The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment conducted a visit to Ukraine, at the invitation of the Government, from 28 May
to 8 June 2018.
The Special Rapporteur expresses his appreciation to the Government of Ukraine for
the excellent cooperation he enjoyed during the visit and for the meaningful official meetings.
The Special Rapporteur also thanks the armed groups and their de facto authorities in
Donetsk and Luhansk for their cooperation.
The Special Rapporteur further thanks the human rights monitoring mission in
Ukraine for the assistance provided throughout his visit.
During the 12-day visit, the Special Rapporteur visited the cities of Kyiv, Odesa,
Kharkiv, Starobilsk and Bakhmut and the territories controlled by armed groups and their de
facto authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk. In Kyiv, the Special Rapporteur had the
opportunity to engage in open and constructive exchanges of views with officials of the
Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Health, Social Policy, Internal Affairs (and its
departments: the National Police, the State Migration Service and the Administration of the
State Border Service) and Defence, with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, with the Security
Service of Ukraine, with the Prosecutor General’s Office, with the Office of the Ombudsman
and with magistrates of the Supreme Court. Furthermore, he held open and fruitful exchanges
with representatives of civil society organizations and with victims of torture and illtreatment.
In Donetsk, the Special Rapporteur had the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with
the Ombudsperson and the deputy head of the Penitentiary Service of the de facto authorities.
Unfortunately, despite repeated requests, he was not able to meet with representatives of the
Prosecutor’s Office or the de facto Ministries of Justice and the Interior. In Luhansk, he met
with a member of the People’s Council and with the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the
de facto authorities.
Throughout his visit in the government-controlled territory, the Special Rapporteur
and his team enjoyed unrestricted freedom of movement and access to all places where
persons are deprived of their liberty, with the exception of the psychoneurological facility for
women in the Sviatoshynskyi district of Kyiv, where access was unduly delayed by the
management, and which therefore could not be visited. The team were able to meet with and
interview all male, female and juvenile inmates of their choosing in private, in full
compliance with the terms of reference of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate.
While the de facto authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk provided the Special
Rapporteur with restricted access to three places of detention under their control, the Special
Rapporteur greatly regrets to report that the modalities of these visits did not comply with the
terms of reference of the mandate. The de facto authorities had preselected the sites that the
Special Rapporteur was authorized to visit, and no other institutions could be accessed.
Moreover, in the two facilities he visited that are under the control of the de facto
authorities in Luhansk, the Special Rapporteur was not authorized to conduct any confidential
interviews with the detainees, and even collective interviews of a general nature were made
impossible by an oppressively intimidating presence of prison staff. He was able to speak to
two detainees, who reportedly had themselves asked the management to be granted this
opportunity, in a separate office. However, given the constant presence of a guard, the Special
Rapporteur was unable to discuss conditions of detention and treatment freely. He was not
authorized to access the disciplinary sections of these facilities.
In the institution he visited in Donetsk, the Special Rapporteur was granted access to
all sections to which he requested access, including the disciplinary section. He was also
given the opportunity to speak individually to four interned members of the Ukrainian armed
forces preselected by the authorities, albeit in the presence of a prison guard next to the open
door of the interview room, which did not ensure full confidentiality. All dialogue with other
inmates seen during the visit to the various sections had to take place in the immediate