POLICE FINDS 79 HATE CRIMES IN UKRAINE
According to the Main Department of Investigations, there were 49 crimes registered in the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations under Article 161 (violation of equality of citizens on the basis of their race, nationality, religious views, disability or other characteristics) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine in 2015. Additional 30 crimes were recorded under other articles (including cases of murder and torture).
The post indicates that the bias motive is considered in 79 cases, and additional 78 cases are supervised due to “possible motives”. In the previous years, the Ministry of Interior submitted this information to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Available data is published in a separate section on hate crimes. However, the “official country information” for 2013 is unavailable, and in 2012, the State informed the ODIHR only about 3 cases of hate crime. At the same time, civil society information shows multiple crimes against foreigners, members of ethnic and religious minorities, LGBT community, and other groups.
Establishment of a specialized body of the National Police supervising investigation of these crimes, as well as open recording practices, is a positive step towards developing an effective mechanism for preventing and combating hate crime.
It is also important that “other characteristics”, as they are referenced in the post, are taken into account, including sexual orientation and gender identity (crimes against members of LGBT community) and disability.
However, the number of crimes reported to the law enforcement is significantly lower than the actual number of these cases, both in Ukraine and in other countries. The reasons for underreporting often include the lack of confidence in the outcomes of investigation, as well as inability to report the crime, or lack of awareness about possible actions in these cases.
The reaction from police and effective investigation constitute an integral component of the trust-building process, and consequent increase in reporting rates. In addition to reporting, there is a need for cooperation of civil society and state authorities in the process of informing communities, establishing dialogue, as well as training the investigators on the standards for investigation of hate crimes.
In 2016, No Borders Project will hold a series of trainings on these issues for representatives of the National Police. We will also continue to provide legal support to victims of hate crime in Ukraine. We hope to see not only quantitative, but also qualitative, changes in the field of combating hate crime achieved through cooperation in these matters.