Human Rights Watch: Impunity for abuse by law-enforcers remains a persistent problem

The Human Rights Watch has published the 2018 Report, in which impunity for abuse by law-enforcers is described as a persistent problem.

“Investigations, if launched, often led to charges that carry lesser, inappropriate sanctions and rarely resulted in convictions. Authorities routinely refused to grant victim status to those who alleged abuse, depriving them of the opportunity to review investigation files», reads the report.

According to the document, by September, the Ombudsman’s Office received 149 complaints of ill-treatment by prison staff or police and petitioned the prosecutor’s office to launch investigations in eight cases. None resulted in criminal prosecution.

The report also mentions that in July, the parliament adopted a law creating a State Inspector’s Office, a separate body in charge of investigating abuses by law enforcement. The law grants the prosecutor a supervisory role over this body’s investigations, including the right to give mandatory directives on any investigative procedure, or change investigative decisions, which compromises the body’s independence.

Another case mentioned by the report is the Khorava Street murder. According to the document, the victims’ families claimed that the Prosecutor’s Office had deliberately concealed or manipulated evidence.