Monitoring of criminal proceedings of Bliznyuk I.A., Golovkin A.O., Khlapovsky Yu.M. (sessions 03.10.2020 and 03.11.2020)

On March 10, 2020, a hearing was held in the Ordzhonikidze district court of Kharkov in the case No. 644/192/18 on charges of I.A. Bliznyuk, A.O. Golovkin, and Yu.M. Khlapovsky (part 1 of Article 255, part 4 of article 28, part 3 of article 146, part 4 of article 28, part 4 of article 189, part 1 of article 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

The indictment was filed with the Ordzhonikidze District Court of Kharkov on January 11, 2018. Thus, criminal proceedings have been heard for more than two years and are at the stage of investigation of evidence. Judges and lawyers drew attention to the systematic failure to appear of victims and the prosecutor. Due to such non-appearance, hearings are adjourned.

Art. 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter – the Convention) recognizes the right of every person prosecuted in a criminal case to receive a final decision within a reasonable time on the validity of a charge against him, more precisely, the achievement that the accused did not remain for a long time under the weight of the charge and that a decision was made on the validity of the charge (“Vemkhov v. Germany”, para. 18, “Julia Manzoni v. Italy”, para. 25, “Brogan and others v. United Kingdom” p. 65). The provisions of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights also indicate that accused persons cannot remain in ignorance for too long about their fate (“Nakhmanovich v. Russia”, para. 89, “Ivanov v. Ukraine”, para. 71).

However, the courts are deprived of the opportunity to consider cases within a reasonable time if one of the parties (in this case it is the prosecution) systematically ignores its obligations and does not appear at court hearings.

On March 10, the panel of judges considered a request for an extension of the measure of restraint for Bliznyuk I.A. (round-the-clock house arrest), Khlapovsky Yu.M. (detention), Golovkina A.O. (detention). And the next day – March 11, 2020, the court ruling on the extension of measures of restraint by the accused was announced: Khlapovsky Yu.M. and Golovkin A.O. the period of detention was extended, however, for I. Bliznyuk the measure of restraint was changed from round-the-clock house arrest to partial house arrest (with the right to leave housing during a certain period of the day). Such changes are justified by the presence of a serious illness of the accused (hepatitis) and the need for adequate treatment. The International Society for Human Rights draws attention to the fact that the ECtHR has repeatedly insisted that the state [represented by the judiciary] should ensure that the person is not subjected to disasters and hardships whose intensity exceeds the inevitable level of suffering inherent in detention (“Krivolapov v. Ukraine”). Thus, the court’s decision to change the measure of restraint in connection with the need for treatment is a positive fact in light of the allocation by the ISHR of the negative trend of “torture and degrading treatment” (Report for 2019), including the failure to provide persons in custody with the necessary medical care.

In addition, it should be noted that during the trial the defendants were next to the defenders and not in the glass boxes, which is also positive in the aspect of Art. 3 of the Convention.

This proceeding was chosen by the International Society for Human Rights in connection with the complication of the process of monitoring the right to a fair trial. The details of this case will be further clarified by the ISHR observers.