COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
12 – 23 November 2001
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee against Torture
1. The Committee
considered the fourth periodic report of Ukraine (CAT/C/55/Add.1)
at its 488th, 491st and 499th meetings (CAT/C/SR.488, 491and 499),
and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.
2. The Committee welcomes the punctual submission of the fourth periodic
report of Ukraine. It notes that the report was not submitted in total
conformity with the Committee's guidelines for the preparation of
State periodic reports. The Committee also notes that the report mainly
addresses legal provisions and lacks detailed information with respect
to some articles of the Convention as well as information on the follow-up
to the recommendations it made after the examination of the third
periodic report. However, the Committee wishes to express its appreciation
for the extensive and informative oral answers given by the delegation
of the State party during the consideration of the report.
3. The Committee notes with appreciation:
(a) The ongoing efforts by the State party to reform its legislation,
including the adoption of a new Criminal Code, which contains an article
qualifying torture as a specific crime, the establishment of a new
Constitutional Court, the enactment of new legislation relating to
the protection of human rights and the adoption of a new Law on Immigration.
(b) That although Ukraine is not a party to the 1951 Convention Relating
to the Status of Refugees, nor to its Protocol, it has adopted a new
Law on Refugees in June 2001 that adheres, inter alia, to that Convention's
definition of "Refugee". The Committee also welcomes the adoption
of a new Citizenship Law of January 2001, which enables formerly deported
persons to return to Ukraine and obtain Ukrainian citizenship.
(c) The removal from the "State Secret Act" of offences concerning
breaches of human rights.
(d) The abolition of the death penalty.
(e) The information included in the report that, by Act of 5 November
1998, Ukraine acknowledged the Committee's jurisdiction, as provided
for by articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.
(f) The establishment of the Office of the Commissioner for Human
Rights (Ombudsman), charged with the protection of human rights in
Ukraine, who can visit and have full access to all places where persons
are deprived of liberty.
(g) The assurances given by the Head of delegation that the reports
of the three visits of the European Committee for the Prevention of
Torture, which took place in 1998, 1999 and 2000 respectively will
4. The Committee expresses its concern about the following:
(a) The numerous instances indicating that torture is still being
regularly practiced in the State party and that, according to the
Commissioner for Human Rights, 30% of prisoners are victims of torture.
(b) The forced deportation of four Uzbek nationals, members of the
Uzbek Opposition, who were at high risk of being subjected to torture
and whose case was subject of an urgent appeal by the UN Special Rapporteur
(c) That judges are sitting in the newly formed "co-ordination committees
on crime fighting" jointly with the representatives of the Ministry
of Interior, a situation which is contrary to the principle of the
separation of powers and may affect the independence of the Judiciary.
(d) The numerous cases of convictions based on confessions and the
criterion for promotion of investigators said to include the number
of solved crimes, which can lead to torture and ill-treatment of detainees
or suspects to force them to "confess".
(e) Failure on the part of the authorities to carry out prompt, impartial
and thorough investigations into allegations of such acts and to prosecute
and punish those responsible.
(f) The information received by the Committee that relatives and lawyers
are informed about the detention only after the arrested person has
been transferred from police custody to a pre-trial detention facility,
a process that usually takes not less than two weeks. The Committee
is also concerned about the lack of clear legal provisions about the
exact time when a detained person could exercise his right to a defence
counsel, medical examination and to inform a family member of his
(g) The duration of pre-trial detention, which can last for up to
18 months according to the law but that in practice can be extended
for up to three years, the administrative detention for up to 15 days
and the detention of "vagrants" for up to 30 days.
(h) The long-term prison sentences for non-violent dissemination of
ideas and information.
(i) The reported threats and harassment including ill-treatment of
independent journalists and others who have raised allegations of
abuses by officials.
(j) The overcrowding and lack of access to basic hygiene facilities
and adequate medical care, as well as the high incidence of tuberculosis
in prisons and pre-trial detention centres.
(k) The lack of adequate training of police and prison personnel on
their duties under the law and on the rights of detainees.
(l) Despite certain progress made, the practice of bullying and hazing
(dedovshchina) of young conscript soldiers is still widely
practised in the armed forces.
5. The Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Take effective measures to prevent acts of torture and ill-treatment
in its territory, in view of the persistent reports that torture is
still regularly practiced.
(b) Deposit with UN-Secretary-General its declaration accepting the
Committee's competence with respect to articles 21 and 22 of the Convention
and the removal of its reservation in regard to article 20.
(c) That the principle enshrined in article 3 not to expel, return
or extradite a person where he/she might be subject to torture be
strictly observed by the competent authorities in the State party.
(d) Establish its jurisdiction over offences of torture even if the
offender is not a national of the State party, but is present in any
territory under its jurisdiction, and in the case it does not extradite
(e) Clarify and reconcile the sometimes contradictory provisions pertaining
to the timing when a detained person has the right to a defence counsel
and to ensure that this right is exercised from the moment of arrest.
(f) Ensure that there is a legal prohibition to carry out interrogation
of detainees without the presence of a defence counsel of his choice.
(g) Take appropriate measures to ensure the independence of the Judiciary
and counsel for defense as well as the objectivity of the Procuracy
in the performance of their duties in conformity with international
(h) Ensure in practice absolute respect for the principle of the inadmissibility
of evidence obtained through torture.
(i) Take effective steps to establish a fully independent complaints
mechanism to ensure prompt, independent and full investigations into
allegations of torture, including numerous detailed allegations received
from various non-governmental organizations, both national and international.
(j) Take effective measures to improve conditions in prisons and pre-trial
detention centres, including space, facilities and sanitation, and
establish a system of inspection of prisons and detention centres
by independent monitors, whose findings should be published.
(k) Shorten the current 72-hour pre-trial detention period during
which detainees may be held in isolation cells prior to being brought
before a judge.
(l) Expedite the process of training of law enforcement and medical
personnel, as to their duties to respect the rights and dignity of
persons deprived of liberty.
(m) Take effective measures to prevent and punish trafficking of women
and other forms of violence against women.
(n) Adopt a more effective system to end the practice of bullying
and hazing (dedovshchina) in the armed forces, through training
and education, and prosecute and punish offenders.
(o) Establish a procedure for providing redress for victims of torture,
including fair and adequate compensation.
(p) Continue the program against Tuberculosis in prisons and pre-trial
(q) Widely disseminate the Committee's conclusions and recommendations,
in all appropriate languages, in the country.