“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2004, #06
Review of the observance of human rights, connected with election process, in the Chernigiv oblast in May 2004 Implementation of European Law
During two next years the number of the cases in the European Court of human rights, in which Ukraine would lose to common citizens, can increase tenfold and reach two thousand. Ukraine moved from the 1st to 6th place by the number of citizens claims to the European Court of human rights. European Court accepted the complaint of Donetsk human rights protector Sergiy Salov against Ukraine Against torture and ill-treatment
Press release of the Kharkov group for human rights protection in the connection with the International Day of the UNO in the support of the victims of torture Seminar for judges of the Kharkov oblast “Protection from the misuses of powers during criminal investigation: domestic court practices in the context of international obligations of Ukraine» Bodily injuries were inflicted on legal ground, to refuse the medical aid General Prosecutors office acknowledged that Goncharov was murdered in the preliminary prison The right to liberty and security
Violent disappearances in Byelorussia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine – the community can stop them! Access to information
Poltava journalists protect the sellers of newspapers Freedom of peaceful assembly
Parliament rejected all law drafts concerning the right for peaceful assemblies. Army
Fund of legal aid was created in Ukraine To live to see the rehabilitation Appeal of the participants of public hearings on the Law “On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine”. Position of the Kharkov group for human rights protection on introduction of changes into the laws on rehabilitation of political prisoners Deported peoples
In memory of Oksana Popovich
Review of the observance of human rights, connected with election process, in the Chernigiv oblast in May 2004
With this digest the Chernigiv public committee of human rights protection starts the monthly preparation and publication of the materials on the observance of human rights, connected with the election process, in the Chernigiv oblast. These materials will be prepared in the framework of monitoring of the observance of human rights during the election of the President of Ukraine in the course of realization of the project “Active protection of election rights-2004” financially supported by the Swiss Foundation for Development and Cooperation.
The pre-election process in Ukraine has not begun yet, but the political events, connected with the election, are intensifying, especially in the regions. All this has an effect on the social and political life in the Chernigiv oblast, which directly influences the observance and protection of human rights and freedoms. The situation in the oblast is uncommon, since a year ago the intermediate election to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine in the 206th single-member constituency was conducted in the region, which election determined certain preferences for the nearest future. First of all, the conflicts that accompanied election-2003 are not settled yet – the series of court processes connected with this election and its subjects are lasting until now. Yet, there are some new tendencies in the sphere of human rights, which are connected with the election process.
EDUCATION ON THE QUESTIONS OF THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHT FOR FREE ELECTION, THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION OF WILL AND OTHER CIVIL RIGHTS
On which directions of preparation to the future election race the subjects of the election process already show certain activity? First of all, this concerns the educational activities of the political parties and blocs that plan to delegate their representatives for the work in district election commissions.
In May we mainly fixed such activity of opposition movements. For example, on 15-16 May the educational seminars for the future members of election commissions from the Ukrainian Peoples Party (UPP) were conducted in Chernigiv. The main purpose of these seminars was the familiarization with general features of the Law of Ukraine “On election of the President of Ukraine”. The future subjects of the election process got the basic skills in the fulfillment and realization of their rights and duties in the course of election process. Similar seminars were held by this political force during the same month in the regions of the oblast. Before this the UPP organized the seminar “Technologies of activation of voters”.
In May 2004 the party “Batkivshchina” started the education of the candidates to the members of district election commissions from this party; the special attention was focused on the rights and duties of the subjects of the election process.
According to the information, obtained by our committee, all these actions were connected with the aspects of new electoral legislation. However, the emphasis was not placed on separate rights of voters in the context of the Constitution of Ukraine and international legislation, which evidences about somewhat narrow specialization of these actions.
By the data, which were given to us by other parties and movements, and by the materials of the press, other political forces did not conduct any actions of this kind.
We reckon that such activities of the political forces will be intensified in future, since the education on the questions of protection of the freedoms of choice and other civil rights, in particular, the rights of the observers and future members of district commissions, will become one of the main directions of the activities of regional headquarters of the candidates to Presidents post. This can be predicted even now, on the basis of the fact that, on the background of absence of election process, the political parties and movements have already begun the work for improvement of the professional level of their representatives in the election process.
CONCEPTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CIVIL ACTIVITIES OF THE PARTIES OF THE CHERNIGIV OBLAST
Practically all public speeches of representatives of both pro-power and opposition parties are accompanied with grandiloquent declarations on the priority of the protection of human rights and freedoms in their activities. Yet, it should be noted that each force understands this in its own way. So, most often the human rights are interpreted as peace in society, good work of communal services, payment of pensions and compensations, prohibition of rise in prices, etc. The problem of civil rights, in particular, the freedom of speech and the press and the freedom of choice, is raised very frequently, mainly by representatives of the opposition.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND THE PRESS IN THE OBLAST EDITIONS
In May the editorial policy of the regional editions began to change in the connection with the coming election.
In order to study the situation with rights and freedoms in the materials of mass media, our committee carried out the research of all social-political mass media of the Chernigiv oblast, which
- were published during the last month;
- were published regularly;
- were published for more than a year;
- were distributed through the catalogues of “UkrPoshta” (main Ukrainian post company – Translators note).
So, we monitored the editions, which had the permanent audience and were distributed on the commercial basis, and got the following results.
It was ascertained that almost 100% of the social-political mass media became the mouthpieces of concrete political forces. At that we are anxious about absolute absence of alternative presentation of materials in these mass media. The editions devote the majority of materials to some political idea (we fixed the newspapers, in which the amount of the information about one potential candidate to Presidents post was 95%), but they do not publish the materials with the alternative point of view on facts and processes. In any of the analyzed newspapers we did not find the alternative opinions or references of the authors to the existence of such opinions. This fact shows that the newspapers have the established priorities (censorship?) in elucidation of the events. This means that all materials in the press are directed and cannot be a source of unbiased information. Such situation allows to ascertain that the problems exist with the freedom of speech and the press in the region. At that, one may also say about impediment to the right for the access to information, in particular to the unbiased social-political information.
In the course of monitoring we analyzed the materials published in mass media with the aim to clarify the situation with the observance of human rights and freedoms in the contents. The results of analysis of the contents were not consoling too. The following fragment of an article is rather typical:
“Viktor Yanukovich is the only candidate to Presidents post. The leaders of deputies fractions, groups and political partiers, which are the members of the parliamentary-governmental coalition, issued on Wednesday, at the sitting with the presence of President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, the decision on nomination of Viktor Yanukovich as the only candidate to Presidents post on the election-2004… They came to the agreement that the completion of the political reform in Ukraine and introduction of changes into Constitution would be the foundation of the program of this candidate. Leaders of the following fractions and parties took part in the meeting: the Agrarian party of Ukraine, Peoples-democratic party, Party of regions, Party of industrialists and businessmen of Ukraine, “Trudova Ukraina”, Social-democratic party (united), deputies groups “Demokratichny initsiativy”, “Narodny vybir” and “Narodovladdya”.” (17 April 2004, “Desnianska Pravda”, founders: the Chernigiv oblast council, Chernigiv oblast state administration and primary organization of journalists of the editorial board).
This article is, obviously, the political agitation for concrete potential candidate to presidency before the beginning of the election process and registration of candidates.
Another interesting fact was disclosed in the course of monitoring. During the entire period of the research not a single newspaper founded by the organs of state power or local self-government published any critical materials about the potential opposition candidates, for instance, V. Yushchenko. It seems that these editions merely ignore both positive and negative features of the opposition. These editions mainly describe either the personality of the head of the government, or the achievements of the operating power headed by the government, or the improvement of the living standard in our country. And all this information has no alternatives too.
Somewhat different situation is observed in the opposition editions, such, for instance as “Bila khata”, “Sivershchina”, etc. It is sufficient to read the titles of some publications: “Government concealed 10 billion hryvnas from people”, “Where are 900 billions?”, “Intelligentsia of Ukraine with “Our Ukraine””, “Melitopol: What Kuchma, Yanukovich and Marchuk conceal?”, and it is not difficult to guess that these articles contain many facts that compromise the power organs and concrete state officials. Yet, these editions have the same problems as the mass media founded by the organs of state power and local self-government: absence of alternatives of presentation of information. In general, the opposition editions focus the attention on criticism, in rather harsh and confrontational form, of the actions of the operating government and President. The impression is created that the opposition ignores, at this point, the constructive moments of the development of Ukrainian society, in particular, in the sphere of human rights and freedoms.
When these mass media elucidate the activities of the candidates from opposition, they use the same methods as the state editions: they describe “good” and “beneficent” actions of V. Yushchenko and his bloc “Our Ukraine”. There was the information that MP Lilia Grogorovich, the head of the Union of Ukrainian women (fraction of V. Yushchenkos bloc “Our Ukraine”), presented a color TV set to a family with many children from the village of Olenivka of the Borzianskiy district. It is interesting that at the same time the state mass media published the materials about the aid rendered to invalids by representatives of the state. In this case the similarity amazes of presentation of such events by the opposition and state mass media.
So, some conclusions may be made: mass media, both state and opposition ones, not always give the attention to the creation of the unbiased picture of the society and understand the legal consequences of their publications. The state mass media mainly present the materials about the achievements of the operating government and describe the positive sides of personality of the Prime-Minister of Ukraine. The opposition mass media of the Chernigiv oblast, in their turn, incline to the negative elucidation of the activities of representatives of the organs of state power and local self-government; besides, they describe, although to a smaller extent, the positive personal features of their candidate and the work of his political movement. All mass media give no alternative information.
Moreover, none of the analyzed newspapers attended to the problems of education of the potential voters concerning their civil and political rights. This means that the mass media have only political goals.
HUMAN RIGHTS, ELECTION, ORGANS OF STATE POWER…
We want to add that, according to the conclusions of our analysts, the situation with human rights, connected with the election process, in the Chernigiv oblast will change in the nearest future. The considerable changes in the organs of state power of the oblast evidence that. It became known to our committee that the staff changes had been carried out during last months in the departments of the Chernigiv oblast administration. For instance the staff of the department of internal policy was increased in several times; as a result, other departments, which were not connected with the internal policy, had to move from the main building of the oblast state administration. According to the same information, departments and directorates of the OSA got the order to concentrate their activities on the search of examples of the achievements of the operating government in the context of the life of the oblast and to pass this information to other departments, which were responsible for distribution of this information among mass media. In the course of distribution of this information representatives of the power tried to emphasize on the observance of human rights by state structures and impossibility of violation of these rights on their side, to adduce the positive examples of settlement of separate cases.
However, in the second half of May these activities became less energetic because of the probable changes in preferences concerning the future of the only candidate to presidency from the power. Yet, the actions for the support of Prime-Minister V. Yanukovich were conducted in different regions of the oblast.
The conclusion can be drawn from the above-said: the election process has not begun yet, but the preparation to this process is carried out in the Chernigiv oblast, and the observance of human rights and freedoms is an integral part of the propaganda activities.
We want to express our gratitude to all representatives of the organs of state power and local self-government, political structures and public organizations, which helped us to prepared this digest, and invite everybody to render us the informational support in the fulfillment of the project.
Implementation of European Law
During two next years the number of the cases in the European Court of human rights, in which Ukraine would lose to common citizens, can increase tenfold and reach two thousand.
“This would happen if Ukraine would not change her legislation, which still contains the norms that violate human rights”, stated Minister of Justice of Ukraine Oleksandr Lavrynovich.
According to the words of the Minister, such prognosis is caused by the fact, that the cases directed from Ukraine to the European Court of human rights are now more well-grounded than earlier and meet the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, on which the European Court bases its decisions. Besides, advocates participate now in consideration of the cases.
As a result, since the beginning of the current year the National Bureau of the Ministry of Justice received from the European Court 176 claims of Ukrainian citizens against Ukraine for consideration and presentation of propositions. In two cases the European Court has already approved the resolutions in favor of citizens. This situation evidences the increment of the activity of Ukrainians in the protection of their rights: in 2003 the European Court sent 163 cases for consideration in the National Bureau, and 6 of these cases were won by citizens.
Lavrinovich said that the decisions against Ukraine were caused both by existence of the norms in the Ukrainian laws, which restricted human rights, and by the incorrect practical application of legal norms.
In order to liquidate these drawbacks, the Ministry of Justice elaborated and prepared, during January-March of 2004, the commentaries for government on 56 claims sent by the Court. These claims concerned the violations of such rights as prohibition of torture, right for liberty and personal security, the right for fair trial, in particular concerning the reasonable terms of court consideration, existence of efficient tools for protection and the right for peaceful possession of property.
Claims of Ukrainian citizens to the European Court of human rights (since 1997 the Court received more than 8 thousand of such claims) is a sign of increase of sense of justice of people and their wish to solve their problems in a civil way. However, the Ukrainian citizens have begun to use not only foreign, but also domestic legal methods.
The Minister also pointed out that among all legal expertises, which had been made in Ukraine in 2003, more than 45% had been made by request of citizens and 20% -- by request of the Ministry of Interior, about 13% -- by request of courts (in particular, economic ones), 6% -- prosecutors organs; 3% -- State Tax Administration and 1% -- State executive service.
Ukraine moved from the 1st to 6th place by the number of citizens claims to the European Court of human rights.
According to the words of the Minister, since the moment of coming into effect of the Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for Ukraine (September 1997) more than 8000 persons turned to the European Court of human rights with the complaints against the violation by the power organs of Ukraine of rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
The majority of these complaints are rejected by the European Court. At the same time, by the words of the Minister, in 2000 the European Court regarded 26 claims as acceptable for consideration and sent these claims to the Ukrainian government for comment; in 2001 the number of such claims was 13, in 2002 – 18 and in 2003 – 156. This year the National Bureau considered more than 200 cases received from the European Court.
The Minister listed the most common types of the claims, which were recognized by the European Court as potentially accepted for consideration: the complaints against the impossibility of execution of the decisions of national courts, too long duration of court proceedings, application of illegal investigation methods to the accused and inefficient investigation by prosecutors offices of the complaints about torture, violation of rights during detention and taking into custody, as well as violations of procedural rights of Ukrainians.
Oleksandr Lavrynovich also stated that the flaws in the domestic legislation were found during the consideration of cases, in particular in the spheres of reforming-labor legislation, laws on fighting with the illegal sale of narcotic drugs, family legislation, questions of efficiency of appealing against the actions of courts, legislation on administrative offences, questions of appealing against the actions of investigating officers during the preliminary investigation, questions of free advocates services in civil cases , legislation on bankruptcy and the Law “On introduction of moratorium on the coercive realization of property”, questions of criminal-procedural and civil legislation in the part of the right for liberty and personal security.
“If Ukraine would not introduce the proper changes into her national legislation, then during next two years the number of the claims against our state, in which the European Court would find the violation of human rights, can increase more than tenfold”, pointed out the Minister.
European Court accepted the complaint of Donetsk human rights protector Sergiy Salov against Ukraine
The problems between the Ukrainian authorities and Salov started as early as in 1999, when he was condemned after the fabricated accusation of distribution of false leaflets against Leonid Kuchma at night before the Presidential election. In January 2001, when the corresponding court instances refused to rehabilitate Salov, he turned to the European Court. One of the proofs sent by him to Strasbourg were major Melnichenkos audio records, in which General Prosecutor Mykhaylo Potebenko and former Donetsk governor Viktor Yanukovich discussed Salovs case with President Kuchma.
In November 2002 the European Court preliminarily accepted the complaint of the advocate and turned to the government of Ukraine. “For some time the Court corresponded with the government, and, finally, took the decision in my favor”, told Salov. In the complaint the advocate asked the European Court to recognize his arrest and condemnation as illegal and to oblige the Ukrainian government to pay him 150 thousand USD of compensation.
The decision about the acceptability of Salovs claim was issued on 27 April 2004 by the court chamber, which consisted of seven persons, including Ukrainian Valeriy Butkevich.
“Now the government has to negotiate with me. If the conditions proposed by the government would satisfy me, then I, maybe, should agree. If no, then the decision in my favor would be adopted. In that case I shall express my wish to be present personally at the last court sitting”, stated the human rights protector.
Salov assured that the compromise was possible. However, rehabilitation of the Donetsk advocate is a question that may not be discussed; the question of restoration of all rights, of which he was deprived, also has no compromises. As to the material compensation, Salov says that he will, maybe, “discount” one or two thousands. “I waited for this decision for four years. I am very happy. I was very uneasy, although I was sure that I should win”, said Salov.
The negotiations between Salov and the state must be completed up to 30 January. After this he must present to the Court the account on the losses caused by the prohibition to work as an advocate.
Against torture and ill-treatment
Press release of the Kharkov group for human rights protection in the connection with the International Day of the UNO in the support of the victims of torture
Evhen Zakharov communicated that this year the International Day in the support of the victims of torture coincided with the completion of the first year of the joint three-year project “Campaign against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine”, which was realized by the Kharkov group for human rights protection in cooperation with 18 partner organizations in different regions of Ukraine.
The year of the work over this project showed that the problem of torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine was very acute. The special anxiety is aroused by wide application of torture in law-enforcing organs for obtaining the confessions from the suspected or accused.
Evhen Zakharov adduced some conclusions made in the course of sociological researches by the specialists of the National University of Internal Affairs, with which the KhG cooperated in the framework of the considered project. He also told about five new editions from the series “Against torture” published by the KhG.
Ludmila Klochko told about the work of the public reception office of the Kharkov group for human rights protection. According to her words, 93 persons turned to the KhG reception office during the first year of work with the complaints against the application of torture.
Ludmila Klochko also told about the educative programs realized by the Kharkov group for human rights protection. During this year the seminar for judges was conducted in the appeal court of the Kharkov oblast, as well as trainings for advocates in Kharkov and Sevastopol. She shared her impressions about the seminars that had been conducted by the officers of law-enforcing organs in Zaporozhye, Kherson, Nikolayev and Kirovograd.
Advocate Arkadiy Bushchenko told about the work of the Fund for the professional aid to the victims of torture and cruel treatment, created in the framework of the project. The Fund cooperates with advocates, experts and other specialists, who are ready to render professional aid to the victims of torture, who decided to strive for investigation and for punishment of the guilty. According to the words of Arkadiy Bushchenko, during the year the Fund financed, completely or partly, about 30 cases. In the overwhelming majority of the cases the advocates of the Fund managed to achieve the institution of criminal investigation after the complaints of the victims of torture and cruel treatment. In the cases, where the victims could not find protection on the national level, the complaints were directed to the European Court of human rights. All in all, about 15 complaints were sent to the European Court.
Arkadiy Bushchenko also communicated that on 8 June 2004 the European Court in Strasbourg had regarded as admissible the complaint of Kharkovite Aleksey Afanasyev, whom Mr. Bushchenko represented as an advocate. This is the first complaint against Ukraine connected with application of torture by militia officers for obtaining the confession, which will be considered by the European Court. One more complaint concerning the same problem is now on the stage of consideration of the question about its admissibility.
Andrey Stanislavskiy dwelled on the question of coordination of the activities of partners in the project and the creation of efficient network of human rights protecting organizations. There were some achievements in the activities of the network during the past year, such as conduction of several successful actions in the support of victims of torture, exchange of information and collection of the data corresponding to the topic of the project. Along with 14 regional partners, the KhG works with 4 organizations, which fulfill the individual “mini-projects”: sociological researches, preparation of educational materials for law-enforcing organs, etc. The results of the activities of the partner organizations will be included into the annual report of the Kharkov group for human rights protection and will be published.
Seminar for judges of the Kharkov oblast “Protection from the misuses of powers during criminal investigation: domestic court practices in the context of international obligations of Ukraine»
On 6-7 May 2004 the Kharkov group for human rights protection conducted the seminar “Protection from the misuses of powers during criminal investigation: domestic court practices in the context of international obligations of Ukraine» for judges of the Kharkov oblast. The seminar was held in the framework of the project “Campaign against torture and cruel treatment in Ukraine”, realized with the support of the European Commission. 58 persons took part in the seminar, against them: 52 judges (13 judges of the appeal court of the Kharkov oblast, 15 judges of local courts of Kharkov and 24 judges of local courts of the Kharkov oblast), 5 assistant judges (the appeal court) and 1 senior consultant. All participants of the seminar obtained the following literature: “Against torture. International tools for preventing torture and cruel treatment”, “Against torture. Article 5 of the European Convention on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Systematized digest of decisions of the European Court of human rights”, “Against torture. European tools for preventing torture and cruel treatment”, “Against torture. Review of the messages about cruel treatment and application of torture. 2003”, “Istanbul protocol”, and the materials of the book “Systematized digest of decisions of the European Court of human rights on Article 3 of the Convention”, which would be published in the nearest future.
V. Brintsev, the Head of the appeal court of the Kharkov oblast, V. Filatov, a judge of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, a judge of the Court chamber in charge of criminal cases, V. Lutkovska, a deputy of the Minister of Justice, O. Shilo, an assistant professor of the department of criminal process of Yaroslav Mudry National juridical academy, E. Zakharov, a co-chairman of the Kharkov group for human rights protection, and advocate A. Bushchenko, an expert of the KhG also participated in the seminar.
Topics of lectures and discussions at the seminar: “Problems of application of international standards. The European Convention and its influence on the domestic right”, “Prohibition of torture in the practices of the European Court of human rights. Domestic system of prevention of torture and investigation of the information about torture. Role of courts in the system of effective protection from torture”, “Right for fair court consideration: conditions of using the confessions of the accused in the course of court consideration, actions of court for checking the information about torture”, “Deprivation of liberty in the course of criminal proceedings. Domestic legislation and practices in the context of obligations connected with the European Convention, draft of the Criminal-Procedural Code and guarantees of the right for liberty”. In the framework of the seminar V. Lutkovska conducted the role game, during which the participants had the opportunity to appear both as claimants and judges of the European Court, and as representatives of the government. A case about torture was considered. It should be noted that the Kharkov judges were very convincing in all roles, but especially in the role of judges of the European Court.
According to the results of the poll, the majority of judges of the city and oblast have the experience of participation in seminars and trainings on the European Convention (57%), but they believe that these seminars are insufficient. They suggested the topics for future seminars that would extend the knowledge in the European right and its application in Ukrainian courts.
The participants of the seminar estimated our work after the 12-point scale in the following way:
General effect – 11.33
Organization – 11.66
Obtained materials – 11.2
Urgency of the considered topics – 11.13
Presentation of the material – 11.2
The participants liked most of all the following topics and elements of the seminar: practices of the European Court; role game; lectures by Lutkovska and Filatov; speeches of practicing lawyers; presentation of the material; practical application of the Convention. The negative moments: “The seminar was conducted not in Strasbourg”, “The duration was only three days”, “Recognition of the facts of torture and other arbitrary actions by the power depends on the complete independence of judges, which does not exist. This aspect was not mentioned at all”.
Participants of the seminar reckon that the analysis should be carried out of the practices of consideration by courts of general jurisdiction of the cases about the use of illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, the practices of application of the Convention during consideration of the petitions on change of the preventive measure, use of administrative arrest.
Yet, the best assessment of the seminar I heard a week after this action. A judge, who had not taken part in the seminar, said to me: “They say that you distributed very interesting books. May I get these books too?” And another judge, who was at the seminar, said: “Thanks to your organization for the seminar and for the books. I have already used new knowledge for taking the decision in a concrete case”.
Bodily injuries were inflicted on legal ground, to refuse the medical aid
By the words of witnesses, defendant Zubenko was present at the court sitting on 21 June 2004 with the non-bandaged and bleeding wound on the back of his head, marks of handcuffs on his wrists and swollen hands.
During the court sitting I. Zubenko turned to judge Andreev with the complaint about not-rendering of medical aid to him. According to his words, the nurse of the Rubezhnoye preliminary prison could not render him the proper medical aid, and the workers of the Rubezhnoye town militia precinct refused to take him to a hospital. The reaction of judge Andreev was the following: he said that he could not call a motor ambulance and advised to solve all problems in the Rubezhnoye preliminary prison.
The arrest was caused by non-appearance of Zubenko in court, so the preventive measure was changed from the written undertaking not to leave a place to holding in custody. By the words of an eyewitness of the detention, the defendant was arrested when he was asleep.
Officer of the Severodonetsk prosecutors office Zinchenko commented the fact of the detention to Zubenkos wife E. Chuyko. He explained that Zubenko resisted, so the special group of the Severodonetsk town militia precinct had to use force.
According to the response, which we have obtained today from the Severodonetsk prosecutors office, “Zubenko got the bodily injuries as a result of his own carelessness and the measures of physical influence that were applied to him by the officers of the Severodonetsk town precinct in order to overcome his resistance to the legal demands of the militiamen”. This logic is traditional for militia and prosecutors office: nobody beat him, he fell down, and if even he was beaten, then only according to laws.
When E. Chuyko learned about the detention of her husband, she, on 10 June about 15:20, “took by storm” the building of the Severodonetsk town precinct (she was not allowed there) and saw Igor in a sad state: with the bandaged head and handcuffed.
On 12 June Chuyko turned to the public reception office of the CVU, where the application was prepared with the demand to conduct the forensic expertise of Zubenko. Alas, we have no results of the expertise to this very day.
By evidences of a witness of the detention, Zubenko was taken into custody about 11 a.m. on 10 June 2004, and the medical aid was rendered to him by doctors of motor ambulance at 14:58 of the same day. We do not know why the officers of the town precinct did not want to call the motor ambulance for the man, who was wounded during the detention.
The further actions of Severodonetsk law-enforcers were rather alarming. Zubenko was transported to the Rubezhnoye preliminary prison, and from 11 to 22 June neither his wife nor advocate could break the resistance of Rubezhnoye militiamen and meet with the detained.
So, on 17 June the militiamen ignored the permission for meeting given to the wife of the detained by Severodonetsk judge Andreev. K. Fateev, the deputy head of the Rubezhnoye town militia directorate, permitted the meeting, but the workers of the prison did not admit the women to her husband, since, they said, head of the prison Krutikov had carried away the keys and they could not unlock the cell. The officer-on-duty and the deputy head of the Rubezhnoye town militia precinct said the same to N. Metelkina, a lawyer of the Lugansk branch of the CVU, who phoned to Rubezhnoye. The meeting did not take place, and the parcel was not accepted. The prohibition of the meeting deprived us of the possibility to render the legal aid to Zubenko, who, most likely, was tortured at that time.
On 22 June Chuyko turned to the prosecutor of Rubezhnoye with the request about the permission to pass a parcel to her husband. The prosecutor agreed to help and, in her presence, phoned to the Rubezhnoye town precinct. Yet, the officer-on-duty of the Rubezhnoye precinct again refused to accept the parcel. Only the personal visit of the Rubezhnoye prosecutor to the town precinct solved this problem. However, the meeting was not permitted all the same.
P.S. According to the information given by E. Chuyko in the course of a talk in the Rubezhnoye town precinct, Zubenko has already written the explanation addressed to the prosecutor, in which he communicated that he had gotten the traumas not as a result of detention, but because of fall from stairs. Today the Severodonetsk town militia directorate has refused to render the information to the editorial board of the newspaper “Tretiy sektor” under the pretext that service investigation has been conducted. Yet, yesterday the prosecutors office refused to start the criminal case against the militia officers because of absence of corpus delicti.
General Prosecutors office acknowledged that Goncharov was murdered in the preliminary prison
According to the official conclusion of forensic expertise, death of Igor Goncharov, an ex-officer of the Directorate for Fighting the Organized Crime (DFOC), was caused by a spinal trauma. This information was communicated by Sergiy Rudenko, the head of the press-service of the General Prosecutors office, at a briefing. By his words, on 13 May the General Prosecutors office instituted the criminal case against the workers of preliminary prison No. 13 after the fact of misuse of powers, which resulted in Goncharovs death. Rudenko said that “any other reasons of Goncharovs death are not official”. It is known that the British newspaper “Independence” informed, with the reference to the results of the expertise, that Goncharov could die as a result of injection of a narcotic drug “Tiopental”. “People can say anything they want, but there are real facts”, said Rudenko.
We want to remind that Goncharov, who was accused by the General Prosecutors office in organization of the gang of militiamen-“turnskins”, perished in the preliminary prison on 1 August 2003. He managed to pass through his advocate a number of letters and appeals, in which he declared that the murder of Georgiy Gongadze had been committed by the gang of “Kisel” with participation of the DFOC officers by order of then Minister of Interior Yuri Kravchenko and President Leonid Kuchma.
21 June 2004
The right to liberty and security
Violent disappearances in Byelorussia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine – the community can stop them!
Public figures, activists of the opposition and human rights protectors, independent journalists become the victims of disappearances and extrajudicial executions in Ukraine and Byelorussia; hundreds of people had disappeared, and the bodies of tens of them were later found, with obvious signs of violent death, on the territory of military conflict between the Chechen republic and the Russian Federation. In the opinion of human rights protecting organizations, the disappearances and extrajudicial executions are still a very frequent crime in Byelorussia, Russia and Ukraine. (The data about disappearances in Russia are adduced by the human rights protection center “Memorial” on the site http://memo.ru).
The participants of the hearings considered the questions of ratification by Ukraine of the Roman Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), propositions of the Vinnitsa human rights protecting group and “Amnesty International” concerning the changes to the Constitution of Ukraine, which would make possible the ratification of the ICC Statute. Hristos Purgurides, a special speaker of the Council of Europe in charge of the problem of disappearances in Byelorussia, presented Recommendations No. 1657 (2004) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on disappearance of people in Byelorussia. In particular, he stated: “The Parliamentary Assembly appeals to the juridical organs of the countries, whose legislation envisages the international competence (jurisdiction) of their national courts for consideration of the cases of serious violation of human rights either as a whole or in the presence of concrete territorial connections, to start the proceedings against the concrete officials of top level for probable murders for reasons of policy of one or several missing persons”.
The participants of the hearings adopted the resolution containing the appeal to the power of Byelorussia, Russia and Ukraine, as well as to the CIS, on the improvement of mechanisms of human rights protection with the aim to prevent the violent disappearances and extrajudicial executions.
MPs of Ukraine presented the information about the Parliamentary control over the activities of law-enforcing organs and informed about the activities of special commissions for investigation of the facts of violent disappearances
Access to information
Poltava journalists protect the sellers of newspapers
In particular, the appeal of the Poltava journalists reads that the workers of the office of the main architect of Poltava enthusiastically “clean” the town of the “small architectural forms”, refusing to prolong the term of validity of licenses for realization of newspapers in the downtown by small undertakers (such as unwed mothers, handicapped women, etc.), who sell the periodicals for many years thus earning their modest living. The town executive committee, together with militia, regularly carry out the raids, and, without any legal grounds, confiscate the newspapers from such “offenders”, inflicting serious material damage to the sellers, since the newspapers cannot be sold a month or two later, like, for example, socks or pens. Tetiana Aleksandrova, an invalid of the 2nd group with ill legs, became one of the victims of such arbitrary actions: the law-enforcing organs took away the bag with newspapers from her and compiled the administrative protocol.
The members of the Poltava media-club promised to protect the woman, who directly delivers the printed word to the readers. Correspondents of several competent editions came to the sitting of the Oktiabrskiy district court of Poltava that considered the administrative case of T. Aleksandrova. Undoubtedly, judge O. Tkachenko took this circumstance into account and issued only the warning to the defendant.
Mykola Strashko, an assistant-consultant of MP A. Kukoba, informed that the administration of the Poltava town executive committee had knew nothing about the incidents with the newspaper sellers, and that the question was considered how to solve this problem and give the Poltava dwellers the opportunity to buy the periodicals in all convenient places.
Freedom of peaceful assembly
Parliament rejected all law drafts concerning the right for peaceful assemblies.
Draft 5242 presented by four MPs from different fractions (“Yulia Timoshenkos bloc”, CPU, SPU and “Our Ukraine”) got only 165 votes.
The number of adherents of the draft presented by the President was even less – 139 MPs voted for it. Along with the above-mentioned fractions, the groups “Tsentr” and “Soyuz”, as well as the fractions NDP and PPPU, did not endorse the draft.
After this the legislators tried to direct these law drafts for the repeated first reading, but again none of the drafts got the needed number of votes. Even the proposition to unite the law drafts into one and to present it for the repeated first reading got only 219 votes.
According to the Regulations of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine, these drafts are regarded as rejected.
Thus, the MP refused to deal with this question in general, and the voting showed that there was no compromise settlement of this question.
We want to remind that human rights protecting organizations appealed to reject the law draft presented by the President of Ukraine. As to the second draft, the human rights protectors had different opinions on this problem: some of them reckoned that such law was necessary and that the draft presented by the MPs had to be adopted, since it could be improved before the second reading. Others said that such law was not needed at all, especially on the eve of the election.
It is noteworthy that the Constitution of Ukraine envisages the restriction of the right for peaceful assemblies only on the basis of law. So, any restriction of this right, for example, by orders of the local power organs, contradicts the Ukrainian Constitution and the Law of Ukraine “On local self-government”.
Fund of legal aid was created in Ukraine
On 21 June, at 14:00, the press conference “Creation of the Fund of legal aid for the protection of socially vulnerable layers of the society” will be held in the building of the agency “Interfax-Ukraine”. The creation of this Fund was a result of joint initiative of the International Foundation “Vidrodjennia” (IFV) and the Corporation “Interpipe” with the support of MP and maecenas Viktor Pinchuk.
The main goal of the Fund is the protection of socially vulnerable layers of society and reforming of the higher juridical education, which implies the change of outlook and principles of work of young lawyers and students of law.
Evhen Bystritskiy – the Executive Manager of the Foundation “Vidrodjennia”;
Igor Yaroslavtsev – the Head of the Board of the Corporation “Interpipe”;
Markiyan Duleba – the manager of the program “The superiority of right” of the IFV;
“Juridical clinics” are the centers of free legal aid at institutes of higher education for the protection of rights and interests of citizens. Now there are 23 “juridical clinics” in 17 oblasts of Ukraine. The successful work of the existing “juridical clinics” confirms the urgent necessity to increase their number. Along with the financial support of the Foundation “Vidrodjennia”, money and informational-technical resources of other international donors were used for the work of these “clinics”. The website http://legalclinics.org.ua was created thanks to the aid of these organizations for operative exchange of information and experience among the “juridical clinics” and non-governmental organizations of Ukraine.
It is planned by the Fund of legal aid to support and widen, before 2007, the activities of the “juridical clinics” in all regions of Ukraine. Among the priority tasks for the next three years the following tasks can be mentioned:
- support of the initiatives directed towards the widening and development of the network of “juridical clinics” in Ukraine;
- creation of the mechanisms of functioning and individual development of “juridical clinics”;
- support of the initiatives concerning the creation of normative and procedural bases of the activities of “juridical clinics”;
- preparation of the programs and specialists for the professional evolution of “juridical clinics”;
- informational-methodical provision of the activities of “juridical clinics”.
The joint project also envisages the support of the initiatives on the development of other forms of legal protection of citizens and the promotion of court reform.
Artem Kolesnik, the PR-manager of the IFV, phone: 461 97 09, e-mail: [email protected]
Markiyan Duleba, the manager of the program “The superiority of right”, phone: 246 83 63, e-mail: [email protected]
To live to see the rehabilitation
The public hearings “Discussion of the law drafts on introduction of changes into the Law of Ukraine “On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine”” were held on 21 June in Kyiv in the building of the regional center of the Academy of Law of Ukraine. The hearings were conducted by the Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations, Kharkov group for human rights protection and the Supreme Rada Committee in charge of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations with the support of the International Foundation “Vidrodjennia”.
Representatives of human rights protecting public organizations, journalists, MPs, representatives of the Supreme Court, USS, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Justice expressed their opinion on the changes in this sphere. The urgency and importance of this topic is confirmed by the number of drafts of the changes to the Law on rehabilitation proposed by the Cabinet of Ministers; MPs L. Lukyanenko; L. Taniuk; P. Kachur; S. Stashevskiy, R. Tkach and V. Lebedivskiy; M. Kruts and R. Tkach; M. Onishchuk; S. Gavrish; all-Ukrainian union of political prisoners and the repressed.
The Kharkov group for human rights protection proposed to present, as soon as possible, the new version of the draft of the Law for the consideration in the Supreme Rada; this new draft should be based on the law draft of L. Lukyanenko or L. Taniuk, taking into account the propositions of the KhG.
The presentation of intermediate results of the great project “Victims of political repressions in the USSR”, realized by the international society “Memorial”, was also carried out during the hearings, in particular, the presentation of two CDs that contained: the database of names of the victims of political repressions in Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine (all in all, 1345796 names), “The book in memory of victims of political repressions in the USSR”, Stalins lists of the persons that had to be shot, monuments to the victims of repressions, information and documents on the structure and history of the GULAG and NKVD, some editions on the topic of political repressions.
Appeal of the participants of public hearings on the Law “On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine”.
On 21 June 2004 the public hearings on the Law of Ukraine “On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine” were held in Kyiv. The Council of Ukrainian human rights protecting organizations; Kharkov group for human rights protection; members of the board of the international society “Memorial” (from Voronezh and Saint-Petersburg); head of the project on the questions of rehabilitation Jan Raczinski (Moscow); representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, USS, Supreme Court, prosecutors office, archives, all-Ukrainian union of political prisoners and the repressed; representatives of the commissions in charge of restoration of rights of rehabilitated, Kyiv and regional branches of V. Stus “Memorial” ; scientists from the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and MPs of Ukraine (head of the Committee of human rights G. Udovenko and head of the Association of researchers of the famines in Ukraine L. Lukyanenko) took part in the hearings.
Participants of the hearings state:
The Law “On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine” was approved on 17 April 1991, before the declaration of independence of Ukraine. The political status of Ukraine has changed during past 13 years, as well as the social-political conditions, so this law is, obviously, outdated. Firstly, the legislators could not predict everything; secondly, it contradicts now the normative base of the Ukrainian state in the sphere of social protection; thirdly, it discredits the Ukrainian citizens in comparison with rehabilitated citizens of the Russian Federation and other states – former republics of the USSR.
Since 1994 the MPs of Ukraine-former political prisoners and other MPs carried out a great amount of work for improvement of the operating law or development of another text of the law, but these efforts did not have the desired effect, since some part of MPs regarded the independent Ukraine as a continuation of the UkrSSR. For these MPs the declaration of independence in 1991 was not the rapture with the bygone occupation regime. Under their influence some courts still call the warriors of the Ukrainian Rebellious Army traitors, and they believe that rehabilitation is a mere correction of mistakes in the framework of new order.
Some MPs do not agree with changes of the law of 17 April 1991 not only in the part concerning the rehabilitation of the participants of the armed struggle for independence of Ukraine, but also in the part of application of the law to the persons, who suffered from political repressions of their parents or tutors. These MPs do not reckon that the pension paid to the former URA warriors, which is equal to 85 hryvnas (about 16 USD), is humiliating and beggarly and do not want to increase these pensions to the level of the pensions of the WW2 veterans. They do not want the restoration of fairness in our society.
Taking into account everything above-said, the participants of the public hearings are turning to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine with the appeal to consider, as soon as possible, the drafts of the Law “On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine” and
- to stop the political discrimination of fighters for independence of Ukraine and to recognize their merits before Ukraine;
- to stop the economic discrimination of fighters for independence of our motherland and to grant them pensions on the level of the WW2 veterans;
- to include in the new text of the law the solutions of all problems, which are not settled by the operating law, but are elaborated in the presented law drafts.
To entrust MP L. Lukyanenko, a participant of the public hearings, the author of one of the law drafts, with the task to familiarize the Supreme Rada of Ukraine with this Appeal.
Position of the Kharkov group for human rights protection on introduction of changes into the laws on rehabilitation of political prisoners
The situation with rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions, which has formed in Ukraine, is undetermined and unjust to the victims of the repressions and, even, causes violations of the Constitution of Ukraine. The necessity of changes in this sphere is confirmed by the fact that many different drafts of the law on rehabilitation have been proposed by the Cabinet of Ministers; MPs L. Lukyanenko; L. Taniuk; P. Kachur; S. Stashevskiy, R. Tkach and V. Lebedivskiy; M. Kruts and R. Tkach; M. Onishchuk; S. Gavrish; all-Ukrainian union of political prisoners and the repressed.
The Ukrainian Law of 17 April 1991 was the first law on rehabilitation adopted in the former USSR republics. Yet, this law contained a lot of drawbacks: rather indistinct and narrow definitions of the political motives of repressions, undetermined status of many categories of victims of political repressions, in particular, representatives of the deported peoples, etc.
Some drawbacks of this law were taken into account by other republics, for example, by Russia in the same year. Later Russia also introduced proper amendments to the law, in particular, the Russian law contains more distinct articles and formulations concerning the political motives of condemnation, the members of families of the repressed are related to the persons, who suffered from repressions. And, finally, according to the decision of the Constitutional Court of Russia, the minor children, who lost their parents as a result of repressions, are also regarded as the repressed and liable to rehabilitation.
According to Resolution No. 2803-ХІІ of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine of 9 November 1992, citizens of Ukraine, which had been repressed outside Ukraine and were rehabilitated, have the right to get the privileges in Ukraine, stipulated by the Law of Ukraine of 17 April 1991. Yet, our Law, in contrast to the Russian one, does not envisage the legal status of families of the rehabilitated and is not applied to them. This factor essentially influenced the state of the victims of political repressions. The situation has formed, when the Ukrainian citizens, rehabilitated in accordance with the laws on rehabilitation of other CIS countries, have the right for privileges (the Commissions in charge of restoration of rights of the rehabilitated obtain the applications of these citizens with references to the above-mentioned Supreme Rada Resolution), and other Ukrainian citizens, members of the families of the repressed in Ukraine, have neither the status of rehabilitated nor the privileges. We reckon that this is a violation of Articles 24 and 46 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
CATEGORIES OF THE VICTIMS OF POLITICAL REPRESSIONS THAT MUST BE REHABILITATED
We believe that it is necessary to introduce the amendments into the operating Law on rehabilitation. Rehabilitation of the following categories of the victims of repressions should be envisaged by this Law:
1. Citizens of Ukraine, who were condemned because of the political motives, for which rehabilitation is envisaged in Ukraine, but were repressed in the CIS countries, where the laws on rehabilitation do not exist (for instance, well-known public figure Mustafa Djemilev was repressed in Uzbekistan and is not rehabilitated until now);
2. Children of the rehabilitated, who, as a result of the repressions, were taken to special NKVD establishments and orphanages, where they were kept as children of the “enemies of people”;
3. Children, who were born or stayed with their parents in penitentiaries or in exile;
4. Children, who were deprived of guardianship of both parents (for example, father had been repressed, and the mother died some time later);
5. Deported citizens. Unfortunately, the Law on rehabilitation does not consider this category of the repressed. When the law was discussed, it was planned to adopt special law about rehabilitation of the deported peoples. Yet, this law was not adopted, although the corresponding draft was handed to the Supreme Rada for three times. The first law draft “On rehabilitation and guaranteeing of the rights of persons belonging to the ethnic groups that were repressed and deported from the territory of Ukraine” was prepared by MP O. Kucherenko and presented on 23 February 1999. The draft was considered by the Supreme Rada on 2 November 1999 and was rejected. Another draft of the law with the same title, presented by MP P. Movchan on 11 December 2000, was not considered at all. It is noteworthy that we are saying not only about the deportations from the Crimea at the end of the WW2 (Bulgarians, Armenians, Greeks, Crimean Tatars, etc.), but also about deportations of representatives of other ethnic groups in 1944-1947: Germans deported from the Southern Ukraine, Hungarians of the Transcarpathian region, Romanians of Bukovina, Ukrainians of Kholmshchina, etc. Unfortunately, in May 2004 the Supreme Rada also rejected the law draft “On restoration of rights of the persons deported because of their nationality» presented by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. By the way, the drafts by L. Lukyanenko and L. Taniuk envisaged rehabilitation and restoration of rights of the persons deported because of their nationality;
6. Persons condemned by Ukrainian courts according to Article 72 of the CC of the UkrSSR for refusal to serve in the Armed Forces (before the introduction of the institute of alternative service in December 1991). The matter concerns the adherents of the Protestant churches: Baptists, Pentecosts, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovahs witnesses and others. These religions prohibit to deal with arms, and the alternative service did not exist then. The youths, who refused from the military service, sometimes were condemned twice after Article 72, since the term of incarceration according to this article was 3 years, and the youths were called to the army in the age from 18 to 28. In our opinion, these persons may be regarded as the prisoners of consciousness, because they were condemned for their views. However, rehabilitation of this category of the repressed is not envisaged by the law on rehabilitation;
7. URA warriors. It should be noted that the prosecutors organs considered the cases of the URA warriors individually, and the persons, who had not taken part in the violent actions against the peaceful population, were rehabilitated. Yet, the URA warriors are displeased with the fact that they are not regarded as the participants of military operations of the WW2, but are still considered to be criminals.
8. Citizens, who were kept in preliminary prisons, special and filtration camps because of political motives, as well as in labor armies and penal battalions.
9. So-called “socially dangerous elements”, who were repressed either for the non-payment of too large taxes, or for the use of hired manpower.
The status of victims should be also given to the members of families (wife or husband, children, parents, sisters, brothers, etc.) of the repressed, who lived with them at the moment of repression, since the family members were, as a rule, fired, expelled from institutes, evicted from their flats, prohibited to live in some places, etc.
GIVING PRIVILEGES TO THE REHABILITATED IS A DUTY OF THE STATE
As to the consequences of rehabilitation, the conception must be determined first of all. Lately the officials say much about the burden of the privileges for the state and about their expediency. In our opinion, only professional and departmental (force structures, officials, etc.) privileges may be discussed and cancelled. The privileges of rehabilitated citizens must be considered by the state and society as a kind of penitence, compensation of moral and material damage inflicted by the state with the connivance of the society. By the way, the preamble of the Law of Ukraine of 17 April 1991 states the same. This means that compensations and privileges to the rehabilitated citizens is a state debt, which must be returned to the innocent victims. Yet, some MPs regard this as charity, so a new term – “state aid” is introduced in the new version of the law draft under the editorship of MPs S. Stashevskiy, R. Tkach and V. Lebedivskiy. This aid is rendered only in the cases, where the living standard of the rehabilitated is lower than the subsistence wage. The privileges stipulated for the rehabilitated must be given also to widows and widowers of the rehabilitated, if they have not created new family.
As to the talks about the lack of money for compensation of moral and material damage, it is sufficient to familiarize, even superficially, with the state budget-2003, which allots no money at all for the provision of the operating Law on rehabilitation, but astonishes with the expenditures for the upkeep of the power (Presidential administration, construction of new buildings for the Supreme Rada, sanatorium and resort complexes, etc).
We believe that the Ukrainian state must repay the debt to its citizens.
SUGGESTED DRAFTS OF AMENDMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTS TO THE LAW ON REHABILITATION
The law drafts on introduction of changes into the Law on rehabilitation can be divided into two classes: the law drafts that concern only separate aspects of rehabilitation, and the law drafts that represent the new versions of the Law. Taking into account everything above-said, the Kharkov group for human rights protection categorically protests against the half-measures contained in the drafts of the first group, in particular, in the draft of the Law of Ukraine “On introduction of changes into the Law “On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine”” (concerning the status of minor prisoners) presented to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine on 18 June 2003 by the Cabinet of Ministers. This draft does not solve the main problems and violations of the Constitution. The draft of the Law of Ukraine “On introduction of changes into the Law “On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine”” No. 4205 presented to the Supreme Rada by MPs M. Kruts and R. Tkach on 30 September 2003 envisages rehabilitation of the URA warriors and the persons, who rendered aid to them, as those people, who fought for Ukrainian independence. This draft also solves very narrow circle of problems and does not promote the harmonization of the Law as a whole. Now the Supreme Rada considers the draft of change of the operating Law by MP P. Kachur, which also does not meet the urgent need to regulate all drawbacks of the existing legislation on rehabilitation. This drafts equates the rehabilitated according to Article 3 of the operating Law (exiled and deported from their permanent place of residence) with the rehabilitated according of Article 1 of the same Law (condemned by courts or extrajudicial organs to deprivation of liberty or death penalty). All other questions remain unsettled.
The Supreme Rada also considers the draft of the Law of Ukraine “On introduction of changes into the Law “On pensions”” handed by MP S. Gavrish regarding the increase of pensions of rehabilitated citizens up to 150% of the minimal retirement pension, and the pensions of the members of their families, who were coercively resettled, -- up to 100% of the minimal retirement pension. This is a good idea, but it should be determined at first, who would be regarded as the rehabilitated and their family members.
In our opinion, both drafts of the new version of the Law on rehabilitation, presented by MPs L. Lukyanenko and L. Taniuk, take into account almost all drawbacks of the operating Law of 17 April 1991. The draft by L. Lukyanenko, handed on 18 March 2003, is characterized by distinct and clear definitions of all terms and provisions, which decreases the possibility of misinterpretation of the clauses of this Law. Besides, unlike the previous draft by L. Lukyanenko of 29 July 2002, the articles on consequences of rehabilitation are elaborated more thoroughly in this draft, and the expenses for their realization are reduced.
The law draft by L. Taniuk, which was recommended by the Supreme Rada as the basis for introduction of changes and amendments to the Law on rehabilitation, may be supported, but only after the correction of some essential mistakes:
1. The draft does not define the term “victims of repressions”, although this term is used in the Law (Article 10);
2. The refers of this draft to the articles of “this Law” refer, in reality, to the articles of the operations Law, and this causes absolute misunderstanding;
Moreover, we want to suggest the following propositions:
item 3 -- we reckon that it is impossible to recompense this horror completely, so it should be better to recompense the moral and material damage;
item 4 – to remove the phrase “because of nationality or other reasons”;
item 7 – to add the phrase “deportation from permanent place of residence, eviction with deterioration of life conditions”.
Article 6. It seems that items 1 and 4 are similar;
Item 8 -- what is the difference between the coercive eviction and deportation?
part 1 – “rehabilitated according to Article 6 (but not Article 1) of this Law”;
part 2 – the category “victims of repressions” is mentioned for the first time, but there is no definition of this term;
part 5 – it should be written “rehabilitated and victims of repressions”, otherwise pensions of the rehabilitated would not be increased (only in the case of their invalidity, which case is described separately), which is illogical and unfair;
part 6 – the phrase “Expenses allotted for privileges of the rehabilitated and victims of repressions are related to the protected part of the State budget” should be added;
part 11 – to correct “Action of Articles 8, 9 and 10 (but not 4, 5 and 6)”.
Along with the mentioned law drafts two other drafts of the changes to Law exist, which, in our opinion, do not suggest the urgently necessary changes that are stated above.
As to draft of the Law “On introduction of changes into the Law “On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in Ukraine”” No. 2040-2 presented to the Supreme Rada by MPs S. Stashevskiy, R. Tkach and V. Lebedivskiy on 13 May 2003, we reckon that it does not meet the urgent needs of introduction of changes to the existing Law, about which changes we have said above. The main drawback of this draft is conceptual: the term “state aid” must not be applied to the rehabilitated, because such compensation is a debt of the state, which must be paid to the repressed.
Article 4 envisages rehabilitation of the evicted, exiled and deported from Ukraine, but it is known that entire families and even villages were evicted from the Western Ukraine to Donbass and Slobozhanshchina, from the Kherson oblast to Crimea, etc.
If the state really, as it is written in the preamble of this draft, denounced the repressions and wanted to recompense the material and moral damage, then the condition of payment of compensation depending on the income of family would not appear in Article 7. Under such conditions any poor family should obtain the compensation, but this has no connection with rehabilitation. In reality that means that the state does not acknowledge either material or, especially, moral damage inflicted to its citizens as a result of repressions. In such case the financial aid can be envisaged (Article 8 part 19) instead of the state aid, or it can be cancelled at all.
Article 8 of the Law stipulates the increase of pensions of those citizens, who became invalids as a result of repressions, and those, who were rehabilitated in the accordance with Article 3 of the operating Law (exiled and deported). And the people rehabilitated after Article 1 of the Law, who stayed in concentration camps, but, fortunately, did not become invalids, will not get the increased pensions, and this is absolutely incomprehensible.
The Kharkov group for human rights protection suggests to present, as soon as possible, the draft of the new version of the Law, grounded on the law drafts of L. Lukyanenko or L. Taniuk with the account of our propositions for consideration in the Supreme Rada.
REHABILITATION OF THE DEPORTED
Taking into consideration the fact that deportation of citizens because of their nationality, independently of their age and family ties, concerns entire people and still is a very painful problem, a separate law should be adopted on rehabilitation of the persons deported because of their nationality. Three law drafts, presented by the Cabinet of Ministers, MPs P. Movchan and O. Kucherenko does not envisage concrete, at least minimal, steps and volume of restoration of rights and payment of compensations to the victims of deportation. It is planned to regulate these questions with special resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers taking into account the abilities of the state. This can result in the situation, when the process of factual restoration of rights of this category of citizens will not be started in the nearest future. So, we believe that the law draft should be adopted, which was suggested by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, where all terms, procedures, conditions and concrete measures concerning the restoration of rights of the deported citizens are described definitely.
P.S. The Law of Ukraine “On restoration of rights of the persons deported because of their nationality» has been adopted by the Supreme Rada on 24 June 2004, but is not signed yet by the President of Ukraine.
In memory of Oksana Popovich
On 22 May 2004 Oksana Popovich, a member of the national-liberation movement, a member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, died in Ivano-Frankivsk.
Oksana Popovich was born on 2 February 1926 in the village of Zhukiv, the Obertinskiy (now Tlumatskiy) district of the Stanislav (now Ivano-Frankivsk) oblast. Her father Zenon-Maryan Popovich was a post office worker, a warrior of the Ukrainian Galytska Army, a participant of the November explosion in Lviv in 1918, was arrested by Poles for six months. The father died in 1949. Oksanas mother Olena Novodvorska from the family of writer Les Martovich, a teacher, in 1945 escaped from a transit prison and lived under an assumed name in the village of Grinivka of the Tlumatskiy district until the Khrushchevs “thaw”. She died when she was 101.
Oksana went to the gymnasia in the town of Gorodenko. She got the ideological, military and sanitary training in the Youth organization of the OUN, was a district leader. She became a member of the OUN in the beginning of 1944, had the illegal status. On 12 January 1945 O. Popovich was arrested for storage of the rebellious literature in the village of Ispas of the Kolomya district. The investigation was carried out in the district center Yabluniv (now the Kosovskiy district). In July 1945 she, under the assumed name Varvara Petrushchak, was condemned by the military tribunal of the NKVD troops of the Stanislav oblast to 10 years of incarceration, according to Articles 54-І «a» and 54-11 of the CC of the UkrSSR, with the deprivation of rights for 3 years, according to items “a”, “b” and “c” of Article 29 of the CC of the UkrSSR, and the confiscation of property. During the attempted escape from a transit colony she was wounded in the chest and right leg, and dislocated her foot. Oksana was returned to Yabluniv, where she fell ill of typhus. She was not treated.
O. Popovich did her term in the colonies of Vorkuta (Predshakhtna), Komi ASSR (Mukerka, Adat). She fulfilled very hard work. No medical examination concerning invalidity was not carried out. In spring 1955 she was transported to the exile to Krasnoyarsk, where she worked at brickworks in spite of the persistent ache in her wounded leg.
Popovich was released in August 1956. She returned to her sister, who lived in the village of Maniava of the Bogorodchanskiy district. Oksana graduated from a secondary evening school in the town of Solotvin. Lived under her real name, conducted the patriotic and enlightening work, organized lectures. At last she was examined by doctors and was recognized an invalid of the second group. Together with her mother O. Popovich moved to the village of Krykhivtsy, worked as an accountant in the Ivano-Frankivsk department of electric supply.
Since 1959 Oksana Popovich distributed the samizdat editions (in particular, the works by Ivan Dziuba and Valentin Moroz, magazine “Ukrainskiy Visnyk”, collection of poems by Grigoriy Chubay, etc.). She contacted with Boris Antonenko-Davidovich and Oksana Meshko, collected money for the support of political prisoners. In December 1969 O. Popovich, together with Valentin Moroz, Vyacheslav Chornovil, Irina Senik and others, signed the appeal of 16 former political prisoners to the Head of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the UkrSSR, directed against the practice of condemnation in incarceration. This appeal was published in “Ukrainskiy Visnyk”, No. 1, 1970, and was read out on the radio “Liberty”.
In the connection with the disease of O. Popovich, on 17 July 1974 her case was separated from case No. 92 (the case of Mykola Gamula, Mykola Gutsul and Roman Gayduk) for special investigation. A month before the second arrest Popovich got a flat in Ivano-Frankivsk. On 2 October 1974, two days after her discharge from a hospital, where the second operation on her thighbone had been made, Popovich was taken to the prosecutors office, detained and, on 3 October, arrested after for anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda. At the time of the arrest she could walk only with crutches. Her protest hunger-strike lasted for 48 days. On 15 November the additions to testimonies were seized from her cell, which also were classified as anti-Soviet and slanderous, directed against the national policy in Ukraine.
On 14 January 1975 Oksana Popovich was condemned by the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast court according to Article 62 part 2 of the CC of the UkrSSR to 8 years of incarceration in strict regime colonies and 5 years of exile; she was acknowledged to be an especially dangerous recidivist (Article 26 of the CC of the UkrSSR).
Popovich did her term in Barashevo (the Tengushevskiy district, Mordovia) in the female strict regime colony ЖХ-385/3. Being an invalid, she refused to work, but took part in protest actions together with Irina Kalinets, Irina Senik, Stefania Shabatura, Nadiya Svitlychna, Galyna Palchak, Darka Gusiak, Niyole Sadunayte and others. For instance, on 30 October 1976, on the Day of Soviet political prisoners, she went on a hunger-strike. On 5 December 1976 she endorsed the letter of the political prisoners-Armenians to the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR about the legalization of the National united party of Armenia and conduction of the referendum on the question of self-determination of Armenia.
On 12 January 1977 O. Popovich took part in the one-day hunger-strike connected with the anniversary of the beginning of the repressions in Ukraine in 1972. The participants of the hunger-strike demanded to release the political prisoners-Ukrainians and to stop the persecutions for political views. On 4 October 1977 she participated in the protest hunger-strike on the day of opening of the Belgrad OSCE. Together with other convicts she supported the appeal to the World-wide Council of Churches, other religious organizations, governments and parliaments of the states that had signed the Helsinki agreements. The appeal described “the scandalous violation of elementary human rights in the USSR” on the example of the life of priest Vasyl Romaniuk.
On 2 October 1978 the Initiative Group for the protection of the rights of invalids of the USSR sent the document to the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR, the International Red Cross and the UNO Commission of human rights, in which document the Group informed that the invalids (except the invalids of the 1st group), which stayed in colonies and prisons, were coerced to hard work, underwent punishments, etc. Oksana Popovich was an invalid of the 2nd group.
In February 1979 O. Popovich and several other political prisoners were proclaimed the members of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group. In informational bulletin No. 8 of the UHG of 20 February 1980 O. Popovich was mentioned as one of the persons, who extremely needed to be released from colonies as soon as possible.
In May 1981 O. Popovich was transported to Ivano-Frankivsk for “prophylaxis”. There she met her mother and sister. On 7 August she was returned to the colony. In October 1982 she was transferred to exile to the village of Molchanovo of the Tomsk oblast. Popovich did not work, since she was an invalid, but she got no financial aid: Oksanas friends and relatives from Ukraine supported her. Yet, O. Popovich categorically refused to solicit for mercy. She was released on 2 October 1987; the total time spent by her in incarceration was 24.5 years. Returned to Ivano-Frankivsk to her mother.
In 1988 Oksana Popovich was a founder-member of the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast branch of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union. She lived alone, was getting a paltry pension. During several last years she was seriously ill. Sister Maria Skripnik and niece Natalya nursed her.
Oksana Popovich was buried on 24 May on the Heroes Lane in Ivano-Frankivsk.