Ladies and gentlemen!
In Ukraine, the courts almost never acquit: the share of acquittals in criminal cases is less than 1%. In other countries of the world it reaches 15-25%. This means that there are many innocent people behind bars.
For more than 11 years in our country there has been no procedure for reviewing criminal sentences convicted for life in accordance with the norms of the old Code of Criminal Procedure – punitive, repressive, Soviet, as amended in 1961.
Anyone can find themselves in the status of a life-sentenced prisoner in our country – even though we are. And there will be no chance for a review of the verdict by a fair court.
We decided to change this vicious practice and help people by interfering in their seemingly hopeless affairs. Our goal is the first acquittals of people sentenced to life imprisonment arbitrarily.
How do we plan to achieve this?
In Ukraine, it is necessary to introduce at the legislative level a procedure for reviewing criminal sentences convicted for life. For this, in our opinion, it is necessary:
To adopt a profile law that will give a chance for convicts of which all have forgotten a sentence;
Return the Supreme Court’s right to review life sentences within exceptional proceedings;
Improve the procedure for reconsidering a sentence based on newly discovered circumstances for convicts who were convicted under both the old and the new code;
Expand the powers of the Ombudsman by providing him with the opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court and appeal the final decision in case of a violation of the right to a fair trial;
These changes can be the first steps in the introduction in our country of such a concept as the rule of law and a fair court.
Our project “Struggle for Life” managed to gather a team of professionals – Ukrainian and foreign lawyers, scientists, human rights activists, pastors. All of these people are working to achieve our ultimate goal.
We have already collected a lot of materials, we continue to do this to form cases of arbitrarily convicted persons. We plan to create a number of films, including submitting an application for the competition of the International Festival of Documentary Films on Human Rights Docudays UA.
The need to introduce a procedure for reviewing court decisions that arouse smart doubts was supported by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, including its public statement:
VRCIRO met with the ambassadors of the G-7, there was an agreement on a separate meeting on this issue.
Using the example of the unique stories of willfully sentenced for life, we will tell the whole world about the problem – the lack of the right to review the sentence of these people.
The most striking story is the story of the pastor of the Christian Church Yaroslav Misyak, who was sentenced to rostril and has been serving a life sentence for 24 years without any chance of a review of the sentence in court, without any chance of being released by any procedure stipulated by law.
If you think our work is important, you can support us with your contribution.
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Some stories of the arbitrarily convicted are available on a special website: stories.khpg.org.
For more information, please contact Andriy Didenko – Program Coordinator of the Khakrivskoi Human Rights Group: +380 93 985 25 74.