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Ill Treatment Of Police Suspects Still Common In Ukraine, EU Report Says

According to a new report, the Ukrainian police's ill treatment of suspects has a "systematic nature." (file photo)
According to a new report, the Ukrainian police's ill treatment of suspects has a "systematic nature." (file photo)

A new report from the Council of Europe finds that, despite significant efforts in Ukraine to adopt European human right standards, law enforcement bodies in the country continue to treat suspects badly.

"The problem of ill treatment still exists and has a systematic nature," said the report, which was released on May 4 as part of the European Union's and council's Partnership for Good Governance Project aimed at strengthening human rights in the former Soviet country.

The report said the principle reason for what it called "ill treatment by police" in Ukraine was an "established investigative practice which requires a suspect's confession as the starting point" for a criminal investigation.

It said the practice of first obtaining confessions from suspects -- "often extracted in an illegal manner" -- is "widely spread and supported" by police so they can "present better investigative statistics."

Once the confessions are extracted, the report said, the "inadmissible evidence" is "quite often accepted in court proceedings," perpetuating the rights violations in the legal system.

The report also found shortcomings in Ukrainian law that contribute to the ill treatment of suspects, including a "lack of a functional independent institution responsible for investigating" rights violations by police.

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