Introduction of Custody Records Took the Human Rights Protection In Detention to a Whole New Level – Ruslan Goryachenko

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The Custody Records System has been successfully implemented in four temporary detention centers (TDC), while its electronic component representing information subsystem has been launched into use in all TDCs in Ukraine, said head of the Human Rights Compliance Department of the National Police of Ukraine Ruslan Goryachenko.

As stated by Ruslan Goryachenko, head of the Human Rights Compliance Department, the Custody Records is a system dwelling on five key components: work of human rights compliance inspectors; electronic data base; proper detention conditions; legal framework, and strong external control. This system is being implemented by the National Police with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation, the Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation, and the Human Rights Expert Center to protect the rights and security of both detainees and police officers.

 “This system has been already successfully implemented and used in four cities in Ukraine: Sarny, Kropyvnytsky, Kherson and Dnipro. Currently, preparations are under way for its full scale launch in three other regions: Kharkiv, Luhansk and Lviv,” said Ruslan Goryachenko.

Goryachenko says the Custody Records system aims to minimize possible cases of ill- treatment of detainees, to enhance oversight over compliance with human rights and freedoms of persons in detention, and to protect staff of TDCs from fabricated accusations of mistreating detainees.

Although the Custody Records system has been fully launched in four cities only, its electronic data bases are totally accessible in all temporary detention facilities across the country.

“Every day, being in Kyiv, we can access all the necessary information about the activities of any temporary detention center, for example, in Zaporizhia. The data we can get access to are ranging from the personal data of each detainee and reasons for his or her detention to the information about his or her relocation and state of health. The system has a function to remind detention facility staffers about the time when the detainee’s custody period expires, and even such details as when he or she is scheduled to take medication. Compared to the old paper-based document processing system, the electronic system shall boost our work in terms of speed and smoothness,” said Goryachenko, head of the Human Rights Compliance Department.

He said that the information subsystem of Custody Records helped to streamline the process of taking a person into custody by reducing the time they would have to stay inside the boxes of special vehicles.

Also, Ruslan Goryachenko said, in spite of short period of using the Custody Records system, it has already proven effective as a method to refute groundless charges against police officers allegedly mistreating persons in detention.

“Once we have had the detainee complain about him being physically assaulted during interrogation. We started the investigation and, of course, checked the video from surveillance cameras. The video clearly showed: police officers were sitting at a table, while the detainee was sitting on the other side of the table. Then suddenly the detainee jumped up and attacked the policeman. Of course, the police had to use physical force, but they did not beat him. Instead, they used handcuffs. The issue was resolved,” said Ruslan Goryachenko, at the same time admitting that there were cases when detention facility staffers really mistreated the detainees.

He stressed that the Custody Records system allows to access any information at each detention center at any time, and hence, allows to promptly assess the needs of the detention facility, plan its resources and monitor human rights compliance.

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