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Ukraine must investigate with more efficacity into crimes against journalists – Counсil of Europe Office

18.09.2020, 10:06
Photo creditPatrick Seeger / EPA / EFE
Photo creditPatrick Seeger / EPA / EFE

Ukraine must increase the efficiency of investigation of the cases where journalists are aggrieved persons, as the Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine Olena Lytvynenko said.

Olena. Lytvynenko also added: "The state's obligation to protect the lives and safety of journalists, as well as effectively investigate crimes committed against journalists, enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and confirmed by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, is binding for Ukraine".

She said this on September 17 during an online discussion "Safety of journalists in Ukraine: existing challenges and ways to get it over," as Ukrinform reported.

“The questions arose in Ukraine society about the effecaciousness of investigations and considering of a number of cases where the aggrieved persons are Ukraine journalists. The most high-profile cases are, of course, the cases of Pavel Sheremet and Georgy Gongadze. There are also a number of other cases that remain uninvestigated. They may concern lesser-known journalists, but at the same time the importance of investigating these cases does not diminish in any way, ” as Lytvynenko said.

She also said that attacks targeting the journalists were a particularly serious violation of human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, as they not only affected some individuals, but also deprived others of the right to information, thus limiting the social dialogue that underpinned a democracy.

Lytvynenko expressed hope that the online discussion would be an important measure to improve the safety of journalists in Ukraine.

As IMI reported, on September 17, representative of the Office of the Prosecutor General Oleh Pylypyuk said that since beginning of the year 2020, the law enforcement officers have opened 484 criminal proceedings for crimes against journalists, but the investigation was currently underway in only 242. 

Interior Ministry spokesman Artem Shevchenko said that in 2020 the National Police registered 148 proceedings for crimes targeting journalists, including 111 cases under Art. 171 (obstruction of lawful professional activity of journalists) and 37 under Art. 345-1 (threats to kill a journalist) of the Criminal Code. He added that in 10 proceedings the indictments were sent to court, another 61 were closed.

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