Police not interested in investigating homophobic crimes – experts
The police are not interested in investigating homophobic hate crimes as it does not improve statistics, does not increase performance, moreover, it does not influence the salary size.
This is reported by the Human Rights Information Centre correspondent.
Ignoring hate crimes, in turn, leads to increase in their number. If today’s right-wing organizations can aim at destroying a group of people, tomorrow anyone, who attends wrong movie theaters, cafes, clubs and shops, may become their victim.
So, in 2013, the human rights LGBT center “Our World” recorded 17 cases of physical violence and two attempts to disrupt the LGBT events, in 2014 – 17 cases of physical violence and already five attempts to disrupt LGBT events. For the first eight months of 2015, 16 cases of violence and five attempts to disrupt LGBT events have been already recorded.
“The trend of growing aggression against the people, who attended those events, becomes dangerous. However, in each such case police do not link those offenses with homophobic motives and do not initiate criminal proceedings,” Andriy Kravchuk, human rights expert at the LGBT Center “Our world”, says.
Oleksandr Ruzhytsky, lawyer in the case of setting Kyiv’s “Zhovten” movie theater on fire notes that such crimes are not investigated, including because the national legislation contains no provision that would protect people from illegal actions committed because of their sexual orientation.
“The general article ‘hooliganism’ is usually applied when qualifying such crimes. What is the result? This results in acts of hatred, as in case of ‘Zhovten’ movie theater. It was controversial situation as the court did not estimate homophobic motive of the defendants, but found many ‘mitigating circumstances.’ Meanwhile, the lawyers claimed that their clients had expressed ‘civic stance’ by throwing smoke bombs. The police, the court, and the public prosecution are trying to ignore the hate motive behind committing of the crime,” Ruzhytsky said.
The Criminal Code has only Article 161 stipulating the hate motive on national, racial and religious grounds. “It’s an exhaustive list,” Anastasia Martynovska, expert of the center for strategic litigation at the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, noted.
“Our law enforcement officers do not know how to qualify crimes over homophobic motives. Moreover, they simply do not want to do that. After all, it does not improve their statistics, it does not increase performance. It is not reflected in their salaries, what is more. At the same time, society and the state turn the blind eye to that, believing they have nothing to do with that. However, nobody is safe from hate crimes. Today it may be a gay, tomorrow it may be a displaced person, then it may be anyone,” Martynovska said.
The political will is needed to change the situation, the experts say. In particular, the Article 161 of the Criminal Code should be amended to provide for prohibition of incitement to hatred and enmity on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as to consider homophobic motives as aggravating circumstances in the commission of other crimes.
“Discrimination on any grounds should cease to be a criminal offense and become a misdemeanor liable under the Code of Administrative Offences,” Andriy Kravchuk said.
This was advocated by the human rights activists when developing the national strategy on human rights. However, that did not happen. Currently, the Action Plan is being elaborated, where it is still possible to stipulate all the necessary changes.
As reported, Chervonozavodsky District Court in Kharkov hears the case over murder of 26-year-old guy, who did not hide his belonging to the LGBT community. He inflicted 28 knife wounds.
The law enforcers do not consider it to be hate murder. The lawyers of the injured party claim that the police and prosecutors help other accomplice from a wealthy family avoid liability.