SUMMARY OF THE RESEARCH “MONITORING OF UNLAWFUL VIOLENCE IN MILITIA - 2010”
03.05.11 | Denys Kobzin, Andrew Chernousov
In the previous edition of the «Monitoring of unlawful violence in militia - 2009» we’ve ascertained that Ukraine has made a number of sufficient steps forward in the direction of improving standards of human rights protection. But to our deepest regret finalizing results of year 2010, we should admit absence of any promotion of declared changes and the beginning of the dangerous reverse action. This, in the course 2010 there were no sufficient attempts to improve situation. Besides this, some steps of the State facilitated deterioration of the situation:
- The mechanism of independent and regular visits to detention places was not established (according to requirements of the OPCAT);
- The criminal justice reform have no promotion;
- The Concept of the state policy in the sphere of torture prevention and the Draft of the Code for Criminal Procedure have not been realized;
- Mobile monitoring squads’ activity, which were acting instrument of the civil control for detaining conditions at temporary holding facilities of Interior Ministry of Ukraine;
- Civil Councils on Human Rights Issues were abolished at the system of Interior Ministry of Ukraine;
- Human Rights Monitoring Department was liquidated ant the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine, which has human rights activists within it.
Hence we have a result when in the course of the year media reported on cases of unlawful violence, tortures and deaths in militia stations. Deterioration of the situation is also approved by increased number of European Court of Human Rights’ decision versus Ukraine, where Ukraine was recognized as human rights violator in the sphere of freedom of torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Lopatin& Medvedskiy, Lotarev, Zakharkin, Davydov, Smirnov, Biliy, Kovalchuk, Samardak, Znaikin, Logvinennko, Petukhov etc.). all this made a significant public response and became a subject of public hearings at the Verkhovna Rada Committee of Law-enforcement Activity Issues on December, 1, 2010.
Proposed to your attention report is the result of the third stage of the transnational monitoring, which allows not only to study the actual status of unlawful violence distribution in law-enforcement activity and also track the dynamics of changes in the course of 6 years.
Methodology of the research
As a research methods we’ve used:
- mass public opinion survey in 5 regions of Ukraine (2000 people in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Poltava Regions and Crimea) using the method of structurised interview at respondent household;
- interviewing of 250 ex-police officers who were convicted and serving punishment at penitentiary establishment # 91;
- conducting of focus-groups and individual semi-formalised interviews with experts, encountered with problem of unlawful violence and tortures in militia (militia officers, defense attorneys, physicians, human rights NGO activists, judges);
- interviewing torture victims in law-enforcement agencies;
- structurised interviewing of militia officers (500 persons);
- militia statistics analysis, connected with protection of militia officers human rights;
- legislation acts analysis directed on human rights protection in law-enforcement activity.
For the survey it was selected 5 regions, which are structurally represent different parts of Ukraine: Lviv, Kharkiv, Poltava, Kyiv Regions and Crimea. In each of the regions in the course of mass interrogation of the population were conducted interviews following randomize sample. Data of the research were processed in SPSS (ver.13.0).
Militia officers interrogation (n=500) was conducted with the help of quotation sampling, composed of statistical data, obtained at the Department of Personnel of Interior Ministry of Ukraine. Officer from 5 regions were interrogated, quotation consists of different branch services in the proposed regions.
The interviewing was conducted according to standard procedure: survey was conducted with use of personal face-to-face interviewing. Interview duration was 30-50 minutes.
Results of the conducted surveys were sufficiently amended by interviews and focus - groups with target – groups of experts. There were conducted:
- 15 interviews and 8 focus – groups with experts (prosecutors of all levels, physicians of ambulance, traumatologists, surgeons, lawyers, defence attorneys, human rights activists);
- 20 interviews with victims of unlawful violence and tortures in militia.
The first chapter is devoted to analysis of the sociological research: we’re providing comparative analysis of regular citizens’ opinion, convicted persons, militia officers concerning the distribution scale of unlawful violence in law-enforcement activity. Comparison is made for 2004–2010 years.
Results of the research demonstrate that unlawful violence scales in law-enforcement agencies remain high. Spread estimations indicate this which were provided by the population (number of respondents who think that unlawful violence in militia is a spread phenomenon increased on 10 % and made 58,5 %); revealed in the course of the research cases of tortures and ill-treatment and even militia officers’ opinion among which 22,7 % indicated that violence is one of militia working method.
According to the research data the estimated number of unlawful militia violence became aprox. 790 000 persons. Comparing to estimated number of unlawful militia violence victims 2004–2009 were 1 319 500, viewing the five-year period. Besides this means that every 40 seconds there was a case of unlawful violence in militia in year 2010.
Today according to opinion of the majority of Ukrainians, to become a victim of unlawful violence has the chance a criminal, suspect, detainee and regular citizen or witness of any event, and even some militia officers. Thus according to sociological monitoring data, today the majority of Ukrainians (66,1 %) think that unlawful violence in militia threatens everybody. Apart from this we should admit, that during 2010 this indicator increased on 3 %. Only 1,8 % of Ukrainians think, that unlawful violence does threatens anybody. And this indicator decreases (comparing in 2009 the indicator was at 2,5 % level).
The majority of respondents, suffered from unlawful violence in militia, decided make no report or complaint on militia officers’ actions. Thus, 76 % of respondents did nothing to achieve the goal. Among those who decided to find some help, the majority believed in Prosecutors’ Office and defence attorneys. Remained unclaimed the potential of MPs, Ombudsman and media. But the research demonstrate, that low level of help seeking could be explained by low-effective help provision, mainly from state authorities (Prosecutors’ Office) — 35 % of respondents indicated, that situation even deteriorated after report, and 29 % found report absolutely ineffective.
Comparing to monitoring of 2004, part of respondents who tolerate violence in militia is twice less - 48 % versus 24 %. Militia officers also demonstrate positive increasing of intolerant attitude to application of unlawful violence in law-enforcement activity (35 % in 2009 versus 49,3 % in 2010). Simultaneously, ˙ę as among population and as among militia officers there is no unified opinion, that unlawful violence is absolutely inadmissible. I.e. in particular situations the part of the population and militia admit the application of tortures and misconduct in militia work.
The majority of population has no information about conditions at temporary holding facilities at Interior Ministry of Ukraine (70–72%), 6 % think that conditions improved in some way, 9 % decided that conditions deteriorated. Militia employees are positively estimate the dynamics of changes (55 % think that conditions improved). Almost invariable remained the opinion of militia officers about the necessity of provision of additional funding to holding facilities renovation —60 % of respondents indicated the high priority. Simultaneously during the year there was ruined the system of independent monitoring of temporary holding facilities of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine with involvement of public and the number of deaths in custody increases drastically.
Survey results demonstrate the deterioration of the situation connected with protection of police officers’ rights. During 2010 there were none of significant attempts to decide reform key issues, connected with depopulation of militia employees, redistribution of workload, changing the status of some departments, decreasing the number of chief positions at all levels. Besides this, the majority of militia employees feel concerns in changing the retirement legislation. Undecided remain issues of working day length, justified remuneration, accessible housing, medical aid, education. As a result, people involved in law-enforcement in the State, have a significant powers and opportunities to restrict rights and freedoms of other people, continue to work in conditions of insufficient financing of all system of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine, which in turn impact the satisfaction of their work and attitude to the work and their way of powers’ implementation.
Among factors promoting the distribution of unlawful violence practice in law-enforcement activity, respondents as the most actual noted in 2010: 1) militia officers’ impunity, who are applying unlawful methods in their work; 2) poor candidates selection resulting accessing people with sadistic tendencies; 3) low professional and cultural level of militia employees. For militia employees the three most prominent reasons of unlawful violence were and are violation of their own rights, gaps in legislation and indicators system.
To our deepest regret in the period of 2009–2010 there were no visible attempts for improving the situation. There were neither arrangements towards changing the law-enforcement maintenance, nor changing the indicators system. During the period there were no attempts done towards improving control for law-enforcement activity or protection of detainees’ rights. Professional selection and training system of militia employees remained unchanged.
In the second chapter of the report requirements of the international legislation being analyzed, directed of improving standards of human rights protection in the sphere of prevention torture and ill-treatment. The legislation base analysis is amended by estimations of establishing attempt to introduce civil control system over law-enforcement activity and considering the condition of teaching human rights in militia educational institutions.
Studying medical aspects of unlawful violence in militia proves that high latency of detainees’ tortures in militia could be explained by the absence of the special procedure of medical survey and also a paper protocols of such surveys. Situation with medical surveys remains under total control of the law-enforcement agencies (militia and Prosecutors’ Office). Body injuries obtained as a result of «talking to» militia employees are the subject of special concern for law-enforcers. Militia actively counteracts to official registration of such body injuries, and medical care institutions have no their own impartial position and fulfill «recommendations» of detective and investigation bodies because they do not want to give this to publicity and hence they do not assist an objective investigation.
The research revealed that today there is no unified approach to teaching human rights in Ministry of Interior higher educational institutions. The indicated problem is being taught in different education institution in different manner and even in one education institution there is no unified position on contents and volume of human rights teaching.
We’re also providing particular recommendations for the Ministry of Interior Management on prevention of unlawful violence:
- Following requirements of the Ukrainian Government Decree date November, 3 2010 # 996 «About maintaining participation of civil society in establishing and realization of the State policy» renew the activity of Civil Councils. We’re also requiring restoring the work of mobile monitoring groups on human rights protection in law-enforcement activity and increasing the number of visitors from the public and making such visits more frequent.
- Continue to lobby recommendations in the sphere of harmonization of the national legislation in the sphere of torture prevention with international standards and also adoption at a national level the Concept of State policy on prevention of tortures and ill-treatment and National action plan for the execution of the Concept.
- Develop and approve by corresponding Order of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine «The statute on conducting public inquiries of human rights violations by law-enforcement officials», involving prominent experts from human rights’ NGOs.
- Establish an independent state body for dealing with all complaints on human rights violations by militia.
- Strengthen the control over obedience by militia employees requirements of the legislation and departmental orders and instructions concerning on immediate registration of the detention moment and maximal term of holding the person in detention, in the view of European Court of human tights position concerning the moment of detention of the person.
- Provide the separate reports’ register in the system of the Interior Ministry concerning citizens’ complaints on militia misconduct, torture and ill-treatment, and also establish a unified register of internal investigations conclusions in cases of human rights violations.
- Stop the practice of registration and dealing citizens’ complaints on unlawful violence from side of militia employees as regular complaint according to the Law of Ukraine “On public appeals”. All these complaints should be dealt with as article 97 of the Code for Criminal Procedure requires.
- Abolish the practice of solving complaints on unlawful deeds of militia employees by the same militia unit or official who’s actions are being appealing against.
- Provide all militia stations with CCTV systems with opportunity to archive video for definite period, including during interviewing suspects, or other criminal process participants. Introduce severe disciplinary or, if needed, criminal liability of militia chiefs in the case of CCTV malfunction.
- Strengthen responsibility for failing to meet requirements of acting legislation acts of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine concerning the total registration of all visitors of militia stations.
- With the purpose of non-admission of non-procedure contacts of militia employees who are not custody officers, with persons hold at the holding facilities of militia, to undertake measures towards strengthening admission of persons to such facilities.
- Adjust the practice of involvement to decision of conditions’ improvement at temporary holding facilities of the Interior Ministry municipal and central authorities, NGOs and other civil society institutions.
- Develop recommendations for the Ministry of Interior Management concerning refusal from practice of collective responsibility for human rights violations by separate militia employees. Such practice leads to hiding facts of such violations by the Chiefs afraid to be punished for misconduct of the subordinates.
- Support the policy of blaming colleagues for the illegal practice of torturing people. To abolish the practice of bringing to responsibility of Chiefs who are according to their own initiative revealed subordinates in committing such crimes (torture).
- Introduce the practice of trainings in the system of in-service training for militia Chiefs, internal investigation officers, the Department of personnel on problems of international mechanisms for prevention of tortures and ill-treatment, effective investigation of complaints on tortures viewing the practice of European Court for Human Rights.
- Introduce in the system of in-service training of the Interior Ministry annual testing of militia employees on knowledge of international obligations of Ukraine in the sphere of human rights protection.
- Demonopolize the right of investigation bodies (Ministry of Interior and Prosecutors’ Office) on sending to medical forensic examination for establishing the degree of body injuries. The right on self-application of the victim to medical forensic establishments remains important and actual. In cases of unlawful violence from part of the militia it is very hard get such direction.
- Reconsider the list of medical forensic institutions, authorized to conduct medical forensic expertise with purpose of enlarging the circle of such institutions and including to such list private certified institutions (experts).
- Solve the problem of conducting mandatory medical survey of detainees at the militia stations. Introducing of medical surveys “at entrance”, from one side, will allow effectively prevent cases of militia unlawful violence, and from the other side, it is a safeguard for militia from unreasonable accusations in tortures.
- With the purpose of unification the human rights training process in the system of higher educational institutions of the Interior Ministry — develop unified human rights’ training course curricular. Besides unified human rights training course for higher educational institutions, in the process of training of future law-enforcers there should be specialized courses or topics demonstrating the essence and peculiarities of human rights protection in the course of executing particular tasks in counteracting crime and public order maintenance.