COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
122. The Committee considered the third periodic report of Ukraine
(CAT/C/34/Add.1) at its 283rd, 284th and 287th meetings, on 29 April
and 1 May 1997 (CAT/C/SR.283, 284/Add.1 and 287), and formulated the
following conclusions and recommendations.
123. The Government of Ukraine submitted its third periodic report
in due time, in accordance with article 19, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
124. The Committee expresses its satisfaction with the report, which,
in the main, conforms to the general guidelines concerning the presentation
and content of such reports.
125. The Committee heard comments on and clarifications of the report
by the representatives of Ukraine.
126. Following its consideration and discussion of the report, the
Committee noted the following.
127. A positive aspect of Ukraine's compliance with the Convention
is the adoption, on 28 June 1996, of its Constitution, article 28
of which prohibits torture.
128. The Committee notes with satisfaction that Ukraine joined the
Council of Europe on 9 November 1995 and that it has signed the European
Convention on Human Rights and 11 protocols to that Convention. The
Committee supports the intention of Ukraine to ratify that Convention.
129. The Committee welcomes the incorporation by Ukraine, in its legislation
on the activities of law enforcement bodies, of provisions (such as
article 5 of the Act on the Militia and article 5 of the Act on the
Security Service) ensuring respect by law enforcement personnel for
human rights and freedoms and on the obligation to comply with them.
130. The Committee expresses the hope that the Government will make
efforts to bring its legislation and the practices of law enforcement
bodies into line with the task of protecting the rights and freedoms
of citizens proclaimed by the Convention.
subjects of concern
131. The Committee is concerned about the large number of reports
by non-governmental organizations of cases of torture and violence
committed by officials during preliminary investigations, causing
suffering, bodily injury and, in a number of cases, death.
132. The State party lacks a sufficiently effective system of independent
bodies capable of successfully investigating complaints and allegations
of the use of torture, preventing and putting an end to torture and
ensuring that the perpetrators of such acts are held fully responsible
133. The legislation in force fails to provide any effective judicial
control of the lawfulness of arrests.
134. Although article 28 of Ukraine's Constitution prohibits the use
of torture, its criminal legislation fails to define torture as a
distinct and dangerous crime. In the circumstances, this provision
of the Constitution is merely declaratory. Provisions on criminal
responsibility for the imposition of inhuman and degrading punishment
are also lacking.
135. The Committee is seriously concerned about the scale on which
the death penalty is applied as being contrary to the European Convention
on Human Rights and the European Convention on the Prevention of Torture
and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Committee is
also concerned about the large number of provisions in the Criminal
Code that envisage the imposition of the death penalty, including
an attempt on the life of a militiaman. This situation is contrary
to the obligation assumed by Ukraine to introduce a moratorium on
the imposition of the death penalty.
136. The Committee considers that the systematic mistreatment and
beating of recruits in the armed forces constitutes a flagrant violation
of the Convention.
137. The conditions prevailing in premises used for holding persons
in custody and in prisons may be described as inhuman and degrading,
causing suffering and the impairment of health.
138. A major obstacle in efforts to prevent torture is the difficulty
experienced by accused persons in gaining access to a lawyer of their
choice in cases where the lawyer's participation in the proceedings
depends on his presentation of an authorization to act as defence
counsel; this problem can be solved only by the Ministry of Justice
which issues such authorizations.
139. The Committee expresses regret that Ukraine has not as yet joined
those countries which have recognized the provisions of article 20
of the Convention.
140. The Committee notes that the report contains insufficient information
and, in particular, gives no statistical data on the number of persons
serving custodial sentences or arrested as a preventive measure, on
the number of complaints made regarding the use of torture or on the
number of persons prosecuted for that offence. There is also insufficient
information about conditions of detention. No details are provided
with regard to compensation for persons subjected to torture or their
141. The Committee is particularly concerned that article 29 of the
Constitution of Ukraine has been suspended for five years, especially
since the provisions of that article are of great importance in ensuring
the observance of the law and preventing the use of torture. The Committee
notes the lack of an independent body for monitoring compliance with
the Convention in all its aspects.
142. The main issue in connection with the fulfilment by Ukraine of
the requirements of the Convention concerns the drafting and adoption
of directly enforceable regulatory instruments, as only by this means
can the provisions of the Convention, and the relevant provision of
the Constitution of Ukraine, be applied.
143. Priority should be given to the adoption of a new criminal code,
defining torture as a punishable offence, and a new code of criminal
procedure, guaranteeing the right of an accused person to counsel
at all stages of criminal proceedings, as well as to effective and
practical supervision by the courts of preliminary confinement to
preclude any use of torture at the stage of detention or arrest or
at subsequent stages of criminal proceedings.
144. Another major task is to extend supervision by the judicial and
civil authorities over the work of the law enforcement agencies and
to establish a system of independent institutions for rapid and effective
follow-up of complaints regarding the use of torture and other degrading
treatment or punishment.
145. It is highly desirable that the widest possible publicity should
be given to the main provisions of the Convention through the press
and other media and that practical training in the rules and standards
of the Convention should be made available for investigators and the
staff of penal institutions.
146. The Committee recommends that interrogation of any person detained
or arrested without the participation of defence counsel or when the
person is being held incommunicado should be prohibited by law.
147. The Committee considers the 18-month maximum period during which
an accused person may be held in custody to be excessive and recommends
that it should be reduced.
148. The Committee encourages the Government of Ukraine to consider
withdrawing its reservation to article 20 of the Convention and to
make the declarations under articles 21 and 22, as well as ratify
Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights.
149. The Committee considers that a radical reform of correctional
institutions, such as colonies and prisons, and places of pre-trial
detention is essential to ensure full compliance with the provisions
of the Convention. Solitary confinement and especially conditions
of imprisonment give rise to particular concern.
150. The Committee recommends that the moratorium on the application
of the death penalty be given permanent effect.
151. It is particularly important, in the Committee's view, to organize
special training for the personnel of correctional institutions, especially
doctors, in the principles and standards of the Convention.
152. The Committee believes that there is a need to establish by law
a procedure for providing redress for injury caused to victims of
torture, including compensation for moral injury, and to define the
arrangements, amount and conditions for such compensation.