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World : Europe : Ukraine
 
Ukraine

The first identifiable groups to populate what is now Ukraine were Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, and Goths, among other nomadic peoples who arrived throughout the first millennium B.C. These people were well-known to colonists and traders in the ancient world, including Greeks and Romans, who established trading outposts that eventually became city states. Slavic tribes occupied central and eastern Ukraine in the sixth century A.D. and played an important role in the establishment of Kiev. Situated on lucrative trade routes, Kiev quickly prospered as the center of a powerful state of Kievan Rus. In the 11th century, Kievan Rus was, geographically, the largest state in Europe. Christian missionaries, Cyril and Methodius, propagated the Christian faith and the Cyrillic alphabet. Kievan Rus Prince Vladimir converted the Kievan nobility and most of the population to Christianity in 988. Conflict among the feudal lords led to decline in the 12th century. Kiev was razed by Mongol raiders in the 13th century.

Most of the territory of what is modern Ukraine was annexed by Poland and Lithuania in the 14th century, but during that time, the Ukrainian people began to conceive of themselves as a distinct people, a feeling that survived subsequent partitioning by greater powers over the next centuries. Ukrainian peasants who fled the Polish effort to force them into servitude came to be known as Cossacks and earned a reputation for their fierce martial spirit and love of freedom. In 1667, Ukraine was partitioned between Poland and Russia. In 1793, most of modern-day Ukraine was integrated into the Russian Empire.

The 19th century found the region largely agricultural, with a few cities and centers of trade and learning. The region was under the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the extreme west and the Russian Empire elsewhere. Ukrainian writers and intellectuals were inspired by the nationalistic spirit stirring other European peoples existing under other imperial governments and were determined to revive Ukrainian linguistic and cultural traditions and reestablish a Ukrainian nation-state. Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861), national hero of Ukraine, presented the intellectual maturity of the Ukrainian language and culture through his work as a poet and artist. Imperial Russia, however, imposed strict limits on attempts to elevate Ukrainian language and culture, even banning its use and study.

When World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia shattered the Habsburg and Russian empires, Ukrainians declared independent statehood. In 1917 and 1918, three separate Ukrainian republics declared independence. However, by 1921, the western part of the traditional territory had been incorporated into Poland, and the larger, central and eastern part became part of the Soviet Union.

The Ukrainian national idea persevered during the interwar years, and Soviet reaction was severe, particularly under Stalin, who imposed terror campaigns that ravaged the intellectual class. He also created artificial famines as part of his forced collectivization policies, which killed millions of previously independent peasants and others throughout the country. Estimates of deaths from the 1932-33 famine alone range from 3 million to 7 million.

When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, many Ukrainians, particularly in the west, welcomed what they saw as liberation from communist rule, but this did not last. German brutality was directed principally against Ukraine's Jews (of whom an estimated 1 million were killed), but also against many other Ukrainians. Babyn Yar in Kiev was the site of one of the most horrific Nazi massacres of Ukrainian Jews, ethnic Ukrainians, and many others. Kiev and other parts of the country were heavily damaged. Ukrainians began to resist the Nazis as well as the Soviets.

After the Nazi and Soviet invasions of Poland in 1939, the western Ukrainian regions were incorporated into the Soviet Union. Resistance against Soviet government forces continued as late as the 1950s. Little changed for Ukraine over the next decades. During periods of relative liberalization--as under Nikita Khrushchev from 1955 to 1964--Ukrainian communists pursued national objectives. In the years of perestroika, under U.S.S.R. President Mikhail Gorbachev, national goals were again advanced by Ukrainian officials. The 1986 explosion at the Chornobyl (Chernobyl in Russian) nuclear power plant, located on Ukrainian soil, and the Soviet Government's initial efforts to conceal the extent of the catastrophe from its own people and the world, was a watershed for many Ukrainians in exposing the severe problems of the Soviet system. Ukraine became an independent state on August 24, 1991, and was a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

 

ECONOMY

After Russia, the Ukrainian republic was far and away the most important economic component of the former Soviet Union, producing about four times the output of the next-ranking republic. Its fertile black soil generated more than one-fourth of Soviet agricultural output, and its farms provided substantial quantities of meat, milk, grain, and vegetables to other republics. Likewise, its diversified heavy industry supplied the unique equipment (for example, large diameter pipes) and raw materials to industrial and mining sites (vertical drilling apparatus) in other regions of the former USSR. Ukraine depends on imports of energy, especially natural gas, to meet some 85% of its annual energy requirements. Shortly after independence in late 1991, the Ukrainian Government liberalized most prices and erected a legal framework for privatization, but widespread resistance to reform within the government and the legislature soon stalled reform efforts and led to some backtracking. Output by 1999 had fallen to less than 40% the 1991 level. Loose monetary policies pushed inflation to hyperinflationary levels in late 1993. Ukraine's dependence on Russia for energy supplies and the lack of significant structural reform have made the Ukrainian economy vulnerable to external shocks. Now in his second term, President KUCHMA has pledged to reduce the number of government agencies, streamline the regulatory process, create a legal environment to encourage entrepreneurs, and enact a comprehensive tax overhaul. Reforms in the more politically sensitive areas of structural reform and land privatization are still lagging. Outside institutions - particularly the IMF - have encouraged Ukraine to quicken the pace and scope of reforms and have threatened to withdraw financial support. GDP in 2000 showed strong export-based growth of 6% - the first growth since independence - and industrial production grew 12.9%. The economy continued to expand in 2001 as real GDP rose 9% and industrial output grew by over 14%. Growth was undergirded by strong domestic demand and growing consumer and investor confidence.

 

BELIEFS

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate, tended to predominate in the east; the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kiev Patriarchate, and the smaller Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church were strong in the central regions, and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church predominated in the west. These churches exerted significant political influence at the local and regional levels. Reportedly each of these churches, within its respective sphere of influence, also pressured local officials to restrict the activities of the others.

The law requires all religious organizations to register with the State Committee on Religious Affairs (SCRA). Registration is necessary to own property or carry out many economic activities, such as publishing religious materials and opening bank accounts.

Some nonnative and minority religious organizations reported that, especially at the local or regional levels, officials of the SCRA delayed registration of their organizations for extended periods. However, there were fewer such reports during the year 2002. Representatives of Progressive Jewish Community claimed that pressure from Chabad Lubavitch officials and local Dnipropetrovsk authorities led to a 5-year delay in the granting of registration to a Progressive Jewish Community in the city. In October 2001, members of the Community withdrew their petition for registration, citing harassment by local authorities. The Progressive Jewish Community also reported that its application for registration in Kryvy Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, had been under examination since 2001.

Representatives of Evangelical Christian communities expressed concern over instances of discrimination against their adherents. In December the Suvorov District court ordered a Pentecostal Church in Kherson closed for holding public services in June and July without permission from the local authorities. However, such incidents appeared to be isolated. Evangelical Churches, like many other religious communities, experienced difficulties in obtaining land plots.

Disputes among competing Orthodox Christian administrative bodies continued. The SCRA, although supportive of a unified, independent Orthodox Church for the country, has maintained neutrality in its relations with the various Orthodox churches. The Kiev Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church and the Greek Catholic church complained of harassment by local authorities in the predominantly Russian-speaking eastern region of the country, while the Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church complained that local governments ignored the appropriation of its churches by Greek Catholics in the western region.

The Government generally permitted religious organizations to establish places of worship and to train clergy. The Government continued to facilitate the building of houses of worship by allocation of land plots for new construction and through restitution of religious buildings to their rightful owners.

Representatives of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church cited instances of difficulties in providing religious services to soldiers and of the need to obtain approval from prison chaplains of the Moscow Patriarchate for prison ministry activities.

Members of numerous religious communities encountered difficulties in dealing with the Kiev municipal administration to obtain land permits and building permits, problems not limited to religious groups. Representatives of the Jewish community in Poltava complained that, despite assistance from the national authorities, the Poltava mayor’s office refused to address their concerns about obtaining property for a synagogue.

The law restricts the activities of nonnative, foreign-based, religious organizations ("native religions" are defined as Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Jewish), and narrowly defines the permissible activities of members of the clergy, preachers, teachers, and other foreign citizen representatives of foreign-based religious organizations. They may preach, administer religious ordinances, or practice other canonical activities only in those religious organizations which invited them to Ukraine and with official approval of the governmental body that registered the statutes and the articles of the pertinent religious organization. However, in practice the Government has not used the law to limit greatly the activity of nonnative religious organizations. There were no reports that nonnative foreign religious workers encountered difficulties obtaining visas or carrying out their activities during the year 2002.

Religious instruction is prohibited in the public school curriculum. Schools run by religious communities can and do include religious education as an extracurricular activity. In 2001 the Government began attempts to introduce training in "basic Christian ethics" into the schools. While the country's Jewish leaders support the teaching of ethics and civics in school, they insist on a nonsectarian approach to this training.

A large number of high-level government officials took part in the commemoration of the massacre at Babyn Yar in Kiev, one of the most serious Nazi crimes of the Holocaust, which the Government commemorates each September.

The Government continued to return properties expropriated during the Soviet era to religious groups; however, not all groups regarded the pace of restitution as satisfactory, and all major religious communities continued to have outstanding restitution claims. In 2001 the government completed the return of a number of major religious edifices for use by the main Orthodox churches in Ukraine. According to the State Committee for Religious Affairs, during 2002 the Government transferred ownership of 187 buildings that were originally constructed as places of worship to religious communities, for a total of 8,776 since independence in 1991. In addition, during the year 2002 religious communities received ownership of 358 premises (i.e. buildings or sections of buildings) converted into places of worship and another 524 religious buildings that were not designated for worship, such as former religious schools, hospitals, and clerical residences, totaling 2,388 and 1,313, respectively, since independence. Intra-communal competition for particular properties complicated the restitution issue, both for some Christian and for some Jewish communities. Some groups asserted that restitution generally was progressing satisfactorily, although more could be done, while others not receiving property reported a lack of progress. The slow pace of restitution was a reflection, among other things, of the country's difficult economic condition, which severely limits funds available for the relocation of the occupants of seized religious property. On September 27, the cabinet approved an action plan, drawn up at the instruction of President Kuchma, designed to return religious buildings to the religious organizations that formerly owned them.

The March parliamentary elections, in which some priests of various Orthodox communities were accused of endorsing particular political parties or candidates in their sermons, had a negative impact on inter-Orthodox relations, which had already been tense.

Disputes over the erection of crosses in Jewish cemeteries in Sambir, Kiev, remained unresolved. In 2000 in Sambir, Lviv Oblast, Jews, with foreign assistance, began construction of a memorial park at the site of an old Jewish cemetery, which was the scene of Nazi atrocities. Nationalists erected crosses on the site to commemorate Christian victims of Nazi terror, who had been buried in a mass grave at the site. While memorial organizers supported the recognition of all groups who suffered on the Sambir site, they opposed the use of Christian religious symbols on the grounds of the Jewish cemetery. At the same time, local nationalists remained opposed to the use of Jewish symbols or Hebrew in the memorial. Jewish and Greek Catholic leaders intervened in an attempt to find a solution to the dispute. In spite of a proposal by the memorial's foreign sponsor to relocate the crosses to another site at his expense, local government leaders still had not resolved the conflict by year's end. Local officials in Volodymyr-Volynsky, Western Ukraine, continued to allow construction of an apartment building on the site of an old Jewish cemetery despite a December 17 court ruling to halt construction.

Some ultranationalist groups and newspapers continued to publish and distribute anti-Semitic tracts. Anti-Semitic publications also were imported from Russia and distributed without the necessary state license. The Procuracy warned certain publications against publishing anti-Semitic material. Leaders of the Jewish community welcomed changes in the editorial staffs of the newspapers Vechirniy Kyiv and Za Vilnu Ukrayinu in late 2000. Under new editors, these newspapers, which had been among the chief offenders in publishing anti-Semitic articles, ceased such activity. While acts of anti-Semitic violence were uncommon, an attack on the Great Synagogue of Kiev in April by inebriated youths following a soccer match was a source of concern to the Jewish community. However, there were no other attacks on the synagogue during the year 2002, and most observers believed that the April incident was not premeditated.

Evangelical Christian missionaries reported some instances of societal discrimination against members of their churches, such as public criticism for betraying native religions, although there were no reports of harassment

 

INCIDENCE OF CRIME

The crime rate in Ukraine is low compared to more industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Ukraine. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Ukraine will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 2002 was 8.95 per 100,000 population for Ukraine, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.51 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2002 was 2.17 for Ukraine, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 32.05 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 2002 was 10.82 for Ukraine, 4.08 for Japan, and 144.92 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2002 was 12.57 for Ukraine, 23.78 for Japan, and 323.62 for USA. For burglary, the rate was 224.32 for Ukraine, 238.59 for Japan, and 740.80 for USA. The rate of larceny was 331.72 for Ukraine, 1550.41 for Japan, and 2484.64 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2002 was 17.94 for Ukraine, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 414.17 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 619.44 for Ukraine, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4123.97 for USA. Note: Data for burglary and larceny were not included in the 2002 report for the Ukraine, so data for 1999 were substituted.)

 

TRENDS IN CRIME

Between 1995 and 2002, according to INTERPOL data, the rate of murder decreased from 9.20 to 8.95 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 2.7 percent. The rate for rape decreased from 3.74 to 2.17, a decrease of 72 percent. The rate of robbery decreased from 72.30 to 10.82, a decrease of 568 percent. The rate for aggravated assault decreased from 32.39 to 12.57, a decrease of 157 percent. The rate for burglary decreased from 240.06 to 224.32, a decrease of 6.6%. The rate of larceny decreased from 404.70 to 331.72, a decrease of 18%. The rate of motor vehicle theft decreased from 42.47 to 17.94, a decrease of 137 percent. The rate of total index offenses decreased from 804.86 to 619.44, a decrease of 23 percent. (Note: Data for burglary and larceny were not included in the 2002 report for the Ukraine, so data for 1999 were substituted. Burglary data for 1995 were taken from INTERPOL for 1998 – nearest year reported. Larceny data for 1995 were taken from United Nations reports for 1995).

 

LEGAL SYSTEM

Immediately following the October Revolution of 1917, the Soviet Government issued a decree abolishing the old judiciary of Tsarist Russia. The decree created new local courts which were given broad discretion to hear criminal cases on the basis of "revolutionary legal consciousness". Other institutions were created as well, such as court investigators, the procuratura (federal and district attorneys), and public and private attorneys.

The Decree of Court #2 of March 7, 1918 proposed the establishment of a new judicial system which included local people's courts, district people's courts, regional people's courts, and Supreme Judicial Control. The Decree stated that the trial courts were to implement old legislation only in cases when it was not revoked by the new authorities and did not contradict the legal consciousness of the working classes.

For purposes of criminal investigation, three member investigatory committees were created. The committees were elected by local Soviets. Boards of public defenders were created as affiliations of local Soviets to participate in trial and provide legal defense. Public defenders were appointed by and could be forced to resign by appropriate local Soviets.

During the early 1920s, judicial reform took place in the Ukraine and other Soviet republics. The Soviet Procuratura and the Public Defenders Boards were created, the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedures were adopted.

The Soviet Union was created in December of 1922, which incorporated the Ukraine. Under the first Soviet Constitution of 1924, the Union issued the Fundamentals of Criminal Legislation, as well as the Fundamentals of the Judiciary of the USSR. The republics adopted Criminal Codes and Statutes on the Judiciary and the system of federal and republican legislation was established.

In the 1930s, unitarianist ideas started to prevail over the concept of republican sovereignty. The federal government was increasingly dominant and began to issue All-Union laws which had not been established by the Fundamentals. In 1934, the Judicial Supervisory Board was created in the Supreme Court of the USSR. The board had a right to cancel any judgment made by republican courts.

In August 1991, the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine declared the independence of Ukraine. It was decided that, before the appropriate legislation would be issued by Ukraine, the legislation issued by the USSR could be implemented on the territory of the Republic in cases not yet regulated by Ukrainian legislation, under the condition that it did not contradict the existing legislation of the Ukraine.

Today, the Ukraine has a unified judicial system. Its criminal justice system is based on both the inquisitory and adversary justice principles. While preliminary investigations follow an inquisitory scheme, the adversarial principle dominates when the case goes to trial. The primary criminal justice legislation being adhered to as of December 31, 1993 are the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Law on Judiciary.

 

POLICE

As of year 2002, there are two principal security agencies, which have equal responsibility for internal security: The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which is responsible for intelligence gathering, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which controls the various police forces. The Minister of Internal Affairs is a member of the Cabinet of Ministers, while the SBU enjoys special status within the executive branch and reports directly to the President. The State Tax Administration also has law enforcement powers, which it exercises through the tax police. The Office of the Prosecutor General prosecutes criminal cases and is responsible for enforcement of court decisions in criminal cases. The armed forces largely remained outside of politics. However, government agencies interfered indirectly in the political process through criminal and tax investigations of politicians, journalists, and influential businessmen. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces. Members of the security forces committed human rights abuses; however, the extent to which the authorities were complicit or acquiescent in these abuses was uncertain.

There were no confirmed reports of political killings; however, unidentified assailants killed one politician on the eve of parliamentary elections. Abuse of prisoners and detainees and harsh prison conditions at times led to death. There was an unconfirmed report that an individual who was taken into custody at the Shevchenkivskyi precinct in Zaporizhzhya on December 16 was beaten to death. According to the Ombudsman's office, during 2001 there were 1,381 deaths in prison and detention facilities, many due to harsh conditions.

Human rights groups stated that soldiers continued to be killed during violent hazing events, although no official data was available for the year. According to a government official, in 1998 (the latest year for which information was available) 10 to 12 military personnel were beaten to death, and a total of 20 to 30 died as an indirect result of injuries sustained from hazing. At times the authorities reportedly labeled these deaths as suicides.

During the year 2002, local authorities in the Cherkasy region closed their investigation into the alleged 2001 police torture of Yevhen Kornuta without any results.

The pervasiveness of corruption, connections between government officials and organized crime, and the political activities of organized crime figures, often blurred the distinction between political and criminal acts. Politicians, politically connected businessmen, and journalists were the victims of attacks that were sometimes fatal and possibly politically motivated. No official statistics for contract killings during the year 2002 were available. On August 23, in the only known case of conviction for a contract murder, a court sentenced two top officials of the alcohol company Soyuz Viktan to 15-year jail sentences for ordering the murder of two individuals who tried to extort money from them. The contracted murderer received a 14-year prison term.

According to the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Reporters Without Borders, four journalists died during the year 2002 in ways that may have been connected with their professional duties. A journalist, Mykhailo Kolomiyets, who disappeared from Kiev on October 28, was found hanged in neighboring Belarus on November 20. The Kiev prosecutor's office invited a team of foreign investigators to help determine whether Kolomiyets committed suicide.

On March 29, 2 days before parliamentary elections, unknown gunmen shot dead the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast Deputy Governor, Mykola Shkribliak in the stairwell of his house. Shkribliak was running for a constituency Rada seat.

The killing of prominent journalist Heorhiy Gongadze remained unsolved, although an investigation officially continued. Gongadze disappeared in September 2000; in November 2000, police found a decapitated body outside of Kiev, which DNA and other examinations confirmed to be his. The Government asserted that it was conducting a full-scale investigation into his disappearance, but members of the media and the public seriously criticized the Government’s handling of the case, while others accused the President and other senior officials of complicity. In April the authorities refused to share the Gongadze case file with foreign investigators whom they had invited to assist with the investigation. In September the Prosecutor General’s office announced that the murder was politically motivated; however, it made no arrests nor did it give any specific details to substantiate such claims. The investigation of the killing officially still was ongoing at year’s end. In May 2001, the Ministry of Internal Affairs claimed that two thieves had murdered Gongadze and had had been killed subsequently, but the Prosecutor General's Office did not uphold this charge. An audio recording exists alleged to contain conversations between President Kuchma and other senior government officials discussing the desirability of Gongadze's removal. One other recording allegedly from the same source has been judged to be authentic.

The July 2001 beating and subsequent death of Ihor Aleksandrov, a director of a Donetsk regional television station, remained unsolved. Aleksandrov had aired a number of critical reports about Donetsk-based politicians and was a noted critic of alleged corruption among local law enforcement authorities. According to the police, Yuri Verediuk, a homeless man, confessed that he had been hired to kill the head of the television station’s legal department and had mistaken Aleksandrov for this person. In May the Donetsk Oblast Appeals Court acquitted Verediuk, who earlier had been found guilty. On July 19, Verediuk died, reportedly of heart deficiency. The judge of the Donetsk Appeals Court had warned earlier, however, that Verediuk's life could be at risk. On July 25, upon the Procuracy's appeal, the Supreme Court rescinded Verediuk's acquittal and sent the case back to the Procuracy for a new investigation, a decision that the Appeals Court judge strongly criticized. Police refused to open criminal proceedings in connection with Verediuk's death, however, asserting that he had died of natural causes.

The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) based in Hungary pressed Ukrainian authorities to investigate the October 28, 2001, deaths of five members of a Roma family in Malaya Kakhovka, Poltava region. According to the ERRC, police Major Ivanov of the Kryukov Area Police Department and two unknown accomplices torched the home of Jurij Fedorchenko with seven family members inside. The five who died ranged in age from 3 to 25. Two members of the family survived. One of the survivors, 50 year old Jurij Fedorchenko, claimed that Major Ivanov burned the house because the family refused to pay the police officer an approximate $40 (215 hyrvnia) monthly bribe to ensure Ivanov’s protection for drug dealing, in which Jurij Fedorchenko’s daughter had engaged previously. Police reportedly took two individuals into custody and suspended Major Ivanov from his duties, although no legal action was taken against him.

In April Oleksandr Olynyk, an election monitor from the Ukrainian NGO, Committee of Voters of Ukraine (CVU), disappeared from Kirovohrad approximately 1 week after the March 30 elections. Initial reports did not indicate that his disappearance was related to his monitoring activities; however, subsequent inquiries suggested that he may have received threats while observing the elections. Local authorities filed a missing persons report and launched a criminal investigation into the case. No progress had been reported by year’s end. Andriy Tatarchuk, Vice Chairman of the Reforms and Order Party of Odesa (Our Ukraine Bloc) and former city council candidate, disappeared November 27 while returning home from work. Police in Odesa have launched an investigation and reportedly detained two individuals in mid-December in connection with the case. No conclusions as to the cause of his disappearance had been reached by year's end.

The Constitution prohibits torture; however, police and prison officials regularly beat detainees and prisoners, and there were numerous reports of torture. Although human rights groups did not receive specific reports that special militia detachments known as Berkut ("Golden Eagles") tortured and beat inmates as part of regular training exercises, they believe the practice continued. The media and human rights groups reported that police subjected detainees to various methods of physical torture, including the "swallow," in which officials place the detainee on his stomach and tie his feet to his hands behind him, forcing his back to arch. Another abuse was the "baby elephant," in which officials place a gas mask on the prisoner's head and slowly reduce the flow of oxygen. Detainees also were subjected to a method called the "monument," in which a prisoner is suspended by his hands on a rope and beaten. Human rights lawyers reported that requesting an attorney often leads to a worse beating, and detainees may be beaten until they waive their right to an attorney.

On December 16 police in Zaporizhzhya detained a drug addict suspected of burglary. He died in custody from injuries sustained from an alleged beating. Police claimed that the detainee had been beaten before entering police custody. In 2001 Volodomyr Ivanchenko, who was charged with plotting the killing of former presidential candidate Nataliya Vitrenko, claimed in his trial that police suffocated, beat, and used electroshock on him and his codefendants while they were in pretrial detention. Authorities took no action on his complaints.

There was no effective mechanism for registering complaints about mistreatment or for obtaining redress for such actions, although detainees were permitted to address complaints directly to the court instead of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Prisoners and detainees also addressed complaints to the Ombudsman for Human Rights, and that office received several hundred reports of torture in pretrial detention during the year 2002. According to the Office of the Ombudsman, most of the complaints that it received centered on human rights violations by law enforcement personnel. The Ombudsman also maintained that detainees who were unable to pay a deposit for meals went hungry and that this qualifies as another form of torture. The Ombudsman actively publicized reports of such practices; however, the Ombudsman had no enforcement authority.

Authorities made little documented effort to end abuse; disciplinary action against law enforcement authorities that committed abuses was limited. According to the authorities, 62 police officers were charged with mistreatment of suspects in the period January through August. According to the Ombudsman’s office, in 2001 authorities opened 25 criminal cases against 48 law enforcement officers for exceeding their authority. Of these, 14 had been convicted as of year's end. On August 30, the Prosecutor General dismissed the prosecutor and an investigator in the Tarashcha District of Kiev Oblast. The two faced criminal proceedings for abuse of office and fraud during the Gongadze investigation. They allegedly forged protocols from the inspection of the place where Gongadze's body was found. Many observers considered the charges to be only political scapegoating in an already highly politicized case. In its 2000 report, the Ombudsman noted that in 1998 and 1999, 285 members of the police were charged with torture and mistreatment of prisoners. The new Criminal Code, which came into effect in September 2001, mandates 3 to 10 years of imprisonment for torture; however, human rights groups reported that during the year 2002 there were no prosecutions for torture under the new Criminal Code.

Police also abused Roma and harassed and abused dark-skinned persons. Representatives of these groups claimed that police officials routinely ignored, and sometimes abetted, violence against them. Police also harassed refugees.

In September the police forcibly dispersed antipresidential demonstrators who had set up a tent city illegally in downtown Kiev. Police also took down tents in Kharkiv. Local authorities undertook a variety of measures, including impoundment of vehicles and arbitrary detentions, to dissuade people from attending such demonstrations. On December 26, the courts sentenced 13 members of the opposition nationalist party, the National Ukrainian Assembly-Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNA/UNSO) to 2 to 5 years' imprisonment on charges of staging mass unrest during March 9, 2001 demonstrations in Kiev. Police also harassed journalists.

Despite extensive legislation on the protection of service member rights and official regulations concerning relations among military personnel, reports continued during the year 2002 of harsh conditions and violence against conscripts in the armed forces. In August a quarry landslide claimed the lives of two conscript soldiers who were digging sand for the construction of a private garage for a junior military officer in Lviv Oblast. The officer was placed in custody pending investigation. Senior conscripts often beat recruits, sometimes to death and forced them to give them money and gifts that they received from home. According to human rights associations, garrison prosecutors often did not investigate complaints of physical harassment. Punishment administered for committing or condoning such activities did not serve as an effective deterrent to the further practice of such abuses. Although official statistics on the incidence of hazing during the year 2002 were unavailable, human rights groups, including the Association of Soldiers' Mothers, reported that violent hazing continued to be widespread. They reported that the Procuracy opened 129 criminal cases pertaining to violent hazing. However, it was unknown how many of those resulted in convictions. Death by hazing was frequently described as suicide.

Police corruption remained a serious problem. There were reports that local officials abetted or aided organized crime groups involved in trafficking.

The authorities infringed on citizens' privacy rights. Legislative amendments that took effect in 2001 provided that only courts could approve warrants for searches of residential properties and wiretaps; however, prosecutors retained the right to issue warrants for searches of nonresidential properties.

In accordance with the 2001 amendments, the SBU may not conduct intrusive surveillance and searches without a court-issued warrant. The Office of the Prosecutor General has the constitutional responsibility to oversee the observance of the law by law enforcement agencies, including the SBU; however, the extent to which the Prosecutor General used his authority to monitor SBU activities and to curb excesses by security officials was unknown. The Constitution provides citizens with the right to examine any dossier on them in the possession of the SBU and to sue for physical and emotional damages incurred by an investigation; however, necessary implementing legislation had not been passed and the authorities did not respect this right in practice. During the summer months, police reportedly stopped their surveillance of the leader of the Independent Miners Union, and opposition parliamentarian, Mykhailo Volynets after he threatened to bring a busload of miners to his home to detain surveillance agents. In September Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz complained of surveillance and phone tapping. The head of a charitable organization that ran a foster home in Brusilov, Zhytomyr Oblast, alleged that local authorities conducted illegal searches of his home. Some NGOs reported that authorities had opened and searched some of their mail during the year 2002. The SBU also monitored the activities of certain NGOs active in democracy development projects.

Under the law, the police have the right to stop and search a person based on a suspicion that the person has committed a criminal offense. A person suspected of committing an especially grave crime may be arrested and searched without a warrant, but the court must be informed of the arrest within 72 hours. In 2000 the Rada enacted legislation prohibiting the police from stopping vehicles and levying immediate fines; only courts subsequently had the right to impose such fines. The law had an increasing deterrent effect on the police, who legally no longer could collect spot fines after stopping vehicles for alleged traffic violations, although abuses still occurred. However, the police may detain a person arbitrarily for up to 3 hours to verify identity. There were reports that police sometimes abused this right.

Journalists whose reports were critical of the Government, or who covered opposition politicians and NGOs that engaged in nonpartisan political activity, reported that they frequently were followed by SBU agents and that their telephones and offices were wiretapped.

In November 2001, the Constitutional Court ruled that the "propyska" mandatory registration system was unconstitutional; a new "informational" registration mechanism was envisioned but had not been implemented by year’s end. Additionally, access to public services such as housing, pensions, medical care, and schooling were still based on the propyska system. In its report on the March Parliamentary elections, the OSCE noted that authorities relied on the outdated propyska system to register voters, since no other system existed.

On a few occasions, persons involved in property, inheritance, or divorce disputes were diagnosed wrongfully with schizophrenia and confined to psychiatric institutions. The disputes often entailed the corruption of psychiatric experts and court officials. In February 2000, the Rada adopted a new Law on Psychiatry which bans abuse of psychiatry for political and nonmedical reasons and provides safeguards against such abuse; however, human rights observers reported that procedures regarding the application of psychological treatment have not been determined, and the Soviet system of classifying mental illness was still in use. Persons diagnosed with mental illness risked being confined and treated forcibly, declared not responsible for their actions, and stripped of their civil rights without being present at the hearings or notified of the ruling. There were approximately 1.2 million registered psychiatric patients in the country. Within 3 days after forcible confinement to a hospital, a patient must be examined by three doctors. Patients (including convicted prisoners) subsequently must be examined by the senior regional psychiatric commission within 6 months. According to the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association, the Health Care Ministry did not always cooperate with human rights groups attempting to monitor abuse of psychiatry.

 

DETENTION

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention; however, arbitrary arrest and detention remained problems. The Constitution provides for compensation for unlawful conviction and the law allows compensation for illegal arrests; however, these provisions rarely were invoked.

The law provides that authorities may detain a suspect for 3 days without a warrant, after which an arrest order must be issued. The courts may extend detention without an arrest warrant for an additional 10 days. Suspects who believe that further investigation may lead to their immediate exoneration also may petition the court for an additional 15-day detention. The law further provides that pretrial detentions may not last more than 2 months. In cases involving exceptionally grave offenses, the Prosecutor General may petition a judge of the Supreme Court to extend the period of detention to 18 months. The law does not limit the aggregate time of detention before and during a trial. The law permits citizens to contest an arrest in court or appeal to the prosecutor. The Constitution requires that officials notify family members immediately concerning an arrest, but they did not often do so in practice.

By law a trial must begin no later than 3 weeks after criminal charges have been filed formally with the court, but this requirement rarely was met by the overburdened court system. Months may pass before a defendant finally is brought to trial, and the situation did not improve during the year 2002. Complicated cases may take years to go to trial. Although an amendment to the Criminal Procedures Code provides for the imposition of monetary bail, it has been used rarely; many of the defendants cannot pay the monetary bail amounts imposed by law. Instead courts imposed restrictions on travel outside a given area as an alternative measure to pretrial confinement. Approximately 70 percent of defendants awaiting trial--approximately 150,000 individuals--were released from pretrial confinement during the year 2002, many of them under restrictive travel conditions.

According to the State Executive Service, the prison population was nearly 220,000 persons, including 156,000 in prisons and 40,000 in remand centers. Many of the individuals in pretrial confinement were charged with serious violent crimes. Since only the courts may authorize the continuation of pretrial detention pursuant to 2001 amendments, they closely examined cases in which authorities confined the defendants for extended periods in pretrial detention based on previous authorization by prosecutors.

The law stipulates that a defense attorney must be provided without charge to an indigent detainee from the moment of detention or the filing of charges, whichever comes first. There were insufficient numbers of defense attorneys to protect suspects from unlawful and lengthy imprisonment under extremely poor conditions. Although the concept of providing attorneys from the state system exists in principle, public attorneys often refused to defend indigents for the low Government fee. While in custody, a suspect or a prisoner is allowed by law to talk with a lawyer in private; however, human rights groups reported that prison or investigative officials occasionally denied the client-attorney privilege. To protect the defendant, each investigative file must contain a document signed by the defendant attesting that the charges against him, his right to an attorney, and his right not to give evidence against himself or his relatives have been explained to him. An appeals court may dismiss a conviction or order a new trial if this document is missing. As defendants increasingly became aware of their rights, they insisted on observance of these procedures; however, many persons remained unaware of these safeguards.

As a result of legal changes enacted in 2001, the prosecutor's office may no longer initiate new criminal investigations without prior court approval, with the exception of a number of serious offenses.

The Government occasionally employed such charges as criminal libel or tax evasion to detain persons (usually opposition activists or journalists) who were openly critical of the Government or challenged the interests of powerful business or political figures close to the Government. During the year 2002, the Prosecutor General continued to pursue criminal charges against Yuliya Tymoshenko, head of the opposition political grouping named after her. Tymoshenko's earlier efforts to reform the energy sector, when she was Deputy Prime Minister for Energy, had drawn strong opposition, most notably from powerful businesspersons closely tied to the Government. After joining the opposition, Tymoshenko became an outspoken critic of the Government. She claimed that the charges against her were politically motivated. In May a Kiev court closed some of the Procuracy’s criminal cases against Tymoshenko and her husband. In September the Prosecutor General requested that the Rada lift her parliamentary immunity, which would permit the filing of further criminal charges against her. The Rada speaker returned the petition requesting that the Prosecutor General more thoroughly justify his request. At the request of the Government, Turkish authorities detained Yuliya Tymoshenko’s father-in-law, Gennadiy, and three of his business partners in June. In October Turkish authorities extradited them to Ukraine. On September 14, the Luhansk Appeals Court upheld the April conviction of Borys Feldman, former vice president of Bank Slovyanskyy, which managed some of Yuliya Tymoshenko's business interests. Feldman received a 9-year prison sentence for tax evasion and financial mismanagement. The Appeals Court had refused to honor the Supreme Court’s decision to release Feldman, who said that he was prevented from practicing the Jewish faith while in detention pending appeal of his case. Feldman’s attorney, Andriy Fedur, complained of harassment by the Tax Police and claimed that he received unidentified death threats during the year 2002. In September Tax Police impounded Fedur’s car, which allegedly contained defense materials for the Feldman case. In October police detained Fedur for 3 days on accusations that he falsified documents. He was released without being charged.

On September 17, Kiev police arrested 64 antipresidential protesters and charged them with various administrative infractions related to blocking public thoroughfares. All were released within 10 days.

Human rights groups reported that they continued to receive complaints from Roma regarding arbitrary detention and physical harassment by the police.

Police arbitrarily detained persons for extensive document checks and vehicle inspections. They routinely detained dark-skinned persons for arbitrary document checks. There were reports that local authorities temporarily detained individuals they considered likely to attend nationwide antipresidential demonstrations in September. Prior to the demonstrations, there were also credible reports that police impounded vehicles belonging to opposition activists and NGO leaders technical checkups. Police reportedly returned the vehicles after the conclusion of the demonstrations. On June 29, police in Poltava detained the leader of the opposition party UNA-UNSO, Serhiy Kuzovka, for 2 days on charges of hooliganism, allegedly to prevent him from attending a UNA-UNSO congress in Kiev on July 30. After 2 days in police custody, a court in Poltava acquitted him.

At times persons involved in property, inheritance, or divorce disputes were diagnosed wrongfully with schizophrenia and confined to psychiatric institutions.

The Constitution prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not employ it.

The Government's human rights record remained poor and in some cases worsened; however, there were also some improvements in some areas. Police and prison officials tortured and beat detainees and prisoners, with unconfirmed reports that they killed one detainee. The beating of conscripts in the army by fellow soldiers was common and at times resulted in death. Police abuse and harassment of racial minorities was a continuing problem. The Government rarely punished officials who committed abuses. Prison conditions remained harsh and life-threatening, particularly because of exposure to disease. Arbitrary arrest and detention were problems, as was lengthy pretrial detention in very poor conditions; however, the courts continued to release defendants from confinement pending trial.

The Constitution prohibits torture; however, police and prison officials regularly beat detainees and prisoners, and there were numerous reports of torture. Although human rights groups did not receive specific reports that special militia detachments known as Berkut ("Golden Eagles") tortured and beat inmates as part of regular training exercises, they believe the practice continued. The media and human rights groups reported that police subjected detainees to various methods of physical torture, including the "swallow," in which officials place the detainee on his stomach and tie his feet to his hands behind him, forcing his back to arch. Another abuse was the "baby elephant," in which officials place a gas mask on the prisoner's head and slowly reduce the flow of oxygen. Detainees also were subjected to a method called the "monument," in which a prisoner is suspended by his hands on a rope and beaten. Human rights lawyers reported that requesting an attorney often leads to a worse beating, and detainees may be beaten until they waive their right to an attorney.

 

COURTS

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, in practice the judiciary was subject to considerable political interference from the executive branch and also suffered from corruption and inefficiency. The courts were funded through the Ministry of Justice, which controlled the organizational support of the courts, including staffing matters, training for judges, logistics and procurement, and statistical and information support. The Presidential Administration also reportedly continued the practice of telephoning justices directly to influence their decisions.

Legislation enacted in 2001 and during the year 2002 to regulate the court system and the administration of justice brought the legal framework more in line with constitutional requirements for an independent judiciary; however, the judiciary lacked sufficient staff and funds, which engendered inefficiency and corruption and increased its dependence on the executive, since the court received all its funding from the Ministry of Justice. The court reorganization necessitated by the July amendment package required more funds than were allotted in the budget and observers believed that significant additional funding would be needed to modernize the court system in general and to provide the courts with adequate facilities and equipment.

The authority and independence of the judicial system also were undermined by a lack of compliance with court decisions in civil cases. Provisions calling for criminal punishment for noncompliance with court decisions rarely were used. Compliance was particularly poor if the decision clashed with government interests. The Chairman of the Supreme Court, the chairmen of regional courts, and the chairman of the Kiev municipal court (or the deputies of these officials) have the authority to suspend court decisions, which led to interference, manipulation, and corruption. The Justice Minister was quoted as saying that by year’s end, slightly under 50 percent of court decisions had been enforced.

In 1999 the State Executive Service was established as a special department in the Ministry of Justice to execute court decisions. The State Executive Service was authorized specifically to enforce judgements in civil cases; decisions in criminal and administrative courts involving monetary compensation; and judgements of foreign courts, the Constitutional Court, and other authorities. The number of court decisions involving monetary or material compensation referred to the department has grown substantially. In the first half of 2001, over 1 million court decisions were executed, representing approximately 48 percent of the judgements referred to the State Executive Service.

Critics of the Government claimed credibly that the Government abused its authority over officers of the court by selectively charging and dismissing politically unsympathetic judges. In July Lubov Budiakova, judge of Babushkinsky District Court in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, complained in the press about harassment by the head of the court after she ruled that the eviction of the Socialist Party from its office in Dnipropetrovsk had been unlawful. Independent-minded judges also complained that they did not receive politically sensitive cases. In July 2001, President Kuchma dismissed Mykola Zamkovenko, Chairman of a Kiev district court, for intentionally withholding case files in order to delay citizens' appeals to the court. Zamkovenko's supporters charged that authorities targeted him because of his release of former Deputy Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko from pretrial custody and his recognition of Heorhiy Gongadze's mother and wife as victims of a crime. In June the Supreme Court ruled that President Kuchma’s dismissal of Zamkovenko was lawful.

Amendments to a series of laws concerning the judiciary and the administration of justice enacted in 2001 and additional legislation passed in July introduced important reforms to the court system. The amendments provided for a unified system of courts consisting of a Constitutional Court, a system of courts of general jurisdiction that includes the Supreme Court and specialized commercial (formerly arbitration) courts, and military courts. General jurisdiction courts are organized on four levels: Local courts, regional appellate courts, specialized high courts (the High Commercial Court), and the Supreme Court. The arbitration courts were redesignated as commercial courts and were intended to operate as specialized courts within the single unified system of courts. As a result, the Supreme Court may review their judgements, including those rendered by the High Commercial Court. Military courts are specialized courts that hear cases only involving military personnel.

On February 7, the Parliament passed a Law on the Judicial System of Ukraine, which the Government began implementing in the last half of the year. While the law helped modernize the judicial system, some observers contended that it granted excessive authority to the President. The law created a new State Judicial Administration (SJA), independent of the Ministry of Justice, to act as a central executive body overseeing the administration, including the finances, of the judicial system. Under the new law, the President also has the authority, with the agreement of the Ministry of Justice and the Chair of the Supreme Court or of a corresponding higher specialized court, to establish and abolish courts of general jurisdiction. The President is empowered to determine the number of judges within the courts (upon recommendation of the SJA and with the agreement of the Chair of the Supreme Court); appoint and remove chairs and deputy chairs of courts for 5-year terms (upon submission of the Chair of the Supreme Court, based on recommendation of the Judicial Council); and establish appellate commercial and appellate administrative courts. The President, upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister and concurrence by the Judicial Council, appoints the head of the SJA. The law also established a Judicial Academy to train new judges and continue the education of sitting judges.

The new Court of Cassation was put in place December 1, although it was not fully functional by year's end. The SJA and Judicial Academy were scheduled to begin operations on January 1, 2003.

Regional courts, including the Supreme Court of Crimea and the Kiev and Sevastopol City courts, serve as appellate courts for the lower-level courts. They may examine evidence independently in a case, call for additional witnesses or evidence, and render a decision that supercedes the judgement of a lower court.

The Constitutional Court consists of 18 members appointed for 9-year terms in equal numbers by the President, the Parliament, and the Congress of Judges. The Constitutional Court is the ultimate interpreter of legislation and the Constitution, and it determines the constitutionality of legislation, Presidential edicts, cabinet acts, and acts of the Crimean Autonomous Republic. The President, at least 45 Members of Parliament, the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman, and the Crimean legislature may request that the Constitutional Court hear a case. Citizens may apply to the Constitutional Court through the Ombudsman, who started to exercise this right in selected cases. In some limited cases, the Constitutional Court can interpret law for individual citizens, when the applying citizen provides compelling proof that a constitutional provision was violated or that it was interpreted differently by different government bodies.

Many local observers regarded the Constitutional Court as the country's most independent judicial body. Human rights groups stated that the Constitutional Court has generally maintained a balance of fairness. However, observers charged propresidential bias when, in March 2000, the Court ruled that the President's proposed referendum on expanding presidential authority was constitutional, although it threw out two of the six original questions.

The Constitution includes procedural provisions to ensure a fair trial, including the right of suspects or witnesses to refuse to testify against themselves or their relatives; however, pending the passage of legislation to implement these constitutional provisions, a largely Soviet-era criminal justice system remained in place, which limited these rights. While the defendant is presumed innocent, conviction rates have changed little since the Soviet era, and nearly all completed cases resulted in convictions. According to the most recent official statistics available, in the first half of 2000 there were 113,902 convictions and 375 acquittals. However, since judges frequently sent back to the prosecutor for "additional investigation" cases that lacked sufficient evidence to support the charges (which usually led to the dropping of the case), these statistics are somewhat misleading. During the period of 1999-2000, the courts returned more than 10 percent of pending criminal cases to investigative agencies because of the lack of sufficient evidence. In addition, there were indications that suspects often bribed court officials to drop charges before cases went to trial or to lessen or commute sentences.

Under the existing court system cases are decided by judges who sit singly, occasionally with two public assessors (lay judges or professional jurors with some legal training), or in groups of three for more serious cases. The Constitution provides for public, adversarial, trials, including a judge, public assessors, state prosecutor, defense, and jury (when required by law). With some exceptions, these requirements were respected in practice. The 2001 legislative amendments provide for a jury system, including procedures for the selection of jurors, but the amendments did not address the function and jurisdiction of jurors. Observers believed that the jury system would not function until a comprehensive judicial reform is completed and additional funding is provided for the courts.

Complicated cases can take years to go to trial, and pretrial detention was a problem; however, in increasing numbers, defendants were released from confinement pending trial. The condition normally imposed by the court was nonmonetary bail in the form of restrictions on travel. Many of the remaining defendants in pretrial confinement were awaiting trial for very serious criminal offenses.

Prosecutors, like the courts, are organized into offices at the rayon (district), oblast (regional), and national levels. They are responsible ultimately to the Prosecutor General, who is appointed by the President and confirmed by the parliament for a 5-year term. Regional and district prosecutors are appointed by the Prosecutor General. Although by law prosecutors and defense attorneys have equal status, in practice prosecutors are more influential. Prosecutors as well as defense attorneys may file appeals. The Office of the Prosecutor General practiced selective prosecution and initiated investigations against the political or economic opponents of the President and his allies. The Prosecutor General also ignored parliamentary and court requests for investigations into high ranking persons if the accused were presidential allies. Before the 2001 amendments took effect, the Procuracy at times used its judicial review powers to annul court decisions unfavorable to the administration's economic or political interests and ordered cases reexamined by a different court.

Legislative changes in 2001 curtailed prosecutors' authority greatly, limiting it to prosecution, representing the public interest in court, oversight of most investigations, and implementation of court decisions in criminal cases. However, prosecutors retained the right to conduct investigations in cases initiated before the amendments were implemented and in cases involving a range of serious offenses, including murder, corruption, and high economic crimes. The Procuracy no longer may initiate new criminal cases; its powers are limited to supervising the observance of laws by law enforcement agencies only. In May 2001, the Constitutional Court ruled that citizens may challenge court actions by the prosecutors and investigative agencies, as well as government actions regarding national security, foreign policy, and state secrets.

During the year 2002, the Rada voted to dismiss 13 judges, 11 on the grounds of violating the judge's oath and 2 who were prosecuted for undisclosed offenses.

Criminal groups routinely used intimidation to induce victims and witnesses to withdraw or change their testimony. The law requires that a special police unit protect judges, witnesses, defendants, and their relatives; however, the unit had not yet been formed and trial participants were vulnerable to pressure. A witness protection law was in abeyance because of lack of funding. The law provides that the names and addresses of victims and witnesses can be kept confidential if they request protection due to fear for their lives. On July 30, Judge Ihor Tkachuk of the Donetsk Oblast Commercial Court was found hanged at his dacha in Odesa Oblast. The press speculated that the judge may have been killed in connection with litigation in the Odesa Oblast Commercial Court between the Odesa Port and a private company, Sintez Oil. Tkachuk previously had participated in the Procuracy's investigation into plunder of the Black Sea Merchant Fleet. In September Judge Natalia Achynovych of the Nikopol Municipal Court was found hanged in a hotel room while on a vacation in Turkey. The press questioned whether her death could have been linked to the Nikopol Municipal Court's politically sensitive decision to invalidate parliamentary election results at eight polling stations in a hotly contested constituency in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

 

CORRECTIONS

As of year 2002, prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening. According to official sources, information on the physical state of prison walls and fences, as well as pretrial detention blocks, was considered to be a government secret. Nevertheless the press reported freely about harsh prison conditions. According to complaints received from the Office of the Ombudsman and human rights NGOs, prison officials intimidated and mistreated inmates. Due in part to severe economic conditions, prisons and detention centers were severely overcrowded and lacked adequate sanitation and medical facilities. According to official statistics of the Penal Department, in the first 6 months of 2001, there were 865 deaths in the prisons. Poor sanitary conditions resulted in 300 deaths from diseases such as tuberculosis and 13 from dysentery during the first half of 2001. There were frequent incidents of killings by fellow inmates, and in the first half of 2001, 13 individuals were reported officially to have committed suicide, although human rights groups believed the actual figure to be higher.

Prisoners were permitted to file complaints to the Ombudsman about the conditions of detention, but human rights groups reported that inmates were punished for doing so. In January 2001, the Rada passed amendments to the Penal Code that relaxed Soviet-era restrictions in high-security prisons and removed a requirement that all prisoners' letters should be read.

Conditions in pretrial detention facilities also were harsh. Inmates sometimes were held in investigative isolation for extended periods and subjected to intimidation and mistreatment by jail guards and other inmates. Overcrowding was common in these centers. Although there were no official figures, local lawyers believed that the pretrial detention center in Kiev housed as many as 6,000 persons, although its capacity was estimated to be 3,500. The SBU still maintained its own pretrial centers at year’s end, although it had announced in 2001 that it would close them. According to Human Rights Ombudsman Nina Karpachova, approximately one-third of detainees were tortured.

Conditions in the Corrective Labor and Treatment Centers for Alcoholics (LTPs), operated by the State Penal Department, where violent alcoholics were confined forcibly by court decision, differed little from those in prisons. Although some centers were transferred to the Health Ministry in 2000, and the number of centers decreased, the Government did not meet its earlier commitment to transfer all of the LTPs to the ministry. Virtually no treatment for alcoholism was available in these centers. Despite a 1999 government decree directing the closure of LTPs by the end of 2000, they continued to operate during the year 2002.

According to human rights groups, a reorganization of the penal department to ensure greater independence of the penal system did not affect the Department's practices, and there was little civilian oversight of its activities. Although the Government implemented some programs for the retraining of prison and police officials, it punished only a small minority of those who committed or condoned violence against detainees and prisoners. The Ombudsman drew attention to the state of the penitentiary system by visiting prisons and raising prison-related issues in public. During a February visit to the Lukianivka detention center in Kiev, the Ombudsman noted some improvements with regard to prison conditions. Candidates and observers of the March elections also were allowed access to some, but not all, prisons to campaign and monitor respectively.

The Government continued to allow prison visits from human rights observers; however, some of them reported that at times it was difficult to obtain access to prisons to visit specific prisoners and they were not allowed full access to the insides of prison facilities. On January 10, following persistent requests by the public and Reporters Without Borders, the Zaliznychny Local Court in Simferopol suspended the remaining 1½ years of the jail term of Serhiy Potomanov, a journalist imprisoned in Simferopol in 2001. Potomanov had complained of severe beatings by other inmates.

During the year 2002, the Ombudsman continued to make the treatment of prisoners a priority and to investigate conditions in a number of prisons. In September 2001, the Rada ratified the first and second protocols of the European Convention on Prevention of Torture, which mandates the inspection of prisons by international observers. The Government agreed to permit the Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee to publish three reports on Ukraine. The reports, from 1998-2000, cited numerous allegations of torture as a means of extracting confessions, a general fear among detainees to discuss abuses, and poor conditions in a number of prisons.

 

WOMEN

In 2002, violence against women reportedly was pervasive. While statistics compiled by the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) showed that the number of reported rapes and attempted rapes had decreased over the previous few years, surveys indicated that the majority of rapes and other cases of physical abuse went unreported. Past surveys by women's groups indicated that between 10 and 15 percent of women had been raped and that over 25 percent were abused physically in their lifetimes. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights reported in 2000 that 20 percent of women aged 17 to 21 had faced attempted rape. In 2001 1,051 rape cases under Article 117 of the old Criminal Code and another 152 under the new Criminal Code were opened. Information on convictions was not available. Spousal abuse is illegal, but the authorities often pressured women not to press charges against their husbands. The Criminal Code outlaws rape and "forced sex with a materially dependent person," which may allow prosecution for spousal rape. Official statistics on prosecutions for wife beating or on average sentences were not available; however, the Institute of Sociological Research reported in September 2000 that 12 percent of women under the age of 28 had been victims of domestic violence.

Violence against women did not receive extensive media coverage, despite the efforts of human rights groups to highlight the problem. State-run hot lines, shelters, and other forms of practical support for victims of abuse were few. Municipal authorities in Kiev ran a women's center, the only municipally supported shelter in the country. NGOs attempted to provide services for abused women through the establishment of women's support centers in seven cities.

The country was a significant source and transit country for women trafficked abroad for sexual exploitation.

Women's groups reported that there was widespread sexual harassment in the workplace, including coerced sex. Apart from the law that prohibits forced sex with a "materially dependent person," which applies to employees, legal safeguards against harassment were inadequate. No statistics were available concerning the number of prosecutions for sexual harassment during the year 2002.

Labor laws establish the legal equality of men and women, including equal pay for equal work, a principle that generally was observed; however, the economic decline of the past decade has harmed women disproportionately. Women were much more likely to be laid off than men. At the beginning of 2001, according to the State Committee on Statistics, overall unemployment was 3.7 percent, and women accounted for 65 to 70 percent of the unemployed. Industries that were dominated by female workers were also those with the lowest relative wages and the ones that were most likely to be affected by wage arrears problems. According to statistics from the State Committee for Family and Youth released in June, women’s average pay was 27 percent lower than the average wage for men.

The Constitution and the Law on Protection of Motherhood and Childhood prohibit the employment of women in jobs that are hazardous to their health, such as those that involved heavy lifting; however, enforcement of these laws remained poor despite the implementation of a government program to combat dangerous labor. According to the Ministry of Labor, in 2001 619,000 women were employed in hazardous jobs, 7.7 percent fewer than in 2000. Many women's rights advocates expressed concern that the law may be used to bar women from the best paying blue-collar jobs. By law pregnant women and mothers with small children enjoy paid maternity leave until their children reach the age of 3 years. This benefit is cited as a disincentive for employers to hire women for high-responsibility or career-track jobs. However, according to the UNDP, Ukraine is the only country with an over 50 percent female representation in the workforce.

Few women attain top managerial positions in state and private industry. A March 2000 business survey found that half of private-sector employees were women and that women ran 30 percent of private small businesses and 13 percent each of large and medium businesses. According to Government statistics, at the end of 2000, 72.7 percent of the country’s approximately 1,825 million civil servants were female, including 52.2 percent of those in managerial positions. However, of the highest "first category" offices, only 8.3 percent were held by women. (These numbers did not include the "power ministries"--the Ministries of Defense, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and the SBU--which had substantially more male employees at all levels.)

Educational opportunities for women generally continued to be equal to those enjoyed by men; however, the Government limited the number of women who can receive military officer training to only 20 percent of the total number of students accepted. In addition the military forces limited the role of women to certain functions, which limited their chances for promotion and training opportunities; women in the military generally occupied low-paying, routine positions.

 

CHILDREN

The Government is committed publicly to the defense of children's rights, but budgetary constraints severely limited its ability to ensure these rights. There were few government bodies or NGOs that aggressively promoted children’s rights, although the Ombudsman spoke publicly on the need to provide for youth. In May 2001, a law on child protection took effect. It was designed to bring the country into conformity with international standards regarding children's safety and quality of life. In 2002 child and family protection laws were amended with the aim of helping to regulate child-refugee protection and address financial assistance for families in need. However, it was too early at year's end to evaluate the impact of these measures.

Education is free, universal, and compulsory until the age of 15; however, the public education system has deteriorated as a result of the Government's financial disarray. Teachers were paid their salaries during the year 2002, but other monetary benefits due to them were not paid in some localities. Increasing numbers of children from poor families dropped out of school, and illiteracy, which previously was very rare, has become a problem. Of the nearly 6.5 million children attending school during the 2001-02 school year, 3.2 million were girls and 3.3 million were boys. Official statistics on the proportion of school-age children attending school were not available at year's end; however, according to a Ministry of Education sponsored organization, Vseobuch, more than 8,000 school-age children did not attend school. According to statistics released in June by the State Committee for Family and Youth, 10.7 million children younger than 18 years of age, including 456,000 children aged 7 to 17, worked. Of these, 87,000 were in the most vulnerable age group of 7- to 12-year-olds. The All-Ukrainian Committee for the Protection of Children reported that lack of schooling remained a significant problem among the rural population. The problem of growing violence and crime in and outside of schools continued, especially in the notoriously violent vocational schools. The Government has ignored this problem.

Health care was provided equally to girls and boys, but economic problems worsened the overall quality of the health care system.

Child abuse was a problem, although recent statistics on its dimension were unavailable. An October 2000 UNICEF survey found that 38 percent of the children polled had suffered some form of violence. In 1997 the All-Ukrainian Committee for Protection of Children released a survey that revealed that every fifth or sixth child under age 18 of both sexes (including every third girl), suffered from sexual harassment, and that every tenth girl had been raped. Drug use and child prostitution were widespread and received substantial media attention during the year 2002, although statistics were unavailable. Several charity groups were formed to assist these children, but they have not been able to reduce the problem. In 2001 45 individuals were convicted of child rape, and 191 were convicted of seduction of minors. It was too early at year's end to determine whether the new criminal code which took effect in September 2001 had any impact on the number of these cases.

Trafficking in children was a serious problem.

The number of homeless children, who usually fled poor orphanages or poor domestic conditions, remained high. According to a 2000 press release from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 100,000 children were registered as homeless; of those, 14 percent were under 7 years old. According to the Family/Youth Committee, the Government identified 2,600 homeless children during the year 2002. Deteriorating conditions in the state orphanages has led the Government to encourage families to provide foster homes for orphans and to facilitate the establishment of private, government-supervised orphanages. There were 75 such orphanages with approximately 800 children.

 

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however trafficking in women and girls was a significant problem. The country was a major country of origin and transit for women and girls trafficked abroad for sexual exploitation. There were some reports of men and boys being trafficked abroad primarily for labor purposes; however, the majority of trafficking victims were women. No reliable figures were available on the extent of the problem, and estimates varied widely. There were reports that individual members of government forces facilitated trafficking in persons.

The Criminal Code imposes harsh penalties for trafficking in human beings, including for sexual exploitation and pornography. Article 149 mandates 3 to 15 years in prison for trafficking. Under some circumstances--for example trafficking of children or groups of victims--traffickers can be sentenced to prison terms of up to 10 years. The Government did not routinely prosecute suspected traffickers, although the number of such cases has increased in the last year. According to the IOM, 107 cases were filed against traffickers in the first 8 months of the year, and since 1998, 298 criminal cases have been filed, not counting cases opened under other applicable laws, such as brothel keeping, organized crime, and fraud. In 2001 84 victims testified against traffickers; 202 testified in the first 10 months of the year. A total of 52 cases have resulted in prosecution since 1998, 12 of which have fully concluded and 40 awaited appeal or final sentencing. Sentences for those convicted of trafficking ranged from fines to up to 9 years in prison. The Government reported that it regularly reviewed the licenses of Ukrainian employment agencies, and suspended the licenses of 69 travel, marriage, and job agencies between January 2001 and June 2002 for involvement in trafficking.

Trafficking was becoming a higher priority for law enforcement agencies, but these agencies often lacked the financial and personnel resources to combat well-established criminal organizations that ran trafficking operations. The Ministry of Internal Affairs established special antitrafficking units at the national and oblast levels. These units became operational in 2000; however, they have had a limited impact. They suffered from lack of adequate resources and often were tasked to work on cases involving other crimes.

The Government generally cooperated with other governments in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases; however, efforts were hampered by a number of factors, including insufficient investigative resources, the reluctance of victims to give evidence against traffickers, and in some cases, by a lack of cooperation from officials in destination countries. The law permits the extradition of foreign nationals charged with trafficking when appropriate bilateral agreements with the country in question have been signed, when the crime was committed within the jurisdiction of another country, and when trafficking is a crime under the laws of the requesting country; however, there have been no cases of extradition of trafficking suspects. The Constitution prohibits the extradition of Ukrainian citizens. Government cooperation with NGOs improved during the year 2002. A June 5 decree by the Cabinet of Ministers mandated that central, regional, and local administrations develop and approve measures to combat trafficking in persons and mobilize funds to implement actions. The oblast governments responded quickly to the decree. For the first time, almost all the local and regional authorities included NGOs as partner organizations in their regional action plans. The relevant authorities, however, had yet to budget for any new activities.

Between January 2000 and August 2002, the IOM assisted 582 trafficking victims (including 286 during the first 11 months of the year) to return to Ukraine and reintegrate into society. From January 2001 to June 2002, the NGO La Strada assisted an additional 172 victims to return home and reintegrate. These numbers, however, represented a small fraction of the total number of women trafficked abroad. The IOM estimated in 1998 that 100,000 citizens had been trafficked abroad since 1991. In 1999 La Strada estimated that 420,000 women had been trafficked abroad between 1991 and 1998. In unofficial estimates, Winrock representatives conservatively projected that between 8,000 and 10,000 individuals were trafficked from Ukraine during the year 2002. There were unconfirmed reports that local officials abetted or assisted organized crime groups involved in trafficking.

Women and girls were trafficked to Central and Western Europe (including the Balkans, Austria, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Poland, Greece, and Turkey), the United States, and the Middle East (including Israel, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates) for sexual exploitation; there also were reports that women and girls were trafficked from the country to Australia, Japan, and South Africa. Women who were trafficked out of the country often were recruited by firms operating abroad and subsequently were taken out of the country with legal documentation. They were solicited with promises of work as waitresses, dancers, or housemaids or were invited by marriage agencies allegedly to make the acquaintance of a potential bridegroom. Once abroad the women found the work to be very different from what was represented to them initially. There were credible reports of widespread involvement of organized crime in trafficking.

NGOs reported that local militia and border guards received bribes in return for ignoring trafficking. Some reports alleged that local public officials abetted or assisted organized criminal groups in trafficking women abroad. In a 1999 report, the UNDP identified graft of officials and political corruption as two of the factors causing the spread of trafficking and prostitution; however, data on the possible prosecution of law enforcement and border control authorities for their involvement in trafficking was unavailable.

Victims often were reluctant to seek legal action against traffickers out of fear of reprisals or unwillingness to tell their stories publicly. Societal attitudes toward trafficking victims often were harsh, which deterred women from pursuing legal action against traffickers. In addition, law enforcement officials did not provide sufficient protection to witnesses to encourage them to testify against traffickers, and traffickers were able to intimidate victims to withdraw or change their testimony. A witness protection law exists but was in abeyance because of lack of funding. Under the law, names and addresses of victims of crimes can be kept confidential if they request protection due to fear for their lives.

The Government was unable to assist victims effectively, primarily due to lack of funds. NGOs such as the domestic affiliates of La Strada and Winrock International offered some support services for victims of trafficking, but these groups also suffered from a shortage of funds. The IOM's Kiev mission, in cooperation with its missions in destination countries, began providing return and reintegration assistance to victims. The IOM and NGOs, particularly La Strada and Winrock International, worked closely with government officials; however, NGOs reported that lack of a central government authority on trafficking issues could be frustrating, and the Government did not provide assistance to victims. With foreign government assistance, seven regional trafficking prevention and women's support centers were in operation at year's end in Donetsk, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk, Chernivtsi, Kherson, Rivne, and Zhytomyr. The centers offered job-skill training and telephone hot lines and served as referral centers for health, legal, and psychological counseling. On February 8, the IOM opened a comprehensive medical center and shelter for victims of trafficking. Between February and August, the center provided medical and psychological services, including vocational counseling, to 88 trafficking victims. These centers, as well as additional NGOs funded by the IOM, also played an important role in facilitating good relations and cooperation between victims, communities, and law enforcement organizations in addressing trafficking issues. NGOs also operated hot lines in Luhansk, Odesa, Kharkiv, Ternopil, and Sevastopol. During the year 2002, La Strada hot lines received 4,061 calls, 72 percent of which concerned consultation on working abroad. Since November 1997, La Strada has received over 12,526 calls. Winrock International reported 16,854 calls to its hot lines during the year 2002; 15 percent concerned trafficking, and the majority of the callers were between 19 and 30 years of age. The Government worked to improve assistance provided by its diplomatic missions to victims in destination countries.

The Deputy Prime Minister for humanitarian affairs is responsible for implementing all antitrafficking programs. In 1999 the Human Rights Ombudsman established a National Coordinating Council for the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings, and the organization increasingly has become an outspoken and leading advocate in the Government for raising public and international awareness of the trafficking problem; however, the Ombudsman's office lacked enforcement powers and has not demonstrated its practical effectiveness. A National Action Plan to Counter Trafficking for 2002-05 was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on June 5. In 1999 the Ministry of Education adopted a curriculum in trafficking as part of the first national program on trafficking prevention and awareness in high schools.

During the year 2002, several television stations broadcast documentary films and informational programs highlighting the danger of trafficking. During the year 2002, there were several international roundtable discussions and a major conference on trafficking held in Kiev.

NGOs conducted general awareness campaigns throughout Ukraine, often in cooperation with government entities. For example, an international conference on trafficking took place in Kiev in October. Winrock also produced and showed a film documentary on trafficking. These activities, together with the constant attention to the trafficking problem by the Ombudsman, helped to raise public awareness.

 

DRUG TRAFFICKING

Narcotics production, trafficking and use continued to increase in Ukraine in 1998. Domestic cultivation of poppy and hemp continues to rise, as has the transit of narcotics from Africa, South America, Turkey, and Asia through Ukraine to Europe. Ukraine is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and has sought to follow its provisions in drafting counternarcotics legislation. Although combating narcotics trafficking and use has been a national priority for law enforcement agencies, the lack of sufficient funding continues to severely hamper government efforts. Coordination between law enforcement entities responsible for anti-narcotics work has improved but still remains a problem.

Although Ukraine is not a major drug producing country, trafficking and domestic drug use have increased. Due to its location, Ukraine is becoming more of a significant corridor for transit of narcotic drugs, primarily heroin and hashish originating in Uganda, Nigeria, Colombia, Turkey, as well as parts of Southern and Central Asia. Numerous ports on the Black Sea and its porous borders, coupled with poorly funded and under-equipped Customs and Border services, make Ukraine increasingly attractive to trafficking organizations. While drug usage levels and trafficking activity continue on upward trends, overall drug seizures appear to have leveled off. According to preliminary 1998 statistics, approximately 35,200 criminal cases involving narcotics were brought to court a small increase over last year's figures. Additionally, 22,463 persons were fined administratively for minor drug-related violations. About 16,000 individuals are currently in confinement for drug-related offenses. Over 80 percent of crimes committed by drug addicts were committed by unemployed persons under the age of 30 years old. The number of unregistered drug abusers is estimated to be two to three times higher than the 65,000 officially registered addicts. Opium poppy straw extract continues to be the main drug of choice. Marijuana is growing in popularity among young people and use of synthetic drugs is appearing with increasing frequency. Hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin are too expensive for the average Ukrainian citizen, so their levels of abuse are still not significant.

Policy Initiatives In February 1995, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a package of drug control laws that were drafted with the assistance of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The laws are generally well drafted, comprehensive, and in line with the 1988 UN convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Ukrainian law enforcement officials praise the drug control legislation as being an effective tool for drug enforcement. Under this legislation, the counternarcotics enforcement responsibility is given to the Ministry of Interior (MVD), the State Security Service (SBU), the State Customs Service and the Border Guards. The Drug Enforcement Department (DED), an independent department within the MVD, reports directly to the Minister of Interior. Although understaffed, the DED has achieved some successes in fighting drug trafficking by eliminating a number of international drug trafficking channels.

In 1998, a national anti-drug plan, which included the creation of an inter-agency drug data bank, had to be shelved due to lack of funds. Nevertheless, the MVD has made the anti-drug effort a top law enforcement priority. Because of the increasing use of Ukrainian seaports in the transit of drugs to the West, the government tasked the Security Services (SBU) with focusing on preventing the shipment of drugs by sea. The authorities have also stepped up counternarcotics efforts at airports.

Ukraine's efforts to implement its anti-narcotics plan have been greatly hindered by underfunding. Despite this, during the first eleven months of 1998, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies were successful in seizing over 28 tons of narcotic drugs. This included domestic seizures of 23.70 tons of opium straw, 6.1 tons of hashish, 4.3 tons of marijuana, 250 kilograms of cocaine paste, 124 kilograms of opiates, 22.50 kilograms of amphetamines, 3.0 kilograms of heroin. The Drug Enforcement Department of the Ministry of Interior was also successful in uncovering seven clandestine laboratories, several of which were involved in making synthetic drugs, including amphetamines. The government has also destroyed poppy fields using pesticides as well as slash and burn tactics, and has destroyed approximately 1,300 square kilometers of opium poppy fields annually. These operations have not had a significant impact on overall production. Local consumption, rather than export, absorbs most of what is grown. The police also broke up more than 770 criminals groups (most of which number only a handful of people) involved in narcotics.

Ukrainian drug enforcement units remain relatively inexperienced, understaffed, and severely under funded. For example, the MVD has approximately four times fewer officers assigned to drug units than are needed to operate effectively. Budget cuts may also force further staff reductions and limit operations. Although coordination between law enforcement agencies (primarily the MVD, SBU, Customs and the Border Guards) responsible for counternarcotics activities has improved, conflicts of investigative jurisdiction as well as the degree of cooperation continue to hamper interagency effectiveness. The establishment of an interagency drug enforcement database would improve interagency cooperation.

While corruption is rarely linked with narcotics, it is a major problem that hinders investment and broader economic reform. Corruption also diminishes the effectiveness of the Ukrainian government efforts to battle organized crime, a major player in the narcotics business. A 1995 law on corruption has resulted in only a few low-level prosecutions. In an effort to come to grips with this problem, in April 1998 the President approved a seven-year plan to combat corruption that is in the initial stages of implementation

Ukraine is a party to the 1988 UN convention and has also signed counternarcotics agreements with the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP). It is also a party to the agreement of the police forces of the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States that provides for coordination of operational drug control activities. Bilateral anti-narcotics agreements have been signed with the security services of Belarus and Russia. Intergovernmental agreements providing for joint enforcement efforts against illicit drug trafficking were also signed with the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.

Opium poppy is predominantly grown in western, southwestern and northern Ukraine, while hemp cultivation is centered in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Officials estimate about 3,000 hectares of land are dedicated to illegal poppy cultivation, and wild hemp occupies up to 100,000 hectares. Small quantities of poppies are grown legally for the food industry by state farms, and those crops are closely controlled and guarded. In late 1997, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal that must be confirmed by Parliament, which would allow these specially licensed farms to increase poppy production. Amphetamines are produced by local chemists in clandestine laboratories and exported to the West, although the extent of production is unknown.

Drug traffic to Ukraine from the Balkans, Turkey, Central Asia, Thailand and other regions continues to increase with shipments usually destined for Western Europe. While some synthetic drugs are produced locally, they are also imported from Poland, Holland, Hungary and Germany. Ukraine's importance to drug traffickers as a transit corridor to Western and Eastern Europe is increasing, as evidenced by the following seizures in late 1997 and 1998 in port areas on the Black Sea (6.1 tons of hashish originating in Uganda, 625 kilograms of cocaine originating in Colombia, and 250 kilograms of cocaine paste originating from Ecuador).

Because the majority of drug abusers are under 30, Ukraine authorities have attempted to reach that group through education efforts in schools. The Ministry of Health, working with the MVD, is moving ahead with an anti-drug education program training teachers, health care workers, and police to serve as counselors. A U.S. based non-governmental organization has been operating an anti-drug information center in Kiev since 1996. A half dozen rehabilitation centers throughout Ukraine are operated by various religious institutions.

U.S. objectives are to assist Ukrainian authorities to develop effective counternarcotics programs involving interdiction, demand reduction, and money laundering. Ukraine has signed a mutual legal assistance treaty in criminal matters with the United States, but the agreement has not yet entered into force. In 1998, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Customs Service conducted anti-drug training programs in areas such as interdiction, management training, asset forfeiture, forensics, border control, and money laundering.

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in a rapid growth of criminal activity, including narcotics trafficking and use. The trafficking of narcotic drugs to European destinations through Ukraine is increasing as traffickers look for ways to circumvent stringent Western European customs and border controls. Although Ukraine does not have a serious drug problem by world standards, law enforcement agencies need continued assistance in Western techniques. Demand reduction and treatment for abusers requires increased attention. The USG is working with the Ukraine government to expand the range and scope of counter-narcotics training and assistance.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Internet research assisted by Kontara Simmons and Jill Torres

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