war crimes in Ukraine

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Politics and human rights

Open letter of representatives of mass media, public and charity organizations of the Sumy oblast to the members of the temporary commission of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine for investigating the activities of international donor organizations.

Open letter of representatives of mass media, public and charity organizations of the Sumy oblast to the members of the temporary commission of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine for investigating the activities of international donor organizations

We, representatives of mass media, public and charity organizations of the Sumy oblast want to express our deep anxiety about the creation of the temporary commission for investigating the activities of public organizations existing at the expense of foreign grants.

We are anxious because certain political forces may use the work of this commission for destabilization of the mechanisms of social development and the aid, which is rendered through the public organizations, or for the impediment to the work of public organizations, which promote the development of democracy in Ukraine.

We know nothing about the NGOs, which obtain the finances from the international foundations for the support of some concrete candidates.Non-interferenceto the political struggle is one of the main principles of the work of international donor organizations. On the contrary, we can adduce many examples, when, owing to public and charity organizations of the Sumy oblast, whose projects were financed by international foundations, some social problems were solved, the problems that could not be solved by the state because of the lack of money. Among them: humanitarian aid to the poorest groups of the population, improvement of the material base of medical and educational establishments, creation of the operating mechanisms of restoration of the service sphere in countryside, development of women’s entrepreneurial activities, informational support of public initiatives, consultative support of small-and medium-scale business, elucidation of the activities of the power organs, free legal aid to the poor citizens, development of youth organizations, etc.

We understand the wish of MPs to protect the national interests and are also worried with the fact that many public organizations mainly exist owing to the financial aid rendered to them by international foundations. We are also interested in the growth of Ukrainian component in the budget of these public organizations. Yet, no investigation commissions can stimulate this growth. This problem can be solved only by the adoption of legal acts, which would guarantee the participation of national sources in financing the public initiatives, which would countenance the financing of social sphere by business circles.

For instance, in 1977 the US Congress adopted the law «On reinvestment of local communities», which demanded from banks to invest money in the development of social sphere of the territories, where these banks functioned. We are also hoping for the constructive work of the Supreme Rada directed at the support of public initiatives.

We demand to take our viewpoint into account, since we are a part of the people, which you are representing in the supreme legislative organ.

Anton Aleshchenko, the head of the Sumy oblast youth organization «Matytsya»

Sergiy Aleshchenko, the manager of the Sumy resource center

Anna Babkova, the executive manager of the Union of businessmen of the Trostianets district

Denis Vlasov, the head of the Lebedin town organization of the UUDM

Svetlana Zakharchenko, the head of the Sumy oblast women’s youth organization «Kryzovy tsentr»

Oleksandr Kalmykov, the head of the Sumy oblast youth organization «Sumska initsiativa»

Olena Kysil, the head of the Sumy town charity fund «Rostok»

Petro Moskovko, a deputy of the president of the Charity association «Rodina»

Marina Parichenko, a social teacher of the Center of social-labor rehabilitation «Spilnota»

Oleksandr Takul, the head of the Sumy town organization «Public bureau »Pravozakhist«»

Yulia Chorna, an information manager of the public organization «Poriatunok»

Appeal of the Poltava oblast journalists — participants of the round table «Ethical realism as a principle of conscientious work of democratic press»

To President of Ukraine L. Kuchma
To Head of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine V. Litvin
To Prime-Minister of Ukraine V. Yanukovich

To mass media

We are deeply indignant at the declarations of new General Prosecutor of Ukraine Gennadiy Vasylyev stated at his first press conference. In fact, these declarations abrogated the results of the18-month investigation conducted by his predecessor S. Piskun and hampered the search of the organizers and executors of the murder of our colleague journalist G. Gongadze.

We regard the statement of General Prosecutor G. Vasylyev as an attempt to «bury» forever the case on G. Gongadze’s murder.

We consider that as another demonstration of cynicism of our executive power and the endeavor to intimidate the representatives of mass media, who conscientiously fulfill their professional duties: the state does not protect them from the most terrible form of the political censorship — physical extermination, but also connives at the impunity of the murderers and organizers of the murders. This is confirmed by more than 30 unclosed murders of journalists during recent years.

We are expressing our resolute protest against the parliamentary fraction of the Communist party of Ukraine, owing to which G. Vasylyev was elected to the post of the head of the supreme Ukrainian agency that should supervise the law observance, in spite of numerous publications of the facts that dispelled all illusions about his business and personal traits, as well as about the political tasks he was fulfilling.

We demand from the General Prosecutor G. Vasylyev to resume the investigation of the criminal case on the murder of G. Gongadze, to find the murderers and organizers and to pass them to court for the severe punishment. We demand to complete, in the shortest possible time, the investigation of numerous criminal cases concerning the perished Ukrainian journalists, since we are sure that it was their work that caused their untimely death.

L. Kucherenko, I. Cherchaty, O. Gavrilchenko, V.Ksionz,
Z. Kovalenko, S.Vovkodav, G. Antipovich, E.Muller,
I. Finenko, I. Burdym, O. Gurin, M. Sikalo, O.Klochko, V. Mara
and others (all in all, 34 persons)
19 December 2003

Special squads of militia are trained to disperse the meetings of opposition

In the middle of December 2003 the trainings of special militia squads were organized with the support of minister Mykola Bilokon. Thelaw-enforcerswere trained to establish public order at meetings.

The newspaper «Grani+» described the training in details. According to the newspaper, the militia squads «Omega» and «Bars» improved their skills at «establishing the public order in the places of mass gatherings». The training was conducted at the militia training ground near Novy Petrivtsy (the Kyiv oblast). About 300 students of the Militia Academy imitated «the group of citizens dissatisfied with the power». They were carrying the posters with slogans: «Give us the freedom of speech!», «For independent Ukraine!» and so on. There were no slogans like «Away with Kuchma!», points out the author. The ranks of militiamen from the special squads in flak jackets and with shields and batons were opposing the «demonstrators». The «demonstrators» cried out the slogans, and thelaw-enforcerslaunched two «warning» rockets to the sky. Then the militiamen demanded from the demonstrators to disperse, and after this the armored vehicle followed with the car equipped with a water cannon moved toward them.

At some distance from the training ground the ambulance and two militia cars for the detained were parked. The «demonstrators» defended themselves with sticks, but were dispersed quickly with the teargas. The «instigators of the disorders» were taken into militia cars.

Some time later the special squads for fighting terrorism (in particular, the USS squad «Alfa») were trained on the same ground.

The newspaper informs that the seminar of heads and deputy heads of all oblast militia directorates has been held before the training. The seminar was closed, but the journalists managed to learn that generals and colonels «improved their theoretical knowledge on fighting terrorism» and «learned to act in extraordinary situations» — to fight against the participants of protest actions and public disorders, which, allegedly, might happen in Ukraine in the nearest future.

The edition also points out that «Alfa» squads (all in all, 400 persons) exist in all oblast centers of Ukraine. They have the most modern equipment and armament. Besides, the squads with similar functions have appeared recently in the Ministry of Interior.


Mukachevo militia carries out the mass arrests for participation in the protest meeting

On 31 December the Mukachevo militia started the mass arrests of the deputies of the town council and representatives of private enterprises, who took part in the protest meeting near the building of the mayor’s office, which was held on 30 December. This information was communicated by Yuri Orobets.

«The militiamen have no documents empowering them to carry out the arrests. All is happening after the scenario of the notorious 1937. We turned to Nina Karpacheva and to Mr. Radchenko, the secretary of the Council of national security, with the request to take the immediate measures for stopping the arbitrary actions of law-enforcers»,informed the deputy. Orobets believes that «the oblast representatives of the SDPU (u) are purposely provoking the mass disorders with the aim to legitimatize the President’s Edict, which is obviously illegal. The mass arrests evoke the extremely negative reaction of all town dwellers».

Now MPs Oleksiy Ivchenko, Viktor Pinzenik, Yuri Orobets, Roman Zvarich and Viktor Barloga are turning to thelaw-enforcingstructures trying to neutralize the arbitrariness that is raging in the town on the eve of the New Year.

Press service of «Nasha Ukraina»

31 December 2003

The round table devoted to the International Day of human rights

On 8 December the Supreme Rada Committee of human rights conducted the round table devoted to the International Day of human rights.

Representatives of the organs of state power, MPs, judges of the Supreme Court of Ukraine and the Constitutional Court, representatives of NGOs and international organizations took part in the round table.

The sitting was chaired by Gennadiy Udovenko. He delivered the speech, in which he stated that the political will for the real guaranteeing of human rights was absent in Ukraine.

The UNO representative Douglas Gardner accentuated the importance of the Universal Declaration of human rights. He dwelled on the most important problems existing in Ukraine: the aggravation of the situation with the AIDS and sexual discrimination. It is somewhat strange that the UNO representation in our country is not worried with other problems.

Evhen Zakharov, a co-chairman of the Kharkov group for human rights protection, pointed out the most problematic questions in the sphere of human rights protection. He also told that this year the legal guaranteeing of human rights would, probably, deteriorate, if the new laws on the unified register of physical persons, on monitoring of telecommunications and the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine would be adopted. The problem of the application of torture by law-enforcersstill remains actual. In particular, the definition of the crime «application of torture» is absent in our legislation. It is also necessary to envisage the procedure of the access to the independent medical expertise of the condemned and to provide the independent check of the facts of applying torture.

Boris Tarasiuk, the head of the Supreme Rada committee in charge of questions of the European integration, stated that «the situation with human rights does not improve, it even becomes worse, if to compare the modern state of human rights with the first years of independence and, in some aspects, even with the Soviet times».

Antonina Taranovska, a representative of the Ukrainian Association of Amnesty International, also drew the attention to the questions of torture in Ukraine and to the necessity of the appropriate measures for the ratification of the Roman statute of the International penal court.

Valeria Lutkovskaya, a deputy of the Minister of Justice of Ukraine, emphasized on the necessity of the fulfillment of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. «About 7.5 thousand complaints have been received by the European Court. We occupy the seventh place by the number of the complaints, after such democratic countries as France, Germany and Italy. So, such great number of the complaints must not scare us, but it means that 7.5 thousand people could not find justice in Ukraine. The greater part of these complaints was rejected». The Ukrainian legislation promotes the growth of this number, since our legislation does not agree with the Convention. For example, the problem exists today of recompensing the damage inflicted by the illegal arrest. The right for the compensation is envisaged by the Convention, but the Ukrainian laws stipulate that the damage is recompensed only if the verdict of «not guilty» was issued by court or if the criminal case was closed because of the rehabilitating circumstances. Ms. Lutkovskaya also pointed out that the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine was ready to take part in the implementation of the European standards in Ukraine.

The participants of the round table also debated about the rights of minorities and refugees, the election rights and ecological rights of citizens.

Secretariat of the Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations

Old problems and new menaces

10 December is the Day of human rights, which is celebrated throughout the world. Besides, 10 December is the traditional date for summing up the situation with the observance of human rights in the current year. This year the 55th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of human rights is celebrated, and we can point out that no one of its provisions lost its actuality, and that is one of the most important features of this document. Ukrainian lawyers and politicians declare with pride that the Ukrainian Constitution reflects the full list of the rights and freedoms mentioned in the Universal Declaration. Yet, are these rights and freedoms guaranteed? On the contrary, the human rights and freedoms are abused permanently. Unfortunately, there was no progress at all in the sphere of human rights during the years of independence, and in some questions the Ukrainian power managed to surpass the communist one. So, when sociologists put the question: «Are human rights and freedoms observed in Ukraine?», 56% of respondents answered «no», 18% — «yes» and 26% — «I do not know».

For some reasons nobody, who speaks about the constitutional reform, recollects about section 2 of the Constitution. Yet, this section must be changes first of all. «The right for living accommodation», «the right for satisfactory living standard, including the right for satisfactory nourishment, clothes and living accommodation», «the right for the environment safe for life and health» (Article 42, 43 and 44) and other positive rights look as a mockery today. The direct action of the Constitution concerning the norms, which guarantee social, economic and cultural rights, is impossible. That is why these norms of the Constitution must be changed, like it was done in the Constitution of Poland, which guarantees such rights not to all citizens, but only to socially unprotected layers. Another way is to stipulate the minimal standards, for example, to determine the term «satisfactory living standard». Without this Articles42–54 of the Constitution will remain a usual dissimulation. Article 49 must be urgently changed too, since it is obvious that the gratuitous medicine is impossible now, and this norm drives both doctors and patients to almost tragic state. It is impossible to claim to court against the violation of these rights. The constitutional system of the protection of human rights and freedoms in Ukraine does not function, since the mechanism of handing the constitutional complaints to the Constitutional Court is extremely restricted, and only a handful of applicants (out of several thousands) could use their right for obtaining the interpretation of constitutional norms from the Constitutional Court. It is necessary to widen the circle of the subjects of the constitutional appeal by adding the common courts and physical persons to the list of the subjects.

The violations of social, economic and cultural rights are especially obvious on the background of the adoption of the anti-social budget-2004, which envisages the decrease of minimal wages and the synchronous increase of the prices for primary foodstuff. The prices for medical drugs are growing too, and since the New Year this prices will increase again, approximately for 30%. The difference between the incomes of the richest and the poorest Ukrainians becomes greater and greater, now this difference is 8–9 times greater than in Eastern countries. This is a very dangerous phenomenon. So, it is not surprising that, according to the information of ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva, seven million of Ukrainian citizens are looking for a job abroad.

The KhG reckons that the campaign of the intensive political support of the constitutional reform has been the most important recent political action of the Ukrainian state power. The KhG believes that the constitutional reform, in its present form, does not correspond with the real interests of the Ukrainian people either from the viewpoint of the present time or the abstract perspectives of state politics. The reform is inconsequent from the angle of the organizational methods, insincere from the angle of moral and political substance, thoughtless from the angle the normative-legal qualities and not predictable from the angle of the potential social and political consequences. The conception of the constitutional reform, which is proposed today by the operating power: election of the President by Parliament, essential contraction of President’s authorities concerning the government, etc., does not improve, but deteriorates the Basic Law. This conception obviously restricts the political controllability of the country and «infects» the executive branch with the parliamentary dissensions. The reform is insincere from the moral-political viewpoint too, since, on the background of the declarations about democratization, it decreases twice the amount of the elective rights of the Ukrainian citizens and contradicts the principle of  direct election, stipulated by Article 71, section III of the Constitution of Ukraine.

Application of torture and cruel treatment continues to be one of the most important problems in Ukraine. Such international organizations as the UNO Committee against torture and the European Committee in charge of the questions of preventing torture and cruel treatment more than once pointed out the absence of the regulation of the access of the detained to medics and the imperfect regulation of the access to advocates. Yet, these questions are still not solved. The recommendations of the Committees concerning the introduction of the juridical prohibition of interrogations in the absence of advocate, chosen by the detained, were ignored, and the operating laws were not changed. On the contrary, the draft of the new Criminal-Procedural Code aggravates the situation with the rights of the detained and practically nullifies the right for defense. The recommendation was also neglected to refuse from the practice of directing the criminal cases by courts for the additional investigation and to restrict the total term of keeping in custody during the investigation and trial (in Moldova, for example, this term cannot exceed two years). The absence of such restriction results in the situation, when many people stay in preliminary prisons for years, and the Eastern experts regard the upkeep conditions in our preliminary prisons as torture. The hopes for the transfer of the authority of taking into custody from the prosecutor’s office to court also were not justified. As a result, 44.5 thousand persons stay in preliminary prisons today, which is 15% more than in the previous years. The qualification of torture in the Criminal Code does not correspond to the definition given in the international right, so it must be changed according to Article 1 of the UNO Convention against torture. It is also necessary to fulfill other recommendations of the UNO Committee against torture: to realize legislatively the principle of inadmissibility of using the evidence obtained under torture and to stipulate the absolutely independent mechanism of accusation in order to guarantee the immediate, unbiased and complete investigation of the complaints against torture.

In general, the access to justice is a very serious problem. The law on legal aid, which would regulate rendering this aid by the state, was not adopted, the quality draft is absent too. The court system is financed insufficiently, it does not obtain even the sums, which are stipulated by the state budget. There are 3700 judges in the country, and the needed number is 4500. Only 1.2 million civil cases, 2 million administrative cases and 150 thousand criminal cases were considered during nine months of the current year, and the terms of the consideration are permanently exceeded. How can, for example, 20 judges of the Chamber of civil cases of the Supreme Court consider 16000 cases within the proper term?

Absence of the modern law on thenon-governmentalnonprofit organizations essentially impedes the development of civil society. Now the obsolete law «On unions of citizens» adopted in 1992 is operating, the imperfection of which is aggravated by administrative and court practices. The freedom of activities of the Ukrainian NGOs is constricted also because of the absence of the law on the conduction of peaceful public actions. The Ukrainian legislation does not contain the definitions of such terms as «picket», «tent camp» and many others. The organs of state power and local self-rule still apply the Edict of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR of 18 July 1988, which contradicts Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine, since it introduces the permissive order of the conduction of public actions. Courts also use this Edict because of the absence of other laws. However, the existing law draft was rejected at the second reading. The gap in the legislation continues to exist, and this generates numerous conflicts, which frequently result in clashes and application of force. It is sufficient to recollect about the events of 9 March 2001, 16 September 2002, recent shameful events in Kharkov, Donetsk, Sumy and other regions of Ukraine. The officials impede the conduction of mass public actions; they coercively drive the workers of the budget sphere to the mass actions organized by the power, such as theso-called «public forum» that was held in Kharkov on 14 November. The access of journalists to this forum was restricted, and the participants even did not know, what questions would be discussed, since they were not familiarized the last draft of the constitutional reform.

The mass attack on human rights began in 2003. A number of law drafts were presented, which essentially widened the authorities of force structures: the Criminal-Procedural Code, «On the introduction of changes to the Constitution of Ukraine», «On struggle with terrorism», «On the introduction of changes to some laws of Ukraine (in the connection with the introduction of the Law »On struggle with terrorism«)», «On the introduction of changes to some legal acts of Ukraine (concerning the protection of state secrets)», «On telecommunications», «On the monitoring of telecommunications», «On the freedom of movement and free choice of the place of residence in Ukraine», «On the State register of physical persons», «On the Unified register of personal data», «On the protection of public moral», etc. The adoption and full-scale realization of these drafts would transform Ukraine into a police state. Some of these laws were adopted, and some were rejected or returned for the revision. So, the law draft «On the monitoring of telecommunications» envisages the excessive authorities of the USS, but does not stipulate clearly the legal grounds for the conduction of the monitoring and does not contain any guarantees against the misuses. All in all, the draft can cause the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, first of all, the right for privacy. The right for privacy is also infringed by all law drafts connected with the identification and registration of persons. These laws envisage the introduction of the universal identification code, which would be used in all documents identifying the person. Yet, this will create the opportunity to unite different registers (databases containing personal information), although part 2 Article 32 of the Ukrainian Constitution prohibits to collect, store, use and spread the information about a person without his/her consent. First of all the modern law «On the protection of personal data» must be adopted, which would conform to the European standards in this sphere. Yet, the draft «On the protection of personal data», which was adopted in the first reading, is imperfect and needs the essential improvement.

It should be noted that human rights protecting organizations has reached such level of development that they are able to unite their efforts in the sphere of human rights protection and to influence the lawmaking process. So, the open letter of 24 human rights protecting organizations prevented the adoption of the Criminal-Procedural Code in the second reading: the Code was directed for the revision. The analysis of the law draft «On the monitoring of telecommunications» convinced the MPs that this draft demanded the additional professional expertise. The intensification of the influence of human rights protecting organizations evoked the recent appeal of MP Simonenko to the USS and State Tax administration with the demand to check the activities of non-governmentalorganizations not only from the viewpoint of legislation, but also from the viewpoint of national interests.


Legal principles of the monitoring of telecommunications

Article 31 of the Constitution guarantees the confidence of correspondence, telephone talks, telegraph and other correspondence. The exceptions may be permitted only by court and only in the cases envisaged by law «with the aim to prevent a crime or to learn the truth during investigation of a criminal case, if there are no other ways to get the information».

The procedure of realization of such exceptional measures is regulated by the Law of Ukraine «On the ODA», which was adopted on 18 February 1992 (with numerous amendments and changes introduced in 1992–2003)and Article 187 of the Criminal-Procedural Code (version of 21 June 2001).

According to part 1 Article 5 of the draft, the monitoring «is realized with the aim of search and fixation of factual data about the unlawful actions of separate persons and groups, espionage and subversive activities of foreign special services and organizations, as well as getting the information connected with the security of citizens, society and state». This vague and indistinct definition is made more accurate owing to the remark that the monitoring is realized exceptionally as a method of the ODA, intelligence and counterespionage activities on the basis of corresponding laws. Part 5 Article 9 of the Law on the ODA reads: «The violation of rights and freedoms of physical and juridical persons during the ODA is prohibited. Some concrete cases of the restriction of these rights and freedoms have the exceptional and temporary character and may be applied only after a corresponding court decision and only to a person, whose actions contain the features of a grave or especially grave crime, or, in the cases envisaged by the Ukrainian legislation, for the protection of rights and freedoms of other persons and the security of the society». Thus, the monitoring may be realized only after a court decision in the cases, where a grave or especially grave crime was committed.

It is noteworthy that part 14 Article 9 contains somewhat different definition: «The ODA connected with the temporary restriction of human rights are carried out with the aim to prevent grave or especially grave crimes, their stoppage and disclosure, search of the persons dodging from criminal responsibility or missing, protection of life, health, dwelling and property of the workers of court andlaw-enforcingorgans, struggle with espionage and subversive activities directed against Ukraine. If the necessity exists to realize these measures immediately, then the detective department must, within 24 hours, inform a court or a prosecutor about the realization and grounds for the application of these measures». We want to point out that part 5 mentions only the ODA applied to a concrete person, whereas part 14 — the ODA that are applied not only to concrete person. In the opinion of Sweden professor Dennis Tellborg, the main goal of the secret supervision is not the search of a criminal, but the establishment of the very presence of the crime. When special services carry out the detective activities directed against the organized crime, drug traffickers, etc., they work before the commitment of the crime, and the aim of these ODA is to collect the information about a criminal, criminal group of possible violence actions (for instance, a terrorist act). In other words, it is frequently impossible to concretize the aim of the supervision on the stage, when the appeal is handed to court about the permission for this supervision. In such cases the obtaining of the permission becomes senseless, and the special services, in fact, can organize the supervision without any court control. So, the procedure of obtaining the court sanction must be distinctly defined by laws, and the formulation of the guarantees against the misuses becomes the most important question.

Unfortunately, the procedure of issuing the court permission is still based on Letter of the Supreme Court No. 16/6 of 19 November 1996 «On the temporary procedure of consideration of the materials about issuing permission for getting into dwelling or other estate of a person, seizure of correspondence and the collection of information from communication channels (telephone talks, telegraph and other correspondence)». The letter contains only general principles of issuing the permission for realizing the ODA. Neither the maximal term of validity of the permission nor the term, for which the permission may be prolonged, are stipulated. The corresponding laws of other countries clearly stipulate the period of the action of such permission: 4 months in France, 3 — in Germany, 1 — in Finland and Sweden, 1.5 — in Hungary, 6 — in Russia, etc. Earlier this term in Ukraine was equal to 6 months, since the norm existed about the destruction of case materials, if any data confirming the commitment of a crime by the person, whom the ODA concerned, had not been found. Yet, this norm was abolished.

Items 6 and 7 of the Letter of the Supreme Court are also rather doubtful. However, we will not analyze the provisions of this letter. I can understand the Supreme Court, which had to issue this document within a very short time. But I cannot understand the legislators, who still have not regulated the procedure of issuing and prolonging the sanction for realization of the ODA restricting the constitutional rights of citizens. Yet, the Law on the ODA was changed 11 times since 1996! It is noteworthy that the procedure of issuing the permission for seizure of correspondence and the collection of information from communication channels during the investigation of criminal cases is described in details in Article 187 of the Criminal-Procedural Code, but this Article also does not contain either the maximal term of the action of this permission or the provision on regular court control. And the procedure of issuing the permission for getting into dwelling or other estate is not regulated by the CPC at all.

Thus, the courts apply Letter No. 16/6,  the juridical validity of which is very doubtful. This letter is not related to normative legal acts, it may not even be called a quasi-source of right, as, for example, the recommendations of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine. This letter is absent in the system «LIGA-Zakon», and that is very strange, since this system contains all normative acts registered by the Ministry of Justice. I turned with the request to input the Supreme Court letter into the system, but received the following response: «It is impossible to input this document of the Supreme Court to the system, since it was not made public. Besides, judging from the title, it is an internal document, so we will not be able to obtain it». So, the considered letter was not registered in the Unified register of normative acts of Ukraine. As a result, the letter may not be regarded as valid, because, according to Article 57 of the Constitution, «laws and other normative legal acts, stipulating the rights and freedoms of citizens, which were not made public in compliance with legal procedure, are invalid». I believe that this situation visually illustrates the real, and not declarative, attitude of the Ukrainian state power to human rights. At that, the scale of the secret surveillance in Ukraine is astonishing: according to the information given by a judge of the Supreme Court at a recent conference, more than 40000 permissions for collecting the information from communication channels were issued in 2002, among them 4000 — in the Kharkov oblast. It should be interesting to compare these data with the number of persons accused by Ukrainian courts in 2002 for the commitment of grave and especially grave crimes: 41211. So, it is logical to suggest that the ODA were, first of all, directed at the disclosure of organized groups and criminal organizations. In 2002 thelaw-enforcersdisclosed 722 groups consisting of 3205 members, who had committed 6467 crimes. 653 persons were condemned for the crimes committed by organized groups. In 2002 in Kharkov oblast 51 organized groups and 237 members of these groups were disclosed. All in all, 3793 persons were convicted. So, for what 4000 permissions for collecting the information from communication channels were issued? In my opinion, these numbers are incommensurable. Thus, it is necessary to publish the annual reports containing the data about the number of issued sanctions, number of refusals, kinds of crimes connected with the sanctions, average duration of the collection of information from the communication channels, the quantity of criminal case started after the results of the ODA, etc.

There is one more problem. The Internet ignores the state frontiers and, intercepting the correspondence of a Ukrainian citizen, thelaw-enforcingorgans will interfere in the process of his information exchange with citizens of other countries, although they have no right to do that. Today neither the law draft nor the Law on the ODA take this into account. It is also obvious that the monitoring is something more than «the collection of information from communication channels» applied to concrete persons, which is stipulated by the Law on the ODA. It is seen from the demands to the monitoring system that the entire traffic would be traced, not only the traffic of the person suspected of a committed or prepared crime. That resembles the actions of a fisher, who tries to catch a fish withsweep-net.It is clear that the real goal of the monitoring is not to disclose a concrete criminal, but to find him, to obtain the information about the preparation to a crime or about an already committed crime. Yet, the court sanction becomes senseless under such conditions, and the opportunities for misuses are limitless. Neither the law draft on monitoring nor the Law on the ODA consider the traffic as an object of legal regulation and, correspondingly, the question does not emerge about the guarantees of law observance. However, this question is extremely important in the context of the observance of the right for privacy.

Moreover, even the guarantees that are envisaged by the draft are very unreliable, and the independent control of law observance is absent at all. Article 10 orders to destroy the messages collected by mistake; there are no other instructions on the storage of information except the remark that the procedure of keeping, storage and use of the protocols of monitoring is stipulated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Article 12 reads that the information concerning private life, honor and dignity of citizens, which became known in the course of monitoring, may not be divulged. Article 9 of the Law on the ODA contains more serious guarantees of law observance during the ODA; these guarantees should be also applied to the monitoring system, when the monitoring is regarded as a method of the ODA. If the grounds for realizing the ODA exist, then a case must be instituted, otherwise the ODA are prohibited. The resolution is issued, which contains the following data: the place and time of the issue, post and surname of the person, which signed it, grounds and aim of the institution of the case. In the cases of violation of the rights and freedoms of physical or juridical persons in the course of the ODA or in the cases, where the connection of the person, to whom these actions were applied, to a crime was not confirmed, the units realizing the ODA must immediately restore the abused rights and recompense the moral and material damage. Ukrainian citizens and other persons have the legal right to obtain from the organs, which realized the ODA, the written explanations about the restriction of their rights and freedoms and to complain against these actions. The information concerning private life, honor and dignity of citizens, which became known in the course of ODA, must be destroyed, if it does not contain the information about the illegal actions (parts 1, 8, 10 and 12 of Article 9). Unfortunately, the norm was removed from part 3 Article 9 about the destruction of the case materials, if the data confirming the commitment of a crime by the person, which was the object of the ODA, were not found within 6 months.

Naturally, the guarantees of law observance in the draft and in the law on the ODA must be agreed. Yet, these guarantees provide very ineffective protection from the misuses, especially if to compare them with the guarantees in German of Hungarian laws, which envisage the parliamentary supervision over the legality of the interception of correspondence with the assistance of supervision organs. Everyone, who reckons that his correspondence is illegally controlled by special services, may turn to these organs. It is interesting that the German committee G-10 is informed by the minister about all restricting measures permitted by him before the beginning of the interception of correspondence. The committee has the right to cancel the minister’s order, after which the interception must be stopped immediately, if it has been started before getting the permission because of urgency. After the end of the interception the person, whose correspondence has been controlled, must be informed about these actions «if that will not harm the investigation». All unneeded information must be destroyed.

In my opinion, both the draft on the monitoring of telecommunications and the more generalized law on the ODA are unsatisfactory from the viewpoint of guaranteeing the right for privacy and contradict the international standards in this sphere, since they contain the latent opportunities for the violation of Article 8 of the European Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Let us sum up. The draft of the law on monitoring of telecommunications envisages the excessive authorities of the USS, lays the financial burden connected with the introduction of monitoring system on the providers, does not give the clear and correctly formulated legal grounds for the introduction of monitoring system and does not contain the reliable guarantees against misuses. The draft can cause the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, first of all, of the right for privacy. So, it should be advisable to compile this draft anew, taking into account the norms of the draft on the protection of personal data (similar changes must be introduced into the law on the ODA) and the following recommendations.

1. The list of the crimes, in the connection with which the collection of the information from the communication channels is permitted, must be decreased; this list must be included to the law.

2. The law must be supplemented with the description of the procedure of obtaining and prolonging the sanction for the interception of correspondence and with the norm on the limitation of the term of action of this sanction. It is also desirable to pass the court decision from the computer of the judge, who is empowered to issue the permission, directly to the monitoring system, as well as to provide the receiving by judge of the results of the monitoring directly from the system for consideration of the question about the prolongation of the sanction.

3. The law must be supplemented with the rules of storage, use and destruction of the collected materials, in particular, the rules of the interchange of the materials between various organs, and the rules of compiling the concluding reports. Special attention should be paid to the legal regulation of the control over the traffic.

4. The procedure of collecting the information from the communication channels should be more transparent, the norm must be introduced about the obligatory informing of the person, whose correspondence was intercepted, after the end of the interception, and familiarization of the person with the obtained materials, which does not contain the information related to state secrets (similar norms exist in the laws of Germany, Austria and other countries). Under such conditions it will be possible to put into practice the provisions on the appellation against the illegal actions of the agencies, which carry out the ODA.

5. In order to inform the public about the scale of the secret interception of correspondence, the norms must be introduced on the publication of annual reports, which should contain the information about the number of issued sanctions for interception and the kinds of crimes, in the connection with which the decision on interception was taken, the number of the refusals to issue the sanctions and other information. Such practice exists in the USA and many European countries.

6. It is necessary to create the institute of independent surveillance over the legality of monitoring, which, on the one side, would receive automatically the copies of all intercepted information, and, on the other side, would consider the complaints against the illegal collection of information from the communication channels. These functions can be given, for instance, to the department of the secretariat of the ombudsperson in charge of the observance of the right for the protection of personal information.

7. The questions concerning the financing of the development and introduction of the monitoring system must be considered on the basis of the agreement between the USS and the providers, taking into account the anti-monopoly laws and the practices of the European Court concerning Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

8. The entry code of the monitoring system software and the algorithm of the monitoring must be open (by the way, the entry code and other peculiarities of the similar system in the USA — Carnivore — were published in autumn 2000, approximately 6 months after it became known about the work of the system).

«Prava ludyny» commentary. The fact that the draft has been ambiguously assessed by public, in particular, human rights protecting organizations, professional associations of the Internet providers, etc., confirms that the adoption of this draft in the present version can provoke the violations of human rights and result in the deceleration of the development of the Internet in Ukraine, so the draft should be rejected and directed for revision.

Taking into account the results of the public hearings, the Supreme Rada Committee in charge of the questions of building, transport, communal services and communications postponed, at the today’s sitting, the final decision about the recommendations to the Parliament to approve the law «On the monitoring of telecommunications» in the first reading. In the course of the discussion the Committee took the decision about the additional expertise of the law draft.

The draft has been already discussed in two parliamentary committees: the Committee in charge of the struggle with organized crime and corruption (the draft was supported) and the Committee in charge of the freedom of speech and information (the draft was rejected).

Be careful! You are monitored!

On 26 November the public hearings «On the monitoring of telecommunications» was held. The adherents and opponents of the control over the users of the Internet and other telecommunications met at the hearings for the discussion.

The public hearings were opened by the speech of the USS deputy head Anatoliy Gerasimov. In his speech he dwelled on the basic provisions of the law draft. In the main, he spoke about the technical aspects of monitoring and remarked that human rights were guaranteed by other laws. In particular, he pointed out that he did not see any effective system of civil control over the process of monitoring of telecommunications, which system could be introduced in Ukraine. So, the logical question appears: would somebody develop such system? Mr. Gerasimov also expressed his uncertainty whether this law would be adopted at all, since, he said, some of the provisions of the draft had been already stipulated in the recently adopted Law «On telecommunications».

«The development of the national system of monitoring and the means of the access to all operators of telecommunications is realized by the USS, together with otherlaw-enforcingorgans, for many years; all in all, there exist 28 owners of licenses for the development of the means and systems of monitoring», said Anatoliy Gerasimov.

Besides, the right for using the monitoring system is rendered to seven subjects of the ODA, among them three structures with the right to control.

The second speech was delivered by Evhen Zakharov, a co-chairmanof the Kharkov group for human rights protection (the resume of the speech is given below. — The editor’s note), who turned the attention to the fact that human rights in this sphere were not guaranteed by laws and the legislation did not correspond to the international standards.

For example, the procedure of issuing the sanctions for collecting the information from the communication channels does not agree with the European standards. Courts still apply one legal document: Letter of the Supreme Court No. 16/6 of 19 November 1996 «On the temporary procedure of consideration of the materials about issuing permissions for getting into dwelling or other estate of a person, seizure of correspondence and the collection of information from communication channels (telephone talks, telegraph and other correspondence)». This letter was not registered either by the Ministry of Justice or in any legislative base. According to Article 57 of the Constitution of Ukraine, it is invalid. So, there exist no legal guarantees of human rights. So, what «other laws» the representatives of special services meant?

The necessity of legal guarantees of human rights is also confirmed by the fact that in 2002 more than 40000 permissions for the collection of information from communication channels were issued, and this number significantly exceeded the number of the convictions for grave and especially grave crimes. So, whom the Ukrainian special services control?

Volodymir Malinkovich, a representative of the Ukrainian branch of the International Institute of humanitarian and political research, also told about the necessity of the introduction of legal guarantees of human rights into this law, in particular, by adding the special section that would regulate these questions. Yet, he believes that this law is not needed in our country, because the restrictions of human rights, which have been recently introduced in the Western countries, are connected with the menace of terrorism, but such menace does not exist in Ukraine. At the same time, the lack of the freedom of speech exists in Ukraine, so the expediency of the adoption of this law seems to be very doubtful.

In the opinion of many participants of the hearings, this law is needed, but the main goal of this law must be the guaranteeing of human rights in the connection with the monitoring. The state, represented by the state organs, is interested only in the monitoring procedure and its introduction at the expense of the telecommunications users, and not the state budget. Under the conditions, when the parliamentary majority exists, which approves the laws needed to the state, but not to the society, the adoption of some recent laws looks quite logical, as well as the assurances of the special services that the monitoring system will be created.

It should be also noted that to date, according to the information of the State committee of communications, 4 providers have already installed the monitoring equipment. A. Gerasimov affirms that there are already 10 such providers, and, by the assessment of the representatives of business circles, this number is about 50. However, we want to remind that there exists no legal base for the infringement on the personal right for privacy and confidence of correspondence. So, on which grounds the special services control the users of these providers?

Secretariat of the Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations

Freedom of expression

Kherson journalist protected their right for the freedom of speech and the right of their readers to obtain the information from mass media.

Kherson journalist protected their right for the freedom of speech and the right of their readers to obtain the information from mass media

We want to remind: in July Alena Rotona, the vice-mayor of Kherson, handed a claim against the weekly «VIK» about the compensation of the damage inflicted to her honor and business reputation by the publications in the newspaper. The demanded sum was 15 thousand hryvnas. The vice-mayor also asked the court to prohibit to the weekly to publish any information about her until the court decision would be taken.

Aleksandr Golovko, a judge of the Suvorovskiy local court, «for guaranteeing the objectivity of court», issued the decision: «To prohibit to the company »VIK’… and other persons to publish in mass media any information on the activities of A. Rotova, … on the violation by her of the demands of the Constitution and Laws of Ukraine until the court decision would be taken«. So, the judge prohibited to ALL mass media of Ukraine to spread the information about the violation of laws by an OFFICIAL.

The editorial board of «VIK» handed the complaint against the decision of judge Golovko to the appeal court.

Besides, the fact that it was prohibited «to other persons» to write about the violations of the Constitution and Ukrainian laws exasperated many local journalists. The Kherson town association of journalists «Pivden» proposed the legal aid to all representatives of the «fourth power», who were going to fight for their right for the freedom of speech in court. As a result, 23 correspondents of local editions appealed against the court decision to the higher instance.

On 4 December the Appeal Court of the Kherson oblast expressed its attitude to the actions of judge A. Golovko: «The conclusion of the court… about the prohibition of the publications, connected with the case, by the defendants and other persons contradicts the demands of Articles 149 and 152 of the CPC of Ukraine». In other words judge Golovko applied «not proper» articles of the Civil-Procedural Code.

The appeal instance also pointed out the fact that the judge of the local court had no right to prohibit anything to the persons, HAD NO CONCERN with the court proceedings between the vice-mayor and the company «VIK».

«Along with the defendants, the court prohibited to spread any information about the activities of the plaintiff to other persons, but did not determine the circle of these persons. So, the court exceeded the limits of the controversial legal relationships, reads the resolution of the Appeal court.

Thus, the Appeal court made the judge «to return into the limits» and gave the journalists the right to spread the information about the violation of laws by the official. After all, the freedom of speech is regarded as one of the most important valuables in a democratic society, because it gives the opportunity to the society to control the activities of the power. Citizens have the right to know, what the power does, whether it observes laws, and for what the taxes are spent. And the professional duty of journalists is to collect and spread the information.

It should be noted that the Kherson journalist have never been so solidary in protecting their rights in court. That became possible thanks to the project «Legal aid to journalists of the Kherson oblast» realized by the Kherson town association of journalists «Pivden». The project was endorsed by the department of education and mass media at the US Embassy in Ukraine.

Appeal of Oleksiy Svetikov, the editor of the newspaper «Tretiy sektor», to mass media

Respected colleagues!

I want to inform you about the actions of the Lugansk oblast USS and the oblast prosecutor’s office. I regard these actions as inadmissible, violating the Ukrainian laws and international obligations of Ukraine.

This opinion is grounded on the following facts. On 7 June 2003 citizen R. turned to me. He warned me that some persons, who were displeased with the publications in the newspaper «Tretiy sektor», proposed to pay him 500 USD, if he would beat me inflicting the injuries sufficient for getting to a hospital. According to him, he did not know, who gave the order, since he dealt only with the intermediary. On the same day I phoned to MP Yu. Ioffe and informed him about this incident, and the MP turned to the USS. In the evening of that day the investigating officers of the Lugansk oblast USS met with me. The officers proposed me to meet with R. and to persuade him to cooperate with the USS in order to disclose the crime. The USS officers did not provide either the escort or the technical support, thus violating the demands of the Law «On the ODA». My colleagues E. Bayramov and S. Kamyshan escorted me and observed our meeting with R. from the distance of 20–30meters.

The next day, on 8 June 2003, I met with R., but he refused to turn to the USS, and proposed to imitate the fulfillment of the order.

On 9 June 2003 I was summoned to the Severodonetsk town USS directorate again. There I wrote the application and orally agreed to take part in the ODA for finding the organizers of the attack and, if it would be needed, to participate in the imitation of the fulfillment of the order. I told to the USS officers that my safety in future could be guaranteed only if the organizers of the crime would be found and brought to responsibility. The officers proposed to meet with R. one time more and to do the audio record of our talk. I am sure that thelaw-enforcersknew that this record would not have any legal effect and any practical significance for accusation of the persons, who prepared the crime. Yet, they did not take any measures envisaged by the Law of Ukraine «On the ODA».

However, I met with R. again and recorded our talk using the dictaphone, which was hidden in my bag. According to R.’s words, he had been already invited to the USS and refused to help them. In the course of the talk I managed to persuade him to cooperate with the USS, he again confirmed the fact of the order and was afraid that his family would suffer from this incident. I made the copy of the cassette, and passed the original record to the USS.

On 12 June 2003 I received a copy of the letter of 10 June 2003 sent by the USS of the Lugansk oblast to the Lugansk oblast prosecutor. The letter informed about the delivery of the materials to the proper prosecutor’s office. The materials included: my application of 9 June 2003, R.’s explanations, report on two pages, act of the transcript of the audio record on four pages and the cassette. On 13 June 2003 Grachev, the head of the Severodonetsk regional USS directorate, phoned to me and advised not to leave my flat without escort during three days. I took this advice: my colleague S. Kamyshan accompanied me.

On 16 June Grachev phoned me again and informed that I did not need the escort any more, since the organizers of the attack had been found, and the prophylactic talk had been held with them. He did not mention the names of these people, but said that they were former and actual militiamen.

On 2 July 2003 G. Svistun, an investigator of the prosecutor’s office of Severodonetsk, refused to institute the criminal case because of the impossibility to establish the persons, who, possibly, had been preparing the crime.

On 7 August 2003 this decision was reversed by the oblast prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office conducted the check that was headed by investigator of Severodonetsk prosecutor’s office Fedotov, who, in particular, questioned S. Kamyshan and E. Bayramov.

On 5 September 2003 the oblast prosecutor’s office also refused to start the criminal case.

I regard the actions of the Lugansk oblast USS directorate and the prosecutor’s office of the Lugansk oblast as illegal and violating the international obligations of Ukraine in the sphere of the freedom of speech. If the information about the imminent crime was true, and the USS find the organizers of this crime, then the unwillingness of thelaw-enforcingorgans to bring the guilty to responsibility looks very strange. I cannot feel myself safe under such circumstances.

Oleksiy Svetikov

6 December 2003

Women’s rights

Court practices on civil responsibility of the state.

Our readers know that the Kharkov group for human rights protection realizes the three-year project «The campaign against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine», which is financially supported by the European Commission. One of the important tasks of this project is the promotion of the creation of the legislation, which would be able to provide the reliable protection from the application of torture in various spheres of law-enforcingactivities. This especially concerns the sphere of arrest, detention and keeping in custody during the criminal proceedings. Yet, another important, in our opinion, aspect is the forming of court practices, which, after all, determines the real state of the protectability of a person, which contacts withlaw-enforcingorgans. We intend to study the development of court practices concerning the arrest, detention, preliminary incarceration, observance of the legal terms and other procedural norms, as well as the responsibility for violating the rights of incarcerated. The court decision, which is given below, was granted to us by advocate Oleksandr Lisovy. This decision concerns one of the most important questions: the responsibility of the state for the illegal holding in custody.

It should be noted that this decision solves a collision existing in the legislation. According to the general rule, everyone must recompense the damage inflicted to other person. Article 443 of the Civil Code of Ukraine contains the special norm, which envisages the responsibility of the state for the illegal actions of law-enforcingofficers independently of their personal guilt. However, Article 2 of the Law «On recompensing the damage inflicted to a citizen by the illegal actions of the organs of inquiry, preliminary investigation, prosecutor’s office and court» stipulates the immunity of the state in many cases of inflicting damage by law-enforcingorgans. In what follows we quote the full text of this norm:

«Article 2. The right for recompensing the damage, according to the procedure envisaged by this Law, appears in the following cases:

1) verdict of «not guilty» issued by court;

2) closure of the criminal case because of the absence of criminal event, absence of corpus delicti or failure to prove the participation of the accused in the crime;

3) refusal to institute the criminal case or closure of the criminal case on the basis of the reasons listed in item 2 of this article;

4) closure of the case on administrative felony.

The right for recompensing the damage inflicted during the ODA, listed in Article 1 of this Law, before the institution of the criminal case appears if the decision on the institution of criminal case on the basis of the results of the ODA was not taken within six months after these activities, or such decision was abolished«.

Under the shelter of this norm the state has the opportunity to violate any citizens« rights, without the risk of financial losses, if the state managed to obtain the verdict of guilty or othernot-rehabilitatingdecision. Obviously, such situation strengthens the feeling of impunity of state officials and creates the motives for obtaining the verdict of guilty at any price.

This norm not only contradicts Article 56 of the Ukrainian Constitution, but also Article 5 §5 of the European Convention on human rights, which guarantees the right for the compensation in the case of the illegal deprivation of liberty. The court decision mentioned below is very interesting just from the viewpoint of the collision between the standards of the protection of personal freedom and the national legislation.

Arkadiy Bushchenko, an advocate,

the KhG expert in the sphere of legal proceedings on criminal cases


On 29 August 2003 the local court of the Tsentralny district of Simferopol:

Chairman Yu. Gulevich

Secretary G. Grimova,

considered the case after the claim of Djemil Izzetov against the State Treasury of Ukraine on recompensing the damage inflicted by the illegal holding in custody and


D. Izzetov turned to court with the claim about recompensing the moral damage equal to 5000 hryvnas inflicted to him by the illegal holding in preliminary prison No. 15 of Simferopol during 7 days, from 3 to 10 October 2000, without any legal grounds. Thelaw-enforcershad neither verdict, nor resolution, nor other documents justifying his incarceration.

The violation was committed under the following circumstances: on 3 April 2000 D. Izzetov was detained as a suspected by E. Selemetova, an investigating officer of the Crimean militia directorate. Later, on the basis of the resolution of the investigator, the prosecutor of the Crimean Republic sanctioned the preventive measure: holding in custody during 6 months, i.e.  until 3 October 2000. After 3 October 2000 the term of Izzetov’s incarceration was not prolonged in the accordance with the legal procedure (i.e.  by the General Prosecutor of Ukraine or his deputy). However, D. Izzetov was not released after the expiration of the term stipulated by prosecutor’s sanction, he was kept in preliminary prison No. 15 until 10 October 2000. The essential damage was inflicted to his right for personal freedom and inviolability (Article 29 of the Constitution of Ukraine). D. Izzetov was coercively kept under the unpleasant and severe prison conditions, was isolated from his relatives, deprived of needed things, improvements, proper nourishment; he experienced physical and moral sufferings, desperation, fear of the arbitrariness of state agencies and the feeling of helplessness.

The representative of the State Treasury of Ukraine did not acknowledge the claim. The motives are the following: according to Article 32 of the Law of Ukraine «On budget», the damage is recompensed from the state budget, if the damage was inflicted by the organs of prosecution or by court, when the case was closed or the verdict of «not guilty» was issued. In the considered case the state may not be responsible for the damage inflicted by the defendant.

The representative of the third party, preliminary prison No. 15, reckons that they may not be brought to responsibility, since they had no documents on the release of D. Izzetov.

The court listened to the parties, studied the materials of the case and decided to satisfy the claim.

The plaintiff stayed in preliminary prison No. 15 until 10 October 2003, although I. Kirsanov, a senior investigating officer of the investigation department of the Crimean militia directorate, issued the decision about the change of the preventive measure to the written undertaking not to leave the place. Thus, the court undoubtedly established that the plaintiff was illegally kept in custody during 7 days, since, according to part 3 Article 20 of the Law of Ukraine «On the preliminary incarceration», a citizen had to be immediately released after the expiration of the term of preliminary incarceration.

As a consequence of substantial sufferings caused by the illegal holding in custody, the moral damage was inflicted to the plaintiff through the fault of the administration of preliminary prison No. 15 and the investigation department of the Crimean militia directorate.

According to the message of senior investigating officer V. Kirsanov, the preliminary investigation of the criminal case on the accusation of D. Izzetov was completed on 4 August 2003, and, after the familiarization of the accused with the materials of the criminal case, the case will be directed to court.

Thus, the verdict on the criminal case of D. Izzetov is not issued until now, 2 years and 10 months after his illegal incarceration. So, the court reckons that it is possible to apply the demands of Article 443 of the Civil Code of Ukraine and Article 56 of the Constitution of Ukraine, according to which every citizen has the right for the compensation, at the expense of the state, of the moral damage inflicted by the illegal actions of the organs of state power, in the considered case — by the administration of preliminary prison No. 15 and the investigation department of the Crimean militia directorate.

On the basis of Articles 19, 29, 56 and 124 of the Constitution of Ukraine, Articles440–1 and 443 of the Civil Code of Ukraine and Articles12–14 of the Law of Ukraine «On recompensing the damage inflicted to a citizen by the illegal actions of the organs of inquiry, preliminary investigation, prosecutor’s office and court», the court


To collect 5000 hryvnas from the state budget through the State Treasury of Ukraine for recompensing the moral damage to Djemil Izzetov.

The appeal against the resolution may be handed to the Appeal court of the Crimean Autonomous Republic through the local court of the Tsentralny district of Simferopol within 15 days after the pronouncement of the verdict.

Judge Yu. Gulevich


The 4th school of human rights in Kharkov

On 4–7December 2003 the Kharkov group for human rights protection conducted the 4th school of human rights. This time the school was international: representatives of human rights protecting organizations from both Ukraine and Russia took part in it. We are grateful to the International «Memorial», which organized the participation of human rights protection activists from Russia. We do not know yet, whether the experiment was successful, but it took place. 42 participants, among them 8 Russian human rights protectors and 34 representatives of Ukrainian NGOs spent together 4 days. They communicated with each other, debated and learned. 16 regions of Ukraine, from the Transcarpathian region to the Lugansk oblast, Kyiv NGOs and public organizations from small towns and settlements were represented at the school. Russian representatives came from Krasnodar, Novorossiysk, Kazan, Saratov, Mias (the Cheliabinsk oblast), Ukhta (the Komi Republic), Vladimir and Lipetsk. The youngest participant of the school was born in 1983, the oldest — in 1954. The overwhelming majority of the participants have the juridical education or are attending law schools.

The difficulties arose as early as during the first contacts of the participants: it appeared that not all Ukrainians knew the Russian language properly: they somehow understood Russian, but could not express their ideas. Later the way out was found: when somebody started to speak Ukrainian, other participants interpreted the speeches to their Russian colleagues.

As it always happens at the conferences organized by the KhG, the participants got the great number of literature, which, we hope, will be useful not only to them, but also to their colleagues working in NGOs.

So, how the participants assessed the school? According to the data of the assessment questionnaires, which were filled out during the school, the highest mark (by the12-points scale) was given to the lectures delivered by Vsevolod Rechitskiy: «The Constitution of Ukraine in the modern context» and «Availability of information as a universal demand». The lowest mark was given to the living conditions in the hotel «Kharkov». As always, the participants highly appreciated the entire block (lectures and training) concerning the financing and management of NGOs. The total mark was also high — 11.375.

Deported peoples

Evhen Sverstiuk’s jubilee

Evhen Sverstiuk was born in the village of Siltse, the Gorokhivskiy district of the Volyn oblast, in a peasants« family. His elder brothers were the members of the youth network of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists; one of them was killed, another was repressed.

In 1952 he graduated from the philological faculty of Lviv University (majoring in logic and psychology). In 1953 — 1956 he was a post-graduate in the RAND Institute of psychology,1956–59taught Ukrainian literature in Poltava Pedagogical Institute. In 1959–60 and in 1962–65S. was a senior staff scientist in the Kyiv RAND Institute of psychology. In 1961–62 he headed the prose department of the magazine «Vitchizna». Four times during these years he was dismissed from his job because of political motives. He was not admitted to defend his candidate’s dissertation. S.’s last dismissal in 1965 was connected with his report at the teachers« conference in Volyn. The speech concerned aesthetic breeding. S. said that aesthetic breeding was an evidence of freedom, but that at first one had to learn to tell truth and not to lie to children. Some of the participants were worried with this report, they even asked whether it was made by the order of the Central Committee of the Party. From 1965 to his arrest in 1972 S. worked as an editor of the Ukrainian botanic magazine.

Since the organization in 1966 of the Kyivan Creative Youth Club, S. was one of the most active members of the Club.

One of the most acute and popular works published in the Ukrainian samizdat of the 60s was the anonymous pamphlet on the fire in the Kyiv Central scientific library in 24 May 1964 that resulted in the destruction of a great number of literature and archive documents. Another popular document was «Z pryvodu processy nad Pogruzhalskim» («On Pogruzhalskiy’s trial») that was written, as it became known later, by S. and I. Svitlychny. Other S.’s essays: «Sobor u ryshtovanni» («The cathedral in scaffolding»), «Ivan Kotliarevskiy smietsya» («Ivan Kotliarevskiy laughs»), «Ostannya slioza» («The last tear») and «Na mamine sviato» («To mother’s day») were widely distributed in samizdat. «The main idea of S.’s publicism is the meaning of spiritual life in shaping an individual, a nation and a society, its incontrovertible top priority in the system of values of the public being…» (M. Kotsiubinska).

S. was arrested 14 January 1972, during the period of mass arrests among the Ukrainian intelligentsia. The majority of the arrested were condemned in the autumn of that year, but the crime investigation in S.’s case was prolonged by more than a year, although the case was purely «literary»: the author always signed his creations, so there was no object for investigation. On 16–24 April 1973 S. was tried by the Kyiv oblast court and condemned after Article 62 Part 1 of the CC of the UkrSSR for the maximal term: 7 years of the strict regime colony and 5 years of exile.

S. did his term in colonies Nos. 35 and 36 in the Perm oblast. He participated in numerous protest actions, such as strikes and hunger-strikes, was under the special observation.

In the exile (the settlement of Bogdarin, Buriatian autonomous republic) S. worked as a joiner in the geological expedition.

The exile finished in October of 1983. S. returned to Kyiv and found a job of a joiner. He was sacked in 1988 for visiting the American embassy with other dissidents.

Starting from the summer of 1987 S. took an active part in the work of a semi-legal Ukrainian club of cultural studies, in particular he delivered a lecture to commemorate 50th anniversary of Vasyl Stus, who perished in the concentration camp. He also announced that he would pass the text of this lecture to London center of the internationalPEN-club.

Since 1989 S. works as the editor of the Christian newspaper «Nasha vira» («Our belief»). He defends the position of the Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church that does not want to be a state church.

Since 1989 he is the president of the Ukrainian Association of the independent creative intelligentsia, which awards the annual V. Stus prize. In 1993 S. was elected the president of the UkrainianPEN-club.

In 1993 S. defended his Ph.D. on the topic «Ukrainian literature and Christian tradition» in the Free Ukrainian University in Munich. S. is the author of numerous essays and articles on literary studies, psychology and theology, as well as poems and translations from German, English and Russian.

S. is a laureate of the T. Shevchenko state prize (1995) and the UNESCO premium «For inter-confession and interethnic tolerance». He is also a full member of the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences (the USA, 1996).

Genrikh Altunian is 70!

Genrikh Altunian was born in Tbilisi in a family of army officer. In 1944 his family moved to Kharkov. In 1951 A. entered Kharkov higher military aviation school. After the graduation he worked as a radio technology engineer in the same educational establishment.

From 1956 to 1968 A. was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). He was a party leader of the department, had the rank of major, was going to get the status of candidate of science. Yet, by and by he started to diverge from the dogmatic understanding of the socialistic reality. In 1964, at a party meeting of his department, he openly declared about his mistrust to the new leadership of the CPSU and spoke on thenon-democraticmethods of the displaced Khrushchev.

In July 1968 A. made acquaintance Piotr Yakir, Piotr Grigorenko, then with Aleksey Kostyrin.

In August 1968, for his relations with the above-mentioned people and for the refusal to condemn Andrey Sakharov, P. Grigorenko and others, A. was expelled from the party and dismissed from the army. It was directly said in the order of marshal Krylov, the commander of rocket troops, that «engineer major Altunian frequented the flats of the army commander Yakir’s son and the former general Grigorenko, he brought from there revisionist letter of academician Sakharov, thus covering with shame the high name of an officer of the Soviet army relations». A. tried to be reinstated in the party, he handed appeals to all proper instances until he reached the Central Committee of the CPSU. The party control commission rejected his appeal. A. compiled a detailed record of his negotiations and passed them to samizdat.

In May 1969, after the arrest of P. Grigorenko in Tashkent, A. signed the open letter on the protection of P. Grigorenko and Crimean Tatars. At the same time A. joined the Initiative Group for human rights protection in the USSR. Being a member of this Group he had time to sign only one letter to the UNO Committee of human rights protection. This letter (of 20 May 1969) condemned the brutal violations of human rights in the USSR.

In June 1969, jointly with other nine well-known human rights protectors with the communist outlook, A. turned with a letter to the International Conference of communist and workers« parties with the protest against the invasion of Soviet troops to Czechoslovakia; he also signed a letter in defense of Ivan Yakhymovich.

On 11 July 1969 A. was arrested and accused after Article 62 Part 1 of the CC of the UkrSSR («anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda»). However, after the arrival of his advocate from Moscow for learning the case, the KGB had to change the article for Article187–1 of the CC of the UkrSSR. On 26 November 1969 A. was convicted by the Kharkov oblast court for three years of the common regime colony. With the violation of the law on the correcting labor, he was directed to a colony outside Ukraine: to the Krasnoyarsk kray, the Kanskiy district, station N. Ingash, POB 288/1’A’«.

After his release on 10 July 1972 A. returned to Kharkov; he visited 22 organizations in his attempts to find a job and at last managed to find a job of a mechanic at the Kharkov enterprise «Kinotekhprom».

A. made many trips around the Kharkov oblast. He continued to read and distribute samizdat and signed a number of letters together with well-known human rights protectors from Moscow and Kyiv, including the letters in defense of A. Sakharov and L. Pliushch.

On 24 February 1978 A. was taken to the Kharkov KGB, where he got the official warning according to the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 25 December 1972. A. compiled the record of the talk in the KGB and passed them to samizdat, which later was added to his accusations.

On 30 May 1980 his place was searched, and the GULAG archipelago by A. Solzhenitsyn and many other «hostile» literature were confiscated. The KGB officers wanted to confiscate even the Bible.

On 16 December 1980 A. was arrested again, and on 31 March 1981 he was condemned by the Kharkov oblast court according to Article 62 Part 1 of the CC of the UkrSSR for 7 years of incarceration in the stern regime colony and 5 years of exile. At this trial, as well as in 1969, he did not plead guilty. The Moscow Helsinki group issued document No. 164 of 7 April 1981 «Trial of Genrikh Altunian».

In December 1986 A. Sakharov made public the list of political convicts and demanded their immediate release. A. also figured in this list. Investigating officers from the KGB demanded from A. to write the petition for pardon. In response A. wrote an application where he demanded to terminate his case as illegal. Nonetheless, he was released on 9 Mar 1987.

After his release A. took active part in the public life, in particular, in the creation of the Kharkov branch of «Memorial» and, later, of the People Rukh of Ukraine (PRU), worked in the magazine «Glanost». In 1990 A. was completely rehabilitated.

From 1990 to 1994 A. was a people’s deputy of Ukraine, a member of the permanent commission of the Supreme Rada in questions of defense and security, a deputy chairman of the commission on mercy at the Presidential administration; he did much for the adoption of the law «On rehabilitation of victims of political repressions».

Besides, he was a member of the Central Provod (committee) of the PRU, the chairman of the Kharkov regional branch of the PRU.

Since 1997 he is a co-chairman of the Kharkov branch of «Memorial». He also is a coordinator of the Ukrainian-American bureau on human rights in the Kharkov oblast and the chairman of the Kharkov union «Ukraine-Armenia».

In 2000 A. published his book of memoirs «Tsena svobody» («The price of freedom»).

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2003, #12