NABU calls for the repeal of disputable amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) calls on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to repeal the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine (CPC), which paralyze the work of investigative authorities. The Members of Parliament are going to consider the Draft Law of Ukraine On the Amendments to Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Improvement of Criminal Justice (№7547) dated February 5, 2018. The Draft Law proposes to cancel specific amendments to the CPC adopted in October 2017.The Draft Law provides the repeal of the amendments to Articles 132, 184, 219, 234, 242-244, and 303 of the CPC. It is proposed to return the previous edition of the Code, according to which the investigator can apply for a choosing a preventive measure, seizure of property or removal of a suspect from office to court at the location of the law enforcement agency. Also, the Draft Law №7547 repeals the amendments to the procedure of the appointment and conduct of expert examinations (Articles 242-244 of the CPC). In addition, the Parliament proposes to return the previous edition of the Articles 303, 305, 307, and 309 of the CPC regarding the judge’s authority to terminate a notice of suspicion and the status of the suspect in a criminal proceeding.

At the same time, NABU pays attention of the Members of Parliament to the fact that there is a threat to the work of the system of law-enforcement agencies in terms of limiting the timing of pre-trial investigation of grave offences to six months from the moment of registering a criminal proceeding in the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations (with the possibility of continuation of an investigation by a court decision). We emphasize that the disclosure and investigation of corruption schemes in such a short time is impossible. For example, when dusclosing  the schemes of withdrawal of funds abroad the NABU Detectives investigate a chain consisting of 7-10 transactions, through which the stolen money are transferred to its final beneficiaries. In order to obtain evidence Detectives analyze banking operations at each stage. In such circumstances, only the disclosure of bank secrecy under Article 164 of the CPC takes at least 7-10 months, saying nothing of further examinations and other investigative and procedural actions.

It should be noted that there is no such norm in any civilized country. According to the CPC of Ukraine, the prosecutor has an obligation to control over the observance of reasonable terms of pre-trial investigation. Therefore, imposing such functions on judges contradicts  the equity of statute and logic of the CPC of Ukraine.

We emphasized that the proposed amendments contradict not only the international law, but also national legislation. Due to the fact that the abovementioned amendments do not provide for the possibility of reopening a pre-trial investigation, they will lead to violations of the legal rights of applicants, victims, civil plaintiffs and the interests of the State. In such circumstances, it will be impossible to prosecute a person who had committed a crime after the expiration of the pre-trial investigation term.

Once again, the NABU calls on the Members of Parliament to prevent blocking the work of law enforcement agencies of Ukraine and to cancel the radical amendments to the CPC adopted in October 2017 (including the extension of the terms of a pre-trial investigation by a court).

It should be reminded that the abovementioned amendments to the CPC of Ukraine regarding the measures for ensuring criminal proceedings, terms of the pre-trial investigation, examinations, introduced by Law of Ukraine №6232 on October 3, 2017, have come into force on March 15, 2018.