EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 50/15/96
UA 280/96 Death penatly / Legal conern 2 December 1996
UKRAINESergey Vysochansky, aged 23
Amnesty International is alarmed that another man sentenced to death, Sergey
Vysochansky, may be facing imminent execution unless his sentence is commuted
by the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma. His appeal against his death
sentence is believed to have been turned down by the Supreme Court of Ukraine
on 4 August 1996. Sergey Vysochansky was sentenced to death for premeditated
aggravated murder (Article 93 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code) by Khelmenitsky
regional court on 3 April 1996.
Amnesty International is gravely concerned at the speed with which Sergey
Vysochansky's case is being processed, especially in the light of claims that
there is evidence which suggests that Sergey Vysochansky is innocent and that
he is being used as a scapegoat in order that the murder investigation be
Amnesty International is appalled that executions are continuing in Ukraine,
a year after Ukraine joined the Council of Europe and committed itself to
imposing an immediate moratorium on executions. Ukraine made the commitment
on 26 September 1995 "to sign within one year and ratify within three years
from the time of accession Protocol no. 6 of the Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on the abolition of the death penalty,
and to put into place, with immediate effect from the day of accession, a
moratorium on executions" (Parliamentary Assembly Opinion 190, 1995). Ukraine
joined the Council of Europe on 9 November 1995 and from that moment was bound
in good faith to implement this solemn commitment to a moratorium. However,
people on death row in Ukraine continue to be executed to this day.
Zsolt Nemeth, Council of Europe rapporteur on the honouring of obligations
and commitments by Ukraine, reported at a press conference on 29 November in
Kiev, that over 100 people had been executed since the beginning of 1996.
The Ukrainian Minister of Justice, Sergiy Holovaty, confirmed that 89 people
had been executed in the first six months of 1996.
Amnesty International has been able to confirm five of these executions: that
of Yury Strukhov in March; Vladimir Ogoltsov, in June; Aleksey Vedmedenko
and Denis Birukov in August and Sergey Tekuchev in October.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters, in
equal numbers to each addressee, in Ukrainian, Russian, English or your own
To the President:
- urging President Kuchma to grant clemency to Sergey Vysochansky;
- expressing outrage that Ukraine is violating its commitment to the Council
of Europe by continuing executions;
- urging President Kuchma to take the necessary steps for Ukraine to honours
its commitment to the Council of Europe and to sign Protocol 6 of the Convention
for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
To the Head of the Clemency Commission, Peotr Andreychenko:
- urging him to recommend to the President to intervene to prevent Sergey
Vysochansky's execution and to grant him clemency;