyard of the settlement Burshtyn)… The methods of falsifying were similar in all these cases: a person was detained without any proofs of his guilt, and then the law-enforcers forced the detained to admit the guilt by humiliations, threats, physical and psychical pressure.

E. Poltoratskiy sent the enormous number of complaints to various instances: the General Prosecutor’s office, the Supreme Court of Ukraine, MPs, etc. His complaints were immediately passed to the General Prosecutor’s office, and from there he received the similar answers, which read that there were no grounds for appealing against the court decision. The condemned boys named the concrete persons, who committed the crime. Being isolated one from another for many years, they identically described the events of this tragic night, but in vain. Nobody wanted to read, to believe or to do something.

Thus, the conclusion is obvious: somebody wants very mush to protect the criminals and to do away with the witnesses. „There are no proofs of the guilt of my son: no fingerprints, footwear or knife, with which the victims were killed“, says the inconsolable father.

The European Court acknowledged the facts of torture in the Ivano-Frankivsk prison

It is unbelievable, but the convicts condemned to death penalty were prohibited to meet their relatives and priest, their correspondence was checked. Besides, the prisoners underwent cruel treatment, which resulted in the suicidal attempt of Mykhaylo Kuznetsov in September 1998. Six convicts condemned to death penalty (including Borislav Poltoratskiy and Mykhaylo Kuznetsov) sent the complaint to the European Court about the unbearable upkeep conditions in the Ivano-Frankivsk prison. On the request of parents and with their support the commission of the European Court of human rights visited the prison. On 29 April the chamber of the European Court consisting of seven judges, including Ukrainian judge Vladimir Butkevich, issued its decision: the violation of the rights of the condemned was acknowledged and the compensation was assigned equal to 2000 Euro to each one, plus 1000 Euro to Poltoratskiy and Kuznetsov. The judges almost unanimously admitted that the personnel of the Ivano-Frankivsk prison violated Article 3 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which prohibits torture and declares: „Nobody may underwent torture or inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment“. It was stated that the conditions of the upkeep in the cell for the condemned to the capital punishment were unbearable, and the demands of the convicts about the official investigation of torture applied to them in the prison were not satisfied. The Court chamber also unanimously acknowledged the violations of Articles 8 and 9 of the European Convention, which stipulate the right for the respect to private life, the secrecy of correspondence, the freedom of opinions, consciousness and religious convictions.

As to the complaint of Poltoratskiy and Kuznetsov against the beatings by jailers in September 1998, after which Kuznetsov committed the suicidal attempt, the court decided that the official investigation of this case was perfunctory and negligent, medical examination of the victims was not conducted, and the authorities did not show any serious intentions to learn the truth. The upkeep of the people condemned to death penalty in the confined room (solitary cell without natural light) and absence of minimal contacts with other people (even after the suicidal attempt) inflicted the mental sufferings to the prisoners and humiliated their human dignity. However, the Court took into account social and economic problems of Ukraine, problems of penitentiary administration in the fulfillment of laws and instructions. Yet, the European Court reckons that the lack of resources does not excuse such conditions of the upkeep in prisons.

One more confirmation of the unendurable conditions in Ukrainian prisons was not a sensation, but the world community got just another confirmation that Ukraine is very far from the established standards of human dignity and human rights. And Ukrainian citizens can learn from this example that the consideration of their complaints by the European Court is quite real.

From „Prava ludyny“ editorial board:This article is published in the author’s version. We had no opportunity to verify the information about the innocence of the complainers. This must become a topic for separate investigation.

The claims of six Ukrainians were partially satisfied by the European Court of human rights (Volodymir Yavorskiy).

The European Court of human rights got the complaints from six Ukrainian condemned, for whom the death penalty was replaced with life imprisonment after Ukraine abolished the capital punishment. The consideration of the Ukrainian claims lasted for more than five years. The Court in Strasburg partially agreed with the complaints of the Ukrainian prisoners. In particular, the judges admitted that the administration of the Ivano-Frankivsk prison violated the right for religious convictions, since two claimants were not permitted to meet with priest. Another claimant, who stayed in Simferopol prison, could not get the permission for intimate meetings with his wife; this fact was interpreted by the court as a violation of the right for family life. It was stated that all six convicts were kept in the inhumane conditions being waiting for the execution. At the same time, the Strasburg court did not agree with the complaints that the convicts were beaten in the Ivano-Frankivsk prison and refused to acknowledge the administration of the Kmelnitsky prison to be guilty of catching TB by one of the complainers. These conclusions were based on the results of expertise.

The European Court of human rights obliged the Ukrainian state to pay the compensations from 1 to 3 thousand Euro to the six claimants. Besides, the Court must oblige Ukrainian authorities to improve the operating laws and court practices.

Volodymir Yavorskiy,



Communal services are divulging confidential information.

Communal services of Ukraine began the struggle with debtors using typically Soviet and absolutely illegal methods. The complaints against such actions are sent to us from all regions of Ukraine.

In some towns, such as the town of Kalush of the Kyiv oblast, the lists of debtors are posted up on the doors of the houses, and these lists contain not only the names of debtors, but also the sums of debts. In Kharkov this method is used quite „officially“ – the lists are sent to budget organizations, and the administrations of these organizations must force their subordinates to pay the debts. We received the complaint of a young medical doctor (she has a very widespread surname), who lives with her parents and has no personal account al all. Yet, in spite of this, she also got to such lists and had to listen to the reprimands of the head physician of her hospital and to give the explanations. In order to learn what happened, she phoned to the district department of the water supplying company and got the calm answer that a year ago this company had collected the lists of staff of budget organizations, and now they were searching the debtors according to these lists. So, if several Kharkov dwellers had similar names and surnames, all of them would receive the „pleasant“ notification about the debts. Unfortunately, in this case these were somebody else’s debts.

The reasonable question appears: who gave the right to the communal services to compile the lists of citizens and to spread private information about these citizens? This situation resembles the „old good“ Soviet times very much. If this tendency develops, soon we would discuss private life and marital infidelities of each other at the meetings of labor collectives and would adopt „The moral code of the builder of capitalism in Ukraine“!

The editorial board of „Prava ludyny“

In what follows we present the commentary of the juridical expert of the Kharkov group for human rights protection, in which you can read how to protect your privacy.

This problem is very spacious, and I believe that this method of pressure on the citizens is a demonstration of illegal actions of state organs and, in particular, of state officials.

The protection of the citizens can be realized in several directions.

1) Distribution (publication) of the information about communal debts of an individual may be interpreted as meddling into private life or/and creating the further conditions for such meddling. This contradicts Article 8 of the European Convention and Article 32 of the Ukrainian Constitution.

Why? As we know, Article 32 of the Constitution reads (pay special attention to the provisions set off in italics):

Nobody must undergo the interference into his private and family life, except the cases envisaged by the Constitution of Ukraine.

Collection, storage, use and distribution of confidential information about an individual without his consent is inadmissible, except the cases envisaged by law and only in interests of national security, economic welfare and human rights.

Every citizen has the right to familiarize in the organs of state power, local self-rule and other organizations with the data about him, which are not state secrets of other secrets protected by law.

Everybody has the right guaranteedby court to refute false information about him or members of his family and the right to demand seizure of any information, as well as the right to demand the compensation of moral and material damage inflicted by the collection, storage, use and distribution of this false information.

This guarantee of non-interference to the private life also implies the guarantee of personal secrets, of providing the comparative independence from the state and society. The provisions of the Article contain the well-grounded restrictions of the collection, storage, use and distribution of confidential information on an individual (without his consent), since the disclosure of the financial and material state of the individual can exert the negative influence on his life, family status and many other factors.

Here we must determine whether the data on communal debts are confidential. Let us consider Article 23 of the Law of Ukraine „On information“.

Article 23. Information on an individual

Information on an individual – is the aggregate of documented of published data about the individual.

The fundamental data about an individual (personal data)are: nationality, education, family status, religious convictions, state of health, address, date and place of birth.

The sources of the documented information on an individual are the personal documents of the individual, documents signed by the individual, as well as the data about the individual collected by the organs of state power and organs of local and regional self-rule in the framework of their activities.

Collection of the information on an individual without his consent is prohibited, except the cases envisaged by law. Every person has the right to familiarize with the information collected on him. The information on an individual is protected by law.

As we see, Article 23 defines the concept of personal data, and confidential information is defined by Article 30 of the Law (not in very apt way, in my opinion):

The information with the restricted access is divided, by its legal regime, into confidential and secret.

Confidential information is the data, which are owned, used or handled by separate physical or juridical persons and are distributed by their wish and according to the conditions stipulated by these persons.

Citizens and juridical persons, who own the information of professional, business, industrial, bank, commercial or other types obtained at their own expense or the information, which is an object of their professional, business, industrial, bank, commercial or other interests and does not violate the secrets envisaged by law, regulate the regime of the access to this information by themselves, including giving the status of confidential one, and establish the system (methods) of protecting this information.

Now let us consider Decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine No. 5-ci of 30 October 1997 (the case of Ustimenko). Item 1 of the resolution part of the decision reads that Part 4 of Article 23 of the Law of Ukraine „On information“ (must be interpreted as follows: not only collection is prohibited, but also storage, use and distribution of confidential information on an individual without his consent, except the cases envisaged by law and only in interests of national security, economic welfare, human rights and freedoms.

Confidential information includes,
in particular, the information on an individual (education, family status, religious convictions, state of health, date and place of birth, property state and other personal data). So, taking into account this interpretation, one can draw the conclusion that the data on property state belong to confidential information. Now let us solve the question whether the data on debts are the data on property state. This question is, unfortunately, not defined by the operating laws, but it may be solved in favor of the debtor on the basis of the laws of formal logics. Debt is one of the aspects of financial balance, so it is a part of property state of an individual; it is also a factor that influences property state of the individual and, maybe, of his family.

Here I want to remind that, according to the Law „On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine“, decisions of the Court are obligatory for fulfillment on the territory of Ukraine and may not be appealed against.

Thus, the obligation of the Decision is characterized by two features: 1) general obligation – for all subjects of right; yet, this concerns not the entire decision, but only its resolution part, where legal principle is interpreted or formulated; that is in the decision on the case of Ustimenko the Court formulated certain legal provisions that are generally obligatory; 2) special obligation – for the organs of state power, including court ones, which must take the decision in favor of Ustimenko in accordance with the Law „On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine“, in particular, Article 70.

As to the citizens’ right for the access to information, Article 31 of the Law „On information“ states:

Citizens have the rights:

- to know during the period of collecting the information, which data are collected about them and with which aim; by whom, how and with which aim these data will be used;

- to get the access to the information on them, to denyits authenticity, completeness, appropriateness, etc.

State organs and organizations, organs of local and regional self-rule, whose informational systems contain information on citizens, must render this information gratis and without obstructions on the demand of the persons, whom this information concerns, except the cases envisaged by law, and to take measures for preventing the non-sanctioned access to this information. In the cases of violating these demands the Law guarantees the protection of citizens from the damage inflicted by the use of this information.

The provision stated in the next part of the Article seems to be interesting in the context of the request.

The access of unauthorized persons to the information on an individual collected in accordance with the operating laws by state organs, organizations and officials is prohibited.

Yet, when the lists of the debtors with their names and sums are made public, the conditions are obviously created for the passive access of everybody to these data.

The Article also reads that the necessary amount of the data on citizens, which may be obtained in a legal way, must be maximally limited and may be used only for legally envisaged aim.

I reckon that it is difficult to distinguish any legal aim in the demands to pay debts under the pressure of the threats to spread negative information, which would cause damage to reputation and relations with other people. Moreover, there exists the alternative way of settling the property conflicts between the providers and consumers of communal services without the public aspect: the debts may be demanded through a court according to the civil procedure, and this practice must be common in such interrelations. Such problems must be considered in the context of property disputes, and not PR-actions with the use of pressure, which are so habitual and close to our power structures. After all, private persons are most often involved in these conflicts, but not public figures

2) There is another potential violation of informational legislation directed at the abuse of the rights for privacy of the debtors: use and distribution of the information on the personal life of a citizen without his consent by the person, who owns the corresponding information as a result of the fulfillment of his service duties.

According to part 2 Article 47 of the Law „On information“, the person guilty of such actions must be responsible for the violation of informational legislation. I will not consider in details how the doctrine of bank secrets is stipulated in the national legislation and put into practice, but the attention to the secret of bank deposits in Ukraine and abroad is mush more than to the discussed problem. Yet, if to consider the question attentively, this question concerns the regime of elucidating the information about the finances of private persons, and the majority of citizens do not want this information to be made public.

3) And finally, how can we protect our rights?

Article 48 of the Law „On information“ states that in the case, where the organs of local and regional self-rule and their officials commit the illegal actions envisaged by this Law, these actions may be challenged in the organs of higher level or in court.

The complaints against the illegal actions of the officials are handed to the organs of higher level, to which these officials are subordinated.

If the complaint to an organ of higher level was not satisfied, the interested citizen or juridical person has the right to appeal to court against the illegal actions of the officials.

The Constitutional Court pointed out that the fundamental norms of Article 48 of the Law „On information“ are the norms formulated in the first part of the article, which norms envisage the right to appeal against the illegal actions committed by the organs of local and regional self-rule and their officials, as well as by political parties, other citizens’ unions, mass media, state organization, which are juridical persons, and separate citizens to the organs of higher level or to court, at the complainer’s option. The second partof Article 48 specifies the procedure of the appeals against the illegal actions of state officials in the case of turning to the organs of higher level, and part 3 of this Article stresses that the appeal handed to the organs of higher level may not be an obstacle for the following appeal to court. In the context of the entire Article 48 the third part may not be considered as the demand that a citizen may turn to court only after the appeal to the organs of higher level. The direct appeal to court is the Constitutional right of everyone.

In the framework of Article 56 of the Constitution Article 49 of the Law stipulatesthat in the cases, where the offence inflicted material or moral damage to the citizen, the guilty must recompense this damage on the basis of court decision. The recompensing sum is established by court.

Besides, I want to point out that the new Criminal Code of Ukraine contains Article 182, which reads:

Violation of privacy.

Illegal collection, storage, use and distribution of confidential information about an individual without his consent or spreading this information in public speech, in work of art, which is demonstrated publicly, or in mass mediaare punished by the fine up to fifty untaxable incomes, or the reformatory works for the term up to two years, or the arrest for the term up to six months, or the restriction of freedom for the term up to three years.

The majority of obstacles and problems (which are mainly formal) appear in the connection with the proofs of the objective side of the potential offence, namely the illegality of the distribution. Thus, it is possible to raise the question in some cases about criminal responsibility of the officials, who take the decisions on behalf of state organs about the divulgence of the information on the debts.

To conclude, I see three possible directions of protecting the citizens, who have communal debts, in the case of the discussed actions on the side of state or communal organs:

1) to hand the complaint to the officials of higher level;

2) to bring the suit to court, possibly with the demand of compensation;

3) to turn with the appeal about the institution of criminal case.

Oleg Tseluyko

Freedom of expression

Court satisfied the claim of the former head of the Chernivtsy oblast department for fighting organized crime against the newspaper “Chas”

The Pershotravnevy town court partially satisfied the claim of Oleksandr Semenko, the former head of the Chernivtsy oblast department for fighting organized crime, against the newspaper “Chas”. The claim was connected with the insult of honor, dignity and business reputation inflicted to Semenko by a feuilleton printed in the newspaper. The newspaper must pay 50 thousand UAH to recompense the moral damage (the sum demanded by the plaintiff was 200 thousand). By the way, the surname of the claimant was not mentioned in the newspaper. The decision will be appealed in the appeal instance.

Our informant

The statement of the prosecutor’s office on the violation of Ukrainian laws by Severodonetsk mayor V. Gritsychin

The adoption by the Severodonetsk town council of the budget was secret for the town dwellers since 24 January 2003, when the budget was adopted, and it has not been published until now.

On 27 February the Lugansk oblast organization of the Voters’ Committee of Ukraine sent a letter to V. Glagovskiy, the town prosecutor. The letter stated that “being a public organization, the main mission of which is the promotion of democratic values in Ukraine, the Lugansk branch of the VCU is displeased with such not-transparent actions of the organ of local self-rule”.

According to the results of the conducted inspection, the town prosecutor’s office submitted the statement to the town mayor Gritsyshin about the liquidation of the violation of item 5 Article 59 of the Law of Ukraine “On local self-rule in Ukraine”. Thus, the town dwellers may now hope to learn the “secret” of the local authorities in a month, of course if the mayor would take the appropriate measures for eliminating the violations of the law.

 (Evhen Bayramov, “Politichna Ukraina”)
Lugansk CVU [email protected]

“Absurd is real and reality is absurd …”

14 April, the Kharkov group for human rights protection

The criminal case started by the General Prosecutor’s office after Article 344 means the new phase of the brutal advance against the freedom of the press. Maybe, it is only the first stage: they began from the provincial newspapers and now are waiting for the reaction. If there would not be any reaction, then the authorities would move their activities to the capital, where the unbearable articles by Tetiana Korobova are printed, and to the Internet-editions… It has appeared that the publications about the connection of the President with the disappearance of Gongadze impede his work to such an extent that is interpreted as a crime! So the officials decided to gag in such a manner those, who express their opinions openly!

I think that this criminal case will demonstrate whether the President’s clique and the agencies loyal to him are really neglecting the permanent reproaches of the international institutions about the freedom of speech in Ukraine.

This criminal case is absurd from every aspect. We have already said about its “validity” from the point of view of the operating laws, and from the viewpoint of international legal standards the situation seems to be even clearer. Collection and distribution of any information that is not defined as secret is legal, independently of the motives of its collection and distribution. It is widely known that it is impossible to achieve democracy and the superiority of right without the freedom of collection, possession and distribution of information about everything concerning public life on the territory of the state or local communities. The freedom of expression is the foundation of democracy, since only well-informed citizens can hand the power to those, who would realize the power honestly and wisely. At the same time, the freedom of expression is the foundation of the superiority of right, since it is the best method to prevent the violations of right by the corrupted state officials. Every question concerning the domestic or foreign policy must be opened for public discussion, especially in the printed and electronic mass media. The freedom of discussing the controversial and complicated problems is the best stimulus for the government to adopt rational decisions that would be endorsed by the society.

These concepts were more than once confirmed by the practices of the European Court of human rights. The Court frequently quoted in its resolutions the fragment of the verdict of 1976 in the Handyside case, which stated that this freedom “may be applied to the “information” or “ideas”, which offend, shock or annoy the state organs or some part of public. These are the demands of pluralism, tolerance and breadth of views, without which no “democratic society” may exist” [§ 49].

The Court also declared for several times, in particular in the Belgium case Heis and Heisels, which concerned the admissibility of publishing extremely critical opinions about functioning of courts, that “it is necessary to keep in mind that Article 10 protects not only the contents of the ideas and information, but also methods of their expression” [§ 48].

Even if to assume that this meddling into the freedom of expression had the legal aim of “protecting public order and preventing crime” (one of the reasons of restricting the freedom of expression envisaged by law), all the same it is impossible to admit that this brutal influence was a pressing social need and that it was proportional. National power may not determine the balance of proportionality of any of these items and the freedom of expression without the assessment of the Court. This assertion can be illustrated, for example, by the case Klas and others: “Countries-members may not… apply every measures considered as proper by them” [§ 49].

The Spanish case Castells is also very interesting. The case was started after the claim of a senator, who was condemned for endangering the security of the state with the attempts of discrediting democratic institutions. In 1979 he published the article, in which he accused the government of the attacks of the right-wing armed groups and murders of Basques (20 years later it appeared that he was true). Spanish courts were not sure whether they had proper grounds for starting the criminal case. In one of its verdicts the Court pointed out that it appeared that the goal of these activities was not the protection of public order and national security, but the defense of the honor of the government. The appeals of Castells, in which he demanded to begin the consideration of the proofs of the veracity of the facts presented by him, were rejected by courts, since such consideration was inadmissible because of the accusation of insulting state institutions.

The European Court acknowledged that in this case the Spanish power violated the demands of Article 10. The arguments of the Court were the following: “Mr. Castells did not express his opinion from the senate rostrum (and he could do this without any risk), but decided to do this in the press. Yet, this does not mention that he lost his right to criticize the government. One must not forget about the main task of the press in a jural state… The freedom of the press gives to the political figures the right to criticize and comment everything that forms the public opinion, enabling everyone to take part in free democratic discussion, which is the essence of a democratic society…” [§ 43].

In the decision concerning this case the Court also remarked that, according to Article 10, “… the limits of the permitted criticism of the government are wider than of… a political figure. Activity or passivity of the government in a democratic society must be controlled not only by the legislative and court power, but also by the press and public. Besides, the dominating status of the government is a reason for introducing the restrictions of applying the criminal process, especially in the spheres, where other reactions are possible…” [§ 46].

Here are many other examples confirmed by the practices of the European Court. Let us hope that the quotation used in the title of this article will lose its actuality and the absurd will end.

Five editorial boards are already involved in “Kuchma’s case”: lawyers’ comments

10 April, the IMI, Kyiv

The General Prosecutor’s office of Ukraine started the criminal case after Article 344 part 1 of the CC of Ukraine “Meddling into the activities of the President of Ukraine” on the basis of the publications in mass media. According to the IMI data, heads of the editorial boards of five newspapers have been already interrogated in this case. The prosecutor’s officers also seized those issues of these newspapers, where the articles devoted to “Kuchma’s case” were printed. Here is the complete list of these editions:

"Informatsiyny bulleten” (Kremenchug)
"Cherkasska Pravda” (Cherkassy)
"Rivnenskiy Dialog" (Rivne)
"Pozitsiya" (Sumy)
"Antenna" (Cherkassy)

The IMI turns to everybody, who was interrogated in this case or from whom the printed editions were seized, with the request to inform us about this by the phone 212-19-66 or by e-mail address [email protected]

This case may be interpreted as another unprecedented attack at the freedom of speech and as an attempt to “recompense” the exclusion of the article about libel from the new Criminal Code. This situation excited disturbance and heated debates not only among journalists. In what follows we present the opinions of lawyers about this case.

Maria Sambur, the IMI lawyer:

The activities of mass media must be assessed according to the demands of the Ukrainian Laws “On information” and “On printed mass media (press)”. Publications in printed mass media must agree with the demands of Article 46 “Inadmissibility of misuse of the right for information” (Law of Ukraine “On information”), which reads: “Information may not be used for the appeals to overthrow the Constitutional order, breach of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, propaganda of war, violence, cruelty, fanning race, national or religious enmity, infringement on rights and freedoms of people”.

The information being a state secret or other secret information stipulated by laws may not be divulged. The second group of secret information includes: medical secrets, secrets of money deposits, incomes from entrepreneurial activities, adoption of children, correspondence, telephone talks and telegrams, except the cases envisaged by laws.

This list is exhaustive, and editorial boards, founders, publishers and distributors of mass media must be brought to disciplinary, civil, administrative or criminal responsibility for the concerned violations according to Article 41.

Article 344. “Meddling into activities of a state official”: The illegal influence in any form on the President of Ukraine, the Head of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine, an MP of Ukraine, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, a member of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the ombudsperson or his/her representatives, the Head or a member of the Counting Chamber, the Head or a member of the Central Voting Commission, the Head of the National Bank of Ukraine, a member of the National Council of Ukraine in charge of TV and radio broadcasting, the Head of the anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine, the Head of the Fund of State Property of Ukraine, the Head of the State Committee of TV and radio broadcasting of Ukraine with the aim to prevent the fulfillment of their service duties or to make them to adopt illegal decisions imply the concrete actions directed at the impediment to the fulfillment of service duties by the state official or to the adoption of illegal decisions.

Thus, the publications criticizing the activities of the President of Ukraine may not be interpreted as criminal actions, since the editorial boards and journalists have no goals to influence the adoption of illegal decisions. On the contrary, mass media accent the attention of the society at the obedience by the state officials to the operating laws and disclose the violations of the legislation. So, the accusation of the journalists of the actions stipulated by Article 344 may be assessed as an encroachment on the freedom of speech, since the publications in the press are not illegal.

Bogdan Ferents, the manager of the Ukrainian-American juridical company “Ralin Consulting”:

I believe that the institution of this criminal case on the facts of the publications in mass media is absurd. Journalists criticize the activities of the authorities, and they have this right, since they are the reflection of the society. Journalists fulfill an important role in the society – they spread information.

As far as I know, editors of printed mass media are interrogated and issues of newspapers, in which the articles by Tetiana Korobova were printed, are seized. Yes, Korobova expresses her opinion about the President very harshly, but this is not a crime. If these publications abused honor and dignity of the President, he has the right to turn to court according to the civil procedure, and everybody would understand him.

Viktor Boyarov, an assistant professor of the Lawyer Academy of Ukraine, a candidate of law:

In our opinion, Article 344 of the CC of Ukraine envisages the activities (for instance, blackmail) directed at the impediment to the President of Ukraine (in this case) to fulfill his service duties or at adoption by him of illegal decisions. The quotation from the article printed in “Informatsiyny bulleten”: “Now it is widely known that the murder was ordered, consciously or not, by President Kuchma” does not satisfy these conditions. This article was not aimed to impede to the President to fulfill his service duties or to make him to adopt illegal decisions. The author merely expressed the opinion that the President had some connection with the murder of the journalist. These words may be considered by the President only as an insult of his honor and dignity.

Well, these actions may hinder the President in the fulfillment of his duties to a certain extent, but it may happen only if, for example, he would be offended so that he would not be able to work. So, this depends only on his subjective attitude both to these publications and to his duties.

Yet, the publication itself does not contain any attempts of illegal influence on the activities of state officials and does not infringe upon the normal work of state organs.

On the other hand, the journalists did not abuse the demands of Article 46 of the Law “On information”, which envisages the misuses of the right for information, since until now nobody have refuted the assumption on the authenticity of the so-called “Melnichenko’s records”, which allegedly contained the talks of the President with other persons about G. Gongadze and which could be interpreted as the order to fulfill the illegal actions against the journalist.

Under such conditions we reckon that the criminal case started by the General Prosecutor’s office must be closed because of the absence of corpus delicti.

The lawsuit between MP P. Kuzmenko and the Uman newspaper „Vulyk“ will continue in the Supreme Court

On 7 April the Cherkassy appeal court confirmed the legality of the decision issued by the Uman town court on the claim of MP Petro Kuzmenko against the newspaper „Vulyk“.

Tetiana Chornomaz, a representative of the newspaper „Vulyk“ and a correspondent of radio „Liberty“, who came to the court session 20 minutes after the assigned time of the beginning, was informed that the case was considered in the absence of the party that handed the appeal. Before this the first sitting of the appeal court had been postponed because of the default of a representative of P. Kuzmenko.

As the newspaper „Antenna“ informed, P. Kuzmenko, the deputy from the Uman election district, turned to the court in the connection with the publications in the local newspaper „Vulyk“. The newspaper printed two articles, in which the authors put the question about the membership of Kuzmenko in the managing committee of the charity fund named after Rabbi Nakhman. Petro Kuzmenko decided that these articles insulted his honor, and demanded to recompense the moral damage equal to 10 thousand UAH. Yet, the court decreased this sum to 3 thousand UAH.

The editorial board of the newspaper believes that the Uman town court took the decision in favor of Kuzmenko without any grounds, because the question raised in the article was not a statement or information, which was assessed as inauthentic by the MP. Whether a question may be authentic or not? Moreover, both articles were based of the materials of the sitting of the District committee, which was conducted in presence of mass media. The audio record of the sitting was presented to the court. The record confirms that Kuzmenko was questioned about his connection with the Rabbi Nakhman fund. These arguments, as well as other proofs of the groundlessness of the decision issued by the Uman court, were expounded in the appeal. Yet, Cherkassy judges, like their Uman colleagues, settled the dispute by the principle: the right side is that one, which has more rights.

The editorial board of the newspaper „Vulyk“ is going to turn to the Supreme Court.

Who dares to protest against the Iraq war?

A lecturer of the university expected that she would have the problems as a result of public expression of her opinions. And she was not mistaking.

On 26 March Lugansk dweller N. Prishchepa, a lecturer of the West-Ukrainian national university, published in the newspaper „Novy rakurs“ her open letter to the President and MPs. In this letter she protested against the war in Iraq and against sending the Ukrainian battalion of radiochemical protection to Kuwait. In particular, Prishchepa stated in the letter: „I clearly understand that this step will entail the negative consequences, taking into account the modern state of human rights and the freedom of expression in our country“. Really, in the very day of the publication of the newspaper she understood that her phone was wiretapped. She turned to the militia precinct and wrote the appeal to general-mayor Vykhodets, the head of the town militia directorate. The law-enforcers promised to check her complaint. The university administration hinted that they would „examine“ whether she deserved to teach students.

N. Prishchepa told about this at the protest meeting against the Iraq war. MP Sergiy Gmyria, who was present at the meeting, believes that such meetings are attended, as a rule, by pensioners or unemployed, which is a feature of non-democratic society, since those, who have jobs, are afraid to be fired because of their participation in protest actions.

This situation, which qualitatively characterizes the state of the freedom of speech in the Lugansk oblast, was described by two oblast newspapers.

On the attitude of the Odessa mayor’s office to journalists and opposition

The three-day preventive strike of the opposition finished in Odessa. The participants of the strike demanded to cancel the decision of the town council and executive committee on the increase of the tariffs for communal services, to resume the round-the-clock provision of hot water and to dismiss city mayor Ruslan Bodelan.

In early hours of the morning of 1 May the group of strangers tried to provoke the fight with the participants of the strike. Only the interference of law-enforcing organs helped to preserve the public order.

The strike finished on 1 May with the meeting of opposition at the Kulikovy Square.

Two attempts to learn the opinion of the local authorities about the demands of the participants of the strike were unsuccessful.

Oleksandr Zozulia, the head of the department of internal policy of the Odessa city executive committee, who watched the opposition meeting on 1 May, refused to comment the demands of the strike. He pointed at the participants of the meeting and said: „Go to them and ask. We are not conducting this strike and will not comment it. I am not in a mood for commenting“.

Oleg Dmitrik, a deputy of the mayor, was even more flat in the talk with a correspondent of „The Voice of America“. When I phoned to him and asked to organize the meeting with Ruslan Bodelan, at which I hoped to learn the mayor’s comment about the demands of the organizers of the preventive strike, Dmitrik said: „I have no wish to consort with you. These are not my problems…“ and put down the telephone receiver.

When I phoned for the second time, O. Dmitrik informed that I had to write a request on the meeting with the mayor and to wait for several days until the question would be considered.

Meanwhile the Odessa city power organized their own meeting devoted to the 1st May on the Dumska Square. After the meeting the concert was conducted.

The iron fences, which were surrounding the building of mayor’s office, were dismounted immediately after the end of the preventive strike of the opposition.

Journalists got the proposition to abandon pseudonyms.

Mykola Tomenko, the Head of the Supreme Rada Committee in charge of the freedom of speech and information, declared that MPs proposed to journalists to sign their articles with their own names, if the cases against the editions criticizing President Kuchma would be started again.

He told this at the press conference „Guaranteeing the freedom of speech under the conditions of the current political situation in Ukraine“.

Tomenko believes that this measure will change the situation, when „every article criticizing the President can entail the visit from prosecutor’s office and institution of criminal case“. He reckons that MPs must put an end to such actions of prosecutor’s offices, because else this will turn into „the beating of journalists for every critical word“.

Correspondent of the newspaper "Krymskie novosti" was brutally beaten by strangers.

In the evening of 11 April in Simferopol two strangers brutally beat Aleksey Ermolin, a correspondent of the Crimean informational-analytical weekly „Krymskie novosti“. The editorial board of the weekly informs that the attackers delivered several blows on his head, but the journalist managed to run away. The journalist turned to the nearest hospital, from where he was transported by motor ambulance to the Republican clinical hospital. The doctors find the wound on the left eyebrow, rendered him the urgent aid and put in the stitches.

„The blows were rather strong, it seemed that one of the attackers had brass-knuckles“, A. Ermolin believes.

A. Ermolin deals with a number of acute topics, such as the misuses connected with the lands of the South Crimean Coast, in particular, the conflict between the dwellers of the settlement Gurzuf and the company „Artek“, and the problems of the markets in the capital of the republic. Earlier the journalist was threatened for many times, about what he communicated to the Committee of the monitoring of the freedom of speech in the Crimea. The collective of the editorial board does not exclude the version that the attack was provoked by Ermolin’s professional activities. Thus, they turn to all law-enforcing organs with the demand to guarantee the safety of the work of journalists of „Krymskie novosti“ and other mass media.

The press release was prepared by the Committee of the monitoring of the freedom of speech in the Crimea, Simferopol

The prosecutor’s office interrogated editor of "Antenna" Valeriy Vorotnik on the case of anti-President publications.

Last week the prosecutor’s office of the Cherkassy oblast seized the issues of the Cherkassy newspaper „Antenna“ for November and December 2002. The issues contained the publications mentioned in the special order of the General Prosecutor’s office of Ukraine. These were several articles reprinted from the newspaper „Grani-plus“ written by Tetiana Korobova and one article by a journalist of „Antenna“.

Editor-in-chief of „Antenna“ Valeriy Vorotnik also informed that on 31 March he was summoned to the oblast prosecutor’s office. He was interrogated as a witness on the case started by the General Prosecutor’s office after the facts of publication in mass media, brochures and other editions of the materials aimed to impede the fulfillment of service duties and the detriment to the authority of the Ukrainian President and having the insulting and slanderous character.

Vorotnik turned the attention to the fact that the prosecutor’s office seized the publications of „Antenna“, which were mentioned in the „monitoring“ of the Ukrainian press. The „monitoring“ was sent by Sergey Vasilyev, the head of the main directorate of the informational policy of the Presidential Administration, to Hanna Severinsen, the speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, „as a confirmation that the wide pluralism of opinions exists in the Ukrainian mass media“.

The institute of mass information

08 April 2003

Women’s rights

A claim against the state

Citizen I. Shcheglov turned to the public reception office of the Lugansk oblast organization of the Voters’ Committee of Ukraine. Mr. Shcheglov has legal proceedings „with the Ukrainian state in the person of the Severodonetsk town militia directorate“.

The claim „On recompensing the damage inflicted by the passivity of the organs of state power“ is considered by the Severodonetsk town court chaired by judge O. Gorbatenko in the accordance with Article 56 of the Constitution of Ukraine. The reason for handing the claim was „… the passivity and procrastination of the Severodonetsk town militia directorate in investigating a criminal case“. Since 3 July 2000 the plaintiff cannot achieve the approval of the verdict on the criminal case, in which he is a victim. Shcheglov, a victim in one case and the claimant in another one, demands to collect 10 thousand UAH from the Severodonetsk militia directorate as the compensation for the moral damage.

Unfortunately, as judge Gorbatenko remarked, the actions of the militia directorate demonstrated not only the procrastination regarding to citizens, but also the obvious disrespect for the court: the consideration of the case had been postponed for several times because of the absence of the defendant.

Judge Lubianoy did not dare to pass to the Supreme Court of Ukraine the most part of the documents on Feldman’s case

The Supreme Court of Ukraine decided that the cassation complaints of Boris Feldman, the vice-President of the bank „Slavianskiy“, and his advocates agreed with laws and demanded for consideration the materials of the criminal case from the Artemovskiy district court of Lugansk, which had considered this case in the first instance.

Yet, when the case was received by the Supreme Court, it appeared that Stanislav Lubianoy, the chairman of the Artemovskiy district court, who had been heading the panel of judges that considered this case in the first instance, passed to the Supreme Court only 21 volume of the case materials out of 120…

At that the materials passed to the Supreme Court contained no decisions about bringing Feldman to trial as an accused, no protocols of interrogations of Feldman, no documents concerning the detention of Feldman and keeping him in custody, no documents about his familiarization with the materials of the case during the pre-trial investigation, no documents on the sequestration of the bank property and no information about what happened with this property during the investigation.

The appeal instance, which considered this case, was the Appeal court of the Lugansk oblast. This court was happier: it obtained from Lubianoy as much as 29 volumes! Yet, judges of the appeal court Zaporozhchenko (the head), Bozhko and Kozhushok did not study the case materials at all, they refused to conduct the pre-trial investigation and without any hesitations approved the verdict taken by their colleagues – the court chaired by Lubianoy.

Now the case reached the Supreme Court…

The case materials, and especially the decisions about bringing Feldman to trial as the accused, evidence that the actions imputed to Feldman are not crimes at all. The desire to conceal this circumstance made the courts to commit the unprecedented violations of the norms of criminal-procedural legislation.

Yet, the Supreme Court of Ukraine somewhat differs from the Appeal court of the Lugansk oblast, in particular, by the tradition not to consider criminal cases without case materials.

As it became known to the advocates of B. Feldman, the Supreme Court of Ukraine directed the repeated request to the Artemovskiy district court, in which it pointed out that the cassation instance had to get all materials, but not only those volumes that Lubianoy decided to send.

So, the case Boris Feldman and the bank „Slavianskiy“ is coming to a head…

Lawyers company „Ageev, Berezhnoy and partners“

On refugees

Officers of Evpatoria militia robbed a scientific society

Several militia officers rushed into the office of the scientific society of students and post-graduates „Yusti-s“ without any court warrant and confiscated system blocks of computers.

The representatives of the public organization are sure that the militiamen were seeking for information – one of the hard disks contained the text of the thesis devoted to the corruption in the law-enforcing organs of Evpatoria.

„We were robbed by militia“ – this inscription is now posted on the door of the public organization „Yusti-s“.

The office of the scientific society is situated in a private flat. It appeared that the office was attacked by the officers of the Evpatoria directorate for fighting the economic crimes. They were in civil clothes and had no warrant. The militiamen explained that their appearance was connected with the check of the computer software.

Oksana Denisova, the president of the scientific society „Yusti-s“, informed that five militia officers and two witnesses worked with their computer network without any documents or sanctions allowing them to enter the private quarters.

According to the words of eyewitnesses, the militiamen took away all computer system blocks ignoring monitors, keyboards and printer. Human rights protectors insist that hard disks of the computers contained the information compromising the militia. The information was based on the five-year investigation of facts and citizens’ complaints.

Two weeks have already passed after the militia intrusion, but, according to the representatives of „Yusti-s“, no accusations were brought against them. The law-enforcers also refused to give any comments.

Oleg Matsenko, the Evpatoria town prosecutor, commented the situation by phone:

„The prosecutor’s office obtained the materials from the town militia directorate and the complaint from citizen Sizarev. All these materials were passed to a senior investigating officer of the town prosecutor’s office. Now he is conducting the check, in the course of which all circumstances will be cleared and the legal assessment of the circumstances will be given“.

The prosecutor promised to present more complete information after the pre-investigation check, which will last for about 10 days.

The representatives of the scientific society are going to protect their rights in court.

REFERENCE. The society of students and post-graduates „Yusti-s“ was created for scientific work in the sphere of jurisprudence. The society has the relations with Oxford University and human rights protecting organizations. Representatives of the society affirm that their scientific works are based on the real facts from juridical practices, taken from citizens’ appeals. For several years the scientific society renders free juridical consultations to citizens. As a rule, their clients are poor people – pensioners and invalids, who cannot afford to pay for advocates’ services.

The material was sent by A. Nikiforov


On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine.

The Law „On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine“ was adopted by the Supreme Rada of Ukraine on 17 April 1991. As soon as the Commissions created in accordance with this Law began to function, it appeared that the law had considerable drawbacks, among them: the absence of protection of the members of families of the repressed, of the children born in concentration camps or in exile, as well as the need for specification of the tools of the valuation and restitution of property, compensation sums, etc.

That is why since 1992 the union of political prisoners, organization „Memorial“ and some MPs repeatedly presented for the consideration by the Supreme Rada the drafts of changes and additions to the Law of 17 April 1991.

Yet, no positive changes have been introduced until now. Meanwhile, the people, who were punished without guilt cannot get rehabilitation and compensation of moral and material losses.

Shame upon our state and society!

This year the Supreme Rada at last began to consider the draft of the new version of the Law on rehabilitation, which took account of almost all principal drawbacks of the Law of 17 April 1991.

The Kharkov group for human rights protection sent the letters supporting the draft to G. Udovenko, the Head of the Supreme Rada Committee in charge of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations, to ombudsperson N. Karpacheva and to some MPs.

We appeal to human rights protecting organizations, local organizations of „Memorial“, unions of political prisoners and other organizations to turn to MPs and mass media with the letters endorsing the adoption of the new version of the Law „On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine“ at the earliest possible date

The Kharkov group for human rights protection,

Kharkov organization „Memorial“,

editorial board of the bulletin „Prava ludyny“

The open letter of the Kharkov group for human rights protection

The Kharkov group for human rights protection and Kharkov organization „Memorial“ turn your attention to the brutal violation of the Ukrainian Constitution connected with the application of the Law „On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine“ of 17 April 1991.

The mentioned law, to the credit of Ukraine, was the first law on rehabilitation adopted in the former USSR. Yet, it is also one of the reasons of the great number of drawbacks in the law. Some of these drawbacks were taken into consideration by other former republics. Russia, for example, introduced a number of changes to the law to correct the shortcomings; in particular the Russian law determines more precisely the articles and definitions connected with the political motives of condemnation and with the members of families of the repressed. Besides, the Supreme Court of Russia recognized as repressed the minor children of the repressed, who lost wardship of parents as a result of repressions. All this exerted the essential influence on the victims of political repressions in Ukraine.

In spite of fact that the members of „Memorial“, regional branches of the all-Ukrainian union of political prisoners and the repressed, as well as other Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations, more than once turned to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine with the drafts of changes and additions to the Law of 17 April 1991, these drafts have not been considered for more than 10 years. Now the draft of the new version of the Law on rehabilitation is accepted for the consideration, and it is assigned to your Committee. We ask you to expedite the consideration of this draft taking into account the following circumstances.

1. According to Resolution No. 2803-XII of 19 November 1992, citizens of Ukraine, who were repressed outside Ukraine and later rehabilitated, have the right to obtain in Ukraine the privileges envisaged by the Ukrainian Law of 17 April 1991. Yet, this Law does not stipulate the legal status of the rehabilitated for the members of families of the repressed and may not be applied to them. So, the discriminatory situation exists, when some Ukrainian citizens, who were rehabilitated in the accordance to the laws of other CIS countries, have the right for privileges envisaged by the mentioned Resolution (by the way, the commissions in charge of the restoration of rights of the rehabilitated are already receiving the appeals on obtaining the privileges enclosed with the Russian certificates about rehabilitation), and other Ukrainian citizens, members of families of the people, who were repressed in Ukraine, cannot get the legal status of the rehabilitated. We regard this situation as a violation of Articles 24 and 46 of the Constitution of Ukraine.

2. What concerns the very conception of the privileges (the officials frequently debate now on the expediency of such privileges and on the financial burden laid on the state), it is necessary, first of all, to come to the agreement about the definitions. Nobody is surprised by the fact that the MPs of every new composition discuss their own privileges and rise in wages during 2-3 months, and only after this they start the work. The privileges of the citizens, who were repressed and then rehabilitated, must be considered by the state and society as some kind of penitence, as the compensation of moral and material damage inflicted by the state under the silent agreement of the society. In fact, this is stated in the preamble of the Law of 17 April 1991. The same may be said about the Chernobyl liquidators, participants of all wars, everybody, who were defending the society or state at the cost of their health or life. Thus, we reckon that Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 117 of 29 January 2003 „On the unified automatized register of the persons, who have the right for privileges“, which envisages the replacement of the privileges by the address money aid, abuses the principles and conception of rendering privileges to the rehabilitated citizens stipulated by the Law. Indeed, the Law on rehabilitation is not mentioned in the Resolution at all. It is obvious that the state considers the privileges as a kind of charity. This can be said both about the non-indexed addition to pensions (about 9 UAH – a little more than 1.5 USD) and the maximal compensation equal to 112 UAH (approximately 21 USD). Maybe, this is the reason why communal services demand from the citizens having privileges to re-register each year, for which the citizens must present all documents from all agencies. As a rule, these agencies are situated throughout the town, and the diseased and old people must waste many hours in long queues frequently undergoing the rude attitude of the officials. Moreover, the list contained in Article 40 of Law „On state budget of Ukraine for 2003“ of 26 December 2002 No. 380-IV does not mention rehabilitated citizens as a category that has the right for privileges. At that the local authorities believe that the privileges to the rehabilitated have been suspended. For example, see letter from „Kharkovenergosbut“ No. 26-n/e.0561-a of 20 March 2003, which reads: „According to Article 40 of Law „On state budget of Ukraine for 2003“ of 26 December 2002 No. 380-IV, the action of the mentioned privilege is suspended“. It seems that it should be better to oblige the district housing offices to pass annually the lists of the people having privileges to the corresponding agencies. The existing situation may be regarded only as an open humiliation and the repeated repressions.

We appeal to demand from the Cabinet of Ministers to develop the just procedure of rendering privileges. We also ask to stipulate from which sources these expenditures will be paid – from local or state budget. In Kharkov, for instance, the local budget does not assign finances for this for many years relating these expenditures to the internal debt. As a result, the housing committees of the cooperative houses refuse to render the privileges in paying for living accommodation, since they do not get the compensation for it.

3. As to the talks that the state has no money for recompensing the damage, even the superficial examination of the budget-2003 excites surprise. The budget does not envisage the expenses for the privileges and paying compensations to the rehabilitated citizens, which is a brutal violation of the Law on rehabilitation. Some envisaged expenses attract the attention too, mainly by their amount. So, the planned financing of the Presidential Administration is 319266 thousand UAH, which is more than the financing of the Ministry of culture, Ministry of transport and other institutions. At the same time only 5663.1 thousand UAH is assigned for the development of new technologies. Besides, it appears that the Supreme Rada urgently needs a new administrative building, for the construction of which 60 million UAH was allotted from the special budget fund. Yet, on 7 March 2003 the Prime Minister ordered in his Resolution No. 125-p to allot 15 million UAH for the construction from the basis fund. The sums for the upkeep of the sanatorium-resort complexes for the state officials are also astonishing – 125274,9 thousand UAH. The sum planned for rendering medical aid to top state officials and MPs is 45855,9 thousand UAH, whereas the similar sum for the officers of the Ministry of emergency situations is only 428 thousand. At the same time the heated arguments are held now about the erection of a triumphal arch in Kharkov, and it seems that the authorities will find money for this monument.

A state that treats its citizens in such way is immoral and criminal.

It is shameful to read in the preamble to the Law on rehabilitation that the Supreme Rada of Ukraine „guarantees to the Ukrainian people that this will never repeat, that the rights and legality will be obeyed piously“.

The impression appears that the introduction of the Day of the victims of political repressions, meetings of the President with these victims and the paltry money aid to them – all this is only a decor.


Who will help the released?

(Press release)

The Donetsk charity fund „Dobrota“ („Kindness“) and the Department of the Donetsk oblast administration for the cooperation with law-enforcing organs organized the round table „Social rehabilitation and complex aid to the persons released from penitentiaries“. More than 50 representatives of state agencies, public organizations, rehabilitation centers, business structures and mass media took part in the round table. They discussed the questions of giving passports, rendering temporary lodging, jobs, education of former convicts, rendering the medical, material and psychological aid to them, consultations, as well as the question of forming the responsible attitude of the society to this problem. In the course of the discussion the participants came to the conclusion that the adoption of the regulations jointly developed by power organs, state agencies, mass media, business structures, public and religious organizations, would be an important contribution to the resocialization of the released.

One of the results of the work of the round table was the draft of the resolution, which, in particular, states the necessity of organizing the system or mutual informing, conducting social and psychological research of this problem, forming the Guardian Council, attracting the additional resources, creating the educational base and the network of public reception offices for the effective adaptation of the released.

Donetsk, 3 April 2003

Kristina Muzhetskaya

Results of human rights and media grant competition (Press release of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine).

U.S. Embassy, Kiev is pleased to announce the results of the recent human rights and media grant competition. As part of the continuing U.S. commitment to support the development of democracy and the civil society in Ukraine, the U.S. Embassy’s Democracy Grants Program and Media Development Fund invited non-governmental organizations and independent media outlets to submit proposals that promote freedom of the press and human rights.

The aims of the competition were to increase public knowledge of international standards of human rights and freedom of the press, support the efforts of Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and journalists who are working on these issues, increase the capacity of local organizations to monitor and report on violations of human rights and strengthen the legal framework of protection of human rights and media freedoms, including legal analysis, public hearings, legal referral and assistance.

The Embassy has funded one or two projects per oblast throughout Ukraine. The average budget for each project is $6,000 to $8,000. Overall, the Democracy Grants Program and the Media Development Fund provided approximately $300,000.

Winners of the competition participated in a training conference and forum in Kharkov March 29 -April 2 conducted by the Kharkov Human Rights Protection Group and sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. The conference included experts and trainers from Ukraine and the Helsinki Human Rights Foundation.

Grant winners will contribute information they develop through their projects to the Kharkov Rights Protection Group for inclusion in a preliminary report to be published in September 2000 on human rights and freedom of press in Ukraine. In March 2004 the Kharkov group will publish a final annual report with analysis covering the calendar year 2003.

The Embassy also will support the Kharkov Human Rights Protection Group to organize a Human Right Conference in Kiev in September 2003. Further details on the Human Rights Conference will be announced later.

The seminar „Monitoring and protection of the freedom of the press and other human rights and freedoms in Ukraine“ was hold in Kharkov

The seminar was conducted on 29 March - 2 April by the Kharkov group for human rights protection with the support of the USA Embassy in Ukraine.

90 participants of the seminar arrived in Kharkov. They represented 83 human rights protecting organizations; therefore, the topic of the seminar was interesting to everybody.

The participants actively discussed the opening lecture „Introduction to the conception of human rights“ (Basic terms and concepts. Classification of human rights. Three generations of human rights. Existing contradictions) delivered by Roman Romanov and the report by the KhG head E. Zakharov „What human rights protection is?“ (Mechanisms of the protection. Constitutional protection. Court protection. International protection. Protection of human rights by non-governmental non-profit organizations. conducting actions and campaigns. Cooperation of non-governmental organizations). Many questions were also put to Ludmila Klochko, who told about the work of public reception offices of human rights protecting organizations. The matter is that every member of public organizations comes across the problems of the reception of citizens in his everyday work. So, the lecture on this topic was very urgent, especially because it made clear many questions that arise in the course of work of the reception offices.

The participants of the training were divided into four groups depending on the problems, with which this or that organization deals. It should be mentioned that the seminar gathered the representatives of different public organizations, which work with different layers of population, from the handicapped to businessmen. Representatives of TV and radio companies of Simferopol, Ternopil, Kharkov, journalists of newspapers and magazines from Kalush, Odessa, Chernigiv, Zhytomir, Nikolayev and Lviv also took part in the seminar.

Thus, the topics for every group very different: „Improvement of the access to justice“ moderated by Roman Romanov; „Conducting the campaigns for protecting the freedom of speech and for improving the access to governmental information“ moderated by Evhen Zakharov; „Conducting the campaigns against torture and cruel treatment (torture and cruel treatment during the detention, arrest and preliminary investigation; upkeep conditions in penitentiaries; torture and cruel treatment in the army)“ moderated by Arkadiy Bushchenko and Ludmila Klochko. In this way, all participants of the seminar had the opportunity to solve the questions, which concerned their organizations, most effectively.

Yet, there was one question that was interesting to everybody. This was the question of monitoring the human rights. For the conduction of this training the organizers invited the trainers from the Helsinki fund of human rights, who are, at the same time, the authors of the manual „Monitoring of human rights“ published in Warsaw, Poland. This manual was compiled as a result of efforts of the great collective of experts.

Representatives of Poland Jerzy Swaton, Marcena Rafalska, Wogna Hmelewska and Slawomir Cybulski are the experienced trainers, who conducted the training on the very high level. The training was appreciated by the participants: „Monitoring of human rights“ obtained the 10.5 balls out of 12 possible; the monitoring „Step by step“ – 10.5; „Analysis of legislation“ – 11.02; „Techniques of collecting information“ – 11.06; „Data processing and the assessment of the collected information“ – 11.01; „Logic of monitoring“ – 11.21.

The training was carried out in groups, and the groups were divided into separate commands. Thus, everyone took the active part in the work. After this the results of every command were discussed, drawbacks were revealed, interesting ideas of the command were noted. These discussions were very vivid and every participant expressed his own point of view on the subject. This part of the program was extremely interesting for all, who practice human rights protection, and, it seems, it was the reason of the high rating of the trainings.

All in all, this seminar was very useful also because it gave the opportunity to the participants to find partners in regional human rights protecting organizations for the fulfillment of grant projects. Yet, the problems of regions are, most often, the all-Ukrainian problems, and these problems demand the development of new strategies of work and cooperation of various non-governmental organizations.

The participants of the seminar lived in a central hotel of Kharkov, so they had the opportunity of communicate with each other during their free time and to see the sights and architecture of the city.

All participants obtained a great number of literature and informational materials, which are extremely necessary for the work of their organizations. These were the editions of the Kharkov group for human rights protection and the materials on monitoring, which were handed to each one by the experts-trainers.

The opening address at the beginning of the seminar was delivered by Janet Demirey, the councilor of the department of the press, education and culture at the USA Embassy in Ukraine, and Alla Mukshimenko, a representative of the secretariat of the ombudsperson.

In my opinion, the trainings on the conduction of monitoring appeared to be the most interesting part of the seminar. I got much new information. I hope that this new knowledge will help us to conduct the research (monitoring) on the higher professional level, and this will positively affect those, to whom we render aid. Communication with the people having the great experience of human rights protection activities inspired me for the further, more active, work.

I was especially expressed by the acquaintance with Irina Sarancha, the head of the Vinnitsa public organization for social protection „Parostok“. This small, fragile, handicapped woman helps to other handicapped to struggle for rich and active life. The bright example of her activities is the participation in the election of the handicapped in the wheelchairs, when the whole town saw them for the first time.

Point of view

Kyiv city administration rendered 7.3 thousand UAH to "Memorial".

The city administration of Ukrainian capital rendered 7.3 thousand UAH to „Memorial“ for the conduction of the annual Day of sorrow devoted to the victims of the totalitarian regime buried in the Bykovnianski forest.

On 11 May 2003 the commemoration actions devoted to the victims of totalitarian repressions will be hold in the village of Bykovnia of the Dniprovskiy district of the Kyiv oblast. These actions were proposed by the organization „Memorial“.

The Dniprovskiy district administration got the errand to conduct the works for the improvement of the common grave situated in the village of Bykovnia.

24 April 2003


“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2003, #04