ICCPR Case Digest

CCPR/C/128/D/2368/2014

Communication

2368/2014

Submission: 2011.06.28

View Adopted: 2020.03.12

Viktor Taran v. Ukraine

Unlawful arrest and detention leads to ill-treatment, Committee recommends for new trial, proper investigation into the torture and compensation for the violations occured

Substantive Issues
  • Arbitrary arrest
  • Arbitrary detention
  • Conditions of detention
  • Fair trial
  • Right to appeal
  • Right to legal assistance
  • Torture / ill-treatment
Relevant Articles
  • Article 14.3 (b)
  • Article 14.3 (g)
  • Article 14.5
  • Article 15
  • Article 16
  • Article 2.3
  • Article 26
  • Article 7
  • Article 9
Full Text

Facts

The author is a national of Ukraine who claims that the State Party have violated his rights under article 2 (3), article 7, article 9, article 14 (3) (b) and (g) and (5), article 15, article 16 and article 26 of the Covenant. 

On 1 March 2002, the author was taken from his home and brought into custody for questioning. When he was taken from his home, the author was a perfectly healthy individual with no medical complaints. The author alleges that upon his being taken into custody he suffered severe torture and mistreatment at the hands of several police officers - including suffocation, beatings, and electrocution.

On 4 March 2002, the investigator entered into records that the author had been detained, although the author alleges that he had remained in detention until 3 March 2002 when he was forced to sign a confession. Upon seeing his lawyer, he immediately retracted his confession, pointing out that they had been made under duress.  A medical examination established that he had sustained a number of grave bodily injuries. He was followingly hospitalized and diagnosed with internal bleeding. The author and his lawyer field a number of complaints outlining these actions. 

The author submits that following the conclusion of the pretrial investigation, he was only granted two hours a week to prepare for his defence. His case file did not include complaints made by the author and his lawyer. The author was held in pretrial detention from 4 July 2002 to 1 September 2003 and the author was never brought before a judge during this time. 

The author claims that in his trial his claims of torture and mistreatment, his unlawful detention, as well as the violation of his procedural rights were ignored by the court. In addition, confessions he claimed to have been made under duress were retained as evidence in court. In following appeals, the author claims that the Supreme Court examined his appeal in his absence and in spite of his request for him or his counsel to be present during the hearing. 

Merits

Firstly, the Committee concluded that the facts before it disclosed a violation of the author's rights under article 7, read alone and in conjunction with article 2(3) and article 14(3)(g) of the Covenant, on the following basis: 

  • The Committee considered that the State Party, in its response, seemed to admit that the author sustained grave injuries, but offered no explanations about the specific circumstances of the reported injuries or detailed explanations regarding the treatment of the author. 
  • The Committee also noted that the material on file did not allow it to conclude that the investigation into the allegations of torture was carried out promptly or effectively or that any suspects were identified despite detailed reports and medical records indicating injuries. 
  • The Committee also noted that the author's confession was used by the court despite his contention during trial hearings that he had been tortured.

Secondly, the Committee concluded that the author's rights under article 9 of the Covenant had been violated on the following basis:

  • The Committee noted the authors claim that his initial detention was both arbitrary and unlawful, as he was not informed, at the time of apprehension, of the reasons for his arrest or of any charges brought against him, and he was not brought promptly before a judge. 

Thirdly, the Committee also found that the State Party had violated the author's rights under article 14(3)(b) of the Covenant, on the following basis: 

  • The Committee recalled its jurisprudence according to which the requirement of adequate time is an important element of the guarantee of a fair trial and of application of the principle of equality of arms. 
  • The Committee noted that the State Party did not contest the claim that the author was only granted two a hours a week to prepare for a trial in which he was charged with multiple crimes and was ultimately sentenced to life imprisonment. 

Finally, in the facts presented before it, the Committee also considered that there had been a violation of article 14(5) of the Covenant, on the following basis:

  • The Committee noted the authors claim that, despite his specific request, he was not present when his appeal was heard by the Supreme Court, and that he was not represented by counsel. 
  • The Committee noted that the State Party did not provide explanations for the reasons why it did not allow the participation of the author or his lawyers at the proceedings before the Supreme Court

Recommendations

Pursuant to Article 2 (3) (a) of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy. This requires it to make full reparation to individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated.

Accordingly, the State party is obligated, inter alia, to take appropriate steps to:

  • Quash the author’s conviction and, if necessary, conduct a new trial, in accordance with the principles of fair hearings, and other procedural safeguards
  • Conduct a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation into the author’s allegations of torture
  • Provide the author with adequate compensation and other measures of satisfaction for the violations that occurred.
  • Take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future. 

Implementation

The Committee required Ukraine to take all measures and update the Committee on progress made within 180 days. Ukraine was also requested to publish the present Views and have them widely disseminated in the official languages of the State party.

Rules of Procedure of the Human Rights Committee

Rules of Procedure of the Human Rights Committee CCPR/C/3/Rev.10

Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish

CCPR NGO Participation

Documents adopted by the Human Rights Committee (March 2012)

English | French | Spanish | Russian | Handbook

CCPR NHRI Participation

Documents adopted by the Human Rights Committee (November 2012)

English | French | Spanish | Russian | Arabic | Chinese