COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
Committee considered the second periodic report of Ukraine (CAT/C/17/Add.4)
at its 125th meeting, on 12 November 1992 (see CAT/C/SR.125).
117. In introducing
the report, the representative of the State party pointed out that
an act on the validity of international agreements in Ukrainian territory
had been promulgated on 10 December 1991 and that international agreements
ratified by Ukraine formed an integral part of national law. He then
referred to the changes taking place in Ukraine, which had started
with the proclamation of its independence on 24 August 1991. Generally,
it had been decided that the laws in force under the previous regime
would be maintained if they were compatible with the new Constitution
of Ukraine which was being drafted. In particular, considerable attention
was being given to reducing the number of offences punishable by the
death penalty and to including a definition of torture in the new
codes which were being prepared. The reform of the judiciary had not
yet been completed, but legal measures were under consideration to
guarantee the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.
In addition, the new Supreme Soviet of Ukraine had set up three Commissions.
The first dealt with legislative activities, the second with questions
of public order and the third was a human rights commission which
considered complaints submitted to it. The authorities also planned
to set up a new human rights institute which would be responsible
for monitoring the implementation of the relevant legislation. Finally,
the representative provided some information on the judicial bodies
existing in Ukraine and stated that his Government was actively working
on the democratization and modernization of the Ukrainian legal system.
of the Committee were of the view that the current circumstances and
changes in Ukraine made it impossible to judge the results achieved
and to assess how the Convention was actually implemented in that
country. Perhaps a new report was needed. Furthermore, the report
under consideration did not follow the Committee's general guidelines
for the preparation of reports and did not refer to any specific decision
or provision taken to give effect to each of the articles of the Convention;
it set forth principles and said nothing about their practical implementation.
No information had been provided, in particular, on measures taken
in Ukraine to implement articles 3 and 5 to 15 of the Convention.
of the Committee also observed that some provisions of the Convention
were reflected in national legislation but not all, and wished to
know what measures were being taken to incorporate the provisions
of the Convention into internal law and whether the Convention could
be invoked before a court. In addition, they asked whether the public
and, in particular, the convicted prisoners and detainees were informed
about the Convention, what the cases were in which human rights and
freedoms could be restricted, as referred to in the Act on criminal
investigation activities, and what legal grounds existed for those
restrictions. Further information was requested on the amendments
which had been made to existing legislation, and on law enforcement.
The text of the legislation mentioned in the report was also requested.
120. In connection
with article 2 of the Convention, members of the Committee wished
to know, in particular, what the maximum length of pre-trial detention
was, at what stage the lawyer was brought in to assist the accused
person, and whether the rules governing arrest and detention applied
equally to the ordinary police, the State security forces and the
reference to articles 1 and 4 of the Convention, members of the Committee
wished to know whether the existing Ukrainian Penal Code gave a definition
of torture, what the penalties were for public officials who violated
the Convention, and whether there were any cases of torture in Ukraine.
regard to articles 6 and 7 of the Convention, it was asked whether
there was an immigration act in Ukraine, whether ordinary criminals
and military personnel found guilty of a crime were subject to the
same rules and regulations and what happened to convicted prisoners
who served their sentence in another State.
to article 10 of the Convention, members of the Committee requested
information on measures taken for the training of public officials
about matters relating to torture and its prohibition.
124. In his
reply, the representative of Ukraine, referring to the difficult transitional
period of his country, stressed that three different governments had
been formed in less than one year and in such circumstances a government
had no time to adopt legislation aimed at providing solutions to the
problems which had been mentioned. In particular, the new codes to
which reference had been made during the discussion did not yet exist.
In view of the complexity of the situation, it would be very difficult,
therefore, to provide supplementary information, apart from the specific
information on changes which had just been reported.
to questions of a general nature raised by the members of the Committee,
the representative stated that in Ukraine the provisions of international
treaties had force of law without having to be incorporated into the
legislation, except in cases where implementation machinery had to
be established. For example, the Convention against Torture provided
for compensation to be paid to victims for injury or damage they had
suffered. In that case, specific legislation had been enacted to compensate,
in particular, victims of political repression. The representative
also stressed that the independence of the judiciary was a guarantee
against torture and confessions obtained by force and, in his view,
the adoption of an act on the judiciary providing for such independence
was the most important measure to be taken at present in his country.
With regard to cases of restriction on the exercise of human rights,
he said that, in the past, cases of restriction were kept secret,
while, at present, they were established by law. For example, it was
known in which cases telephone listening devices could be used and
when correspondence could be opened.
to article 2 of the Convention, the representative explained that
an individual could be held in pre-trial detention for three hours
but, if there were grounds for believing that he would be accused
of a crime and it was necessary to hold him longer, he could be held
for three days, provided that, during the first 24 hours, the procurator
had been notified of his arrest and had made sure that it had been
carried out in conformity with the law. The accused could have access
to a lawyer after three days and once he had been charged; that was
the general rule, whether the person had been detained by the police,
the army or the security forces. However, in practice, that was still
not the case. The representative pointed out that, not long before,
the maximum period of pre-trial detention in Ukraine could be extended
by the procurator of the Union for up to one and a half years.
regard to article 4 of the Convention, the representative provided
figures on proceedings instituted in the last three years against
public officials and members of the police force. Those figures showed
that legal action had been taken against 1,567 officials in 1990,
438 in 1991 and 1,002 in 1992. He also provided additional information
on the four crimes which were punishable by the death penalty under
the Ukrainian Penal Code and underlined that under the Soviet Code
37 crimes had been made punishable by the death penalty.
reference to articles 6 and 7 of the Convention, the representative
stated that the rules applied to extradition had not yet been changed
but, in his view, appropriate provisions on extradition would be included
in the new Constitution.
regard to article 10 of the Convention, the representative indicated
that a special training institute for public officials was to be set
up in Ukraine to ensure that all Government departments had competent
managerial staff. The training of psychologists who would be sent
to work in penal establishments would include the study of international
human rights instruments and the legislation on the implementation
of the Convention against Torture, in particular.
Conclusions and recommendations
Committee thanked the Government of Ukraine for having submitted its
second periodic report on time. It took note, in particular, of the
part of the report dealing with the laws and other measures introduced
to ensure respect for human rights in general and the application
of the Convention in particular.
Committee also noted that the second periodic report of Ukraine was
not fully in accordance with the general guidelines regarding the
form and contents of periodic reports and recommended that the next
periodic report should describe in detail the measures planned or
taken with a view to the application of the provisions of the Convention,
and would appreciate it if legislative texts of interest, such as
the Constitution, codes and new laws, could be transmitted as soon
as they had been drawn up to the Secretariat for communication to
the Committee against Torture. The Committee expressed the view that,
within approximately two years, the desirability of requesting an
additional report from Ukraine should be considered.
132. In addition,
the Committee expressed the hope that the Supreme Council and Government
of Ukraine would take all necessary steps to ensure application of
the provisions and respect for the requirements of the Convention.