Sotnyk: The adopted law on misdemeanour offenses is a real infringement of human rights, which inevitably brings us closer to a police state

Samopomich deputy notes that this is a law for law enforcement officers, and it deprives citizens of even minimal rights in the investigation of misdemeanour offenses. Moreover, the document grossly violates the Convention on Human Rights and levels four key principles that are guaranteed to citizens.

First: according to the Constitution, you have the right to refuse to testify against yourself and your family members. This law introduces a new format – receiving explanations which are not treated as testimony, which makes it impossible to refer to Article 63 of the Constitution.

Olena Sotnyk notes, “A person can be detained for 72 hours, and these “explanations” might be obtained from the person during this time. And we all know the methods of obtaining information. Then on the basis of these explanations, accusations are brought and transferred to the court, while the citizen is not even able to appeal the evidence in the court or withdraw his or her “explanations”. And even if these explanations were received under pressure or they were “knocked out” of you, in court you will not be able to defend against the arbitrariness of law enforcement officers.”

Second: there are new additional grounds for detaining a person without a court order. These grounds can be interpreted by law enforcement officers very freely and can be used with a view to exercising pressure. “This means that any person can be detained for 72 hours with no explanations. Because in this case, the judicial guarantees for the people are not provided,” says the people’s deputy.

Third: depriving people of the right to a fair trial. The law provides that, allegedly for the purpose of prompt examination of cases, people can refuse to participate in court, which is nonsense in criminal proceedings. After all, the key tasks of the criminal process are the right to a fair trial, adversariality, the right to get acquainted with the case materials, to participate in all legal proceedings, to challenge the illegality of the actions of law enforcement agencies.

“People are de facto deprived of all this and are allowed to refuse to participate in court. Yet, it is not stated in any way how the refusal should be performed, whether a defender is engaged in this, and generally, how the right to participate in courts is explained to people. That is, there might be a person who is not very well aware of the laws. This person will be told that in case he/she refuses to participate in the court session, there will be a less severe punishment. In the end, a verdict will be delivered in relation to this person and he/she will not be able to appeal against it.”

Olena Sotnyk notes that such provisions of the draft law are a flagrant violation of Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention on Human Rights. The signing of the law by the President in this form will definitely lead to another burst of complaints to the European Court of Human Rights!


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