KYIV - April 27, 2020. The Committee on Criminal and Criminal Procedure Law of the Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) sent an open appeal to the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Law Enforcement with a request to reject the draft law "On Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine to simplify and improve existing laws to avoid punishment and unloading of judicial bodies”(Reg. № 3303) (hereinafter - “the Bill”).
Having analyzed the Bill, lawyers concluded that it substantially undermined the rule of law and significantly limited human rights, in particular the right to privacy, secrecy, and the right to defense.
They drew attention to the following changes:
1. Amendments to Article 135 of the CPC of Ukraine, namely introducing the right of investigators to publish summonses in the national media or on the official websites of pre-trial investigation bodies. Experts stressed that this could lead to abuse by law enforcement agencies.
2. The right for the investigation to receive information from telecom operators in virtue of a resolution, instead of a decision of the investigating judge (Article 159 of the CPC of Ukraine). Here again, the question of the threat of abuse of rights arises.
3. Empowering the investigator to choose an interim measure. If such change is accepted, the fuse in the form of a check of the validity of the suspicion will disappear. Moreover, lawyers stressed that these changes would be contrary to the ECHR practice.
4. Obligation of the mortgagor to provide a document on the origin of funds. Experts note that this is a factual duplication of the provisions of the Law on Combating Money Laundering. According to its provisions, the function of verifying the origin of funds in the case of collateral is entrusted to banking institutions.
5. Withdrawal of the norm on evidence of service of a request for application of a precautionary measure. In practice, this will delay the consideration of the petition in court.
6. A search of a person and a simultaneous search of the premises with subsequent "legalization" will also lead to abuse by investigators.
7. The right to seize things during the investigative experiment that may serve as evidence in the process. “In this case, we evidence the substitution of concepts of “investigative experiment” and “search”, the text of the open appeal reads.
The Committee's experts also mentioned the positive changes proposed in the draft law, but their presence does not exclude the potential negative consequences of the current version of the draft law.
The full text of the open appeal is available by the link (in Ukrainian language).