The European Court has its opinion, the Chernihiv Prosecutor another…

Viktor Tarasov reports that the Desnyansk District Court in Chernihiv has yet again cancelled the decision issued by the Prosecutor’s Office to terminate criminal cases over the bodily injuries inflicted by police officers on Mykhailo Koval and his family. The Prosecutor’s Office has been ordered to reinstate the case.

Mr. Koval calls it symbolic that the ruling came on 20 December which is marked as Ukrainian Police Day. He says that he has been trying to defend his rights and get those responsible brought to justice for 11 years while the officers in question have continued to serve in the police, been promoted and hold high positions.

This is the first time that the Prosecutor’s Office has attempted to cancel the criminal investigation since the European Court of Human Rights gave its judgment in the case. The Court found that there had been violation of both the substantive and the procedural aspects of Article 3 of the European Convention (prohibition of torture and ill-treatment) and others. Ukraine was ordered to pay three members of the Koval family 35 thousand EUR compensation

In June 2005 police officers burst into the family’s home to ascertain whether the son had returned an electric drill he borrowed. The visitation resulted in the members of the family receiving bruises, a fractured rib and concussion, first at home and then in the police station where they were taken.

Neither the numerous medical documents, nor the testimony of the victims who could identify their tormentors prompted the authorities to punish the culprits. “No elements of a crime” were found.

The Koval family was represented in Strasbourg by Arkady Bushchenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.

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