Prosecutor's Office wants to allow reopening of old criminal proceedings. What for?

Author : Maksym Borisov

Source :

Investigations of already judged criminal proceedings are suggested to be pursued from scratch
22:03, 8 October 2017

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The Verkhovna Rada

Verkhovna Rada registered bill No. 6580, which proposes to expand the rights of the Prosecutor's Office and allow the revival of old criminal proceedings. The draft law was introduced by Deputy Volodymyr Misik and is already under consideration of the profile committee of the parliament.

It is proposed by the document to pursue investigations of already judged criminal proceedings from scratch. However the terms for such cases are "burned out" and the investigation starts with a clean sheet. Sufficiently handy tool if you are a prosecutor.

An interesting detail is that the cases can be "revived" if "the verdict has not gained the legal force for different reasons." There is a logical question, what are these "different reasons"? Appealing the case is also one of the occasions.

Almost identical paragraph reads, "The verdict has not gained legal force on other grounds." The author of the bill not only did not have a bite, but also smoked a strange mixture. And what is the difference between "different" and "other" grounds? Probably, it is necessary to write one more bill with explanations for this purpose.

In addition, very strange grounds for the restoration of the investigation are cases in which the sentence entered into legal force, but was not executed.

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The proposed bill draft partially duplicates Article 524 of Criminal Procedure Code (Section VII Conditions for the Restoration of Lost Materials of Criminal Proceedings) as presently in effect, thus creating a conflict of norms. Whereas the comprehensive list of materials of criminal proceedings in mentioned article is different.

The initiator proposes all these categories of cases to be re-investigated. A simple question arises, why conduct an investigation in cases where the verdict has already been announced? Maybe someone does not like the verdict - for example, verdict of "not guilty"- and you want to re-bring a person to criminal liability? But take into consideration that it is expressly prohibited by the Constitution of Ukraine, which, apparently, the author of the bill did not bother to read.

When we read the end of the bill, it becomes clear who "has the upper hand". According to the author of the bill, the court, deciding to "reanimate" the case, sends a decision on the resumption to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, who determines the investigative jurisdiction of the case. Almost any judge will decide to send something to the Prosecutor General only on one condition – if the very same Prosecutor General asks him about it. That means it will be impossible to restore ordinary cases where common people are victims for one simple reason - technically no judge has the desire to attract attention of the Prosecutor General. However some cases related to money matters can be restored.

The submitted draft law contradicts the current legislation. It is unclear what should happen with the verdict, which has already gained legal force. Should it be canceled? Or suspended? And when the investigation is conducted and a second sentence is rendered, which one will be more legitimate? After all, both these verdicts are valid.

It is not clear how to deal with the terms of the preventive measures that were previously applied to a person. Do they also burn, as well as the terms of the investigation? Or (which is more logical) do the terms of the preventive punishment still continue to run taking into account the previously chosen preventive measures?

It is not understood why the materials are sent just to the Procecutor General? Why can not the materials be sent to the District or Regional Prosecutor to determine the investigative jurisdiction? And why is it a matter of pre-trial investigation? And what if the court decides that there is an opportunity to begin the trial without carrying the case once again?

All these rhetorical questions give an understanding of the true grounds for this bill - no one is going to protect ordinary public. We are talking about major raider attacks, political repressions, blackmail and favoring the interests of oligarchs.

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