Вступне слово

Вступне слово Ріти Хаверкамп

People deprived of their liberty are particularly vulnerable to arbitrariness in total institutions. In particular, they are in need for protection from ill treatment, up to the point of torture. Legal guarantees are not only found in national legislation, but also in international conventions. Conventions belong to hard law that implies actual binding laws.

The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as well as the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment are among the most prominent and influential conventions by the Council of Europe.

The European Court of Human Rights watches over their application with its caselaw after all remedies before the national courts of the state concerned have been exhausted. If the Court acknowledges a violation, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is responsible for the execution of its judgments. Although the judgments are binding on national courts, a tendency can be observed in some states to disregard the judgments in recent years.

The delegations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) visit places of detention in the member states of the Council of Europe. The CPT developed standards on the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty (CPT Standards), which are the basis for its assessment of facilities during country visits. The CPT Standards are soft law recommendations whose importance is reflected in the fact that they are repeatedly considered of the European Court of Human Rights.

In August 2020 an ad hoc visit to Ukraine reviewed the treatment of persons held in penitentiary institutions and to examine the action taken by the investigative authorities regarding inmates’ complaints of ill-treatment by prison staff.

The results were mixed: While a change of management in one institution led to significant improvements, in one institution the fear of repression after the visit was high; this finding also corresponded to the extraordinary high refusal rate for interviews, even in comparison to the 30-year visit practice.

Furthermore, the delegation observed an overuse of pre-trial detention.

Therefore, the CPT recommends a greater use of alternative non-custodial measures. Nevertheless, the CPT emphasizes the positive efforts and the progress towards a reduction in the prison population and encourages the Ukrainian authorities to pursue the penitentiary reform agenda.

In times of war, it is particularly difficult to guarantee the human rights of people deprived of their liberty. Yet, small steps towards a more humane penitentiary system can be noticed in Ukraine.

For this reason, the present handbook is of considerable value for prison practice in Ukraine. This handbook provides prison authorities and staff not only with a basic understanding of European standards for the Ukrainian penitentiary system, but also enables a comprehensive examination of the no-go regarding human rights in prisons. Strong and structured guidance is provided in the thicket of the caselaw by the European Court of Human Rights.

Prof. Dr. Rita Haverkamp

Endowed Professorship for Crime Prevention and Risk Management,

Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (Germany)

Tübingen, the 6th of April 2023