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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee returns to Ukraine


Strasbourg, 26.02.2014 – A delegation of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has returned to Ukraine* to carry out a one-week ad hoc visit.

The main objective of the visit, which began on 18 February 2014, was to examine the manner in which persons apprehended during recent demonstrations were treated by law enforcement officials and/or other individuals assisting them in the context of those events. In Kyiv, the delegation held a number of interviews with persons apprehended in January 2014 who had allegedly been ill-treated, including a protester who appeared on a widely-viewed video which showed members of the special forces humiliating him. Further, the delegation interviewed many of the persons apprehended by Internal Affairs/Security Service special forces and/or other persons supporting them in the course of extremely violent law enforcement operations which began on the first day of the visit and ended up with a considerable number of deaths. In the Dnipropetrovsk Region, the delegation spoke to a number of persons apprehended during the law enforcement operations carried out in late January 2014.

A few persons who had been held in December 2013/January 2014 by law enforcement agencies or individuals possibly assisting them in relation to the events in Kyiv were also interviewed in the context of that visit. One of these persons is Dmytro Bulatov, who was offered treatment outside Ukraine.

In addition, the delegation used this opportunity to carry out a targeted follow-up visit to Prison No. 3 in Krivyi Rih in order to examine whether prisoners held in this establishment had been treated correctly and had remained free from intimidation or retaliation by prison staff or inmates assisting them following the CPT’s visit in October 2013.

During the visit, the CPT's delegation had consultations with Maksym RAYKO, Deputy Minister of Justice, and other senior officials from relevant ministries/agencies. The delegation also had meetings in Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk with representatives of the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights/National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), members of several non-governmental organisations and lawyers.

Given the situation prevailing in the country, the delegation was not in a position to present its preliminary remarks to the Ukrainian authorities at the end of the visit. It will report to the Committee during its plenary meeting in March 2014 in Strasbourg before its main findings and any observations requiring immediate attention are communicated to the Ukrainian authorities and/or any further action is taken. In the meantime, the CPT will closely follow the situation in Ukraine, in particular as regards the effectiveness of investigations into cases involving allegations of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials/any other persons assisting them in relation to the above-mentioned events.
  
The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:

- Lətif HÜSEYNOV, President of the Committee, Head of delegation (Azerbaijani)

- Marzena KSEL, 1st Vice-President of the CPT (Polish)

- Djordje ALEMPIJEVIĆ (Serbian)

- Davor STRINOVIĆ  (Croatian)

- George TUGUSHI (Georgian).

They were supported by Borys WÓDZ, Head of Division, and Johan FRIESTEDT of the CPT's Secretariat.

The interview with Mr Bulatov was carried out shortly before the visit to Ukraine, at Vilnius Republican University Hospital (Lithuania), by Vytautas RAŠKAUSKAS and Marika VÄLI, members of the Committee elected in respect of Lithuania and Estonia, respectively.

The delegation carried out private interviews with persons deprived of their liberty and/or consulted the relevant documentation in the following places:

Internal Affairs establishments

Kyiv City

Darnits’ke District Internal Affairs Directorate
Desnyans’ke District Internal Affairs Directorate
Obolons’ke District Internal Affairs Directorate
Shevchenskivs’ke District Internal Affairs Directorate
Pechers’ke District Internal Affairs Directorate
Kyiv Temporary Detention Isolator (ITT)
 
Dnipropetrovsk Region

Babushkins’kyi District Internal Affairs Division, Dnipropetrovsk
Dnipropetrovsk ITT
 
Penitentiary establishments

Kyiv pre-trial establishment (SIZO)
Dnipropetrovsk SIZO
Krivyi Rih Prison No. 3.

The delegation also had an opportunity to go to the site where the so-called “anti-Maydan protest camp” was located until recently and where a number of persons were allegedly being held by individuals assisting law enforcement agencies before being handed over to the special forces.

In the course of the visit, the delegation also went to several hospitals to talk to medical staff, interview patients and/or consult the relevant documentation. More specifically, it went to the Kyiv Municipal Clinical Emergency Hospital (including its secure ward), the Kyiv Municipal Clinical Hospital No. 17, the Main Military Clinical Hospital in Kyiv and the Mechnikov Regional Clinical Hospital in Dnipropetrovsk.

The delegation also spoke to the management and doctors of the forensic medical bureaus in both Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk.

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*  Representatives of the CPT held high-level talks with the Ukrainian authorities on 13 and 19 December 2013 in Kyiv in the aftermath of police interventions on 30 November 2013 at Independence Square and on  1 December 2013 on Bankova Street in Kyiv (see news flash of 20 December 2013).


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