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

Discussion on the state of human rights in the Crimea (Ilmi Umerov, a deputy of the head of the Supreme Rada of the Crimean Autonomous Republic).

 (the speech at the hearings in the Supreme Rada of the Crimean Autonomous Republic)

I want to congratulate everybody with the fact that for the first time in Ukraine the state of human rights and freedoms in a separate region is discussed. I believe that the conduction of these hearings in the Supreme Rada confirms that the situation with the observance of human rights in the Crimea really worries our deputies.

In 2002 and 2003 the international human rights protecting organizations “Human rights Watch” and “Amnesty International”, as well as the corresponding structures of the Council of Europe, published the reports on the state of human rights in Ukraine. You have some of these documents in the materials rendered to you. The reports evidence on the unpleasant fact: Ukraine is a state, where human rights and freedoms are violated regularly. Corruption, humiliation of human dignity, violation of personal, social, economic and political rights of citizens in the extremely brutal forms are quite usual in Ukraine. In fact, Ukraine became the leader in the Eastern Europe from the viewpoint of violations of human rights. The experts reckon that the situation in Ukraine does not improve, on the contrary it deteriorates rapidly; our country more and more resembles a police state, and that is obvious not only to experts but also to the common citizens. The recent visit of the ombudsperson to the Crimea confirmed that the situation with the observance of human rights in the Republic did not improve.

The events connected with the political reform and presidential election became one more factor, which negatively influenced the situation. Besides, the tendency appeared to adopt the legal norms directed at the violation of human rights and freedoms. Earlier the Supreme Rada of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers and other organs of state power adhered to the policy of adoption of the laws corresponding to the European norms, but recently we have observed several attempts to approve, owing to the so-called “majority”, several law drafts, which directly violated the universally accepted human rights. One of the examples is the draft of the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine. Only thanks to the efforts of human rights protecting public organizations, the draft of the code was sent for revision after the first reading.

Now the state of the Ukrainian human rights protection movement is not very good. In order to conceal the information and prevent its divulgence, the power organs undertake various attempts to make the activists of human rights protection movement to be silent. The authorities resort to tax checks, illegal institution of criminal cases against the activists, intimidation and blocking of the financing of human rights protecting organizations (let us recollect, for instance, the last resolution of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine on the creation of the temporary commission for the disclosure of facts of foreign interference to the financing of election campaigns in Ukraine through non-governmental organizations, which work at the expense of foreign countries). Taking into account the fact that 90% of public organizations in Ukraine, in particular in the Crimea, exist owing to the financial aid of foreign funds, the creation of such commission will promote the appearance of a new tool for the control over public organizations and for the destruction of “disobedient” organizations. Naturally, such situation cannot promote the normalization of the relations between the power and society, but will result in the open confrontation. The society resembles a steam-boiler: if to increase the temperature all the time, then the boiler would explode.

Under such circumstances the conduction of the hearings about the state of human rights in the Crimean Republic seems to be a very significant and important event. These hearings must become an example of proper mutual relations between the power organs and public organizations. In October 2003 the Supreme Rada of the Crimea received the letter from the public organization “The institute of social research”, which proposed to conduct the deputies’ hearings in the Supreme Rada of the Republic. This project was endorsed by the International Foundation “Vidrodjennia”. After the meeting with representatives of this public organization, the Supreme Rada of the Crimea compiled the draft of the Resolution on the conduction of the hearings. I presented the draft for consideration to the Supreme Rada of the Crimean Autonomous Republic and, thanks to the understanding and support of the Chairman of the Supreme Rada and people’s deputies, we have today the opportunity to discuss the problems of the observance of human rights in the Republic. I believe that such examples of rapport should become more frequent.


-  to create the Crimean public monitoring center for the timely response to the violations of human rights and freedoms; the main task of the center will be the collection of the information about the violations of human rights on the territory of the republic and the assistance to the state organs (especially to law-enforcing ones) and organs of local self-rule in the disclosure and liquidation of the violations of human rights;

-  to introduce the practice of social order, that is the financial support of public organizations from the state budget for the realization of the projects aimed at the solution of socially important problems of the region (on the competition basis).

The situation, when the state power regard public organizations as “grant-eaters”, must be changed. The state must implement the policy of financing of the activities of public organizations. It must treat these organizations as assistants, but not as enemies.

In the conclusion of my speech I want to point out that similar deputies’ hearings could be devoted to separate problems in the sphere of human rights: observance of the rights of children, invalids, persons under investigation, etc. I am ready to be an initiator and organizer of the hearings devoted to the problems of the Crimean Tatars. This is a very complicated political, social and economic problem connected with the great number of violations of human rights in all spheres of life.

On 14 January the hearings were conducted in the Supreme Rada of the Crimea on the question of the observance of human rights in the Autonomous Republic.

(After the materials of “Kontekst-Media”, the Crimea)

The hearings were organized by the Crimean Parliament jointly with the Simferopol public organization “The institute if social research” in the framework of the project “Human rights in the Crimea” supported by the International Foundation “Vidrodjennia”.

The participants of the hearings proposed to the people’s deputies, elected in the Crimea, to endorse the initiative of ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva about the creation of the mechanism of “constitutional complaint”, which would give citizens the opportunity to turn to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on the questions of the protection of their constitutional rights.

The participants appealed to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine with the proposition to introduce the changes concerning the remuneration of labor to the legislation. In particular, they proposed to the Supreme Rada to support the amendment to the Law of Ukraine “On the remuneration of labor” about the payment of salaries by enterprises and organizations before the payment of taxes and other obligatory dues. It was also suggested to change the Law “On the resumption of paying capacity of a debtor or its bankruptcy” in the part of the satisfaction out of turn of the financial demands concerning the payment of salaries at the liquidation of an enterprise or recognition of it as a bankrupt.

The participants recommended to the Main directorate of the Ministry of Interior in the Crimea and the republican prosecutor’s office to intensify the control over the conditions of upkeep of the detained and arrested. The Recommendations issued at the hearings read that this measure “is necessary for preventing the application of physical violence, humiliation of honor and dignity of the detained and arrested”.

Vladimir Malakhov, the first deputy of the head of the Main directorate of the Ministry of Interior in the Crimea, delivered the speech at the hearings. Mr. Malakhov believes that two millions hryvnas should be allotted for bringing the Crimean preliminary prisons to the concordance with the standards.

According to the data given by V. Malakhov, the average number of convicts staying in the Crimean special establishments is 703 persons, while the limit is 651. “The permanent overcrowding of the cells of the special penitentiary establishments and their bad equipment do not allow to obey the sanitary norms”, V. Malakhov pointed out. Besides, there is the urgent necessity of the reconstruction of the preliminary prisons: none of them, by the words of Malakhov, “corresponds to the European norms and standards”. The deputy of the head of the Crimean militia also told that the daylight was absent in the Alushta, Saki and Feodosia preliminary prisons, and that there were no yards for walks in five preliminary prisons: in Simferopol, Feodosia, Sudak, Saki and Belogorsk.

According to V. Malakhov, in 2003 no finances were allotted from the state budget for reconstruction of the Crimean special establishments. “The mentioned drawbacks cannot be liquidated without the proper financing”, he pointed out. He also informed that in 2003 only 520 thousand hryvnas instead of the 793 thousand (that is 65.6%) needed for the nourishment of the detained were got from the budget.

In 2003 as many as 11.9 thousand persons were detained and taken into custody on suspicion of the commitment of various crimes, 5.5 thousand persons got under the administrative arrest.

Ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva stated in her speech that the courts of the Crimea frequently took the ungrounded decisions on the incarceration as a preventive measure. Such ungrounded court decisions is one of the causes of the overcrowding of preliminary prisons and, as a result, the inadmissible upkeep conditions in these penitentiaries, believes Nina Karpacheva. According to her data, during last 18 months the Crimean courts considered 5.7 thousand requests handed by investigating organs about such preventive measure as taking into custody, and refused to issue the arrest warrant only in 372 cases. The ombudsperson pointed out the neglectful attitude of courts to the consideration of the requests of law-enforcing organs about the arrest warrants: some courts issued the sanctions for arrest practically in every case. For example, the Djankoy local court considered more than 200 requests, and refused to give the sanction only in one case, Feodosia court – refused to give the sanction in 6 cases out of 477.

N. Karpacheva also pointed out that the judges frequently used the standard arguments of the same kind without the detailed explanation of the motives of the taken decision. The ombudsperson believes that this fact raises doubts about the thorough and complete study by judges of the circumstances of the cases and of the proofs presented by the law-enforcing organs.

N. Karpacheva stated that “the arrest may be applied only as an exception, in the cases, where another preventive measure cannot guarantee the fulfillment of the tasks of the criminal process”.

The participants of the hearings turned to ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva with the request to realize the permanent monitoring of the observance of human rights in the Crimean Autonomous Republic for the effective disclosure and liquidation of the violations.

Against torture and ill-treatment

Prevention of torture and cruel treatment

The center of the professional aid to the victims of torture was created in the framework of the project “Campaign against torture and cruel treatment”. The center is financially supported by the European Commission. The center, which was founded by the Kharkov group for human rights protection in summer 2003, will work for next three years.

One of the tasks of the Center is the financing (full or partial) of legal, medical and expert aid to the victims of torture, other forms of cruel treatment and violations of the right for liberty and personal immunity.

Criteria of rendering the financial aid

I. Categories of the cases, when the financial aid is rendered

The Center renders the financial aid for remuneration of the services of advocates, medical doctors or experts in the following cases:

I.1. Torture:

application of torture and other forms of cruel treatment for obtaining evidence or other information during investigation;

– disappearance of a person with the probable participation of law-enforcing or other state organs;

– application of inadequate violence by state officers during the detention, arrest or investigation;

– other forms of cruel treatment during detention (holding in custody), administrative detention, coercive keeping in closed establishments (hospitals, penitentiaries, disciplinary battalions, army guardhouses, centers for illegal immigrants, etc.).

The financial aid is rendered for:

initiation of criminal persecution of law-enforcers guilty of the application of torture and violence,

– initiation of civil cases against the direct participants or/and corresponding organs,

– efficient legal representation in the course of judicial procedures,

– provision of proofs.

In the course of consideration of the question about rendering the financial aid we take into account:

-  gravity of bodily injuries, duration of the application of torture and cruel treatment;

-  probability of positive result of the case: availability of proofs, timeliness of the appeal, absence of the obstacles for using the national and international procedures (observance of procedural terms, order, etc.);

-  strategic meaning of the case: complex of several serious violations, frequency of the considered kind of violation, meaning of the case for other goals of the Project;

-  financial ability of the Fund;

-  participation of the victim in the compensation of the expenses.

I.2. Violations of the right for liberty:

-  illegal detention (criminal-procedural or administrative), ungrounded detention, detention with the violation of legal procedure or with an illegal purpose;

-  holding in custody without taking to court for more than 72 hours;

-  too long stay in custody during the pre-trial investigation and court consideration;

-  violations of the rights of the detained (arrested) during the court consideration of the question about the arrest or release.

Financial aid is rendered for:

-  initiation of criminal persecution of the workers of law-enforcing organs involved in the violation of the right for liberty;

-  institution of civil cases against the guilty and/or the corresponding organs;

-  initiation of regular checks of the legality of holding in custody;

-  efficient legal representation during the court consideration of the question about the arrest or release and in other judicial procedures;

– provision of proofs.

In the course of consideration of the question about rendering the financial aid we take into account:

-  gravity of consequences: application of torture in custody, duration of the incarceration under the guard of law-enforcing organs, total term of incarceration;

-  probability of positive result of the case: availability of proofs, existence of the circumstances confirming the groundlessness of holding in custody, timeliness of the appeal;

-  strategic meaning of the case: complex of several serious violations, frequency of the considered kind of violation, meaning of the case for other goals of the Project;

-  financial ability of the Fund;

-  participation of the victim in the compensation of the expenses.

II. Categories of the cases, in which the Center does not render the financial aid

The Center deals with the cases connected with the activities (passivity) of state organs.

Therefore, the Center does not render the financial aid in the following cases:

-  conflicts between private persons;

-  conflicts that are not connected with deprivation of liberty or application of violence on the side of state officials;

-  defense from the accusation, except the cases, when this defense is an integral part of the protection against torture (for example, if the accusation is based on evidence obtained as a result of torture).

The Kharkov group for human rights protection

Epidemic of torture and cruel treatment during inquiry and investigation

The newspaper “Fakty”, which usually tries not to conflict with the power, published a very important article. The article describes the recent events in Chernivtsy connected with torture in militia. The TV channel “1+1” also told this story to its viewers. We were waiting for a long time that the power would attend to this case, on which not only the authority of the Ukrainian power among its citizens depends, but also the image of our country on the international level. Now, at last, the TV channels and great newspapers started to elucidate the problem of torture. It is very good, since everybody knows that torture and cruel treatment during inquiry and investigation are widespread in our country as an epidemic. And this epidemic endangers the Ukrainian power, not only abroad, but also inside the country. Who wants to have the almost uncontrolled force structures, which can do what they want without any consequences? It seems that this impunity is caused by our total legal nihilism, practiced not only by the force structures, but also by the common citizens.

Here is one strange example. My acquaintances from a small town near Donetsk told me the following story. Some minors stole a bicycle from their neighbor. The man did not go to militia, because, he said, firstly, nobody would do anything free of charge, and, secondly, the case would be closed all the same, if the parents of the minors would pay more. He guessed who could steal his property, so he decided to act by himself. He caught the minor, whom he suspected, shackled the boy in the garage and began… No, he was not so “professional” as Chernivtsy militiamen! The man merely beat the boy with a rake handle. The man did not hang the boy on his handcuffed wrists, like it is frequently done in militia, he did not try to thrust a baton into his victim’s anus, and did not injure the boy’s internal.

During the beating the man asked: who were the thieves and where his property was. The man frightened the boy that nobody knew where he was, and nobody would hear his cries and find him. The boy was really guilty, and he confessed. Yet, he did not want to say, who possessed the money obtained for the sold bicycle. Then the man decided to continue the “interrogation” on the next day and went home. Yet, his wife either felt sorry for the boy or knew the criminal code better, so, she released the prisoner.

Naturally, the parents of the minor did not turn to militia or court. However, if they would turn, then the state of the owner of the stolen property would be much worse than the state of the young offenders. The boy was ill for two weeks, and his parents called doctor to him, lying that he had scuffled with some strangers. The fighter for justice committed the crimes stipulated by Articles 127 “Application of torture”, 146 “Illegal deprivation of liberty” and 122 “Intentional infliction of body injuries of medium degree”. Part 1 of Article 127 envisages the incarceration for the term up to 5 years, but, in contrast to the similar norms of other countries, this article does not mention that it concerns only the official persons. So, the man should be brought to responsibility. By the way, the heroes of the material published in the newspaper “Fakty” should be condemned to the imprisonment for the term from 5 to 10 years, according to part 2 Article 127.

So, for what the group of the so-called “uniformed criminals” were tried in Chernivtsy? They, so to speak, exceeded their service authorities. Yet, it is an understatement. Where it is written that militiamen have the right to thrust a baton into the anus, or even to beat the detained? About which service authorities one can say, if the militiamen brutally tortured their victim for hours? Oh, they bought a flat to the man mutilated by them! Oh, he asked not to punish them severely! All this resembles a kindergarten!

The service authorities were exceeded by those, who detained an investigating officer of a prosecutor’s office, or by those, who did not admit a witness to courtroom. And the actions of the militiamen from Chernivtsy are mentioned in Article 127 “Application of torture”.

There is nothing more disgusting and awful than the cruel treatment of a helpless person. It is interesting, whether the militiamen understand that they committed a deadly sin? Maybe they are atheists? Maybe. But even an atheist must understand that it is inadmissible to exceed the moral limits.

Judging from the story about the bicycle, our morals are not very exigent. That is why it is extremely important to punish everybody, who violates the laws. I also reckon that exceeding the authority must be regarded as an administrative, not a criminal offence. And only official persons should be the subjects of the crime “torture and cruel treatment”.

However, it is good anyway that the power stopped to dissemble this terrible disgrace and began to fight with it, although not very adequately. I hope that it is not just another campaign!

The state must investigate the facts of applying torture

At the beginning of January the European Court of human rights (Strasbourg) took the decisions on two cases against Turkey connected with torture and cruel treatment of the incarcerated. Ukraine copies the mistakes of her neighbor. Now the decisions concerning the application of torture in Turkey are issued every second week. As to Ukraine, the decisions have been taken only on six such cases, but it seems that the situation will change soon.

In the first case, Sadik Onder vs. Turkey (complaint No. 28520/95), the European Court acknowledged the violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms (prohibition of torture, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment) caused by the inefficient investigation of the complaint against cruel treatment.

The complainer was detained in Turkey on the suspicion of membership in an illegal military political unit. He asserted that, during transportation, incarceration and interrogation, he had undergone torture, cruel treatment and numerous offences. After that he was coercively cured during a week in order to conceal the traces of torture. In several days he was examined by a doctor, who could not find any traces of torture or cruel treatment. The victim complained against the police officers, but they were acquitted because of the absence of proofs.

The European Court established that the doubts existed as to the fact of the application of torture or cruel treatment to the complainer. Finally the Court resolved that the case materials did not contain the convincing proofs of such treatment of the plaintiff, so Article 3 of the European Convention had not been violated in that part. Yet, the Court recognized the violation of Article 3 in the fact that the complaint on the application of torture had not been investigated effectively, although the prosecutor’s office had begun to consider the claim at once. It is seen from the materials of the case that the prosecutor grounded his opinion only on the medical conclusion, which denied the fact of applying torture to the claimant in the police precinct or prison. However, it should be noted that the complainer spent 15 days in the prison, and the medical examination was written a month later. So, the prosecutor might not use only this conclusion, he had to get the detailed evidence from the complainer, all policemen and other witnesses, but he did not do that.

So, the European Court did not acknowledge the very fact of applying torture or cruel treatment, but regarded the inefficient investigation of the victim’s complaint as a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention. I believe that this decision is extremely important for the Ukrainian law-enforcing organs and is a certain warning for them.

In another case, Colak and Filizer vs. Turkey (complaints Nos. 32578/96 and 32579/96) the European Court also acknowledged the violation by Turkey of Article 3 of the European Convention. In this case, also concerning the application of torture and cruel treatment, three medical examinations were conducted, and the conclusions of the examinations contradicted each other. The officials could not present the adequate explanations about the haematomas and other physical injuries inflicted to the complainers.

The European Court pointed out that the state must protect the incarcerated, whose status is very vulnerable, and the state must be responsible for the injuries got by the incarcerated during their stay in custody. So, the Court stated that, although the police officers, who had been suspected of cruel treatment, were relieved from responsibility, Turkey is responsible for the violation of Article 3 of the European Convention.

Freedom of expression

Independent press is extirpated in Odessa

This time the independent newspaper “Pravoe delo” published by the studio “Negotsiant” is under the threat of closure. The pressure on the newspaper intensified, when the editorial board dared to reprint in the issue of 19 September 2003, with the reference to the Internet, the article “Special services or a trade representation?” The article quoted the letter of an anonymous officer of the oblast directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine about the facts of corruption observed in the USS directorate of the Odessa oblast.

Irina Goloborodko, a deputy of the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Pravoe delo”, said in her exclusive interview to the radio station “The Voice of America”: “The newspaper did not exceed the limits stipulated by Article 42 of the Law “On printed mass media and the press”. In our reprint we referred to the Internet edition “””.

It became known that, after the publication of the article “Special services or a trade representation?”, the staff changes occurred in the oblast USS directorate. The journalists regarded this fact as a peculiar confirmation of the information published by the Internet edition “” and reprinted by the Odessa newspaper “Pravoe delo”.

However, Gennadiy Trukhanov, one of the personages of the publication, handed the claim to the Primorskiy district court of Odessa about the protection of honor, dignity and business reputation, and about the compensation of moral and material damage by the editorial board of the newspaper “Pravoe delo”. In the first claim the plaintiff demanded the compensation sum equal to one hryvna, but the legislation does not stipulate such sum, so it was a violation of the procedural norms. On 13 January 2004, at the first court sitting, Valeriy Alin, the representative of G. Trukhanov, brought in the supplement to the claim containing the demand of the 200 thousand hryvnas.

The editorial board of the newspaper regards this claim as illegal.

“The oligarchic structures mentioned in the article “Special services or a trade representation?” want to destroy the independent edition, thus violating the citizens’ right for obtaining truthful, thorough and unbiased information.

“We got no refutations of the information published in the article “Special services or a trade representation?””, said Irina Goloborodko.

The next court sitting will be conducted on 4 February 2004.

Yet, the opponents of the newspaper did not stop the pressure on the edition.

In the evening of 19 January two strangers came to Irina Goloborodko’s flat. They did not introduce themselves, but warned the journalist that the newspaper “Pravoe delo” would be destroyed anyway. They also told that if I. Goloborodko would continue to protect the interests of the newspaper at the trial against G. Trukhanov, it would be injurious to her health. The journalist considered these threats as a real confirmation of the information spread by the newspaper.

On 20 January Irina Goloborodko passed the appeals to the head of the Odessa oblast militia directorate and the judge of the Primorskiy district court of Odessa. She wrote: “I want to warn the law-enforcing organs that I am not going to commit suicide, that the state of my health is satisfactory, so, if something would happen to me, you would be able to get the information about that from Gennadiy Trukhanov and his representatives”.

The Institute of mass information and the Odessa oblast branch of the independent trade union of journalists have already become interested in the situation around the newspaper “Pravoe delo”.

In a day or two the editorial board of the newspaper “Pravoe delo” is going to organize a special press conference and to make public the facts concerning the conflict.

The confrontation intensifies.

National register of informational resources: another absurd invented by the power

On 5 May 2003 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine issued Resolution No. 259-p “On the approval of the Conception of forming of the system of national electronic informational resources”, but the public did not notice the Resolution. Yet, on 31 December 2003 the Cabinet of Ministers approved the measures for the realization of this Conception. The problem is that not only state resources are regarded as national, but also private ones.

The Conception does not contain the clear definition of national informational resources. In particular, it reads: “national resources, independently of their contents, form, time and place of creation, form of property, are applied for satisfaction of the needs of citizens, society and the state. National resources include state, communal and private resources”.

The authors of the Conception do not understand the difference between telecommunications (or the information carriers) and the information as such. So, it is incomprehensible what the legislators meant, when they compiled this document. However, it seems that the matter concerns the information, because the word “contents” was used. Then it turns out that any file created in my personal computer is a national resource and MUST BE INCLUDED TO THE REGISTER. Yet, from the other side, the private persons do not belong to the structure of national resources determined by the Conception.

Moreover, the Conception states that the system of national resources (in particular, the files in my computer) is necessary for the social and economic development of the state. Here I am recollecting the old good Soviet times: everything for the sake of the state!

Yet, this is not the whole story. The Conception also reads: “The inclusion of non-state resources to the National register promotes the forming, use and protection of these resources”. Well, I do not remember, when I saw such crooked logics in normative acts. Just imagine that the inclusion of the list of the books contained in your home library to the national register will help you to protect your library!

The Conception also envisages the certification of national resources after their inclusion to the national register. But is it possible to certify information? Or maybe all information carriers will be certified?

More than ten ministries and agencies are engaged into the realization of this nonsensical plan, and none of these agencies noticed the drawbacks of the Conception.

Why our government, which is unable to regulate even the state resources, worries about non-state ones, although the state have the right to meddle into this sphere only in the cases stipulated by law, when the evident danger exists to the rights of other persons or to the public order? In all other cases the inviolability of my informational resources is guaranteed by the scores of international and domestic legal acts on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The idea of such register could appear only in the country, where the officials do not realize the difference between the state and the civil society. The state still cannot understand that not everything that is located inside the state is owned by it, and that there are some spheres of life, which are protected from the interference of the state. Besides, now everything that is called national is, in fact, state. For example a national university is, for 99%, dependent on the state. This concerns the national resources too. Well, nobody would say that the private property is national, so why it is possible then the matter concerns privately owned information?

Other conceptual mistake lies in the fact that now, in the epoch of the Internet and globalization, the information has no frontiers, and it may not be called a national resource at all. The state can only regulate the telecommunications, which is realized by the Law of Ukraine “On telecommunications”. And the contents of information may not be regulated under any circumstances. Well, we live in Ukraine, but not in the North Korea.

Secretariat of the Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations

Statistics of violations of the freedom of speech in 2003

Four Ukrainian journalists perished under obscure circumstances or were murdered in 2003. 42 journalists underwent attacks, threats and intimidation. 38 Ukrainian mass media stated about the economic, political or indirect pressure exerted upon them or their workers. The IMI monitoring disclosed 33 facts of impediment to the professional activities of journalists. 46 claims were handed against Ukrainian mass media and journalists; 20 suits against state officials and state organizations were brought by mass media and journalists.

In comparison with the previous year, the total number of the violations of the freedom of speech, disclosed by the IMI monitoring, did not essentially change. The quantitative characteristics for 2002 and 2003 were almost identical: about 170 various violations. So, the situation did not improve, moreover, if to analyze the violations committed in 2003 from the qualitative viewpoint, one can observe the intensification of certain negative tendencies.

Last year four journalist perished under obscure circumstances or were murdered: Taras Protsiuk, Volodymir Efremov, Volodymir Kucheriaev and Volodymir Karachevtsev.

Taras Protsiuk was the first international reporter perished during an alien war: the military operation of the USA and the Great Britain in Iraq. The Pentagon carried out the investigation and made the conclusion about the fatal error of a sniper. Not all Taras’s colleagues agreed with this conclusion, but neither friends nor relatives of the journalist turned to court or protested in other way.

Volodymir Kucheriaev was shot, presumably, by his close acquaintance and business partner. The motives of this murder are interpreted as doubtful in Kremenchug. Yet, one of the versions is connected with Kucheriaev’s professional activities, which concerned not only journalism (he headed the local branch of the holding company “Blitz-inform”).

Volodymir Efremov, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Sobor” and the representative of the IMI in Dnepropetrovsk, perished in a road accident: his car collided with a truck. The investigation of this accident is conducted now.

Volodymir Karachevtsev caught with his collar on the handle of refrigerator and died from asphyxia. Now the prosecutor’s office of Melitopol carries out the additional investigation of journalist’s death in order to understand whether to open the criminal case after the fact of murder.

Unfortunately, despite the promises of law-enforcers, 2003 did not become the turning-point in the investigation of murders of journalists Georgiy Gongadze and Igor Aleksandrov. Although the law-enforcers declared that Aleksandrov’s murderers had been already arrested and giving evidence, and that Gongadze’s murderers were already known, the cases were not passed to court.

As to the attacks and threats, there the “menu” was rather traditional. However, the number of such violations in 2003 increased almost twice: from 23 in 2002 to 42 in 2003. The country still lives after the Soviet standard of disrespect for the role and opinion of an individual and absolute power of state authorities.

This tendency is especially obvious in province, from where we received the lion’s share of messages about the attacks and threats. And the local officials are sure that there are only two opinions about any question: theirs and wrong. So, they stubbornly try to prove their rectitude.

The facts of political, economic and indirect pressure on mass media are, alas, still actual too. In 2003 we registered 38 such facts, in 2002 – 30. At that, the indirect pressure, when it is difficult to prove anything, is the most frequent method for curbing the disloyal mass media. The recent events around the newspaper “Lvivska gazeta” confirmed that.

The numerous messages from the province evidence that it has become dangerous not only to endorse the opposition, but even merely not to work for the state power.

The IMI knows about 46 claims brought against mass media and journalists in 2003. In 2002 this number was somewhat less -- 38. The most frequent motive of such claims is “libel, moral and material damage, damage to business reputation”. The only positive moment there is that none of the claims resulted, as it had happened before, in closing of the mass media.

Besides, it is noteworthy that the claims against the ordered publications, which purposely discredit the honor and dignity of the opponents of one or another political or financial figure, are, in our opinion, absolutely legitimate and even necessary for the introduction of real democracy in Ukraine. The democracy, which, throughout the world, begins from the responsibility for one’s actions.

However, the number of the claims initiated by journalists in 2003 was less than in previous year: 21 and 27, respectively. Yet, the people, who are ready to fight for their rights still exist and are realizing these ideas. Let us wish them good luck and competent advocates!

Women’s rights

Advocates Viktor Ageev and Andrey Fedur will represent the judges of the Appeal court of the Donetsk oblast in the case against Ukraine in Strasbourg court (press release)

Advocates Viktor Ageev (company “Ageev, Berezhnoy and partners”) and Andrey Fedur (company “Fedur”) will represent the judges of the Appeal court of the Donetsk oblast in the case against Ukraine in Strasbourg court.

37 judges, that is almost entire composition of the chamber on charge of criminal cases, turned to the European Court of human rights in Strasbourg with the claim about pay arrears and the violation of their right for just court.

Before this the judges turned to the Pecherskiy district court with the claim against the Ministry of Finances of Ukraine. The court acknowledged the demands of the plaintiffs as lawful and resolved to collect from the Ministry of Finances the arrears.

However, the Ministry of Finances of Ukraine did not execute the court decision. The state executive service also could do nothing.

Then the judges turned to the prosecutor’s office with the demand to take the appropriate measures, since, according to the Criminal Code of Ukraine, non-execution or impediment to the execution of court decisions is regarded as a crime. At last, on 23 May 2003 the judges got the response from the prosecutor’s office, which read that the offset of debt to judges was not allegedly provided by state budget (!), so the non-execution of the decision had been completely legal.

After that the judges had to turn to the European Court of human rights for the protection of their rights. The European Court accepted the complaint; the case was regarded as one of the highest priority and will be considered in accordance with the accelerated procedure.

This case reflected the acute problems of the state of courts and justice as a whole in Ukraine. On the one hand, the neglectful attitude of the state to representatives of judicial power is clearly seen; on the other hand, the state officials openly refused to execute the court decision.

The European Court has already expressed its opinion about the problem of non-execution of court decisions in the verdict on the case “Burdov vs. Russia”. In particular, the European Court pointed out that “the execution of a court decision must be considered as an integral part of court process”, and that “a state organ have no right to refer to the lack of finances to justify the non-execution of court decision on the collection of pay arrears”.

In the considered case against Ukraine the situation is aggravated with the fact that the violations were committed against the representatives of judicial power. The European Court of human rights never came across such humiliating treatment of judges on the side of the state.

It is obvious that now, when the case have been passed to the Strasbourg court, Ukraine will have pay not only the arrears, but also the compensation of moral damage inflicted to the claimants by the humiliation of the rights of judges and the insult of their status of representatives of justice.

The European Court obliged the government of Ukraine to send, up to 12 February 2004, the written explanations on this case to the Court and representatives of the claimants.

Maybe, the Ukrainian government should understand that the actions of the Ministry of Finances discredit Ukraine on the international level and should consider whether it is expedient to leave Nikolay Azarov on the post of the head of this Ministry.

We also hope that the consideration of this case in the European Court, as well as the recent shameful resolution of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (on the term of President’s authorities), will make the Ukrainian citizens to focus the attention on the urgent necessity of reforming the judicial system in our country.

20 January 2003
Advocate company «Ageev, Berezhnoy and partners»

Violations of the legislation on the protection of human rights

During 2002 and 2003 the advocates of the Crimean collegium observed a great number of serious violations of the legislation on the protection of human rights and the violations of the rights of advocates representing the interests of citizens.

The most of these violations were committed in the course of preliminary investigation of criminal cases, during the detention and holding in custody of the persons, who were suspected of some offences. Both the prosecutor’s office and central militia directorate almost do not react to these violations: they ignore the complaints and appeals, including the complaints handed by me, the chairman of the commission of the Union of lawyers of Ukraine on the protection of rights of advocates.

The facts of the illegal detention, exertion of physical and psychical pressure upon the detained, violation of conditions and terms of holding in custody are still rather frequent. The atmosphere of malevolence towards advocates is artificially created. The professional activities of advocates are purposely impeded.

The advocates are admitted to the militia precincts, where their clients are kept, only with special permission and various formalities. Besides, the access to the clients is given not at once, as the law demands, but after some time. In the course of investigation of resonant cases the attempts are made of discrediting advocates, they are interrogated as witnesses in order to debar them from their functions. As a result, many advocates are scared, and that makes the negative influence on the quality of the defense.

These facts, in our opinion, evidence on the unsatisfactory fulfillment in Crimea of Article 29 of the Constitution of Ukraine and Article 5 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which guarantee the right for personal immunity.

In what follows I will describe several stories confirming this opinion.

On 1 June 2002 the corpse of citizen Lomanov was found in the yard of the Gvardeyski settlement hospital. Citizen Gadiuchkin was detained on the suspicion of the murder. He was detained in his house in the settlement of Gvardeyski. The detained had no bodily injuries except an insignificant bruise on his face. After the detention the militiamen applied torture to Gadiuchkin. They handcuffed him, put a metal pipe under his elbows, hanged him between the backs of two chairs and beat him. A forensic expert fixed the bodily injuries; his conclusion was attached to the materials of the case. The complaint to the prosecutor, handed by advocate A. Nepomniashchiy, was not satisfied.

In July 2003 the officers of the Bakhchisaray town militia directorate detained minors Zenkov, Storozhuk (18-years-old) and Korabelnikov, who were suspected of a rape and premeditated murder. They were detained on the basis of a protocol about an administrative offence, according to which the minors were arrested for 15 days for petty hooliganism. The families of the detained were not informed about that.

In the preliminary prison of the Bakhchisaray militia directorate Zenkov, Storozhuk and Korabelnikov underwent intimidation and physical violence, and were forced to sign the frank confession on the commitment of the above-mentioned grave crimes. When the advocates were admitted to the case, the detained declared that they had calumniated themselves and refused from their confession. The investigation could not find the proofs of their guilt. Besides, the expertise rebutted their participation in the rape. After the end of the 15-day administrative arrest the minors were released, and the rape and murder are not disclosed until now.

The complaints of Zenkov and Storozhuk to the prosecutor’s office were not considered, and the court resolution about the administrative arrest for 15 days was approved by the appeal court (judge A. Lesovoy).

On 30 January 2003 D. Gogulov, a Simferopol dweller, was invited by phone to room No. 14 of the Simferopol town directorate for fighting the organized crime (DFOC) for a talk. When he came there, together with his wife and advocate, the law-enforcers said that they wanted only to ask several questions, so the presence of the wife and advocate was not needed. Yet, after the wife and advocate went away, the militiamen handcuffed Gogulov and passed him to the DFOC officers from Dnepropetrovsk. Gogulov was transported to Dnepropetrovsk, where he was held in custody for several days without any registration and was regularly beaten. When the law-enforcers made sure that Gogulov was innocent, they released him. The prosecutor’s office ignored Gogulov’s complaints (advocate A. Safonov).

G. Bazhan, an inhabitant of Evpatoria, on 20 July 2003 was detained at the railway station in Simferopol by the officers of railway militia in the framework of the ODA connected with the struggle against the illegal drug traffic. The detention procedure was not observed, and Bazhan’s relatives were not informed about it. On the same day the woman was convoyed to Kyiv, where, on 21 July, she was put under the administrative arrest according to Article 263 of the Administrative Code by order of the head of the railway militia. Only three days later the investigating officer compiled the protocol of G. Bazhan’s detention on the basis of Article 106 of the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine. Yet, the next day the judge of the Solomenskiy district court of Kyiv refused to issue the sanction for the arrest, and Bazhan was, at last, released.

The cases are not rare, when the access of advocates to the detained is purposely impeded.

The following example is very illustrative. Advocate A. Gnezdov, who defended V. Lutyev, the editor of an Evpatoria newspaper, more than once came across the obstacles in the access to his client, who was suspected of the preparation of murder of MP Kotliarevski.

So, on 14 November 2002, after the court sitting in the Tsentrlalny district court of Simferopol, when the term of Lutyev’s detention was prolonged up to nine days, the head of the investigation department of the prosecutor’s office gave the permission for the meeting with the detained. In an hour the advocate came to the militia directorate and phoned to the preliminary prison. The officer-on-duty did not let him inside the prison under the pretext that, by the order of the head of the prison, advocates were not permitted to the prison in evening, although officially the workday of the prison finished on 21:30.

In the morning of the next day the advocate came to the militia directorate again, and again he was not admitted to the preliminary prison. Senior lieutenant Gnatko explained that the head of the prison was absent, and they needed the head’s personal permission to admit the advocate to his client. Then the advocate turned to A. Protsenko, the head of the Simferopol directorate, who signed the permission issued by the prosecutor’s office. In spite of this the advocate could not get to the preliminary prison. He again turned to the prosecutor’s office with the complaint. From the prosecutor’s office he returned to the preliminary prison, but the prison head, who had already come, refused to let the advocate in under the pretext of the arrival of a convoy and proposed to come in the afternoon. The advocate could not come to the prison until evening, since he took part in court consideration of another case. Yet, the access of advocates to the prison was prohibited after 17:00, as well as on two next days: Saturday and Sunday. Thus, the militia officers brutally violated the constitutional rights of the detained and the advocate (Article 48 of the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine).

Advocate L. Lubina (Simferopol) got the commission to defend E. An, who had been detained in Czechia and had to be extradited to Ukraine (the advocate was invited by An’s relatives). The advocate solicited for the permission to familiarize with the materials of his criminal case. M. Balakhonov, an investigator of the prosecutor’s office of the Crimean Republic refused to satisfy the petition, since, according to his words, “… the investigation had no information that An invited this advocate or empowered other persons to do that”.

Advocates and their clients frequently experience pressure, threats and blackmail.

Yalta advocate V. Muzychenko defended L. Agibalov and L. Shmigelskaya, who were accused of the commitment of the crimes envisaged by Articles 222 part 1 and 366 part 1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The preliminary investigation of this case was carried out by D. Holitsyn, an investigating officer in charge of especially important cases of the Crimean militia directorate. The investigation was conducted on the low professional level, with brutal violations of laws. The investigator even did not prolong the term of the investigation, which had expired on 1 July 2002. Advocate Muzychenko more than once pointed out these violations in his petitions.

The advocate’s position in this case was very principal, so the investigator and detective L. Mamiev repeatedly threatened him and his clients. As a result of this pressure Agibalov and Shmigelskaya even tried to resign the advocate’s services. In that way their right for defense was brutally violated. The advocate seriously doubted his safety.

Besides, Yu. Anisimov, the head of the Yalta district DFOC, suddenly demanded from the head of the juridical consultation, where Muzychenko worked, to present the financial reports concerning the activities of advocate Muzychenko for the eight months of the current year. The DFOC officer could not explain why this check was necessary and how it was connected with the tasks of the DFOC stipulated by law. He also did not provide any guarantees of confidentiality. What connection can exist between the organized crime and the probable violations of the rules of reporting by an advocate? Why the reports of just this advocate and during the investigation of just that case were checked? Why, after all, the tax militia did not do that?

According to Article 22 item 2 of the Law of Ukraine “On the organizational-legal grounds of fighting with the organized crime”, it is prohibited “to use the special squads for fighting with the organized crime for the fulfillment of the tasks, which are not related to the competence of these squads by the operating laws of Ukraine”. So, we regard this check as an obvious attempt to punish the advocate for his principal position in the criminal case. We were sure that the prosecutor’s office would take the appropriate measures.

Yet, to our great surprise, the Crimean prosecutor’s office communicated (outgoing No. 04/3-618, ingoing No. 02/10 of 17 October 2002) that the check of advocate’s reports had no connection with the investigated case, that the advocate did not complain and was not going to complain to anywhere.

Advocate A. Shekhovtsov (Simferopol) also turned to us. He told that during the recent years he had been periodically summoned to the main militia directorate, where he had been informed about the institution against him of criminal cases after the complaints handed by citizens Kopanets, Dolgov, Karatayev and others, who blamed the advocate for the extortions committed against them. During the talks in the militia directorate the officers threatened the advocate and hinted that it was possible to accuse him of the storage of ammunition and narcotic drags.

Shekhovtsov believes, and we agree with him, that these events are connected with the fact that the advocate renders the legal aid to MP L. Mirimskiy and represents his interests in several claims against some top officials of the Crimea.

The investigation department of the militia directorate informed us that no criminal cases had been started against the advocate, but refused to explain what really happened with him.

The Commission for the protection of rights and legal interests of the members of the Union of advocates of Ukraine and the Crimean collegium of advocates more than once demanded to institute the criminal case and to bring to responsibility the officers of the Kerch town militia directorate, who had attacked advocate Shevchuk during the fulfillment of his professional duty. On 27 March advocate Shevchuk visited the preliminary prison, where, from 14 to 16 p. m., he worked with his clients, who were kept in the prison. When the advocate was talking with one of the clients, E. Aliev, the head of the preliminary prison, and Marinin, an officer of the department for struggle with the illegal drug traffic, rushed to the room. The officers insulted Shevchuk and, threatening with violence, demanded to give them the documents connected with the criminal cases, on which the advocate worked. Shevchuk categorically refused to fulfill these demands; then the officers leaded the client away and locked the advocate in the room. Some time later the door was unlocked by another militiamen, and the advocate was coercively driven out from the prison.

Immediately after that advocate Shevchuk handed the complaint to the town prosecutor’s office and turned for medical aid. He got to the neurosurgery ward of Kerch town territorial medical establishment No. 1 with the diagnosis “focal affection of the cerebral brain as a result of a stress”.

Naturally, we put the question about the institution of the criminal case in the accordance with Article 397 part 2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. After some official circumlocution the town prosecutor’s office refused to start the criminal case; the prosecutor’s office of the Crimean Republic cancelled that decision at first, but later agreed that there had been nothing unlawful in the outrageous aggression against the advocate on the side of the militiamen.

E. Kulikova was a suspected in the criminal case after part 1 Article 162 or the CC. Her case was investigated by T. Alimov, an investigator of the prosecutor’s office of the Tsentralny district of Simferopol. On 8 August Kulikova’s advocate A. Gnezdov was summoned to the investigating officer, who told him and his client that the resolution had been issued about bringing Kulikova to responsibility as an accused.

On the basis of item 1 Article 48 of the Criminal-Procedural Code, the advocate presented the petition, in which he asked to give him the opportunity to familiarize with the case materials, on which the accusation was grounded. Yet, the investigating officer refused to satisfy the petition and, referring to Articles 218-219 of the CPC, said that the advocate would have the right to study the materials only after the end of the investigation. Thus, the investigator impeded the legal professional activities of the advocate. On 4 September 2003 the advocate handed the appeal about the institution of the criminal case against the investigating officer in accordance with part 2 Article 397 of the CC for impediment to the legal activities of an attorney committed by a state officer with the use of service authority. The result was “usual”.

As a result of the check of the documents of the company “Yantarny” (the Simferopol region) in December 2002, the tax administration issued the decision about the collection of more than 224 thousand hryvnas. The administration of the company did not agree and lodged the claim to the economic court of the Crimean Republic. After that the tax militia began the real terror against the workers of the company “Yantarny”. Although the economic court had satisfied the claim, the tax militia continued the investigation of the case; the tax officers conducted interrogations, but refused to present the copy of the resolution on the institution of the criminal case.

On 19, 21 and 23 May tax officers Kornienko, Viatkin and Bulgakov entered by force the house of citizen P. Fadeev, a dweller of the Bakhchisaray district, where they conducted searches, seized and destroyed a part of property. They did it without the court resolution, without the grounds confirmed by court and even without the compilation of protocol. The complaint was handed against the actions of the offenders.

The terms and conditions of holding in custody are violated.

As early as in 2002 the head of the Crimean directorate of the State penitentiary department turned to us asking to denounce the behavior of advocate D. Protasova, who had demanded to execute the court decision about the release of her client V. Smurygina.

It was established that the demand was based on the incorrect interpretation of criminal-procedural law, since the advocate acted in the framework of this law. At the same time, many cases were observed, where, through the fault of the administration of preliminary prisons and the penitentiary directorate, the condemned stayed in custody for the terms longer than the term stipulated by law.

It is known that the last part of Article 156 of the CPC of Ukraine directly prescribes to the head of a preliminary prison: “… to release the accused from custody… on the day of expiration of the term of incarceration, if there is no court decision about the prolongation of the term stipulated by parts 1, 2 and 6 of this Article”. This plain and unambiguous legal provision is frequently not obeyed.

For instance, citizen O. Lialechkin, who was accused after Article 86-1 of the CC of Ukraine (version of 1961), was not released from the preliminary prison after the expiration of the term of holding in custody, in spite of the petition of advocate N. Rozhkov and his appeal to the prosecutor’s office of the Crimea.

V. Rybchenko, who was accused according to Article 94 of the CC and whose case was investigated by Krasnoperekopsk district militia directorate, also was not released in proper time, despite the expiration of the prescribed term of preliminary imprisonment and the petition on the release lodged by advocate A. Yatsenko.

Similar violation of law was committed toward V. Raksh, accused after part 2 Article 142 of the CC of Ukraine, and other citizens. The administration of the preliminary prison and the workers of penitentiary department groundlessly assert that in such situations not the CPC prevails, but Order No. №38-дск of the State penitentiary department of Ukraine of 23 March 2000 “On the approval of the Instruction on the work of departments (sections, groups, units) for special registration of reformative-labor establishments”. The fulfillment of the provisions of this Order may not contradict the demands of law, in particular, Article 156 of the CPC, since the law has the supreme juridical force, to say nothing about the role of the prosecutor’s office.

In April 2002 V. Shakun was arrested in Simferopol. Shakun was born in 1956, he is an invalid of the 1st group, has the permanent place of residence, family and three children, among them one minor. Shakun suffers from a cerebral brain disease as a result of numerous cerebral brain traumas, the disease is accompanied with frequent fits and losses of consciousness, which is confirmed by documents. For more than 18 months this invalid is hold in custody. In August 2003 his criminal case was returned by court for the additional investigation because of the essential drawbacks, but the preventive measure was not changed.

Shakun claims that the medical aid is not rendered to him in the Simferopol preliminary prison, that there is no medical drugs, equipment and competent doctors. More than 30 times he turned to doctors, two times he was treated in the prison hospital, in May-June he got the consultation of the doctors of the Semashko Republican clinical hospital. According to the conclusion of the specialists, Shakun needs the inpatient treatment in the special ward. In July the prosecutor’s office of the Crimea ordered the administration of the preliminary prison to send Shakun for the inpatient examination and the examination by the forensic experts. The order was not fulfilled. In July 2003 the Kievskiy district court issued the decision to conduct the forensic expertise of Shakun’s health and to analyze the possibility of holding him in the prison and the ability of the prison medical unit to render him the necessary aid. The expertise was carried out on 4 September 2003, but the defense was not informed about the results.

Shakun and his advocate more than once turned with the petitions about the change of the preventive measure from incarceration to the written undertaking not to leave a place. All petitions were rejected (advocate A. Lesovoy).

Advocates regularly receive the complaints from the persons, who stay in the Simferopol preliminary prison, about the prohibition of food parcels (the prisoners are feed once per day, and the food is very meager), rendering of various services for money, unsanitary upkeep conditions, overcrowding, lack of air, refusal to provide the paper for applications, etc.

M. Toptun, ill of TB, accused after Article 185 part 5 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, for almost three years stays in the cell, where 20 men live on 20 square meters.

A. Petrov, a client of advocate A. Volodina, who is accused according to Article 149 part 2 of the CC of Ukraine, was detained for the term up to 10 days (28 August – 8 September) on the basis of Article 165-2 part 9 of the CPC. The administration of the preliminary prison refused to accept the food parcels for him. The motive was that Petrov allegedly was not detained in compliance with Article 106 of the CPC and was not arrested, so he was nourished one time per day with the violation of all existing norms.

The right of citizens for court consideration of their cases in proper time is violated.

The consideration of the criminal case on the accusation of G. Kalinichenko after Articles 135 and 165 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which was started in 1997, is still not finished. Since 1998 the case has been considered by the Tsentralny district court of Simferopol, more than once it was returned for the additional investigation.

The criminal case of Chernivtsy dweller E. Lugovoy (Article 101 part 1 of the CC) was not considered since 1998. In 2000 the case was passed to the Razdolnenskiy district court.

Advocates also inform about the accusation tendencies in the work of courts.

For instance, the Crimean appeal court groundlessly rejected the petitions of advocates in the case on the accusation of the founders of the company “Soyuz-Viktan” of murder, and this resulted in a serious court mistake. In the course of the process the judge systematically rejected almost all advocates’ petitions, and the accused were condemned to long terms of incarceration, despite the protests not only of the defenders, but also of the prosecutor. The Supreme Court of Ukraine endorsed the complaints of the advocates, reversed the verdict and returned the case for the additional investigation, and the prosecutor’s office closed the case because of the absence of corpus delicti. The suspected stayed in custody for more than eight months. After the closure of the case the owners of “Soyuz-Viktan” moved the office of the company from the Crimea to Kyiv, and the budget of the republic lost millions hryvnas of income.

Advocates get the complaints about the violations of human rights not only in the connection with criminal cases.

For example, now the advocates, together with journalists, are occupied with the story of Tamara Minasian, a young poetess, whose life and creative activities was described by the TV company “Krym”, local and all-Ukrainian newspapers (“Kievskie vedomosti”, for example, published four articles about her). Tamara was born in Simferopol; she spent her childhood in street, tramping and begging. Now she has shelter and livelihood, but she remains a person without citizenship.

The Kievskiy district militia precinct does not deny T. Minasian‘s right for Ukrainian citizenship, since she was born in Ukraine, but they refused to give her the citizenship and, for some reasons, sent her to the consulate of the Russian Federation for the documents confirming her identity. Naturally, the representatives of Russia did not issue such documents. As a result, the talented woman stays outside the society deprived of the opportunity to earn her living.

Unfortunately, the local power organs, prosecutor’s office, court and militia do not counteract the illegal activities of the persons, who pretend to be advocates and obtrude their services. Such persons have no certificates for advocacy, their relations with citizens, courts and other organizations are accompanied with scandals and mutual accusations because of the unsatisfactory quality of their work. The citizens turn to us with the complaints, and our appeals are futile. These pseudo-advocates have no idea about the professional ethics, confidentiality, methods and tactics of work in court, as well as the sufficient legal knowledge. Many of them are not even registered as businessmen and do not pay taxes. Some of their activities are fraudulent.

For example, the so-called “advocates’ union “Femida”” exists in Simferopol for a long time. The union was not registered in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, as the law demands. Workers of this firm A. Zhuravkov, A. Klimenko, I. Nikulin, A. Zarubin and A. Ushakov, who call themselves advocates, have never obtained the advocate’s certificates and are not mentioned in the register of advocates of Ukraine. Somehow they manage to get the confidential information about road accidents in the Crimea and send the letters to the victims with the promise to collect in favor of the latter the moral compensation not less than 50-60 thousand hryvnas (the letters are printed on the false letterheads of the advocate’s firm), thus committing the fraud.

Moreover, the rascals from “Femida” do not content with the rascally obtrusion of the services, they also publish in mass media the announcements about the vacancies for new workers, to whom they promise to give the “advocate’s certificates”.

The prosecutor’s office found nothing illegal in these activities and refused to start the criminal case against the swindlers. We appealed against this decision to court.

Kerch lawyers V. Mironenko, N. Kononiuk and others also pretended to be advocates.

L. Belialov from Simferopol published an advertisement in a newspaper about the vacancy of an assistant of advocate in his juridical consultation. Yet, Belialov has no advocate’s certificate, so he has no right for an assistant.

Such rascally actions of the above-mentioned lawyers inflict the essential moral and material damage to the society.

Along with the violations committed by the law enforcement state organs, the drawbacks of the operating laws also do not promote the observance of human rights in our country. The Law of Ukraine “On advocates”, which was adopted as early as in 1992, needs essential changes for a long time. Six drafts of the new law were handed to the Supreme Rada (we took part in the development of one of them), but no progress is observed.

Court practices

Results of the monitoring of the quality of spring recruiting campaign-2003

The Kharkov oblast union of soldiers’ mothers continues the monitoring of the quality of recruits mobilized from Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast. We sent 51 letters to the military units, where the recruits had been directed. 5 letters were returned because of the incorrect addresses. We received 22 responses, which makes 43.14% of the total number of the sent letters. The commanders of the military units rendered us the data about 516 servicemen.

The commanders of 7 military units responded that they had no claims to the quality of recruits. Unfortunately, there are problems in 15 units, where 483 servicemen from Kharkov are serving (93.6% of the total number).

As many as 2081 recruits from the Kharkov oblast were enlisted to the armed forces during the spring campaign-2003. According to the data given by the commanders of military units, 8 servicemen (2.07%) were dismissed from the army during the first six months of the service. At that all 8 soldiers were dismissed almost at once after their arrival to the units. In all these cases it was the guilt of the medical commissions of district and oblast military commissariats. We have the impression that the doctors did not examine these youths al all. This assumption is confirmed also by the number of the diseased during the first month – 86 persons, which makes 17.8% of the total number (483 servicemen). In one military unit, where 136 soldiers from the Kharkov oblast served, the number of the diseased was 14, three of them concealed their disease, and one was dismissed because of the state of his health. So, 11.3% of the recruits, who had been sent to this unit from the Kharkov oblast, appeared to be not-able-bodied. In the opinion of the commander of one of the military units, “the proportion of young soldiers, who are not ready for army service, is 80% (!) of the total number of the youths, which were enlisted during the spring recruiting campaign-2003… This fact evidences about the extremely law quality of psychological and medical examination of recruits in military commissariats of Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast, the careless work of the staff of military commissariats, who do not pass to representatives of military units the complete set of the necessary documents and data about the recruits (whether they have criminal records, are registered in drug dispensaries, psychiatric dispensaries, etc.)”.

The commander of another unit (in which 3 new soldiers out of 20 were recognized as completely unready for military service) points out: “50% of the youths sent to our unit by the military commissariats have the education not more than 9 grades and have no civil profession”. The existence of the recruits, who concealed their diseases, is also rather disturbing. The wish to serve in the armed forces in Ukraine is, of course, worthy of respect. Yet, it seems strange, when a soldier, who even had no time to swear an oath, gets to hospital. According to Order No. 2 of 4 January 1994, Articles 90 and 91 all recruits must undergo the medical examination, which should discover any health disorders. Is it possible to “conceal” a disease, especially a chronic one? We believe that it could happen only if the doctors did not study the medical card of an ill youth at all and did not examine him. Yet, for what the medical commissions exist then?

More than once we put the question about the quality of work of the recruiting medical commissions. The treatment of soldiers in military hospitals is much more expensive than their examination and treatment in civil medical establishments. Yet, it seems that everybody is satisfied with this situation. Ill youths are recruited to the army, and the army wastes a good deal of money for their treatment instead of spending this money for the military training of soldiers…

Point of view

Protection of rights with the illegal methods.

In 2003 155 facts of bribery were disclosed by the workers of the Lugansk directorate for fighting the economic crimes. In this connection the special department was created, which will urgently react to the complaints about bribery and corruption.

According to the data of the Lugansk Center of public relations of the Ministry of Interior, the leadership in bribery belongs to the workers of state budget organizations (77 disclosed facts), workers of the organs of state power occupy the second place and the workers of educational establishments – the third place.

The total sum of the bribes was 288 thousand 739 hryvnas. 61 persons were brought to criminal responsibility.

The newly created special department of the DFEC will react to any appeals and complaints, including the anonymous ones, about the facts of bribery. So, they will not only protect the rights of citizens… but also violate these rights, since any person offended by his boss, competitor or a state official would be able now to complain to the special department. We want to point out that the Law of Ukraine “On citizens’ appeals” prohibits to react to the anonymous appeals.

Evhen Bayramov

«Politichna Ukraina»

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2004, #01