We would like to offer you the Briefer#2 of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union for November-December 2014 issued within Human Rights in Action Program supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
More than half a million of our fellow citizens who have left their homes, work, everyday life running away from the massive violations of human rights in the Crimea and the eastern Ukraine to save their lives from day to day are waiting for the entry into force of this Law. Volunteers and advocates, and the whole international community are also waiting for it. The relevant statements were made by the UN, the Council of Europe, and the European Commission. The law opens the door for an international charitable assistance to immigrants and assistance to the country in addressing this problem. Delays in the adoption of this law for a long time had a negative impact on the international image of Ukraine.
On October 1, 2014 the Cabinet of Ministers passed to the Parliament a Draft Law No. 5185 by which the introduction of legal aid in non-criminal cases was postponed until January 1, 2017.
This initiative of the Government appeared almost simultaneously with the promulgation of a new Law “On Prosecutor’s Office”, by which starting from on April 24, 2015 the powers of prosecutors to represent the citizens’ interests in court are cancelled with several exceptions.
The human right activists record stream of applications from citizens of Ukraine who are leaving the occupied Crimea and face violation of their rights by Ukrainian border guards. Victims’ claim that they are required a written statement on “why the citizen Ukraine wants to move in Ukraine” and in the absence of such a certificate they do not shun a paper “certificate” with a picture of Hryhorii Skovoroda (a cash banknote of UAH 500.00).
This is a format in which a system of legal aid - an important institution that contributes to equitable justice began to operate in Ukraine since January 1, 2013. Ukrainian legislation guarantees access to legal aid at public expense to all detained persons (both according to administrative and criminal law) as well as protection from prosecution to persons in need.
All cases of serious human rights violations that have occurred in Crimea since February 2014, including the recent cases of abductions, must be effectively investigated and those responsible held accountable. Urgent steps must also be taken to ensure minority rights and security, as well as media freedom and journalists’ safety” stated today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, releasing a report on his mission to Kyiv, Moscow and Simferopol carried out from 7 to 12 September 2014, the first in situ assessment by an international institution of the human rights situation in Crimea since March 2014.
The problem of providing low-quality legal services has always been relevant in Ukraine. Therefore, to solve it a new law “On the Bar and Advocate’s Activity” was adopted on July 5, 2012 and a year before – the Law “On Free Legal Aid”. Despite this, the number of cases of unfair execution by the lawyers their duties before their clients starting from the banal case delay, incompetence and ending in outright fraud, did not decrease. Below you can find several aspects that attracted attention of Mariia Tsypiashchuk, a lawyer and coordinator of the Public Office of UHHRU in Rivne*.
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