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The public appeals to the Parliament asking not to approve draft No.6232 which limits the transparency of courts and trials

20.09.2017, 20:13
The public appeals to the members of parliament not to approve the draft No.6232 on judicial reform in general, as it will increase the corruption risks, considerably deteriorate the situation with transparency of the trials of law and protection of a right for a fair trial. This was the content of the statement published at the website Chesno. Filter the court. As the statement points out, this draft, initiated by the President, has several progressive changes and new wording of нову редакцію Commercial and Civil Codes of Process, Code of Administrative lawsuits and amendments to other laws. Still, the statement adds, a considerable share of the provisions of the draft that was prepared and revised by the specialized committee, will increase corruption risks, considerably deteriorate the situation with transparency of trials and protection of the right for a fair trial. The authors of the statement list the limitations present in the draft:
  1. The draft gives judges considerable repressive powers (to impose penalties that the court considers a violation or abuse)
  2. The court will be able to limit access of people to open trials (due to "absence of available seats"), this will enable judges to evade public control by setting up sessions in small offices or halls.
  3. The court will be able to forbid photographing or video recording at a public trial, if they “obstruct the process of the trial”
  4. The court will not publicly announce the judgments approved as a result of a closed trial, which is a violation of Article 6 of the European convention of human rights, which specifies that any judgments need to be publicly announced.
  5. The draft implements the monopoly of attorneys for representation in the courts immediately, not gradually, without any transition period. This will enable judges not to allow representation by people who do not have a status of an attorney.
  6. The draft enables parties to engage “experts in the sphere of law” to elucidate the court on how to use the standards of the Ukrainian law in case of gaps in the regulatory documents (at the cost of the party who loses the trial). This can be the case of lobbying by law researchers who will be granted additional jobs even though there might be no real need to engage them.
  7. The judge will be able to meet parties separately, at that what they talk about will be considered a secret, and disclosing it can be a reason to bring the party at fault for responsibility. This will enable judges to extort benefits for themselves without fearing the responsibility.
  8. The draft will not give witnesses an option to testify remotely, using a vide conference option, while the parties will have this option.
  9. In the administrative litigations, where the presumption of guilt of the defendant is now the rule, and the defendant bears the burden of proof, the court is enabled to impose the burden of proving that the violation of rights took place to the claimant. This significantly undermines the ability of a common citizen to defend themselves in the administrative court, and also undermines the very essence of administrative trials.
  10. In the administrative trials, it will be forbidden to secure a claim by means of  court suspending the decision of an authority which is not the subject of the claim in the administrative case, or to ban, or to bind to take actions that follow such a decision. This means that an official will be able to cover up their illegal actions by saying they are following some kind of instruction from the top, and the law will not be able to override such an instruction.
  11. Trial in cases where due to the fault of the court a party could not timely receive their summon/notice. In many cases, like in election-related trials, cases of limitation of peaceful gatherings, claims against administrative penalties, a participant will be considered duly notified since the moment of sending of the relevant notifying document.
  12. In the criminal process, the parties, including the defendant, are deprived of the right to chose and engage court experts.
  13. In the criminal process, the term of pre-trial investigation will be calculated since the time of registration of information in the Unified Register of pre-trial investigations, not since the moment of notification about being a suspect, as it is now. This will be a catastrophic measure for crime victims, as having so little time, investigators will not even start investigating non-obvious crimes, which will cause even greater impunity of crimes.
“Taking into account the facts mentioned above, the public requests the MPs not to approve the draft No.6232 on reform of the judicial process as a whole in case these problems are not fixed after the revision, and to re-file it for revision again”, the statement is finalized. The statement was signed by the Center for Political and Legal Reforms, Group “Justice Reform” from the Reanimation Package of Reforms, Center for counteracting corruption, Foundation DEJURE, "CHESNO.Filter the court!", AutoMaidan. The NGO Institute of mass information” also signed this statement.
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