Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of the right to freedom of opinion: Summary of cases, A/HRC/17/27/Add.1, 27 May 2011: Ukraine
2238. On 3 December 2010, the Special Rapporteur, together with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, sent an urgent appeal regarding an attack against Mr. Timur Lysenko and Ms. Anastasia Medco, along with other members of the organisations Insight, Fulcrum, and the Visual Cultural Centre in Kiev, Ukraine. Insight is an organisation that works to improve the lives of people who identify themselves as part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in Ukraine. The Visual Cultural centre is a platform for the integration of contemporary artistic practices and scientific disciplines within the academic field.
2239. According to the information received, on 20 November 2010, Insight organized a candlelight vigil, film exhibition and discussion on transgender issues, in cooperation with the Visual Cultural Centre, to promote the Transgender Day of Remembrance held in memory of those who have been killed due to anti-transgender violence in Ukraine.
2240. While the film was being screened, a group of ten men wearing masks reportedly attempted to enter the Visual Cultural Centre by force; however, they were denied entrance by the organizers of the event including Mr. Timur Lysenko, the coordinator of the transgender programme of Insight. The masked men consequently attacked and beat Mr. Lysenko. Furthermore, before fleeing, the intruders reportedly also sprayed tear gas at those present, severely injuring Mr. Lysenko and Ms. Anastasia Medco, a representative of the NGO Fulcrum, among others. It is reported that Mr. Lysenko was subsequently hospitalised and diagnosed with internal injuries and facial chemical burns.
2241. Numerous complaints had reportedly been lodged with the police regarding the attack which, it is reported, was characterised by the police as “hooliganism”. The alleged victims, however, claim that it bears the hallmark of a planned attack with the intention of disrupting an LGBTI event, and have thus urged the police to characterise the attack as a hate crime. The police, however, have reportedly refused to do so.
2242. Concern was expressed that the attacks against Mr. Timur Lysenko and Ms. Anastasia Medco may be related to their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights, particularly with regard to the LGBTI community in Ukraine. Further concern was expressed that these acts, if confirmed, would reflect a context of increasing violence and other forms of harassment against LGBTI organisations in Ukraine.
Response from the Government
2243. In a letter dated 21 February 2011, the Government replied to the communication sent on 3 December 2010 by transmitting information from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine with regard to the official inquiry into the report of bodily injury sustained by Ms. A.A. Medko and Mr. T.V. Lysenko, as follows.
2244. It has been established that on 20 November 2010, in the building of the Visual Culture Research Centre, which is located on the premises of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (No. 2, Skovoroda Street), Mr. T.V. Lysenko, manager of the non-governmental organization “Insight”, organized a candlelight vigil, a film screening and a discussion to commemorate the day of remembrance of victims of violence against transsexuals in Ukraine.
2245. Following the film screening, some 10 youths wearing black clothing and masks gathered outside the Centre and attempted to enter the building using force. Two of the participants in the event, Ms. A.A. Medko and Mr. T.V. Lysenko, attempted to restrain them at the entrance door, as a result of which Ms. Medko was punched in the face and Mr. Lysenko in the stomach.
2246. On 20 November 2010, Mr. T.V. Lysenko, Ms. A.A. Medko, D.A. Pichakhchi and D.S. Marchika presented themselves at the Podol District Department of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the city of Kyiv to report that they had sustained bodily injury during the struggle with the unidentified persons at the Visual Culture Research Centre. The applicants were recommended to undergo a forensic medical examination in order to establish the degree of seriousness of the bodily injuries sustained and were advised of the relevant procedure; however, they did not present themselves for such an examination.
2247. A police investigation team visited the scene of the incident to survey the site and to gather evidence.
2248. Citizens who had been on the premises of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in their free time and the security guards of the institution reported when interviewed that they had not seen any suspicious persons, nor had they been aware of any disturbances.
2249. It was established that arrangements for access to the premises of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy were poor and that the entry of visitors was not controlled.
2250. As the result of consideration of the reports filed by the applicants with the Podol District Department, a decision not to institute criminal proceedings was issued on the basis of article 6 (Circumstances precluding criminal proceedings), paragraph 2, of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine and the applicants were notified accordingly. Efforts to establish the identity of the persons reported by the applicants to have committed acts of criminal mischief were unsuccessful.
2251. The decision issued by the office of the procurator for the Podol District of the city of Kyiv is considered to be justified and has been left unchanged.
2252. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for the response to the communication sent on 3 December 2010, but regrets that the Government of Ukraine has not responded to the communication sent on May 2010. He considers response to his communications an important part of cooperation by Governments, and urges the Government to respond to concerns raised by him and provide detailed information regarding investigations undertaken, prosecutions as well as protective measures taken.
Link to full text of the report: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/17session/A.HRC.17.27.Add.1_EFSonly.pdf