Statement on refugees
General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Oleg Makhnitskiy
Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov
Head of the SSU, Valentin Nalyvaychenko
Justice Minister, Pavel Petrenko
We are deeply concerned over the fact that the judicial bodies in Ukraine could not abandon the practices which took place during the government of Viktor Yanukovych as well as previously. We were compelled to make such uncompromising conclusions due to the responses from the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry and Security Service of Ukraine, received in regard to our inquiries.
In late March 2014, representatives of the civil society addressed a statement to the head of the SSU, the Interior Ministry and the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine with a number of demands, in particular: offer a formal apology and carry out an investigation with regard to the cases of refugees, affected by the actions of Ukraine, and their families; withdraw the request, filed with Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant for Kazakh opposition leader, Mukhtar Ablyazov, and persons involved in his case; cease cooperation with the secret services of Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other authoritarian regimes (in particular, post-Soviet) with regards to the prosecution, kidnapping and rendering of political opponents and refugees.
The responses of the State Migration Service of Ukraine and the Centre for International Cooperation of the SSU, stated that, pursuant to Article 574 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, the central authorities, competent to issue decisions regarding the rendering (extradition) of a person are the General Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. The letter received from the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine merely included information regarding the consideration of the appeal to “terminate the proceedings with a view to extradition to Ukraine of M. Ablyazov, T. Paraskevich, I. Kononko and R. Solodchenko”. This reply cannot be considered exhaustive, as it doesn’t indicate any parameters of verification or reasons for which "cancellation of procedural decisions is not expected at the moment".
Also, we haven’t received answers regarding:
- apologies to the families of Dirar Abu Sisi, Filip Dolbunov (Galtsov), Ulugbek Zaynabetdinov, Leonid Razvozzhayev, Denis Solopov, Ruslan Suleymanov, Khamidullo Turgunov and others in whose cases legal errors must be acknowledged and rectified.
- an investigation into the actions of former General Prosecutor, Viktor Pshonka and other law enforcement officers who contrived charges and made an extradition request against Mukhtar Ablyazov and his colleagues, thereby contributing to their subsequent political persecution in Kazakhstan and Russia.
- suspension of cooperation with the secret services of Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other authoritarian (in particular, post-Soviet) regimes aimed at the prosecution, kidnapping and rendering of political opponents and refugees.
Such responses impel us to suspect that cooperation between the General Prosecutor's Office and the law firm ‘Ilyashev and Partners’ continues. In particular, we would like to inquire about the planned participation of members of this structure in the court hearing in the case of Mukhtar Ablyazov on 26 May, 2014 in Lyon (France). According to mass media reports, the services of private law firms in the case of M. Ablyazov are financed by BTA Bank, and not the General Prosecutor's Office at the expense of the state budget. This indicates that the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine has violated and is violating the Law ‘On Principles of Prevention and Combating Corruption’ and the Law ‘On Prosecutor's Office’. In particular, in accordance with Article 5 of the Law ‘On Prosecutor's Office’, it should represent the interests of the state in the courts, and Article 52 of the same law states that “financing for state bodies shall come from the state budget."
We are concerned over the ongoing cooperation between the Ukrainian authorities and lobby groups of countries with dictatorial regimes, as well as the use of funds of commercial structures for the work of investigation agencies. Such cooperation contravenes the laws of Ukraine and poses a threat to national security and the international image of Ukraine.
We are also concerned over the fact that Ukraine has not undertaken any measures aimed at clarifying Russia's role in harbouring Viktor Yanukovych, Viktor Pshonka, Vitaliy Zakharchenko and other representatives of the former government. In particular, it should be determined whether such actions of the Russian Federation are in line with the standards of Interpol and other international organisations.
In light of the above, we hereby demand that:
- persons responsible for conducting investigation into the cooperation of special services in the cases of Dirar Abu Sisi, Filip Dolbunov (Galtsov), Ulugbek Zaynabetdinov, Leonid Razvozzhayev, Denis Solopov, Ruslan Suleymanov, Khamidullo Turgunov, Mukhtar Ablyazov and other persons involved in the case of BTA Bank, be appointed. Based on the results of the investigation, a formal apology to the above named persons should be submitted.
- information be provided as to whether there exists a contractual relationship between the General Prosecutor of Ukraine and private companies in representing the interests of Ukraine in a foreign court. Should such a relationship be identified, please provide the legal grounding for such cooperation. In particular, we are interested in the legal and financial base for the planned presence of employees of ‘Ilyashev and Partners’ at the court hearing in the case of Mukhtar Ablyazov on 26 May, 2014 in Lyon (France).
- extradition requests issued on Ukraine’s demand be verified for their legality, the presence of political motives and conditionality of such requests on the cooperation of Ukraine with authoritarian regimes. The results of the verification should be made public.
- cooperationwiththesecretservicesofRussia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistanandotherauthoritarianregimes (inparticular,post-Soviet) aimedatpersecuting, kidnapping and rendering of politicalopponentsandrefugeesbeceased.
- verification of the legality of Russia’s actions be initiated in connection with the incidents of harbouring representatives of Viktor Yanukovich’s regime in the territory of the Russian Federation.
The statement has been signed by:
Lyudmyla Kozlovska, President Of the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland)
Alexandra Matviychuk, President of the Board Of the Centre For Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Arkadiy Bushchenko, Executive Director Of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Tatiana Pechonchik, director of the Centre for Human Rights Information (Ukraine)