Law of Savchenko: good intentions of releasing criminals

Author : Tetiana Sviatenko

Source : 112 Ukraine

The law, which was adopted with the humane aim, released those people, who were to objectively serve their sentences
10:08, 29 January 2016

The essence of the law is that the courts are obliged to define each day spent in pre-trial detention as the two day sentence. According to the accompanying documents, the law is intended to "restore the rights of people sentenced to imprisonment, the rights of which have been greatly restricted during detention, and to contribute to reducing periods in detention centers people under investigation and the court". Simply, “unload” jails and restore the rights limited in custody.

Facebook Ihor Lutsenko

Former Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko during consideration of the bill in Parliament said that the conditions of detention of people in prison are much more frightening than staying at any other place of detention. "Deprivation of socialization, that is, meetings with family, deprived of all freedom of movement in a confined space, the terrible medieval living conditions, which cannot be quickly changed…  Everything should be compensated by crediting one day to two, as it was before, in the early '90s . Therefore, it is absolutely correct offer, which will stimulate the investigation to do their jobs faster," he said.

Later, after the law came into force on January 13, 2016, sister of Nadia Savchenko Vira has published a letter from Nadia, in which she expresses her confidence that this law will begin real reform of the judiciary. Those who will come under the new law from prison, willing to make an effort to make Ukraine better.
“I feel this rudiment of Soviet system of punishment, abuse of a person, not a "penal system", as it is called. I have realized that it penalizes more innocent than guilty. I have faced with the wrong understanding of penalty law in Russia, but I'm sure that in Ukraine the situation is not much better,” highlighted Ukrainian pilot prisoned in Russia.

Related: Russian Court refused to watch the video of Savchenko`s arrest

Related: Court hearing in Savchenko’s case continues, - Polozov

“It does not mean that the Law and Justice would disappear. It would be preserved, but it would become more fair! – notes Savhcenko. – I want to believe that anyone who has been released from detention and prison will be able to see his life in a new way and he would make an effort to do our best for Ukraine… Everyone has a second chance at a decent life”.

However, lawyers have criticized the "law of Savchenko". Most often you can hear that it is unprofessional and populist or simply meaningless.

“This law will not relieve the detention centers. There would be less people in jails, but not in the colonies. This law is not written out as it should. It is unclear which court to apply. For example, Zvarych and Slyusarchuk, they both appeal. Obolonskiy Court dismissed Zvarych, as the court of Lviv, where Slyusarchuk addressed, has refused - they say to go to court of serving the sentence. That is the ambiguity of law enforcement. It is not proscribed exactly how the appeal should take place," said the head of State Penitentiary Service Serhiy Starenkyi.

On the basis of this law the former head of the Lviv Court of Appeals Ihor Zvarych, famous for his bribes for carols, is already out of jail. He was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in 2011, spent three years in prison, respectively, the court counted it as 6 years.

“As a result, the convicted will make their best to spend less time in the colony, and as a result - as much as possible in jail. This is logical: to suffer in jail, then to serve the sentence at a minimum time in the colony itself. It does not relieve the detention centers, and vice versa. The main problem of this law is that the state recognizes that the pre-trial detention has bad conditions, worse than in some colonies. And being aware of the fact that the conditions are so bad, the state just recalculates the terms for convicted. And the state should improve these conditions, rather than reduce the time,” he noted.

Those who have committed the most serious crimes stay in detention centers for longer period, and these crimes requires more time for investigation.

“In addition, there are some open prisons (detention centers for perpetrators of small and moderate crimes). Butalso there are chambers for those who sit for killings, and the conditions are the same as in prison. So why should they count the day-to-two, if these perpetrators deserve such conditions?! To solve the problem (to reduce the number of people in jail) they need to limit (reduce) the procedural terms of the investigation and judges and to establish responsibility,” says Starenkyi.

In Russia this bill was proposed twice, in 2008 and in 2015. This law is disposable, it is applied to all persons who are found guilty but haven't fully complete their sentence yet at thetime of its entry into force. The bill does not provide the proposed order on the persons convicted of the most serious crimes.

Nadia Savchenko, MP and former Ukraine’s Air Force officer, was captured by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine in summer 2014. She says they captured her, forcefully brought her to Russia and passed her to Russian investigative authorities. Savchenko is charged with murder of two Russian reporters who worked in eastern Ukraine without any permission of the Ukrainian government. She is also charged with the illegal crossing of the Russian border. The pilot, her defense team and the Ukrainian government deny all charges, demanding to release her.

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