war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Politics and human rights

The conference "Civil society in Ukraine" (Washington, 7-8 April)

The conference was organized by George Washington University and Carnegie Center and was conducted in the building of the Carnegie Center at the Massachusetts Avenue. The great number of the participants from Ukraine and USA, the presence of such outstanding personalities as Adam Michnik, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Paula Dobriansky (the first deputy of the State Secretary of the USA, an ethnic Ukrainian), Bohdan Futey (a judge of the Federal Court of the USA), Boris Tarasyuk, former USA ambassadors in Ukraine the Hon. William Glen Miller and the Hon. Steven V. Pifer, made the conference interesting and informative, and proved the seriousness of the intentions of the Americans to estimate the level of development of civil society in Ukraine. The analysis of the events in Ukraine from inside and from the viewpoint of the American politologists and politicians gave the opportunity to consider the situation from different angles, to understand the complexity of the Ukrainian problems. The conference was rather dynamic owing to the participation of the great number of young Ukrainians, who worked on probation in the USA with the support of the fund of senator E. Masky.

It is impossible to expound in this short article all speeches that were delivered at the conference, so I will retell only several most interest and important ones, except the hour-long report of Adam Michnik, which is presented below. Zbigniew Brzezinski and Paula Dobriansky also delivered hour-long speeches, the rest participants, who spoke at the sessions “Civil society: review of problems”, “Media”, “Business strategy in Ukraine”, “Non-governmental organizations” and “Political parties”, had 15 minutes each.

The first session moderated by Anatol Lieven, a former correspondent of “Washington Post” and now a politologist of the Carnegie Center, was very interesting. Thomas Carothers, the vice-president of the Carnegie Center, Michael McFaul, a professor of the Stanford University, and Hrigoriy Nemyria, the manager of the Center of European political research, delivered their reports at this session. Carothers expressed the contradictory, in my opinion, thoughts about the nature of civil society, which, according to his words, had been artificially created in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, had been developed thanks to external injections and was restricted by the institutions between the state and family (Carothers reckons that the traditional Western institutions – political parties, trade unions and religious organizations – do not belong to civil society). Carothers put three questions: a) whether the NGOs are stable, what are the sources of their development, to whom they serve, whether they really protect the public interests; b) how the NGOs are connected with politics – they must be politically independent, but are forced to deal with politics because of the weakness of political parties; c) for how long the period of transition from totalitarianism to democracy will last – it appeared that this period is very long, so the idea of the injection to the post-totalitarian space in the form of civil society appeared to be inefficient. Carothers also remarked that it was unwise to think that civil society might win the dictatorship.

I believe that the erroneous primordial conception of the civil society resulted in the erroneous conclusions. The absence of civil society is one of the features of the totalitarian regime, so it is impossible even to discuss its ability to struggle with dictatorship. Civil society forms when the totalitarian regime passes into its last, dying, stage and is already incapable of mass repressions. The totalitarian regime could not become strong in the countries, where the resistance movement was strong, as, for instance, in Poland, and this movement essentially promoted the victory over communism. This did not happened in Ukraine and in the former USSR as a whole, where, as Vladimir Bukovskiy said, the communism was not defeated, but collapsed under its own weight. Yet, the dissident movement created the first elements of civil society in the USSR, which could not develop normally under the conditions of the dying Soviet totalitarianism: all public activities were punished cruelly, and civil society could not exist in the underground, because its essence is the opposition to the state. Such opposition exists in all countries, even the most free ones. Every state (in the civilized countries too), acting on the assumption of the priority of stability and order, does its best to widen the sphere of its influence and the zones of regulation the life of citizens, thus decreasing the freedom of choice. This is the nature of the state. Every state official always believes that his is wiser than common citizens and knows better how the citizens must live. This expansion of the state is opposed by civil society – the aggregate of all non-governmental structures. The political sense of civil society is the authentication of itself with the dominating factor of social progress, the realization of its natural superiority over the state. A developed civil society, being an intellectual opponent of the state, makes the state to take into account the public interests and public opinions about the main aspects of domestic and foreign state politics. Unfortunately, I had no opportunity to present these arguments to Carothers, but I worded some of these ideas in my speech on the next day.

Michael McFaul compared the civil societies in Ukraine, Russia and Byelorussia. I knew about his sources of information: McFaul had been invited by the National Endowment for Democracy for the independent estimation of the work of grant-recipients in these three countries, and during last summer he visited all corresponding organizations. He also visited Kharkiv, and I remember this handsome, clever and friendly man. His speech was very optimistic, when he told about Ukraine, maybe too optimistic, but I was glad to hear the opinions similar to mine. According to the assessment of McFaul, Ukraine seems to be more democratic country than Russia and Byelorussia. There was no failure of democracy, like in Byelorussia, and no military conflicts and armed attacks at Parliament, like in Russia. Ukrainian civil society is more viable than Russian one, it is younger and less controlled by the state. Our opposition parties are also better than in Russia. Ukrainian mass media are also better than Russian and Byelorussian. Undoubtedly, the situation in Ukraine is also bad, the state is very unstable, but Ukrainian civil society did not permit Kuchma to create the dirigible democracy, which was created in Russia. McFaul pointed out the great role of Ukrainian democracy in the creation of Ukrainian state.

Hrigoriy Nemyria told about the influence of Western aid on the development of the state and capital. The democratic normative base has been already created, but our country lacks the democratic practices. During the first years of independence the social civil society got no aid. Now we have such aid. We must stimulate the demand for democratic practices and the alternative politics. This is directly connected with the question of stability. The main problem is to which extent the civil society can be a guarantor of democratic progress. Civil society in Ukraine is connected with politics too much because of weakness of political parties and the fact that state does not fulfill its functions. So, the civil society must play the part of opposition. Yet, there exists certain long-term dynamics that is not connected with politics: strengthening of the staff of civil society due to the increase of the level of education and probation abroad. The probation in other countries is very important for civil society. Now the proportion of the probationers, who remain in the Western countries, is essentially less than during the first years. According to the data of the US Migration Bureau, only 3% of Ukrainians, who studied in the USA, remained there for permanent residence, whereas the proportion of Russian citizens was 12%, and the proportion of Polish citizens -- 7%.

The session “Media” was moderated by Myroslava Gongadze. The reports were delivered by Mykola Tomenko, the head of the Parliamentary committee in charge of the freedom of speech and information, independent journalist Andriy Shevchenko and Inna Pidluska, the president of the fund “Europe XXI”. The reporters mainly spoke about the political journalism, described the opposition of the press and power. The reports at the session “Business strategy in Ukraine” were presented by Kempton Jenkins, the head of the business-committee “Ukraine – USA”, Yevhen Utkin, the manager of “Kvazar-Mikro”, the greatest computer firm in Ukraine (about 1000 workers earn about 2 billion USD per year), and Andriy Dakhovskiy, the manager of the firm “Ukrainian Records”, the Ukrainian licensee of “Universal Music”. Well-known politologist Anders Aslund (the Carnegie Center) was the moderator of this session. Jenkins spoke about positive macro-changes in the Ukrainian economy, the success of Ukrainian securities, the appearance of modern corporations of Western level (for example, “Interpipe” of Viktor Pinchuk). Yevhen Utkin stressed that the main richness of Ukraine is the Ukrainian people and that the state must not impede the business activities. Andriy Dakhovskiy told about the problems of intellectual property and piracy in the sphere of production of CDs.

Vira Nanivska from the international center of political research, Ihor Popov, the head of the Voters Committee of Ukraine, and I took part in the session “Non-governmental organizations” that was moderated by Nadiya McConnell, the President of the Ukrainian – American fund. She began her speech with the explanations why Ukraine was lagging behind Poland, although Ukraine had better initial conditions. Firstly, the communist party in Poland had national moods; secondly, the Catholic church had great influence; thirdly, the private business existed; fourthly, in 60s-80s tens of thousands of students went to Western universities for studies and probation. Ms. McConnell told about the aid rendered by her fund for strengthening the local self-rule in Ukraine. Vira Nanivska also told about the work of the center, which she represented. Ihor Popov attracted the attention to the main problems of NGOs: a) non-transparency – only 30 organizations out of 30 thousand published their annual reports, projects of technical aid also rarely report about their activities; b) instability –absence of informational networks and efficient training-consultation systems, unstable financing, absence of the watchdog; c) duplication of aid projects. The recommendations of Ihor Popov concerned the directions of the Western aid. He believes that the money should be invested in consultation services, informational and analytical centers, development of local communities, increase of the ability to compete with state agencies. He also remarked that it should be expedient to invite Ukrainian experts every year for solving the questions of technical aid in Ukraine. In my report I tried to describe the process of the development of Ukrainian NGOs during recent 15 years and the dynamics of their mutual relations with the state, to outline the directions of further work.

The report of Paula Dobriansky was devoted to the attitude of the American government to Ukraine. Americans want Ukraine to be a free democratic European country. Yet, for the integration into the European community Ukraine must be really dedicated to democratic values. If to compare with the Soviet times, it is possible to say that Ukraine succeed very much. Yet, one should consider the situation from another side. Ms. Dobriansky mentioned certain progress, but she expressed her anxiety about the persecutions of opposition, businessmen, journalists, etc. by the state. She said that the American government intended to support the civil society in Ukraine, that the size of this aid would increase, in particular, in the sphere of education and probation. In 2004 the Agency of international development plans to increase the financing of programs in Ukraine from 12 to 19 million USD.

The session “Parties” was moderated by Nadia Diuk (National Endowment for Democracy), speeches were delivered by Boris Tarasyuk (“Nasha Ukraina”) and Oleksandr Turchinov (Yulia Timoshenko’s block). Tarasyuk told about the distribution of political forces in Parliament, ratings of parties and blocks, work of the Parliament. He communicated that opposition fractions presented 57% of law drafts, described the disagreements in their positions. His report was calm and tolerant, unlike the speech delivered by Turchinov, who was too aggressive in the appraisals and accusations. Maybe, this aggression may be explained by the pressure exerted by power structures on the block of Yulia Timoshenko. In particular, Turchinov said that four criminal cases were started against him. He reckons that Ukraine is a neo-totalitarian country, like Byelorussia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, were the power practices persecutions, destroys the economic base of the opposition and carries out the informational terror, which is based on the informational monopoly. He also told that the party “Batkivshchina” had 7.5 thousand local organizations and about 200,000 members.

I was astonished by anti-Russian moods that prevailed at the conference. I understand that such attitude might be expressed by the members of the Ukrainian Diaspora or young Masky scholars, but not by the respectable American politologists. The anti-Russian rhetoric reached its acme during the report of Zbigniew Brzezinski. He is a brilliant speaker, but this time it seemed to me that he said nothing new. Brzezinski repeated his well-known theses about the importance of the independent Ukraine, which is a guarantor of peace and stability in Europe, about the imperial encroachments of Russia on Ukraine and that Ukraine either would be independent and democratic or would not exist at all. He even said that the independent and democratic Poland would exist only if Ukraine would be independent and democratic.

I cannot understand the position of the Americans, who did not include into the program of the conference the reports of several outstanding participants from Ukraine: Iryna Bekeshkina, Yevhen Bystrytsky, Viacheslav Briukhovetskiy, Serhiy Holovaty, Elena Ivanova, Vsevolod Rechitsky and Mykhailo Svystovych. I believe that their speeches should make the conference better. Nevertheless I hope that the Americans achieved their goal and got some idea about the state of civil society in Ukraine.

Report of Adam Michnik

I will speak about the perspective of Poland in the context of Ukraine.

If to look from Warsaw, it seems that Ukraine achieved miraculous results. Famines, yoke of Russia and Poland, wars, repressions, terrible sufferings… But Ukraine survived. We, Poles, have many sins before Ukraine. We must understand that Ukrainians regard us as occupants. We wanted to be independent, but we did not want to allow this to Ukraine. For many years we discussed the question: who owned Ukraine – Russia or Poland. We had two ideological schools in Poland: nationalistic, headed by Roman Adamovski, and federative, headed by Josef Pilsudski. Nationalists wanted to colonize Ukrainians, who were even prohibited to call themselves so. Pilsudski planned to create the joint state, but he could not restore the status of Ukrainians even when he was in power. After the WW2 Jerzy Gedroyc tried to explain that independent Ukraine was a key to the independent Poland. After 1989 this idea won. In 1990 I, being a member of Seym, took part in the congress of the Rukh. I finished my speech in the following way: “Long live free, independent, democratic and fair Ukraine!” Ukraine became independent, but I doubt whether it became democratic and fair.

Polish anti-communist politics wants Ukraine to be stabile and sovereign. Recently President Kvasnevski initiated the seminar in Warsaw, and some of the participants of the present conference took part in this seminar. We wish Ukraine to survive as stabile and democratic country, it is very important for Poland and the whole world. We wish Russia the same plus one more thing: it must not be imperialistic. All post-communist countries have some common features, all of them were satellites, but the status of Ukraine was the worst – it was colonized. The main questions for Russia are: whether it will be able to avoid the ethnic conflicts, whether the traditions of tolerance will be preserved, what will be the attitude to Ukraine – imperial or equal, whether Russia will agree with sovereignty of Ukraine and will not turn her into the second Byelorussia. The main questions for Ukraine, in her turn, are: whether the Ukrainian political outlook will copy the Russian one, whether oligarchs and political parties will be created after the same model as in Russia. We see that during last 14 years many common features appeared: illegal privatization, seizure of power over mass media, meddling of oligarchs into politics, division of the political movements into left and right ones. So, everything will depend on the character of the Ukrainian political elite and the way, in which it will conduct the process of democratization.

The situation in Poland is similar. Corruption in the relations of nomenclature and mass media is a common problem of Poland, Russia and Ukraine. I can tell much about the attempts of the administration to exert pressure on the newspaper “Gazeta Wyborcza”, but I understand that in Ukraine I could not edit such newspaper at all.

One more question important for a post-totalitarian society: how to struggle against xenophobia, anti-Semitism and victim mentality, which is so typical for Poland, Russia and Ukraine. The modern public consciousness fluctuates between the UPA traditions and transparency. This was vividly illustrated with the situation around the graveyard of Polish soldiers in Lviv.

Besides, the phenomenon exists, which I should call the post-totalitarian mentality of political elite. Although the elite works in the framework of the democratic traditions, it does not consider people as citizens and tries to manipulate them. The mechanisms of corruption and mafia can destroy these democratic traditions. So, I guess what will happen with Ukraine after the scandal with Lazarenko and after Melnichenko’s records? One foot of Ukraine is in the East, another – in the West, and its heart is in Kyiv. And this mechanism is working, in spite of all pessimistic prognoses! Yet, the danger still exists. It is obvious that Kuchma and his administration have already exhausted their resources. What will be later? Euro-Atlantic or Eurasian way? And what kind of the political attitude must the West have with respect to Ukraine?

Three remarks for the West. Firstly, Ukraine does exist. Secondly, the West must develop the concrete wide-scale politics regarding Ukraine, as well as regarding Russia. Thirdly, it is incorrect to treat Russia as the Soviet block. The concrete politics must exist directed at the support of democratic changes. The West endorsed democratic movement in Poland, Gorbachev and Eltsin in Russia. The modern situation in Ukraine is similar: the West supports the state, not the civil society.

The Hon. William Glen Miller. Is it possible to create a newspaper similar to “Gazeta Wyborcza” in Ukraine?

Adam Michnik. No, it is impossible. Such newspaper must be supported by the independent capital, and the only independent capital in Ukraine now is the Russian capital.

Bohdan Futey. The reforms must be based on laws. Is the legal reform in Ukraine adequate?

Adam Michnik. No. I think that the main problem is corruption. If the Constitution and laws live in harmony with such great corruption, then the reform is not adequate. The struggle against corruption is the most important problem today.

Boris Tarasyuk. Critics of President Kvasnevski say that his policy concerning Kuchma was erroneous. What do you think about this?

Adam Michnik. I reckon that Kvasnevski attaches great positive importance to the mission of Ukraine in Europe and to the relations with Ukraine. He behaves diplomatically, but he openly expresses his disagreement with some steps of the Ukrainian power. Besides, nobody would compare Kuchma to Lukashenko or Kerimov. The West does not demand democracy from Uzbekistan, but the situation there is much worse. All in all, I believe that the Polish-Ukrainian relations are very important.

Against torture and ill-treatment

Torture is a crime against humanity

Is it possible to imagine that even after three years after issuing the verdict on capital punishment the condemned undergo torture? The law-enforcers demand from them to confess to their guilt again.

We, parents, were overwhelmed with the pain and despair when in 1995 our 18-year-old son Boryslav was, on the basis of the falsified case, condemned to death penalty for the murder of Gomonays family. The sensational case was fanned by local mass media, which poured the flow of negative information on our innocent son by the order of law-enforcing organs: militia and prosecutor’s office. Long before the official accusation was presented and six months before the court the law-enforcing organs, ignoring the presumption of innocence, reported about the “disclosure” of the murder of Gomonays and shared the awards: ranks, two-room flats, money bonuses, etc. The newspaper “Galytchyna” enthusiastically informed about this in the issue of 29 April 1995. During several years the mass media presented the one-sided information; they took the side of the accusation and gave our son and us no opportunity to say truth. Such one-sidedness may be explained by the dependence of mass media on the power and law-enforcing organs.

The Supreme Court rejected or merely ignored our numerous complaints about the violations of the procedural rights of our son and Mikhail Kuznetsov, the second accused in this case. In our complaints we described the torture applied to the both detained during the preliminary investigation. We also pointed out that the proofs of their guilt were absent, such as fingerprints, tracks of footwear, tool of the crime, blood on the clothes. The torture was also applied during the preparation to the investigation experiment, when six butchers made the accused to demonstrate the details of the alleged murder; the punishment for disobedience was immediate and cruel. This training lasted for many hours alternating with beating until the loss of consciousness. Then the arrested were brought round, and the rehearsal continued… We told about the open and absurd juggle with the facts made by the investigation officers. For example, Igor Voroniak, an investigating officer of the town prosecutor’s office, wrote in the accusation: “Kuznetsov came to Gomonays’ door and ringed the doorbell until Gomonay opened the door”. This statement is obviously absurd, since all members of the Gomonays family were deaf-and-dumb, and they had no doorbell at all. The number of such juggles and contradictions in this case is enormous.

When we made sure that national courts did not want to reconsider this falsified criminal case and to reverse the illegal verdict (the capital punishment), we turned to the international human rights protecting organizations. On 19 September 1997 we sent to the European Court on human rights the complaint against the violations of the rights of our son and Mikhail Kuznetsov, the rights that are guaranteed by the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, first of all, the right for justice. This was the first complaint from Ukraine registered in the European Court.

In 1998 the General Prosecutor’s office of Ukraine considered our petition and ordered to the prosecutor’s office of the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast to conduct the investigation of the new circumstances of the criminal case. The oblast prosecutor’s office passed the case to the Ivano-Frankivsk town prosecutor’s office, the investigation department of which was headed by Vladimir Voroniak, a younger brother of the investigating officer, who had falsified the case during the preliminary investigation. It is obvious that it was disadvantageous and even dangerous for the prosecutor’s office to establish truth and to find the real criminals. So, the prosecutor’s officers did their best to protract the investigation, they muddled the case in every possible way, brutally violating the criminal-procedural laws. At the same time, by the order of the persons interested in the approval of the verdict, tortures were applied to the condemned Poltoratskiy and Kuznetsov, who stayed in preliminary prison No. 12. They were made to confess the crime again, three years after the condemnation! Besides, we learned quite accidentally, that after one of the beatings Kuznetsov was either hanged or driven to suicide. Fortunately, he survived. Yaroslav Pavliuk and Igor Ivashko, the deputies of the prison warden, headed by their boss colonel Petr Yaremkiv, were the most active torturers. Since we had no access to the condemned, we could not obtain the authentic information about what happened in the prison. According to the laws, the meetings must be organized one time per month by the permission of the head of the oblast militia directorate. Yet, the oblast militia authorities wanted to conceal the consequences of torture, so they prohibited me to meet my son during three months. Kuznetsov’s mother also was not permitted to visit Mikhail. We turned to Yu. Yurchenko, the oblast prosecutor, and to V. Fedorov, the prosecutor in charge of the control over the observance of laws in penitentiary establishments. We informed these state officers about the torture applied to the condemned, about the arbitrary actions of the officers of the oblast militia directorate, about the prohibition of meetings and asked to conduct the forensic expertise and start the investigation of the facts of torture and the attempt at Kuznetsov’s life. Unfortunately, instead of starting the investigation after our complaints, the prosecutor’s office began to defend the personnel of preliminary prison No. 12. V. Boyan, a deputy of the prosecutor of the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, refused to conduct the medical expertise, did nothing to protect us from the arbitrary actions of the militia authorities, who prohibited the meetings, did not conduct any investigation of the facts of applying torture. Our complaints, which we sent to the General Prosecutor’s office of Ukraine and to the President of Ukraine, were directed back to the oblast prosecutor’s office. Finally we lost the hope to find justice in the motherland, so, we were forced to turn to the European Court on human rights that registered our complaint. Since the case was urgent, we sent our complaint by fax. In a week we got the phone call from Strasbourg, where the European Court is situated, and they told that the case Poltoratskiy vs. Ukraineand Kuznetsov vs. Ukrainewas accepted for consideration in the part of the upkeep regime, and was not accepted in the part of criminal case. They explained to us why they might not accept the criminal case. Since the verdict on both young men had been issued in 1995, when Ukraine had not been a member of the Council of Europe, the Court might not consider the case in this sense. The interested state officials tried to distort the facts and explain the refusal by the fact that the European Court allegedly did not find the grounds for the consideration. Yet, fortunately, the reasons of the refusals were stated in the Decision of the European Commission on human rights of 30 October 1999. We are deeply sure that if the complaint would be accepted as the criminal case, we would also win!

So, the complaint was accepted, and in several days we received by the courier post a letter from Strasbourg. The letter informed that the European Commission on human rights would arrive in Ukraine for the investigation of the case. The letter contained the detailed schedule of the work of the commission, dates and times of the meetings with officials, claimants and their representatives. In spite of this we continued to hope that the prosecutor’s office of the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast would recollect about the constitutional duties connected with the control of the observance of laws concerning the fulfillment of court decisions on criminal cases, stipulated by item 4 Article 121 of the Constitution of Ukraine. That is why we visited V. Fedorov, the prosecutor in charge of the control of the oblast prosecutor’s office. Alas, Mr. Fedorov only mocked at us saying the he doubted that the European Commission on human rights would mess around with some criminals: “Do you imagine how many cases they have? Do you really think that they will come here?”

When we understood that Mr. Fedorov has no idea either about his service duties or about the Constitution of Ukraine, we gave up our hopes to find the protection in our own country.

On 22 November 1998 the European Commission on human rights headed by its President Stefan Trexel came to Ukraine for the first time. The members of the commission met with us, parents, with the condemned, interrogated the personnel and administration of Ivano-Frankivsk preliminary prison No. 12: guards, medical staff and a deputy head of the prison. They also negotiated with the representatives of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, State penitentiary directorate of Ukraine and the General Prosecutor’s office of Ukraine. The Commission found out that Ukraine violated Articles 3 (prohibition of torture and humiliation of dignity), 8 (right for the protection of private life and secrecy of correspondence), 9 (freedom of consciousness and belief) of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Since the representatives of the Commission met the condemned on 24 November 1998, that is more than two months after the torture and hanging of Kuznetsov, they could not find any physical traces of the torture, except the scar on Kuznetsov’s neck. On this ground they drew the conclusion that Article 3 of the Convention was not violated. Yet, taking into account that the prosecutor’s office did not conduct the effective investigation of the facts of torture, the Commission recognized that Article 3 was violated. Besides, the Commission regarded as inhumane the very conditions of the upkeep of the convicts: cold, starvation, absence of daylight and fresh air, opened toilet, complete isolation, etc. In this part Article 3 was also violated. The Commission acknowledged that Article 8 of the Convention was also abused: the prison administration prohibited the correspondence and meetings with relatives. As to Article 9, it was violated too, since the contacts with a priest and the opportunity to confess are very important for those, who were condemned to death penalty. The officials of the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast militia directorate acted inhumanly and godlessly, when they prohibited the meetings with priest. The oblast prosecutor’s office concealed these violations to cover up the guilty. On 30 October 1999 the European Commission on human rights passed the case to the European Court on human rights for taking the final decision.

On 25 March 2003 the European Court on human rights issued the decision, in which it recognized the violation by Ukraine of Articles 3, 8 and 9 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and obliged Ukraine to pay the moral compensation equal to 2000 Euro and the material compensation equal to 1000 Euro. On 29 April the decision on the case of Kuznetsov and Poltoratskiy was published on the site of the European Court.

The question of compensation is not the most important for us; we are more disturbed by another question: what will change in the state policy after this decision? Alas, our prognoses are not very optimistic. The state did not draw any moral from this case. Nobody intends to take any measures to punish the guilty. All publications in mass media evidence that the main attention is fixed on the violation of Article 3 of the Convention (inhumane upkeep conditions), and another, in our opinion, the most important conclusion of the European Court, is deliberately ignored: the state could not prove the fact of the effective investigation of the complaints about the application of torture to the claimants.After the decision of the European Court another informational campaign began in the press. The journalists do not turn to us for explanations, and articles are published on the basis of the information picked up from the authorities, who lost the case. For example, Valeria Lutkovskaya, the official in charge of the observance of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, was asked whether anybody would be punished for the violations of the rights of our children. She answered that it was doubtful that the head of preliminary prison No. 12 would be brought to responsibility for the iron shields on the windows, since he did this not by his own will, but by the order of his bosses. This opinion was worded by Valeria Lutkovskaya in her interview in the TV show “My family”. Unfortunately we were not invited to this show. So, we want to present some excerpts from the letter of our son Borislav, in which he expressed his attitude to this problem.

“Now I will say about the responsibility in the connection with the decision of the European Court. Firstly, the essence of problem is not in the upkeep conditions. Secondly, if to say about the iron shields on the windows, Pavliuk and Yaremkiv (the administration of the preliminary prison) did not fulfill the orders of their bosses, as Ms. Lutkovskaya said, since, as far as I know, these bosses ordered to dismount the shields as early as in 1993 (!). (And in Dnepropetrovsk, for instance, such shields were dismounted only in March of 2000). This order was fulfilled only before the visit of the European Commission in 1998. Which orders hampered to do this earlier? And even if some illegal orders were given by some mysterious “bosses”, why these bosses may not be brought to responsibility? Why nobody is responsible for the violation of the secrecy of correspondence? And why the person, who prohibited the visits of the priest, was not punished? Or those, who drove Kuznetsov to suicide?”

We believe that nobody will be punished at all. On the contrary. After the departure of the commission all officials, who took part in the violations of the rights, were advanced. Yu. Pavliuk, a deputy head of preliminary prison No. 12, became its head, and former head of the prison P. Yuaremkiv was appointed a deputy of a department of the State penitentiary directorate of Ukraine and moved to Kyiv. V. Boyan, one of the deputies of the oblast prosecutor, whose service duties included the control over the preliminary prisons, became the first deputy of the prosecutor. V. Fedorov, the prosecutor in charge of the control over the observance of laws in penitentiary establishments, occupies his post until now.

We want to say truth to people: we complained not against the upkeep conditions, not about cold, starvation, absence of TV set, newspapers and magazines, all this is trinket in comparison with tortures that were applied to our children. We complained against the unjust court and torture.

One more question: whether the violations of the rights of the condemned stopped after the decision of the European Court? Alas, the answer is negative again. Now the authorities do their best to conceal the violations, because they do not want to have conflicts with the European human rights protecting institutions. This is the only result.

Now our son is kept in Vinnitsa prison No. 1. The conditions are the same: complete isolation, meetings through glass and in presence of guards, secrecy of all information concerning the life of the prisoners, strict censorship of the correspondence. The head of the Vinnitsa prison violates not only the rights of our son, but also our rights: he illegally seizes the letters and informs us about this without any confusion. We handed the complaint to the Staromiskiy district court of Vinnitsa, but the court took the side of the prison personnel and confirmed that they had the right to seize the letters. This statement was motivated with item 92 of “The instruction on the examination of correspondence of the convicts”… The Appeal court of the Vinnitsa oblast approved the decision of the court of the first instance, in spite of item 1 of Article 92 of the Constitution that reads: “Rights and freedoms of citizens, guarantees of these rights and freedoms, basic duties of citizens are stipulated exclusively by the laws of Ukraine”. So, human rights are stipulated by laws, but not some secret instructions, and we stressed on this provision in our appeal complaint, especially because the confiscated letter was written by us. In fact, the courts gave to the head of the Vinnitsa prison the unlimited right to seize the letters of free (not condemned) citizens. In its decision the European Court draws the attention to the illegal status of various instructions, but we are sure that Ukrainian Themis will acknowledge the advantage of instructions over laws and Constitution for a long time.

It is shameful that we could not find the protection in our own country. Unfortunately, our case is not extraordinary, on the contrary -- it is quite typical. Long time ago the idea appeared to join and to protect our children from repressions without anybody’s assistance. The parents, whose children had been condemned to the capital punishment, joined and created the all-Ukrainian public organization “Parents’ committee “Poriatunok” (“Salvation”)”. On 12 September 2002 the organization was registered with No. 83 by the Ministry of Justice. The goal of the activities of this organization is the protection of constitutional rights of the condemned and the interests of its members.

Who will protect our children from repressions except us, parents?

Larisa and Evgeniy Poltoratskiy, the parents of Borislav Poltoratskiy, a condemned to death penalty

Torture made a young man to bite through his veins

The story told by Kalush inhabitant Oleksiy Zakharkin and his mother is astonishing. Of course, we know about torture in law-enforcing organs, but “Vikna” came across a public statement about this for the first time. A 24-year-old man spent a week in various district precincts of Ivano-Frankivsk without food and sleep, undergoing cruel beatings and other methods of squeezing the needed evidence. At first he was accused of storage of marijuana, then – of burglary. During this week Oleksiy’s family was looking for him, they knew nothing about his lot. They learned where he was only on 23 May, when Oleksiy got to the Kalush hospital with his vein bitten through.

Olga Zakharkina, Oleksiy’s mother, tells:

-- On 17 May about 10 p.m. acquaintances of my son phoned to me and told that they saw how he was detained by the officers of the Vovchinets district precinct of the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast militia directorate. When we came to the precinct, son’s car was parked near the building. The militiamen said to me that Oleksiy had been already transported to the preliminary prison, but two another detained still stayed in the precinct. The law-enforcers calmed me saying that everything was done in the framework of law, that they even bought some food for my son for his money. I believed.

Yet, on the next day I met advocate Voroniak, and on 19 May at 9 a.m. we came to the Vovchinets precinct. There we were said that they had no such detained. We waited until 1 p.m., and then I had a talk with the head of investigation department, who looked through the computer files and informed that there was no information about the detention of my son. “None of the investigating officers of our precinct conducted any investigation actions with your son”, he said. Then I fell into hysterics, and then a deputy of the precinct head (I do not know his name) looked into the register book and told that my son had been detained for storing marijuana, and, according to the law, he would be released in three days. They calmed me again saying that Oleksiy was not beaten.

Next day, on Tuesday, I came to the preliminary prison in order to take my son away. There I learned that he was in the Vovchinets precinct. The officers of the district precinct refused to converse with me, they said to leave them alone. I heard the same in the town directorate too. In the evening I turned to Mr. Bondar, the officer on duty of the town directorate, and he told that my son had been released. The same was said to the mother of another detained. Yet, we did not find our children at home. On Wednesday we went to Ivano-Frankivsk with advocates. Oleksiy’s car continued to stay on the precinct parking. Again I could not find my son either in the Vovchinets precinct or in the preliminary prison or in the town directorate. We turned for help to the prosecutor of Ivano-Frankivsk. His deputies informed us that our sons stayed in the preliminary prison.

On the same day, 21 May, we, together with the advocates, sent the telegrams to General Prosecutor Piskun, Minister of Interior Smirnov and ombudsperson Karpacheva. We informed these officials that we could not learn where our children were kept for already five days. About 8 p.m. the mother of another detained youth phoned to me and said that her son returned home, he was cruelly beaten and stayed in bed under medical dropper. She did not want to take him to hospital being afraid that he would be detained again.

On Thursday I got to the consultation to Vasyl Golovchak, a deputy of the oblast prosecutor. Here I learned for the first time that my son was accused of burglary and an investigating officer worked with him. When I said that I did not know about the lot of Oleksiy for already six days, Golovchak phoned to Mykola Zhovnir, the head of the Ivano-Frankivsk town precinct, and spoke to him rather strictly. He told that it was inadmissible, when one man returned from a precinct being brutally beaten, and the family of another one (that is me) was not informed about the detention in the term stipulated by law (12 hours). According to the official data, my son was detained on 17 May and released on 20 May at 18:00. However, the term of detention was prolonged and on 20 May at 1:00 Oleksiy was transported to the investigating officer. I am interested, where he was during these several hours from the release to the new detention? What was his status? According to my son’s words, he was taken from the preliminary prison by the officers of the Pasichnianskiy district precinct and was beaten again without any explanations. He was not at large even for several hours!

Oleksiy affirms that in the pauses in the beating he heard the voice of one of top officers of the Ivano-Frankivsk town directorate, who told that the militiamen might kill him, but they had to obtain the confession. Oleksiy was ready to write the confession even earlier, but the law-enforcers gave him no opportunity to do this.

The advocate managed to meet Oleksiy only on the sixth day after the detention, on Thursday at 18:00. The militiamen were merely hiding my son from the advocate, transporting him from one precinct to another!

During the first three days Oleksiy, in the accordance with laws, stayed under the administrative arrest for storing marijuana, which was put to him by the militia officers, who even did not conceal this. For the next three days he was arrested on the suspicion of burglary (a monkey wrench, electric torch and one gauntlet were found in his car. – Author’s note). The investigating officer promised that Oleksiy would be released after these three days, on Friday. On Friday about 23:00 we came to the town precinct. The investigating officer was absent, and the officer on duty said nothing except swear words. The officer on duty in the town directorate had no information too. Then I returned to the precinct and again achieved nothing.

As it became known later, on 6-7 p.m. Oleksiy was taken away from the preliminary prison by two officers of the Ivano-Frankivsk town precinct and Vovchinetskiy district precinct (their names are not disclosed in the interests of investigation). They put him to the car and transported to... the Kalush district. Here the question arises again: what was Oleksiy’s status at that time? He was not released yet, but he already was not a detained. He was taken by the militiamen without any warrant.

In the Kalush precinct, being afraid that he would be detained for three days more, Oleksiy injured his veins. He asked permission to go to toilet, pick open his skin with a needle and… bite through his vein!

Oleksiy was transported to the Kalush hospital on Saturday at 4:10 a.m. At 5:00 a correspondent of “Vikna” arrived to the hospital, where Oleksiy was kept. Doctors and law-enforcers, which guarded the entrance to the ward, refused to let the journalist to Oleksiy, thus impeding the fulfillment of journalist’s professional duties. On Saturday the militia guard was withdrawn. Only Oleksiy’s mother was permitted to stay near his son in the stationary. According to Oleksiy’s words, only in the hospital he could sleep for the first time during the last week! From the very moment of the detention he got no food or water, the militiamen did not permit him to sleep, they were beating him all the time. He lost his consciousness; they splashed water on his face and beat him again and again…

Owing to the persistency of Oleksiy’s mother, V. Tkachenko, the head of the investigation department of the oblast prosecutor’s office, directed her complaint to V. Didyk, the prosecutor of Ivano-Frankivsk, for checking and taking the appropriate measures. After the discharge from the hospital Oleksiy underwent the forensic expertise. On last Monday he handed another complaint to the Kalush town prosecutor’s office.

Oleksiy Zakharkin tells:

-- On 17 May two my acquaintances went with me to Ivano-Frankivsk. A car overtook us, and some militia officers went out of the car. They detained us motivating the detention by the fact that every of us (!) had marijuana. I was taken to the Vovchinetskiy district precinct. During the entire week I was beaten me by militiamen. As far as I know, other boys were beaten too: a lung of one boy was injured, and another my acquaintance had an attack of epilepsy and was released. The law-enforcers applied the extremely cruel methods: I was handcuffed with my arms under my knees, then I was hanged on an iron stick (in this position a person is curled and hangs with his head down. – Author’s note); they beat me on the head with the 1.5-liter plastic bottle filed with water; they put a gas mask filled with some liquid on my head, etc. In order to conceal the traces of handcuffs, my wrists were wrapped with clothes. Besides the militiamen pressed on my chest near the heart, which resulted in arrhythmia. When, after the week of torture, I was taken to the Kalush town precinct, the militiamen, who transported me there, warned that I had to be silent about what happened with me. Yet, I found some sympathetic people, who phoned to my mother, and told where I was. You know the rest…

Freedom of expression

Lviv mayor had no right to drive a journalist out from the press conference

The Appeal court of the Lviv oblast partly satisfied the claim of Bogdan Kufrik, a journalist of the Lviv newspaper “Express”, against Lviv mayor Lubomir Buniak.

The court recognized that the mayor exceed his authority demanding from the journalist to leave the hall of the Lviv town council, where the press conference of Lubomir Buniak was hold.

However, the court rejected the demands of the journalist to recompense him the moral damage.

The Appeal court considered the appeal of the journalist against the decision of the Galitskiy district court, which did not find any violations of laws in the actions of Lviv mayor. The Appeal court reversed the decision of the local court.

On 7 August 2002 Lubomir Buniak asked Bogdan Kufrik to leave the hall, where the mayor’s press conference devoted to the tragedy on the airdrome “Sknyliv”, which happened on 27 July 2002, was conducted. The mayor substantiated his demand saying that the newspaper “Express” elucidated in a biased way his activities during the preparation of the festival, when the airplane fell on the spectators. After this the journalist turned to the court.

Our informant

Independent mass media are persecuted in the Lugansk oblast

This year the Lugansk public committee for human rights protection conducts the investigation of the level of freedom of local newspapers. The investigation is conducted in the framework of the project “Consulting and informing peasants through district newspapers” and is financially supported by National Endowment for Democracy and Foundation of the development of Ukrainian mass media at the USA Embassy, Kyiv.

We have already disclosed some problems, the existence of which may be interpreted as the almost complete dependence of district newspapers on local power organs.

This dependence has the political and economic character: after the election-2002 the systematic process of replacing the owners of the newspapers began in the oblast. Before this the newspapers were founded, as a rule, by journalists (journalists’ collectives) or editorial collectives and district councils. This year (in fact, the process began in autumn of the last year), according to the decision of the local councils, the journalists’ collectives were removed from the composition of founders of eight out of seventeendistrict newspapers. In four of these newspapers the place of journalists was occupied by state administrations:





“Slavianoserbskie Visti”


District council


“Visti Bilovodshchiny”


District council


“Slovo khliboroba”


District council


“Radianske slovo”


District council




District council and administration


“Vestnik Novoaydarshchiny”


District council and administration


“Popasnianskiy vestnik ”


District council and administration


“Trudovaya slava”


District council and administration

Most probably this tendency will result in the complete estrangement of journalists from the ownership of newspapers and absolute economic dependence of journalists’ collectives on district administration.

During the monitoring of local newspapers it appeared that the majority of the newspapers work not for readers, but for administration: they contain the information pleasant for the authorities, but almost do not write about the urgent problems of the districts, such as the violations of property rights in the course the agrarian reform. This is the reason of scanty runs: 3-5 thousands.

The committee concluded the agreements with the editors of two district newspapers (“Antratsitovskiy vestnik” and “Vestnik Novoaydarshchiny”) about the creation of the consulting centers at the editorial boards. The editors were summoned to the administration. They got the “recommendations” not to cooperate with the committee, since this project was allegedly financed by the political opposition (!). The representatives of Novoaydarskiy district administration insistently inquired me about my political orientation, they asked “for whom I had been working” during the previous election campaign, and who financed the committee now.

The reason of this situation is trivial: numerous violations of the rights, especially in the property sphere, must not, in the interests of the corrupted bureaucrats, be elucidated by the newspapers and discussed by public.

Under such conditions of censorship (or self-censorship) and the absence of freedom the protest reactions are inevitable, either in the form of delitescent conflict or in the open form. For example, for more than a year one of the courts considers the claim of V. Poydin, the editor of the Novopskovsk newspaper “Peremoga” against the district administration in the connection with the illegal persecutions after the publication of an article criticizing the district authorities for corruption.

There is another aspect of the dependence of mass media and violation of journalists’ rights – claims about the protection of honor, dignity and business reputation (Article 7 of the Civil Code of Ukraine), which often ruin the newspapers because of the enormous recompensing sums.

Some statistics. In 2002 there were 269 claims on the protection of honor, dignity and business reputation in the oblast courts, 203 of them were handed in 2002. During that year 188 cases were considered, among them 31 were rejected, 56 were closed (i.e. the demands were not satisfied); the decisions were issued on 92 claims, 69 of them were satisfied. The greatest number of such cases was considered in the Leninskiy and Zhovtnevy courts of Lugansk and in the Stakhanov town court.

The total sum of moral and material compensations demanded in the claims was 2,089,077 hryvnas, and 42,514 hryvnas must be paid according to the court decisions.

49 claims on the protection of honor, dignity and business reputation were brought against mass media, 31 of them were handed in 2002. 35 cases were considered during the year, 12 were rejected, 6 were closed; the decisions were issued on 17 claims, 14 were satisfied. Leninskiy district court of Lugansk considered 25 cases, Brianka town court – 7 cases, Krasnodon town court – 7 cases, Zhovtnevy district court of Lugansk – 6 cases, Stakhanov town court – 2 cases, Lutuginskiy district court – 1 case and Popasninaskiy district court – 1 case.

The total demanded recompensing sum was 1, 627,704 UAH the court obliged the defendants to pay 4039 UAH. Thus, the total sum that must be paid according to the decisions of Leninskiy district court of Lugansk equals to 1717 hryvnas out of the total demanded sum of 530500 hryvnas; the corresponding numbers for other courts are: Brianka town court --- 471 out of 7000, Krasnodon town court – 630 out of 80000, Lutuginskiy district court – 1017 out of 10000, Stakhanov town court – 204 out of 204.

So, the oblast mass media permanently stay in the field of social tension generated by the conflict of interests, more often the interests of bureaucrats and citizens, who try to defend their legal rights and interests through publications on the newspapers. Yet, sometimes the citizens together with the newspapers, become the victims of the illegal court repressions.

The above statement may be confirmed by the scandalous case Medianik vs. Lugansk newspaper “Rakurs plus”, when Medianik, a businessman and a deputy of the town council, demanded to recompense the moral damage (100 thousand hryvnas) inflicted to him by the publication in the newspaper of the voters’ critical opinions about his work (!). And the court ruined the newspaper even before the consideration of the case – it issued the decision about the arrest of all future issues of the newspaper!

The Bukovina governor is going to call away the claims against mass media and journalists “for the sake of public order”

The press service of the oblast administration published the appeal of governor Teofil Bauer to the Bukovina dwellers and representatives of oblast mass media. In this appeal the governor declares that he is going to call away the claims against mass media and journalists “for the sake of public order”, since these claims “can become a destabilizing factor in the process of the development of the regional informational space”. Bauer asked all mass media of the region “to leave their ambitions and to begin the constructive dialog”.

The UNIAN informs that for more than six months the court process lasted after the claim of governor T. Bauer against the independent newspaper “Chas”, which accused the head of the oblast of mass falsifications during the last election to the Chernivtsy oblast council. The next court sitting was planned to be conducted on 6 June – on the Day of journalists of Ukraine.

The governor of Bukovina points out that “the tension in the relations between the state power and some regional mass media has its objective and subjective reasons”, but affirms that he “never initiated it personally”. T. Bauer recognized that he fulfilled the adopted decisions in the interests of people and used “urgent, but sometimes unpopular measures, which generated some misunderstandings and, maybe, errors”.

Teofil Bauer stated that he always “thought highly about the hard work of journalists and people of other professions”. He also appealed to the workers of oblast mass media, independently of their status and political orientation, “to be tolerant and steady in their relations with the power, to elucidate the events and facts objectively”.

At the same time the governor declared that he was forced to turn to the oblast dwellers and mass media because of the “PR-campaign against the oblast administration and governor, which displays the features of simple political order and has nothing common with truth”.

According to the information of the UNIAN, on 13 May the Bukovina journalists and members of their families organized the picketing of the building of the Chernivtsy oblast state administration. The picket was directed at the protection of the freedom of speech in the region and was a demonstration of solidarity with the newspaper “Chas”, which was obliged by court to pay 50 thousand hryvnas of compensation for publishing the feuilleton, where the concrete names of heroes were not mentioned. On 23 May the NUJU and the Parliamentary committee in charge of the freedom of speech and information turned to President Leonid Kuchma with the request to dismiss T. Bauer from his post for the persecutions of journalists and violation of informational laws of Ukraine.

30 May 2003


3000 journalists of the Kyiv oblast supported their Chernivtsy colleagues

The Kyiv organization of the National union of journalists of Ukraine (NUJU), the greatest Ukrainian trade union of journalists, resolutely supported the efforts of the Chernivtsy journalists community “to stop the savage pressure exerted by the insolent authorities on the freedom of speech and democratic principles stipulated by the Constitution”. The telegram of 27 May 2003 is signed by Igor Zaseda, the head of the Kyiv oblast organization and the secretary of the NUJU, on behalf of 3000 members. In particular, the appeal states: “Teofil Bauer, the head of the Chernivtsy oblast state administration, is known as a persecutor of the freedom of speech, and he is unworthy of occupying his high post”.

The Kyiv journalists declare that they respect their Chernivtsy colleagues “for courage and honesty, for the intentions to selflessly struggle for justice”. “If we would not join our efforts in the struggle against the adherents of the “Soviet freedom of speech”, we would lost out freedom”, the telegram reads. The Kyiv journalists concluded their appeal with the slogan: “We will struggle and we will win!”

The solidarity showed by Chernivtsy journalists, great public resonance and the support on the side of the all-Ukrainian journalists union had some effect and made the Chernivtsy authorities to retreat. On 29 May the press service of the oblast administration published the appeal of governor Teofil Bauer to the representatives of oblast mass media. From the very beginning the appeal demonstrated the unwillingness (or inability?) of the governor to understand the role of the representatives of mass media in any civilized society. The principal position of the journalists, who were asserting their rights, is called “ambitions” and “PR-campaign against the oblast administration and governor, which displays the features of simple political order and has nothing common with truth – the main criterion of journalistic activities”. Yet, after the general words about his successful work on the post of the head of the oblast (the successfulness of this work can be assessed by the dwellers of the oblast, which is one of the poorest in Ukraine) Teofil Bauer recognized the existence of some “errors and drawbacks” in his work, as well as of the conflict “in the relations between the power and a part of journalists’ community of the region”. This statement arouses optimism, since it was declared by the state official, who earlier had been sure of his impeccability.

Finally, T. Bauer appealed “to the workers of oblast mass media, independently of their status and political orientation, to be tolerant and steady in their relations with the power, to elucidate the events and facts objectively”. In order to demonstrate his “good will” the governor declared his decision to call away “some claims against mass media and journalists, since these claims can become a destabilizing factor in the process of the development of the regional informational space. Let the publication of these editions, which are far from the actual situation in the oblast, be on conscience of their authors”. Now Teofil Bauer hopes for the “steps of the representatives of main regional mass media towards the establishment of the constructive cooperation between mass media and local organs of state power”.

Yet, it is doubtful that the governor, who savagely persecuted mass media for the long time, will now become a friend of journalists. Moreover, it will hardy help him, since the majority of oblast mass media proclaimed their editorial boards as “territories free from Teofil Bauer”, and the motto “Bukovina without Bauer” still remains actual.

29 May 2003

Women’s rights

How the judges of the Supreme Court establish the sum of compensation of moral damage

Now there are many discussions about the unbelievably great sums of compensation of moral damage inflicted by inauthentic information published in mass media. The claims on such compensations are frequently satisfied by courts.

In order to prevent the liquidation of mass media, against which such decisions are issued, the debates were hold about the legislative stipulation of the maximal sum of compensation for moral damage that may be imposed by court.

Yet, now the judges apply Article 220-1 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, which stipulates only minimal sum of compensation, which is equal to five minimal incomes (925 UAH).

Since January 2001 the procedure of recompensing the moral damage is also mentioned in the Labor Code, Article 237-1 of which states: “the procedure of recompensing the moral damage is stipulated by laws”, and according to these laws, the sum may not be less than 925 hryvnas.

It should be interesting to compare the court practices concerning the compensation of moral damage to state officials and to common citizens, the taxpayers, who, in fact, are breadwinners for these officials.

I am a worker of a boiler-house at a communal enterprise. More than once I obtained my salary through court, and in my last claim I demanded to recompense the moral damage inflicted to me by the systematic violation of my right for remuneration of labor (the demanded sum of compensation was 925 hryvnas).

On 4 April 2002 the court partially satisfied my claim, the moral damage was estimated at 50 hryvnas. The Appeal court of Dnepropetrovsk oblast agreed with this decision.

In my cassation complaint to the Supreme Court of Ukraine I referred to the above-mentioned norms of the constitutional rights – Articles 237-1 of the Labor Code and 440-1 of the Civil Code, as well as the norm of the procedural right – Article 112 part 3 of the Civil Code, which reads: “in the case of absence of the law that regulates the controversial relations the court must apply the law that regulates similar relations”. The reference to Article 11 of the CC was necessary, since the judges orally stated that the norms of the Civil Code might not be applied to the labor relations, and the Labor Code did not envisage the minimal sum of recompensing the moral damage.

The panel of judges of the Court chamber in civil cases of the Supreme Court of Ukraine consisting of P. Pantalienko, Yu. Prokopchuk and Yu. Senin issued the decision of 26 May 2003: “According to part 2 Article 320 of the Civil-Procedural Code of Ukraine the cassations against court decisions are grounded on the incorrect application by the court of the norms of material right or on violation of the norms of procedural right.

The arguments adduced in the complaint give no reasons for the conclusion that the court committed the violations of the norms of material or procedural right, which are stipulated by parts 3 and 4 of Article 328 of the CPC of Ukraine as the grounds for the reconsideration of the case by the composition of the Court Chamber… The cassation complaint will not be satisfied”.

Taking into account that the resolution does not contain the arguments of the cassation complaint, the resolution looks rather well-founded and legal. Yet, if you cannot obtain your salary, you get the compensation of 50 hryvnas, but if you criticize the swindlers, who rule the country, you must pay 50000 hryvnas!

The given example creates the impression that the size of moral compensation depends on the social status of the claimant. And the judges evaluate the moral damage in the accordance with their social status.

The Constitutional Court wants to consider constitutional complaints of citizens

Mykola Selivon, the head of the Constitutional Court, believes that it should be advisable to empower the Constitutional Court to consider the constitutional complaints of citizens. He told this at a press conference. According to his words, the Court receives about 3000 appeals every year, and 90% of them may be qualified as constitutional complaints.

Selivon said that the complaints of citizens against the normative acts of ministries, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Supreme Rada might be regarded as constitutional ones. He reckons that the complaints against court decisions may not be considered as constitutional complaints.

Selivon also said that the consideration of constitutional complaints by the Constitutional Court would increase the level of the protection of human rights and freedoms.

According to the Constitution, the Constitutional Court solves the questions concerning the correspondence of laws and other legal acts of the Supreme Rada, President, Cabinet of Ministers and the Supreme Rada of the Crimea with the Constitution.

These questions are considered after the appeal of the President or not less than 40 MPs, as well as of the Supreme Court, ombudsperson or the Supreme Rada of the Crimea.

The Constitutional Court also gives the official interpretation of the Constitution and Ukrainian laws. 


In Russia, for example, citizens (and even apartides) have (and always had) the right to turn with the complaints to the Constitutional Court, and some of them use this right successfully.

Yet, the Ukrainian citizens, in their turn, may not hand such complaints to our native Constitutional Court. This was a decision of our legislators. One may only guess what was the reason of this sudden brainwave of the acolytes of our Constitutional Themis and hope that this praiseworthy impulse will be adequately legitimated.

Roman Romanov

Court practices

Who is responsible for recruiting ill youths to army?

In February the bulletin “Prava ludyny” published the report about the results of monitoring of the quality of the spring recruiting campaign – 2002.

The report was sent to E. Kushnariov, the head of the Kharkov oblast state administration, and to the military commissar of the Kharkov oblast.

After the examination of the results of our monitoring governor Kushnariov created the commission consisting of the corresponding specialists. The commission was headed by the deputy of the head physician of the oblast hospital. Besides, it included medical doctors and members of the oblast military commissariat. The commission had to consider all cases of the 18 dismissed youths mentioned in the report of the Kharkov oblast union of soldiers’ mothers (KOUSM). Unfortunately, the workers of the KOUSM, who dealt with this problem, had no opportunity to take part in the work of the commission. So, the letters were sent to the oblast administration, to the oblast health directorate and oblast military commissariat with the conclusions of the medical expert of the KOUSM on every of the boys, who were dismissed during the first six months of their service (Article 107 of Order No. 2 of the Ministry of Defense of 1994).

From the talk with the oblast military commissar we learned that the commissariat has the data only on 8 dismissed boys. By the way, the names do not coincide with names in the list of the KOUSM.

The KOUSM turned to the oblast military commissariat and to the Directorate of health protection of the Kharkov oblast with the request to find up the reasons of this discrepancy. The names do not coincide, as it was said above; does it mean that the number of such soldiers is 26? It is very interesting, how the corresponding structures would explain the situation?

The response of the Directorate of health protection may be regarded as unprofessional formal reply. As to the response of the military commissariat, the KOUSM did not obtain it yet, which is a direct violation of Article 16 of the Law “On citizens’ appeals”.

The editorial board of “Prava ludyny” turned to the corresponding structures with the requests. In next issues we will inform you about the development of the events.


With people and for the sake of people

Next year the Ternopil oblast charity historical and educational society “Memorial” named after V. Stus will celebrate the 15 thanniversary of its activities. Looking back at the fulfilled work, the members of the society may say with proud that their activities were not fruitless. They organized the excavations of burial places of the Ukrainian patriots, who were re-buried with the proper honors. Monuments and memorial complexes were erected in almost all Ukrainian settlements. For example, a symbolic grave was built on the Mikulinets cemetary in Ternopil. The names of more than one thousand political prisoners, who were tortured to death in the Ternopil prison in June-July 1941, are hewed on the tombstone. Every year “Memorial” conducts commemorative meetings and dirges near this grave. Jointly with the Ternopil town council the society realized the reconstruction of the graves of Ukrainian Sech warriors. Last year they collected money and mounted the Commemorative Board to the victims of political repressions on the wall of the former KGB building. It is practically impossible to found a family in the Ternopil oblast, which was not affected by repressions. It should be enough to say that only during the 40s-50s more than 215 thousand persons were coercively transported from the Western Ukraine to concentration camps, many of them perished. The members of “Memorial” helped to immortalize this tragedy in the museums of political repressions, which exist in Ternopil, Buchach, Chortkiv and Skalat. And recently “Memorial” turned to the President of Ukraine with the request to assist with the erection of the monument to our fellow-countrymen, who perished in the camps, in the settlement Abez, Syberia.

“Memorial” wants to learn the historical truth about the crimes of communist regime, they demand to try the organizers and executor of the terror. With this aim they conducted the public hearings “Communism is a dead end of civilization”. They have already collected a great number of evidence of the witnesses, documents and photographs, which they plan to publish as a separate book. Activists of “Memorial” organize the lectures in educational establishments, celebrations of memorable days, scientific and practical conferences. The newspaper “Dzvin”, which is published from the very beginning of the activities of this organization, also fulfills a large amount of national-patriotic and educational work.

All this was said at the 5 thaccounting-elective conference of the oblast organization of “Memorial”. Oksana Vitlynska, the head of the oblast directorate in charge of the question of internal politics, and representatives of public organizations took part in the conference. Bogdan Khavarivskiy, the manager of the oblast state archive, was elected to the post of the head of oblast “Memorial”, Anton Gritsyshin became his deputy.

Legal aid to the condemned women

“The Center of legal and psychological aid to the workers of penitentiaries of the Chernigiv oblast” began to work in the oblast in the framework of the program of Democratic grants and the foundation for the development of Ukrainian mass media. The project is supported by the USA Embassy in Ukraine.

In the course of realization of this project the members of the charity organization “Chernigiv center for protecting women rights” delivered on 7 May 2003 the first lecture in the school of legal knowledge in Chernigiv women reforming colony No. 44. The workers of the Chernigiv town department of registering the acts of civil status at the Chernigiv oblast directorate of justice also took part in the studies. I. Kebets, a deputy head of the department, explained some aspects of the laws of Ukraine on marriage, registration of marriage and divorce, and the peculiarities concerning the incarcerated persons. The introduction of the new Family Code of Ukraine was also discussed.

The life of the charity organization and penitentiary establishments of the town was very active during this May. Yet, these events were the result of the long preparatory work. We united the organizations and enterprises of the town, collected money.

On 15 May, on the international Day of family, the members of the charity organization “Chernigiv center for protecting women rights” presented to Chernigiv colony No. 44 a computer and two printers. These presents are intended for the social-psychological service of the colony, since this service determines the forms and methods of the reforming work with the condemned women. Undoubtedly, the organization of the reforming and social-psychological work with the persons, who were condemned to imprisonment, is a very important element of the process of criminal punishment, which includes the main principles of state social policy guaranteeing the protection of legal rights and freedoms of citizens, who stay in penitentiaries.

On 19 May 2003 the members of our organization presented two TV sets and one Xerox to Chernigiv preliminary prison No. 31. This equipment was bought by the request of the workers of this establishment.

Point of view

Ukraine occupies the fourth place by the number of the appeals to the European Court.

Only Turkey, Russia and Poland are ahead of Ukraine.

These data were presented by Lucius Kaflish, a judge of the European Court on human rights, a professor of the jus gentium of the Institute of international relations in Geneva. The professor took part in the Odessa seminar “Judges of the 21 stcentury”, informs “Obozrevatel” referring to Deutsche Welle.

According to the words of Lucius Kaflish, the citizens complain more often against the illegal detention, retardation of court considerations, decisions on property conflicts.

Ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva pointed out in her report that about 7 thousands of citizens turned to the European Court during recent five years.

At the same time, only 10 of all complaints handed by Ukrainian citizens in 1996 were recognized by the European Court as admissible, and factual decisions were issued only on two complaints.

In May the European Court on human rights issued six decisions against Ukraine in the connection with the conditions of the upkeep of the prisoners condemned to the capital punishment. According to the Court verdict, Ukraine must pay the compensations equal to 2-3 thousand euro to these citizens.

Lucius Kaflish asserts that the procedure of handing complaints to the European Court on human rights is very simple. It is one of the reasons of the great number of complaints: now 34 thousand of complaints are waiting for consideration.

Every day the European Court receives about 900 letters and more than 250 international phone calls.

Lucius Kaflish expressed anxiety about the tendency of the growth of the number of complaints in the current year – about 40% more than in the past year.

Volodymir Yavorskiy
Association of the network TV and radio broadcasters of Ukraine
[email protected]

“Prava ludyny” commentary:According to the official data of the European Court, Ukraine occupies the 7 th, not the 4 th, place by the number of the appeals to the European Court among 45 members of the Council of Europe. We believe that the small number of positively solved cases may be explained by the amateurism of Ukrainian advocates and misunderstanding by the majority of the complainers of the juridical authorities of the European Court.

The number of journalists’ complaints to the ombudsperson increased

Ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva told at the seminar for the regional mass media that the number of the complaints connected with the violations of human rights handed by journalists, state workers and advocates increased during several last years. She also remarked that in the beginning of her work she had not received the complaints from these categories of citizens at all.

She also informed that during 2002 she mainly received the complaints from penitentiaries and the complaints concerning the actions of the officers of regional militia, the decisions of appeal courts and prosecutor’s offices.

According to N. Karpacheva’s words, during 5 years of her work she got 12 thousand complaints against beating, torture and violence. All in all, she received more than 290 thousand complaints of Ukrainian citizens and apartides.

Ms. Karpacheva believes that the continuous increase of the number of such complaints may be explained both by the growth of knowledge of citizens about the ombudsperson’s work and by the fact that violations of human rights in Ukraine become more and more frequent.

Lenni Montiel, the main councilor of the Program of the UNO development in Ukraine, Robert Brinkly, the Great Britain Ambassador, and Oka Peterson, the Sweden Ambassador, also spoke at the seminar. All speakers welcomed the existence of the institute of ombudsperson in Ukraine and expressed their personal gratitude to Nina Karpacheva for her contribution to the development of democracy and human rights protection in Ukraine.

N. Karpacheva also got the highest award of the Union of journalists of Ukraine – all-Ukrainian Ivan Franko prize – for the support of the representatives of mass media and the persistent protection of journalists from the illegal restriction of their rights and freedoms. The prize was presented by Igor Lubchenko, the head of the Union of journalists of Ukraine.

Deported peoples

Monument to repressed mathematician Mykhaylo Kravchuk

On 20 May 2003 the monument to academician Mykhaylo Kravchuk, an outstanding mathematician of the 20 thcentury, was erected on the Muzeyna Square of the National Technical University “Kyiv polytechnic institute”. M. Kravchuk was arrested on 21 February 1938 and accused of “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism” and “espionage”. He perished in a camp near Magadan on 27 September 1942.

Mykhaylo Kravchuk was born on 27 September 1892 in the village of Chovnytsa, the Volyn oblast. He learned at Lutsk gymnasia. After graduation from St. Vladimir Kyiv University he taught mathematics in the village of Savarka, the Boguslav district (one of his pupils was Arkhip Luilka, who later became a general constructor of aircraft engines and created the two-loop turbo-jet engine). Since 1921 M. Kravchuk worked in higher schools of Kyiv. When Kravchuk was 33 years old, he became a professor; he was a member of mathematical societies of several countries, in 1928 he took part in the International congress of mathematicians in Bologna. In 1929 he was elected as an academician of the all-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. From 1934 to the arrest he headed the chair of higher mathematics in the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.

The monument created by sculptor Oleksandr Skoblikov was erected owing to the efforts of Ukrainian scientists, in particular, Nina Virchenko, a former political and now a professor of the KPI. The signature on the pedestal reads: “I love Ukraine and mathematics”.

Several international scientific conferences named after M. Kravchuk have been already conducted in Kyiv, the 800-page book of his selected scientific works was published. The world knows about “polynomials of Kravchuk” and “oscillators of Kravchuk”, his discoveries played an important role in the invention of computers, he was a founder of the Ukrainian mathematical terminology. Kravchuk’s scientific works on highest algebra and mathematical analysis, theories of differential and integral equations, probability theory, mathematical statistics and geometry are the part of the thesaurus of world science. He wrote to his wife from the camp that he solved there some mathematic problem and passed the calculations to the administration of the camp. Most probably, these calculations vanished in the camp like the great mathematician himself…

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2003, #06