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Amnesty International Report 1997 - Ukraine

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 1 January 1997
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1997 - Ukraine, 1 January 1997, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa002c.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Executions continued despite the country's commitment to institute a moratorium. During the year, 167 death sentences were passed, 167 people were executed and two death-row prisoners were granted clemency. There were reports of ill-treatment and torture, including rape, in detention. One prisoner was allegedly tortured to death.

In June, the parliament approved Ukraine's first Constitution since returning to independence in August 1991, ending a long constitutional debate between the parliament, President Leonid Kuchma and the Communist Party. The new Constitution gives the Supreme Soviet of Crimea the right to adopt its own constitution, subject to approval by the Ukrainian parliament.

In May, official statistics issued by the Ministry of Justice showed that 112 people had been sentenced to death in 1991, 79 in 1992, 117 in 1993, 143 in 1994, and 191 in 1995. There had been 42 executions in 1991, 103 in 1992, 78 in 1993, 60 in 1994, and 149 in 1995. Two prisoners had their death sentence commuted in 1994, and one in 1995. This was the first time that Ukraine had published statistics on the use of the death penalty since its accession to the Council of Europe in November 1995.

Official statistics released by the Ministry of Justice stated that 167 death sentences were passed during 1996 and 167 prisoners were executed, some of whom had been sentenced to death in previous years. Two death-row prisoners were granted clemency by the President. On 28 June, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution on the abolition of the death penalty in Europe, in which it condemned Ukraine for violating its commitment to introduce a moratorium on executions and warned that further violation of its commitments would result in suspension of membership. In November, the Council of Europe revealed that over 100 people had been executed since the beginning of the year. The Council's rapporteur, speaking at an international seminar on the death penalty held in Ukraine, described the executions as "barbarism" and questioned the credibility of Ukraine's commitment to honour its international obligations. He also called on the authorities to disclose the names of those executed, which are considered a state secret.

Among those known to have been executed during the year were Yury Strukhov, Vladimir Ogoltsov, Aleksey Vedinedenko and Sergey Tekuchev, who was executed on 17 October. His parents were not informed about his death until 13 November.

Torture and ill-treatment in detention were reported and in at least one case may have resulted in death. Yury Mozola died in March, four days after his arrest, in the investigation isolation prison of the Lviv regional Security Services, where he had been detained on suspicion of multiple murder. He was allegedly tortured to death by law enforcement officials during interrogation. An investigation into Yury Mozola's death was opened by the office of the Military Procurator of Western Ukraine, but its conclusions were not known by the end of the year.

Also in March, a Roma woman, Eva H., was reportedly beaten and raped by two police officers in a street in Mukachevo in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine. She was subsequently taken to hospital; she claimed that she was visited there by police officers who offered her money to stop mentioning the incident publicly, which she refused. Mukachevo's deputy head of the police department reportedly stated that the officers involved had been disciplined. Other sources, however, contradict this.

Amnesty International urged the President to grant clemency to all death-row prisoners and to institute a moratorium on executions. In March, Amnesty International received a communication from the Ukrainian Embassy in Canada, which stated: "On the national level neither official legislation was approved to abolish death penalty, nor moratorium on executions was imposed. Therefore, all accusations that Ukraine has violated its international obligations shall be deemed ungrounded and void."

Amnesty International urged the authorities to initiate prompt and impartial investigations into allegations of torture and ill-treatment in detention and police custody.

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