Vissza Council of Europe anti-torture Committee holds high-level talks in Ukraine

Representatives of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) held high-level talks with the Ukrainian authorities on 13 and 19 December 2013 in Kyiv.

The talks were organised in the aftermath of police interventions on 30 November 2013 at Independence Square and on 1 December 2013 on Bankova Street in Kyiv. According to various reports, supported by public video footage, excessive force had been used by police officers when dispersing demonstrators and taking a number of them into custody.

Representatives of the Government publicly apologised for the police action of 30 November 2013. They also indicated that inquiries had been initiated by the relevant authorities regarding the manner in which the above-mentioned interventions had been carried out.

The main objective of the high-level talks was to obtain details about all the persons deprived of their liberty in the context of the ongoing demonstrations in Kyiv and the investigations which had been initiated following complaints of detained demonstrators about ill-treatment by law enforcement officials. In addition, discussions were held on the action taken by the relevant authorities to prevent future instances of ill-treatment and/or excessive use of force during police interventions.

The CPT's representatives met Vitaliy ZAKHARCHENKO, Minister of Internal Affairs, Viktor RATUSHNIAK, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Maksym RAYKO, Deputy Minister of Justice, Mykola CHYNCHYN, Head of the Main Investigation Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and Oleksandr DUKA, Deputy Head of the State Penitentiary Service.

Further, they held consultations with Viktor PSHONKA, Prosecutor General, Vitaliy BILIUS, First Deputy Prosecutor General, and Liliya FROLOVA, Deputy Prosecutor General.

Meetings were also held with Valeria LUTKOVSA, Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, and Yuriy BELOUSOV, Head of the Department for the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) in the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as with representatives of several non-governmental organisations.

The CPT's representatives were Lətif HÜSEYNOV, President of the Committee, Djordje ALEMPIJEVIĆ and George TUGUSHI, members of the CPT, as well as Michael NEURAUTER, Head of Division in the Committee’s Secretariat.

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