On July 3, a regular court hearing was held in Kiev on the case of ex-employees of the Kiev riot police unit “Berkut” regarding the events that took place on the Maidan in January 2014. All five are accused of obstructing the holding of public rallies, abuse of office, killings and terrorism, as well as other crimes.
Experts of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) continue to monitor this trial.
During the trial, the defendants were again in the guarded glass box, as it was repeatedly pointed out by the ISHR, this can significantly impede their communication with the defenders (all off the attorneys can offer a different line of defense), since there are five people in the box at the same time. In addition, in a small courtroom, benches for those present in the audience are extremely close to glass box and lawyers, which further complicates the confidentiality of communication with clients. As the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) notes in its decisions (Castravetz v. Moldova, Chebotari v. Moldova, Sakhnovsky v. Russia, Khodorkovsky v. Russia) defendants (suspects) should be provided with confidential communication with their defenders, otherwise their assistance will lose much of their usefulness, while the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the Convention) is designed to guarantee the rights realized in practice. Also in the case of Lutskevich v. Russia, the Court considered that finding a defendant in a glass box during a court hearing was a violation of Article 3 of the Convention, which prohibits torture.
Two victims had to testify at the session, but they did not show up (one of them has been missing for no reason multiple times). The parties did not object to the continuation of the session. During the process, several video recordings were given by the prosecution, including the protocols of investigative experiments. In the first video protocol, there was almost no sound, which made it impossible to fully analyze the record by those present in the courtroom. It is worth noting that this situation has already occurred earlier (for example, during the session on June 19, 2018), but the court still considered it possible to use such videos as evidence.
This trial has dragged on for more than a year, which may run counter to the principle of considering the case within a reasonable time and the norms of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The reasonableness of the time for consideration of the case must be assessed in the light of the specific circumstances of the case and taking into account the criteria laid down in the established case law, in particular, the complexity of the case and the conduct of the accused and the relevant authorities (Klyakhin v. Russia, Kudla v. Poland) Otherwise, the ECHR can ascertain the fact that the process is unreasonably prolonged, which is a violation of Article 6 of the Convention.
Experts of the International Society for Human Rights will continue monitoring and clarifying the details of this trial. The previous materials can be found here.