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Lviv court bars non-participants from attending trials, cites quarantine – journalist

10.05.2023, 15:43
Photo: Stanislav Miroshnychenko on Facebook
Photo: Stanislav Miroshnychenko on Facebook

Stanislav Miroshnychenko, the head of the media department at the Media Initiative for Human Rights, had trouble accessing the building of the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv. He came there to attend a trial in the case of ex-Deputy Ilya Kyva, who is accused of encroaching on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine.

Miroshnychenko wrote about this on Facebook and posted the internal order by the head of the court.

Order by the head of the Lychakiv district court. Photo by Stanislav Miroshnychenko

"The courtroom itself was easy to get into. It is the court hearing that was hard to enter. A security guard sitting at the entrance started demanding a summons or some other document as grounds for entry," said Stanislav Miroshnychenko in his comment to an IMI representative.

According to him, he was assured that as long as there are the Covid pandemic and the martial law, those who are not participants in the trial are barred from attending sessions.

"They sent me away to read some orders and directives on the stand. But those were old, if you look at the date. And I didn't find anything about the war there. There was little time, because the meeting was about to begin. Then they handed me an order on the Covid restrictions by the head of the court, valid May 1 to June 30," the journalist added.

He also noted that no one wore masks in court and did not observe any Covid restrictions.

When Stanislav Miroshnychenko said that he was a reporter, the guards took down his personal details and let him into the court.

"The trial itself was open. The meeting was proceeding according to the law. So overall, it turns out that the court does not ensure the publicity of court hearings. If you are not a reporter or a participant, you do not get to attend," the journalist summed up.

According to IMI lawyer Roman Holovenko, the court chair's order effectively nullifies the publicity of the court process.

"It is very surprising that the court remembered about the quarantine as late as 01.05.23. Part 2 of Art. 27 of the Criminal Procedure Code reads: 'The investigating judge or the court may decide to restrict the access of persons who are not participants in the litigation to a court hearing during the quarantine introduced by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in accordance with the Law of Ukraine 'On the Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases,' if attending the court hearing poses a threat to the life or health of a person.' In the case of this trial, the decision on admission / non-admission should be made by the judge in the relevant case and in terms of the specific hearing scheduled for a specific date and time," said the lawyer.

In a comment to the Institute of Mass Information, the head of the court, Serhiy Hyrych, explained that the court's security officers have their own procedure regarding the admission of visitors during marital law.

According to him, after Stanislav Miroshnychenko stated which media he represented, he was in the courtroom 15 minutes before the court hearing.

"The question of participation in the court hearing is decided by the presiding judge of the court hearing," Serhiy Hyrych clarified.

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