Monitoring of criminal proceedings of Bliznyuk I.A., Golovkin A.O., Khlapovskiy Y.M. (hearing 08.10.2020)

On August 10, 2020, in the Ordzhonikidze District Court of Kharkov, a hearing was held in case No. 644/192/18 on charges of I.A. Bliznyuk, A.O. Golovkin, Y.M. Khlapovsky. They are accused of committing crimes under part 1 of Art. 255, part 4 of Art. 28, part 3 of Art. 146, part 4 of Art. 28, part 4 of Art. 189, part 1 of Art. 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

At the hearing, the issue of extending or changing the measure of restraint for the accused was considered.

This is the third hearing in case No. 644/192/18, which is monitored by a representative of the ISHR for the observance of the right to a fair trial. At each of the sessions, the issue of extending the measure of restraint was raised, but there is no progress in the consideration of the case in essence, and the study of evidence. If we analyze all the court decisions taken by the court in the case this year, it can be stated that they concerned only the extension of the measure of restraint for the accused (not counting the court decision of May 7, 2020 on ensuring the safety of the victim in the form of personal protection).

Recall that the indictment was received by the Ordzhonikidze District Court of Kharkov on January 11, 2018. Thus, in the case of Bliznyuk I.A., Golovkin A.O., Khlapovsky Y.M. there is a negative tendency towards violation of reasonable terms of the criminal procedure.

Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms recognizes for every person prosecuted in a criminal case, the right to receive, within a reasonable time, a final decision on the validity of the charges against him, or rather to ensure that the accused do not remain for a long time under the weight of the charges and that a decision be made on the validity of the charge (“Wemkhov v. Germany” § 18, “Giulia Manzoni v. Italy” § 25, “Brogan and Others v. United Kingdom” § 65).

The ECtHR reminds that the accused in criminal proceedings should have the right to have the proceedings in his case carried out with particular care, especially in the case of any restriction of freedom for the period until the end of the proceedings. Article 6 of the ECHR requires courts to use all available procedural means to establish the guilt or innocence of a person without undue delay. This requirement is intended to ensure the earliest elimination of uncertainty regarding the legal fate of the accused, who remains in a state of uncertainty throughout the entire period of proceedings, despite the fact that the proceedings are ongoing or have been suspended (“Doroshenko v. Ukraine”, § 41).

The prosecutor applied for an extension of the detention of Khlapovskiy Y.M. and Golovkin A.O., as well as the extension of partial house arrest for Bliznyuk I.A. The petition is motivated by the fact that the risks, on the basis of which the defendants were chosen measures of restraint, continue to exist.

The defendants’ lawyers objected. The defenders pointed to the declarative nature of the prosecutor’s statements, as well as the lack of argumentation of the risks.

The judges, after a break, decided to grant the prosecution’s motion. The court pointed out that the factual circumstances of the crimes incriminated by the accused, which testify to their increased social danger, together with the severity of the possible punishment and information about their personality. All these refute the arguments of the defense about the lack of evidence and groundlessness of the risks provided for in Part 1 of Art. 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine.

It should be noted that Khlapovsky and Golovkin have been in custody for over 3 years.

The ECtHR recognizes that the existence of a reasonable suspicion of a serious crime committed by the accused may initially justify detention. However, the Court has repeatedly noted that the gravity of the charge cannot by itself justify long periods of detention (“Borotyuk v. Ukraine”, § 61).

According to paragraph 3 of Art. 5 after a certain time has elapsed, the mere existence of reasonable suspicion ceases to be a basis for deprivation of liberty and the judicial authorities are required to provide other grounds for continued detention. Moreover, such grounds must be clearly indicated by the national courts (“Kharchenko v. Ukraine”, § 80).

The next court hearing is scheduled for September 15, 2020. The International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor this criminal proceeding.