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06KIEV1051, Ukraine’s TIP Prosecution Numbers Up, But Most

March 17, 2006

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06KIEV1051 2006-03-17 12:35 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kyiv
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A 
SUBJECT:  Ukraine's TIP Prosecution Numbers Up, But Most 
Sentences Lack a Deterrent Bite 

(U) Sensitive but Unclassified.  Not for Internet 

1. (SBU) Summary:  From 2003 to 2005, convictions for 
trafficking in persons (TIP) have increased from 29 to 85 a 
year, but only a third of the convicted traffickers were 
given jail time.  The structure of the General Prosecutor's 
Office (GPO) and its reluctance to specialize suggests that 
conviction rates are not likely to increase dramatically 
and that probation, not incarceration, will continue to be 
the sentence regularly handed down to convicted traffickers 
for the foreseeable future.  Post continues to work with 
the GPO to make the case that it should institute changes 
that would address these issues.  End Summary. 

--------------------------------------------- ----- 
2. (SBU) The State Judicial Administration reported that in 
2005 the courts handled 95 TIP cases with 85 resulting in 
convictions compared to 74 cases and 62 convictions in 
2004, and 41 cases and 29 convictions in 2003.  Most TIP 
convictions, however, result in traffickers being given 
probation instead of jail time.  In 2005, only 47 out of 
115 people convicted for TIP received jail time, with 22 
out of 67 in 2004, and 11 out of 32 in 2003. 

3. (SBU) Judges and prosecutors both contributed to the 
still relatively low numbers of convictions and the light 
sentences.  Among judges there remains a lack of 
understanding of the problem, and corruption continues to 
play a role.  Prosecutors maintain a cautious approach to 
TIP cases, reflecting both the lack of specialized TIP 
trial training and the difficulty in obtaining evidence 
from abroad in a timely manner (ref A).  Weak sentences, we 
have been told, are often a result of an informal agreement 
between judges and prosecutors.  Prosecutors are afraid of 
losing a case, as statistics drive their professional 
advancement, while the lack of evidence in many cases leads 
both judges and prosecutors to agree to pursue probation 
rather then jail time.  The latter requires greater effort 
on the part of the prosecutor and often results in an 
appeal from the defendant.  The result:  the prosecutor 
does not lose a case, the defendant is not imprisoned, and 
the judge has finalized a case with his/her sentence not 
likely to be appealed. 

4. (SBU) In October 2005, the GPO, at least partly in 
response to our urging, made TIP one of its five priority 
crimes and appointed one TIP prosecutor in each region. 
Unfortunately, the oversight prosecutor as opposed to the 
trial prosecutor was given the responsibility for TIP in 
each of the 27 regions, which means that the prosecutor 
trying the case rarely has experience in TIP cases.  (Note: 
There are several categories of prosecutors in Ukraine: 
oversight prosecutors, investigative prosecutors, and trial 
prosecutors.  They operate out of three distinct 
departments both at the national and regional levels.)  The 
GPO has to date rejected our suggestion to create a 
specialized TIP trial prosecutors unit.  General Prosecutor 
Medvedko has insisted that his generalist prosecutors can 
successfully handle all types of cases (ref B). 

5. (SBU) The lack of a TIP specialization within the GPO 
ranks has created a challenge for designing a training 
curriculum to strengthen TIP prosecution capabilities of 
trial prosecutors, as the number of trial prosecutors in 
Ukraine, a country of 47 million inhabitants, is close to 
1,500.  Nevertheless, post will proceed with initial 
training seminars on TIP prosecutions at the Prosecutor's 
Academy this spring, and will continue to urge the GPO to 
establish a specialized TIP trial prosecution unit. 




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