Translation from Russian
MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
February 2, 1999, m 1/2062
Ref. OM-259, December 28, 1998
HUMAN RIGHTS OMBUDSMAN
IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
47, Miasnitskaia Str., Moscow-103084
On measures on strengthening respect for human rights
and observance of law in the activities of the bodies and
structural units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of
the Russian Federation
Dear Oleg Orestovich,
Your letter regarding violence against suspects and accused persons during police inquiry, detective activities and preliminary investigation has been closely considered by the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. All the cases have been thoroughly investigated, and those guilty of ill-treatment have been appropriately punished.
The situation with the rule of law and respect for human rights in realizing the work of police departments is closely monitored by the Main departments and Departments of the Ministry, and is systematically reviewed at working sessions under the ministry leadership.
In view of the acuteness of the problem and the urgency of taking measures to strengthen observance of law and discipline in the police service and the interior troops, the Ministry has issued a number of instructions to improve personnel management, prevent violations by police officers and servicemen. Necessary steps are being taken to implement the instructions.
As a means of control and practical assistance, senior staff systematically visit subordinate structures and receive reports from the chiefs of units producing low statistics in discipline and observance of law by their personnel.
Regarding this problem, the Ministry collegium has heard reports of the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Mordovia, heads of St. Petersburg city and Leningrad Region Chief Police Departments, Ivanovo, Kemerovo, Samara, Tambov, Novgorod, Vladimir, Tomsk, Irkutsk Police Departments, as well as of the Commanding Officer of the Interior Troops Volga Regional Command. The chiefs responsible for serious shortcomings have been administratively punished.
Thus, investigation into the Russian Procuracy General representation "On checking violations of law in investigating reports from citizens about crimes" in St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region has resulted in the decision of the Ministry Collegium (No. 3 KM of June 6, 1998) to remove and sack Lt-General of the Interior A.V.Ponidelko, Head of the Chief Police Department.
Service eligibility has been attested of the regional ministers of the interior, heads of main police departments and police departments, and their deputies for personnel management. Since February of the current year, this procedure has been initiated with respect to regional deputy ministers, heads of main police departments and police departments for criminal police.
To assist chiefs of local divisions in personnel management, more than forty instructions, information digests and theoretical recommendations, as well as reviews of the state of discipline among the personnel in the ministry and its departments, have been circulated in 1998.
Timely reaction to extraordinary incidents among the personnel has been ensured, selection criteria for candidates to join the interior service have been toughened.
Under the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the first ever visit of the European Committee to Russia took place from November 15 to 30, 1998; the members have inspected fourteen pre-trial detention facilities and twelve administrative detention wards of city and district police departments in Moscow, Nizhnii Novgorod and Saratov.
The visiting members have met governors, procurators, heads of main police departments and police departments and discussed the issues of assistance necessary to improve conditions in the police custody, as well as the issues of respect for law and human rights. The visiting members have held one hundred and twenty confidential interviews with detainees and those in custody. Sixty meetings were held with police detectives and division heads, with emphasis on the treatment of detainees, suspects and accused by police officers, on financial, logistics and medical support of these institutions.
This inspection is to produce a detailed report with specific recommendations, which, after adoption in the Council of Europe, will be forwarded to the Russian government.
To eliminate violations of discipline and law fully and completely, a whole new supervisory preventive mechanism has to be established. We believe that we will be able to provide you with the corresponding draft in the second half of 1999.
Expanded session of the Ministry collegium was already held in December, 1998 to discuss "Personnel management and personnel policy in the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs". A concept of personnel management under current conditions has been adopted, which includes a set of measures to improve control and preventive mechanisms.
We appreciate you raising the issues and hope that a permanent working interaction will be established between the office of the human rights ombudsman in Russia and interested services of the ministry to exchange information on violations of law by the ministry personnel.
Col-General of Justice I.N.Kozhevnikov,
Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs