Human rights activists won the first case on tortures versus Ukraine in the European court for human rights

On April 5 the European court for human rights pronounced judgment on the case Afanasyev versus Ukraine. Ukraine was returned guilty in violation the European convention and obliged to pay out 6500 euros of compensation to the victim.

The claimant (Oleksiy Afanasyev, resides in Kharkiv) complained that he was tortured by militiamen in defiance of clause 3 of the Convention. He also complained that the immediate and efficient investigation wasn’t accomplished, what could prove that the claimant was rudely treated. At the same time he stated that in Ukraine there are no efficient methods of protection of the right for freedom from torture and possibilities to get a corresponding compensation for such actions (clause 13 of the Convention).

The lawyer of the Kharkiv human rights group and the Ukrainian Helsinki union for human rights Arkadiy Bushchenko exhausted all possible measures of protection clients’ interests and submitted a claim to the European court for human rights.

Despite numerous protests of the government, the European court for human rights accepted the claim for consideration, supposing that this claim raises serious questions regarding the fact and law. On April 5 the unanimous decision on the case Afanasyev versus Ukraine was taken (claim № 38722/02) – Ukraine violated clause 3 and clause 13 of the European Convention for human rights and is to pay out a compensation. Such a fast consideration of this case proves the implicitness of his rights violation and well-prepared materials of the case.

It should be mentioned that currently human rights activists protect the rights of victims of tortures in more than 40 cases, most of which will most likely be considered soon in the European court for human rights.

Thus far as the Ukrainian government continues to violate human rights – it will have to pay its citizens after failure in the European court and decrease its prestige on the international arena. And human rights organizations gain more and more experience in serious cases against representatives of the government.

Yaroslav Hordiyevych


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