Amendments proposed to the CPC of Ukraine threaten independence of the NABU and the SAPO and block their work

17.10.2018 11:10

Adoption of amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, envisaged by the draft law No. 8336, eliminates disadvantages of the so-called "Lozovyi's amendments" regarding the appointment of expert assessments in virtually all proceedings, except those investigated by the Detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). In addition, the proposed initiatives can threaten the independence of the NABU and complicate the investigation of top-corruption crimes.

The draft law foresees the possibility for the parties of criminal proceedings to involve experts independently. In the same time the prosecution side still have an obligation to apply to the judge in case of necessity to conduct an examination of video, audio, writing, linguistic, economic or commodity expertise (if the cost of the object is 200 and more times the size of the subsistence minimum for able-bodied persons). This is exactly the kind of expertise that are carried out during the NABU’s investigation of corruption criminal offenses.

Under the pretext of "mitigating the negative effects of "Lozovy's amendments" and declaring intentions to fight against corruption, some politicians introduce the draft law which practically makes this impossible and dampens the previous achievements of the NABU.

Among the MPs propositions is the creation of the Unified State Register of Forensic Expertises and Expert Investigations. This Register could threaten the disclosure of the secrecy of the pre-trial investigation and will enable those persons who are under investigation to keep track of the process of investigations, to find out what expertise are assigned and how to "drown" on its results.

The NABU also concerns about initiative to forbid interrogations as a witness the expert who prepared a conclusion in the proceeding. Instead, the draft law proposes to provide only written explanations. In that case, the expert can provide a conclusion, and after a while, when facing "contradictions" or "questions", change his mind in a written explanation.

The National Bureau considers the proposed changes to the Law unacceptable and asks MPs to fully abolish the norms that make it impossible to effectively investigate corruption crimes, threaten the independence of law enforcement agencies, violate the rights of victims, civil plaintiffs and other participants in the criminal process.

We also note that among the key recommendations of international experts who evaluated the effectiveness of the work of newly created anti-corruption institutions, there is a need to avoid amending the legislation governing the work of the NABU and the SAPO without prior comprehensive consultations involving the NABU, the SAPO, other law enforcement agencies, civil society, experts and other stakeholders.