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The Public Verdict Foundation
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  1. The Public Verdict Foundation Moscow, 2009

  2. The Public Verdict Foundation Background The Public Verdict Foundation • a non-political, non-profit organization • established on February 16, 2004 • active in most regions of the Russian Federation Moscow, 2009

  3. The Public Verdict Foundation Background Goals of the Foundation: • promote reforms of the law enforcement system based on respect for human rights • ensure civil society monitoring of the law enforcement practices • create a climate of zero tolerance for abuse of power in any form in the Russian society Moscow, 2009

  4. The Public Verdict Foundation Background Founders • The Memorial Historical, Educational and Human Rights Society • The Moscow Helsinki Group • The Open Russia NGO • The Democracy Foundation (the Alexander N. Yakovlev Foundation)‏ • The Russian Regions Foundation Moscow, 2009

  5. The Public Verdict Foundation Background The Board • Sergey Vitsin, Doctor of Law, Professor of the Moscow MVD University, Major General of the Interior Service • Boris Zolotukhin, Lawyer, Moscow Helsinki Group • Lev Levinson, Expert, the Human Rights Institute; Member, the Russian Ombudsman’s Advisory Board • Tatyana Lokshina, Chair of the Board, the Demos Center;Member, the Russian Ombudsman’s Advisory Board • Oleg Orlov, Chair of the Board, the Memorial Human Rights Center; Member, the Russian Ombudsman’s Advisory Board • Henry Reznik, President, the Moscow City Bar Association • Alexei Simonov, President, the Glastnost Defense Foundation; Member, the Russian Ombudsman’s Advisory Board • Vladimir Smirnov, General of the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office (Retd) Moscow, 2009

  6. The Public Verdict Foundation Background The Board of Trustees • Valentin Gefter, Director, the Human Rights Institute; Member, the Presidential Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights; Member, the Russian Ombudsman’s Advisory Board • Sergey Kovalyov, Chair, the Russian Memorial Society; Member, the Russian Ombudsman’s Advisory Board • Yuri Schmidt, Lawyer, Chair of the Russian Lawyers Committee for Human Rights Moscow, 2009

  7. The Public Verdict Foundation Background The Foundation's Partners in Russian Regions Currently, the Foundation works in partnership with the following groups: • The Committee against Torture (Nizhny Novgorod)‏ • The Man and Law NGO (Yoshkar Ola)‏ • The Memorial Human Rights Commission in the Komi Republic (Syktyvkar) • The South Siberia Human Rights Center (Novokuznetsk)‏ • The Ryazan Memorial Society • The Chita Human Rights Center • Mothers in Defense of Detainees, Suspects and Prisoners (Krasnodar)‏ • The Novorossiysk Human Rights Committee (Krasnodar Krai)‏ • The Perm Human Rights Center • The Krasnoyarsk Committee for Human Rights • The OSA Human Rights Movement (Abakan)‏ • The Committee-29 Human Rights NGO (Abakan)‏ Moscow, 2009

  8. The Public Verdict Foundation Background The Foundation's Activities and Program Areas Legal assistance to citizens Research projects Psychosocial rehabilitation of victims Mobile response groups in Russian regions Information and PR Compliance with the European Court judgments in Russia Education and awareness-raising Collaboration with international bodies Moscow, 2009

  9. The Public Verdict Foundation Legal assistance to citizens Legal assistance to citizens • initiate official investigations • offer legal advice • provide litigation support Where the Foundation finds new cases • citizens access the Foundation directly with requests for legal assistance • we learn about violations from mass media reports and partner NGOs and offer assistance to the victims Moscow, 2009

  10. The Public Verdict Foundation Legal assistance to citizens Litigation Support • the Foundation finds and pays a lawyer to take a case • the Foundation staff represent the victim during the investigation and in court • we offer victims legal advice • we help victims with preparing their complaints and applications • we write and send letters on behalf of victims to relevant prosecutors and investigators Moscow, 2009

  11. The Public Verdict Foundation Legal assistance to citizens Five Years of Work: • the Foundation received approximately 900 requests of assistance from all across Russia • we provided verbal advice in 345 cases or referred the cases to relevant services • we took up 304 cases • as a result of our interventions, criminal proceedings were opened in 78 cases • 78 law enforcement officers were convicted and sentenced to various terms (49 to prison, and 29 to probation)‏ Details of the criminal cases are available from our website at: http://www.publicverdict.org/ru/cases.html “The Public Verdict Foundation is a new organization, but it has already joined the ranks of the most professional and effective human rights groups in Russia. The efforts of the Foundation and other human rights groups have an impact on the police conduct. I can’t say that torture has stopped, but the law enforcement personnel are now aware that they may be held liable for their actions. It is very important that the Public Verdict also helps set up similar organizations in Russian regions." Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Chair, Moscow Helsinki Group Victims of abuse have received 10,357,815 rubles from the Russian Governmentin compensation of moral harm and material damage Moscow, 2009

  12. The Public Verdict Foundation Information and PR “Without public relations, human rights groups have no future, their activity is not transparent, it is unclear how they can help an ordinary person. Concrete examples of high-profile (and not so high-profile) trials communicated to the public by mass media help people understand how courts, prosecutors and police operate. The reports reveal a pattern of interaction between these systems and an individual whose rights they may abuse. It builds public trust in the quality of reporting ”. Boris Dolgin, academic editor, Polit.Ru Information and PR Strategy: a case story • informational support of each individual case pursued by the Foundation and our partners • Our PR strategy is based on personal stories of people fighting against arbitrariness and abuse. [Personal stories reveal existing problems with law enforcement agencies and raise public awareness] Over five years of our work, federal and regional media published about 8000 reportsabout the Foundation and its activity. The innovative case story strategy has been adopted by many human rights NGOs as a PR tool. Moscow, 2009

  13. The Public Verdict Foundation Information and PR The Public Verdict Foundation Newsletter [Our illustrated publication] • published twice every year • analytical reports on matters of current interest • findings of research carried out by the Foundation jointly with leading academic institutions and sociology centers • testimonies of people fighting against police abuse and arbitrariness • activity reports of the Foundation • current issues with the law enforcement agencies as seen by mass media The newsletter issues are available at http://www.publicverdict.org/ru/articles/library.html Moscow, 2009

  14. The Public Verdict Foundation Information and PR Public Verdict Foundation Website • important updates on law enforcement practices and human rights work • updates on cases pursued by the Foundation and our partner organizations • findings of sociological surveys, comprehensive activity reports • analytical legal and law enforcement-related reviews [The website attracts approximately 550 visitors daily: journalists, human rights defenders, law enforcement personnel, individual citizens] The website: www.publicverdict.org Moscow, 2009

  15. The Public Verdict Foundation Education Education and awareness-raising The Public Verdict Foundation consistently offers: • training seminars in • using domestic legislation and litigation to defend human rights • psychosocial rehabilitation of victims of torture and ill-treatment • communication and public relations strategies for human rights NGOs • internship opportunities for members of partner NGOs (staff of legal departments and PR services) • panel debates, round tables on • the problem of violence by law enforcement agents; • effective ways to oppose the use of torture • compliance with the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights; • reform of the law enforcement and involvement of citizens and human rights NGOs in the reform Moscow, 2009

  16. The Public Verdict Foundation Education Education Recognizing the value of shared knowledge, the Foundation uses every opportunity to discuss matters of current interest to human rights NGOs and to work on joint strategies to expand and enhance these efforts. • the Foundation organizes between three and seven panel discussions every year • over the five years of its existence, the Foundation has delivered more than 20 training seminars for members of human rights groups • over the five years, 21 members of partner NGOs have benefited from internship with the Foundation “A human rights advocate is not only a public activist as it is usually believed, but also a professional. In order to be effective in helping people, one must know certain methods and techniques. The training sessions that I have attended were relevant and focused: a concrete issue was defined every time, and we were trained by experts knowledgeable in this particular issue. I look forward to attending more of such seminars and trainings, useful as well as engaging. Nikolay Stoiko,Chairman, the Public Committee for Human Rights in Krasnoyarsk Moscow, 2009

  17. The Public Verdict Foundation Publishing The Public Verdict Foundation Publishing • preparation and publication of reference guides, manuals and digests for experts, lawyers and human rights activists who work with survivors of violence and abuse at the hands of law enforcement personnel • preparation and publication of books and collected papers containing analysis of current problems with the law enforcement, public opinion surveys about police, etc. [Our publications are distributed free of charge] All publications are available electronically at: http://www.publicverdict.org/ru/articles/library.html “Principles stipulated in international instruments and summarized in the guidebook produced by the Public Verdict Foundation may be easily integrated in the Russian law enforcement practices, which will certainly improve the protection of Russian citizens against arbitrary violence.” Vladimir Lukin,Russian Federal Ombudsman Moscow, 2009

  18. The Public Verdict Foundation Research projects Research projects of the Foundation Why we research • to be current in our knowledge of people's social wellbeing, attitudes towards law enforcement authorities, concerns and expectations in regard of police • to identify what needs to be changed and how in the way law enforcement personnel operates • to receive feedback from citizens served by the Public Verdict Foundation • to ensure legitimacy of the Foundation's proposals and recommendations [Since 2001, the Foundation jointly with the Levada Center has carried out research of the current law enforcement structures] Moscow, 2009

  19. The Public Verdict Foundation Research projects “Research carried out by the Foundation jointly with the Levada Center is an important activity, especially in the context of the government's control of information. Currently this type of research is limited to government-sponsored agencies seeking to downplay the issue of police violence. We need to continue our efforts and expand our collaboration. The Public Verdict Foundation today appears to be one of the few alternative sources of information about law enforcement arbitrariness. We know it from the resonance which the publications of our joint findings have in society." Lev Gudkov, Director, Levada Center Types of Research • Indicative to benchmark certain indicators (the Law Enforcement Arbitrariness Index)‏ • Investigative to find out the citizens' expectations of the law enforcement performance, identify top concerns, reasons for public trust or lack of trust in police Moscow, 2009

  20. The Public Verdict Foundation Research projects • Over the five years, nine sociological research projects have been designed and implemented • Attitudes towards police in big cities • Violence by law enforcement agents • Police violence against youngsters • Law Enforcement Arbitrariness Index (monthly surveys) • Police speak about problems in the police force: police arbitrariness, relations between police and society • Whether the public are willing to donate to help victims of police abuse • Youth and the law enforcement authorities: problems with trust • Attitudes in the Russian public towards police reform • Public knowledge and awareness of the law enforcement practices • The research findings are available at • http://www.publicverdict.org/ru/articles/research.html Moscow, 2009

  21. The Public Verdict Foundation Legal Analysis Legal Analysis We use the details of cases available to us to review the authorities' performance in investigating citizens' complaints A review of cases is helpful for… • finding out underlying reasons, triggering motives, objectives and methods of abuse at the hands of law enforcement personnel • assessing the effectiveness of official investigation; • adjusting our strategies for helping citizens pursue their complaints We consistently review the policy framework for any changes and updates in domestic and international law [We regularly publish the findings of our legal analysis in our reports and on the website] Moscow, 2009

  22. The Public Verdict Foundation Psychosocial support Psychosocial rehabilitation of victims [This program helps survivors of torture and abuse at the hands of law enforcement personnel, and the victims' relatives] “Psychological rehabilitation is a very important activity of the Foundation. It is good that they do not limit their work to legal aspects only. Their use of narrative psychology is a good solution. It allows asking the victims of abuse various questions without traumatizing them or forcing them to re-live the pain and humiliation. Yet another advantage of this method is that it may be used by lay people as well as professional counselors." Natalia Streltsova, Chief of Psychological Support Services, Federal Department of the Penitentiary, Krasnodar Krai Moscow, 2009

  23. The Public Verdict Foundation Psychosocial support The program: • designs and implements context-appropriate methods and techniques of psychosocial rehabilitation for groups and communities of survivors • offers burn-out prevention services to human rights defenders, to avoid retraumatization of people seeking assistance • creates real and virtual communities of mutual support and empowerment for survivors and witnesses of violence and ill-treatment • offers training seminars for psychologists and human rights defenders, produces practical manuals on helping survivors of abuse • provides psychosocial rehabilitation to victims of torture and ill-treatment Moscow, 2009

  24. The Public Verdict Foundation Collaboration with international bodies Collaboration with international bodies [To promote and support reforms in Russia, we need to attract the attention of international experts and find ways to apply the international experience domestically] The Foundation works with international actors: • we prepare reports and analytical reviews for OSCE, UN, the Council of Europe, and for Russia – EU consultations on human rights • we encourage full compliance with obligations under international human rights treaties • we develop and implement a program to promote compliance with the European Court judgments in Russia Important publications: • NGO Shadow Report to the UN Committee against Torture (autumn 2006). The Foundation was the coordinator and a key contributor to the report • Practitioner Guide on Principles and Standards of Investigating Torture Reports - a summary of international instruments establishing standards for effective documentation of torture. Moscow, 2009

  25. The Public Verdict Foundation Compliance with the European Court judgments in Russia Compliance with the European Court judgments in Russia: the involvement of NGOs and the academic community [ECHR judgments are binding. Compliance involves the payment of fair compensation to affected individuals and the restoration of their rights, as well as broader measures to prevent similar violations from reoccurring in the future]. The Foundation's program: • encourages the implementation of broader measures • is based on cases pursued by the Foundation and our partners and on the findings of research looking at the causes of violations committed by law enforcement agents • educates other NGOs about ways to promote compliance with the ECHR judgments • pools together the efforts of human rights defenders and academic experts “Implementation, or compliance with international obligations is a fundamental requirement. The Government, regrettably, understands compliance with the European Court judgments only as the payment of due compensations, even though many such judgments are intended to remedy the overall situation in the country. Here the Foundation can make a contribution." Maria Voskobitova, Director, Professional Development Program ABA CEELI, Moscow Moskow,2009

  26. The Public Verdict Foundation Mobile response groups Mobile response groups respond to gross and massive human rights violations in Russian regions [Mobile response groups – a new instrument used by human rights groups in their work - were developed by the Nizhny Novgorod Committee against Torture and the Public Verdict Foundation in 2005] Mobile response groups • investigate massive and gross human rights violations on site • bring together lawyers and media officers representing human rights groups from various Russian regions • ensure an objective, impartial nongovernmental investigation Moscow, 2009

  27. The Public Verdict Foundation Mobile response groups Mobile response groups set up by the Foundation and the Committee against Torture with participation of partner NGOs have worked in: • Blagoveschensk (Bashkortostan) • Ivanovskaya (Stavropol Krai)‏ • Borodzinovskaya (Chechen Republic)‏ • Bezhetsk, Rozhdestveno (Tver Oblast), • Sochi, Nizhneye Makopse (Krasnodar Krai)‏ • Kologriv (Kostroma Oblast) • Dalnegorsk (Primorsky Krai)‏ • Shalya (Sverdlovsk Oblast) “Mobile response groups were once invented as a format for nongovernmental investigation. Just a few NGOs in Russia have adopted this technique. Used intelligently and consistently, it guarantees positive results. We have good reasons to believe that mobile response groups will be increasingly relevant. I believe that a clear and legally sound approach is critical for human rights NGOs – both when prosecutors fail to respond to violations committed by uniformed forces, and when the latter act lawfully, carrying out their law enforcement functions." Igor Kalyapin, Chairman, Committee against Torture, Moscow, 2009

  28. The Public Verdict Foundation Mobile response groups Some of the results achieved by mobile response groups • The Sochi OMON Case ( Sochi, Nizhneye Makopse, Krasnodar Krai)‏ On 14 October 2008, Lazarevsky District court of Sochi found eight officers of Krasnodar Krai OMON guilty of abuse of power and sentenced them to various prison terms. • The beating of young people case ( Dalnegorsk, Primorsky Krai)‏ Official investigation is underway. Five refusals to open a criminal investigation have been overruled. Two investigators and the chief of Investigative Department in Dalnegorsk were sanctioned for inappropriate decisions. Moscow, 2009