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Ukraine: Don’t stop halfway. Government must use new Criminal Procedure Code to end torture.

April 15, 2013

For the past decade the widespread use of torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officers in Ukraine has been a concern to Amnesty International.

The problem continues unabated today. This briefing uses a selection of new cases to highlight how police officers in Ukraine continue to escape investigation and punishment for their involvement in appalling crimes.

Out of 114,474 complaints made to prosecutors about police treatment in 2012, only 1,750 were investigated, leading to only 320 prosecution cases being opened against 438 police officers.

Successive rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) have criticized the conduct of investigations into torture and other ill-treatment in Ukraine and recommend the establishment of a new system for investigating human rights violations by police.

The introduction of a new Criminal Procedure Code last November has the potential to do this. Among other improvements outlined below, the new Code includes a provision for the establishment of a State Investigation Bureau to investigate crimes by law enforcement officers and high-ranking officials.

Amnesty International believes it is crucial that this State Investigation Bureau is urgently created as a genuinely independent, impartial and effective institution and used to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by law enforcement officers. The role of the Prosecutor's office in ordinary law enforcement prevents it from ever being able to investigate such allegations impartially, and it has demonstrated in case after case that it is the wrong tool for this job.