On September 17, at the OSCE HDIM 2018 in Warsaw, UHHRU and other organizations of the Zero Torture initiative held a side-event dedicated to the anti-torture fight in Ukraine.
Key takeaways of the event.
After 2014, Ukraine started a reform of the criminal justice sector. However, torture incidents are still poorly investigated. No more than 3% of such cases make it to courts each year.
At the same time, Ukraine, with the help of civil society, is developing initiatives aimed at combating torture: the National Preventive Mechanism, electronic records of detainees, procedural interviews, etc.
The State Bureau of Investigations, which has been tasked with investigating all crimes committed by law enforcement officers, has not started working yet. It is also unclear how the Bureau is going to handle all its tasks, considering its staff of 1 500 people, against almost 300 000 in other law enforcement agencies.
In the occupied Crimea, torture has become a tool of oppression and intimidation. It is most often used by officers of the FSB and the Anti-Extremism Center immediately after the arrests.
There are no independent monitoring mechanisms on the peninsula. The monitoring committees that are supposed to prevent practices of torture are fake entities that merely simulate civic oversight.
Ukraine must continue the reforms, adopting a zero tolerance policy toward the use of torture by officials and keeping records of such incidents, including those occurring in Crimea.