Law Enforcement Authorities Blatantly Ignore Hate Crimes

A man was attacked and brutally abused just because of being considered a homosexual. Law enforcement authorities ignored the victim’s complaints. The criminal case has been initiated only after involvement of human rights defenders.

The Foundation of strategic cases of Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union currently provides legal aid to the man who suffered from acts of violence and abuse by unknown persons motivated by homophobia.

Vitalii (the name was changed), the citizen of the City of Kharkiv, was mocked based only on suspicion of ‘homosexual predilection’ by unknown persons who brutally did that motivated by hatred. Immediately following the attack and mockery, Vitalii addressed Leninskyi District of Kharkiv police department and wrote a complaint about the crime, ‘I was mocked, they offended my honour and dignity; when hitting me, they made me commit actions totally against my will. Also, they made me confess as if I am among sexually diverse persons…,’* –Vitalii accounts.

Still, the guy’s abuse was not over yet. ‘Also, the offenders ordered me to take out of a bag a salve tube and pressed it out on my hat and coat filming this all. The offenders put my hat off and poured the brilliant green on my head filming it… The unknown persons intended to humiliate me and demonstrate their attitude to sexually diverse persons through battery and mockery…’ **.

Human rights defenders treat further actions of the offenders as violation of the personal privacy right: ‘They made me take my passport out of my bag and filmed the personal information the passport contains (surname, name and patronymic, date and place of birth, my photo and passport number) against my will. They threatened me that they would make the stated video available in the Internet…, *** Vitalii continues his story.

After submission of the complaint, one of the offenders was brought to the police department for explanations. Vitalii still doesn’t know what he ‘explained’ there and in what way. However, the law enforcement authorities did not initiate the criminal case. The guy submitted another complaint to the police. Later he got a reply that ‘a decision was taken on termination of further consideration and findings were reported accordingly’ regarding his claims.

Seeing the utter police inactivity, Vitalii addressed human rights defenders. The head of Chuhuievska Human Rights Protection Group, the member of Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, the lawyer Roman Lykhachov undertook the case. The lawyer helped the guy to write a complaint to Leninskyi District court of the City of Kharkiv about the police inactivity consisting in not entering information on criminal offence into the Integral register of pre-trial proceedings (which should have been done within 24 hours).

The Leninskyi court has issued a ruling according to which the head of the investigation unit should enter the information from Vitalii’s complaint about the criminal offences into the Integral register of pre-trial proceedings within 24 hours. Only after Vitalii’s complaint to the Prosecutor’s office of the Region of Kharkiv claiming to open a criminal case against the head of the investigation unit of Leninskyi District police division this time, for intentional non-compliance with the court order that came into force, the case moved on from the dead point.

Facing the ‘perspective’ of being accused themselves, the law enforcement authorities at last initiated a criminal case based on Vitalii’s complaints. Still, efficiency of the proper consideration of the given case is doubted. Quite a logical question arises. Why did the policemen oppose for so long and why were they unwilling to conduct investigation based on the victim’s complaint? May be they did not want to taint the official statistics by a hatred offence? Or do they disfavour the victim because of his possible ‘unconventionality’? Thus they demonstrate xenophobic attitudes that are now traditional for some law enforcement bodies of the City of Kharkiv.


*Article 127 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: Torture. ‘A wilful causing of severe physical pain or physical or mental suffering by way of battery, martyrizing or other violent actions for the purpose of inducing the victim or any other person to commit involuntary actions, including receiving from him/her or any other person information or confession, or for the purpose of punishing him/her for the actions committed by him/her or any other person or for committing of which he/she or any other person is suspected of, as well as for the purpose of intimidation or discrimination of him/her or other persons.’ Part 2 of the present article provides for liability for these actions repeated or committed by a group of people upon prior conspiracy, or based on racial, national or religious intolerance.

**Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: Violation of citizens’ equality based on their race, nationality, religion, disability or other reasons. ‘Wilful actions inciting national, racial or religious enmity and hatred, humiliation of national honour and dignity, or the insult of citizens’ feelings in respect to their religious convictions, and also any direct or indirect restriction of rights, or granting direct or indirect privileges to citizens based on race, colour of skin, political, religious and other convictions, sex, disability, ethnic and social origin, property status, place of residence, linguistic or other characteristics.’ Part 3 provides for liability for these actions, if committed by an organised group of persons. 

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