Annual Report: Ukraine 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Ukraine 2010

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  • On 7 July, the Balaklava district court refused to consider an appeal by Igor Koktysh against his detention pending extradition to Belarus, confirming the absence of any remedy within the extradition procedure. Igor Koktysh had been detained since 25 June 2007 following an application by Belarus for his extradition to face a charge of murder, a crime which carries the death penalty in Belarus. He had already been acquitted of this charge and released in 2001, and the Supreme Court had confirmed the verdict on 1 February 2002. On 11 April 2002, the Prosecutor General of Belarus appealed against the acquittal and the case was returned to court for a retrial. Igor Koktysh was an opposition activist and worked to rehabilitate young drug users. He moved to Ukraine in October 2003 where he continued to support the Belarusian opposition during the presidential elections in 2006. In October 2007, he applied to the European Court of Human Rights against his extradition and detention. The court urged Ukraine not to extradite him to Belarus until it had considered his case, and the possibility that the charge against Igor Koktysh had been fabricated by the Belarusian authorities to punish him for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

Freedom of assembly

On 3 June, the parliament approved the draft Law on Assembly at its first reading. The draft law had been criticized by NGOs for its failure to comply with international human rights standards. It required five days' notice before any action, and made no allowance for spontaneous gatherings; it allowed the use of force by law enforcement officers with no requirement for restraint, and it failed to incorporate the duty of the state to ensure that the right to peaceful assembly was respected.

Enforced disappearance

On 27 January, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution welcoming the conviction of three former police officers for the murder of the investigative journalist Georgiy Gongadze, but called for the instigators and organizers to be held to account "without regard to the rank and position of the suspects". Georgiy Gongadze disappeared on 16 September 2000, and his headless body was found in November the same year. On 23 July, nine years after the disappearance, Oleksiy Pukach, a former lieutenant general in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, was arrested and charged with the killing.