Leadership of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) visited the Council of Europe (CoE) Office in Ukraine to meet the Head of Office and discuss cooperation following the Priority adjustments to the CoE Action Plan for Ukraine till the end of 2022. The cooperation is ongoing under the CoE Project “Supporting Institutions to Combat Ill-Treatment in Ukraine Phase II” (Project), where the SBI is the beneficiary.
Deputy Director of the SBI briefed on recent developments within the institution and its work, priorities and strategic vision within the context of ongoing war in Ukraine. Deputy Head of the Main Investigative Division outlined the modalities of involvement of SBI staff in evidence collection and investigation of gross human rights violations. He as well provided information on the current status in the sphere of investigation of alleged torture and ill-treatment cases by the SBI.
Mr. Steen Nørlov, the Head of the CoE Office in Ukraine, conveyed the words of determined support to Ukraine, commending country’s clear commitment to the European path, democratic values, human rights and rule of law: “I would like to thank your staff for being in constant contact with us and for co-operation in the process of readjusting Project modalities, that will now be more focused on investigation of gross human rights violations committed at the time of war. This does not mean, however, that some of the previous plans we had are no longer valid. Ill-treatment investigation will remain a priority. We will as well support your institution and capacity building for SBI staff in the sphere of criminalistics that is specific to investigations at the time of war”.
“It is important for us to keep up with all the European standards despite of war. I want to reassure you that investigation of gross human rights violations, including torture and ill-treatment, remain on our priority list. Of course, as it is the case for any institution at the time of war, we face internal and external challenges, but they do not influence the level of commitment of our staff to investigate crimes, including those committed in the war line zones. We thank for the CoE uninterrupted support and look forward to further cooperation” – underlined Oleksandr Sokolov, Deputy Director of the SBI.
Participants as well discussed institutional challenges within SBI at the time of war, such as relocation of territorial departments, safety and security of staff located at or close to war line, necessity to further develop criminalistic potential of the institution and other.