Police

POLICE AT PEACEFUL ASSEMBLIES

During the peaceful assembly, the police shall take care of safety of its participants and other people. In order to do that, police officers may use force or special-purpose hardware. However, the police may resort to such measures only when it is impossible to stop the offence without the use of force.

Since the autumn of 2017, the dialogue police (or communication police) have been functioning in Ukraine. This is a special unit tasked with resolving conflict situations during mass gatherings by means of engaging in negotiations, without the use of coercive means.

NB!

Dialogue police officers wear civil clothes and special bright vests with respective inscriptions “communication police” or “dialogue police”.

 

Employees of respective units explain to participants of peaceful assemblies their rights and obligations. They perform the role of mediator between conflicting sides.

If it is impossible to resolve the conflict in a peaceful way, police officers may resort to the use of force.

 

What are grounds and conditions of the police using force?

The police may use force only against offenders.

The police do not have the right to use special-purpose hardware (rubber and plastic clubs, equipment with tear gas and irritative substances) against participants of assemblies.

Use of force or special-purpose hardware by the police shall be:

legal

when the right of a police officer to use force in a specific instance is clearly stipulated by the law

necessary

when non-force measures will not help to stop a person’s unlawful conduct

proportional

if measures applied to the offender do not exceed danger of his/her conduct

effective

when the offence is terminated as a result of police officers using force

A police officer shall stop using force or special-purpose hardware

— if the offence is terminated

or

 it is impossible to terminate the offence with the use of force

or

there is no need to continue using force.

THE POLICE HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE

Physical force

  • to ensure personal safety or safety of other persons
  • to stop an offence
  • to apprehend an offender

Rubber and plastic clubs

  • to hold off an attack against a police officer, other person, or object under protection
  • to apprehend an offender and in case of malicious defiance to the police officer’s demand
  • to stop group breach of public order or mass riots

Equipment with tear gas and irritative substances

  • to hold off an attack against a police officer, other person, or object under protection
  • to stop group breach of public order or mass riots

Firearms

  • in exceptional cases that are clearly stipulated by the law

THE POLICE DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT

To use physical force, special-purpose hardware, and firearms against

  • women who are obviously pregnant
  • minors
  • persons who have obvious disabilities or are obviously old

      !  Except for instances of an armed assault or assault in concert, armed resistance to a police officer.

To use rubber (plastic) clubs

  • to hit the head, neck, area of the clavicle, genitalia, lower back (tailbone), and abdomen

While using equipment with tear gas and irritative substances, to perform

  • targeted shooting of people
  • throwing and shooting grenades into a crowd
  • repeated use of such means within the impact area when these substances are still active

To shoot non-lethal rounds

  • with violation of requirements stipulated by technical characteristics relating to distance from the person and shooting into separate parts of the person’s body and head

To use water cannons when the air temperature is below +10°C

To use handcuffs for over 2 hours without breaks or without loosening them.

RESPONSIBILITY OF POLICE OFFICERS

Opponents of a rally or countergathering may initiate provocations during a peaceful assembly. Besides, the participants’ rights may be violated by law enforcers, including instances when law enforcers exceed their authorities. Police officers may be brought to disciplinary, administrative, or criminal responsibility for such violations.

Disciplinary responsibility

of a police officer is entailed for an unlawful guilty action or omission which constitutes a failure to fulfill a duty, improper fulfillment of a duty, exceeding of the scope of their authorities, violation of restrictions and prohibitions stipulated by the legislation governing police officers, as well actions that undermine the authority of the police.

! In particular, a police officer can be brought to disciplinary responsibility for expressions and actions that breach human rights or undermine human dignity and honor.

Police officers bear administrative responsibility  

in line with disciplinary charters, as well as based on general grounds, for instance, for breaching rules, norms, and standards relating to ensuring of traffic safety or illegal storage of special technical devices for surreptitious obtaining of information.

Police officers’ actions that may be considered as criminal offences:

Obstruction of lawful professional activities of journalists

illegal seizure of materials gathered, processed, prepared by the journalist and technical means that he/she uses for professional activities, illegal refusal to allow journalist’s access to information, illegal prohibition to cover separate topics, show separate persons, criticize the subject with power authorities, as well as any other intentional obstruction of journalist’s lawful professional activities; influence in any form on the journalist with a view to preventing him/her from fulfilling professional duties or persecuting the journalist due to his/her lawful professional activities (Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Illegal obstruction of organizing or holding gatherings, rallies, street marches, and demonstrations

if such action has been committed by an official or with the use of physical violence (Article 340 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Exceeding of power or office duties

i.e. intentional committing of actions by an employee of law enforcement bodies that evidently exceed the scope of his/her rights or authorities if they have caused significant harm to legally protected rights, interests of separate citizens, state or public interests, interests of legal entities (Article 365 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Apprehensions, home arrest, or detention that is known to be illegal (Article 371 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine);

Bringing of a person known to be innocent to criminal responsibility (Article 372 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Violation of the right to defense

non-admission or failure to provide a defense attorney in a timely manner, as well as other severe violation of the right of the suspect, accused person committed by a detective, prosecutor, or judge (Article 374 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

In order to initiate criminal investigation with respect to a person, you have to turn to a pre-trial investigation body with a statement on a criminal offence.

If it does not concern a crime committed by a law enforcement employee, such investigation will be conducted by the State Bureau of Investigations, which is why you should submit the statement directly to its territorial divisions based on the location where the crime has been committed: https://dbr.gov.ua/teritorialni-upravlinna .

With respect to crimes committed by citizens, you should submit the statement to internal affairs divisions (police departments) based on the place where the crime has been committed.

The statement on the crime committed is executed in a free form with description of circumstances of the crime and information about the claimant (surname and name, contact details).
While submitting the statement, you will be informed about criminal responsibility for submitting a notification on the crime committed that is known to be not true.

Criminal proceeding has to be registered within 24 hours (not later) of your submission of the statement. Besides, in 24 hours after registration you should be provided with an excerpt from the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations (informational database in which all criminal proceedings are registered).

If the proceeding is not registered, you have 10 days to file a complaint with the court relating to the lack of actions of a detective, which consists in the failure to enter information about the crime into the Unified Register of Criminal Offences.