Monitoring of criminal proceedings of Kozak S.S., Mitkalik V.A., Gumenyuk M.D., Gurko A.F. (hearing 04.24.20)

On April 24, 2020, a hearing was held in case No. 157/146/18 on charges of Sergei Stepanovich Kozak (part 2 of article 199, part 2 of article 186, part 1, 2 of article 190 of the Criminal Code) in the Lutsk City Court of the Volynsky Region Ukraine), Gurko Alexander Fedorovich (under part 2 of article 199, part 2 of article 186, part 2 of article 190 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine), Mitkalik Vitaliy Anatolyevich and Gumenyuk Maria Dmitrievna (according to part 2 of article 199 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). The indictment was filed to the court on February 20, 2018.

During the trial, the court and the participants watched the video provided by the prosecutor. As a result of the review, it was attached to the case file.

It is worth noting that on March 23, 2020, the accused Alexander Gurko (who is in custody) and Maria Gumenyuk (under house arrest) were extended the terms of measures of restraint. The judgment was reasoned as follows: given the fact that Gurko A.F. accused of committing several, including serious crimes, and M. Gumenyuk accused of committing a crime, which also belongs to the category of serious crimes, in order to ensure the proper conduct of the accused during the judicial investigation, the court concluded that the prosecutor’s motions on both defendants must be satisfied. Thus, the court extended the measure of restraint to the accused Gurko Alexander in the form of detention by 60 days, with the possibility of making a bail of 80,000 hryvnias, and for the accused Gumenyuk Maria the court elected the measure of restraint in the form of a night house arrest for a period of 2 months, with the possibility of leaving her place of residence during working hours, i.e. from 08:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily.

However, upon reviewing the texts of the court rulings by the observer of the ISHR, it turned out that they did not mention the risks on the basis of which the terms of the measures of restraint were extended. The court referred solely to the gravity of the crimes.

The European Court of Human Rights has often found a violation of Art. 5 of the Convention in cases where the national courts continued to detention, referring mainly to the gravity of the charges and using template language, without even considering specific facts or the possibility of alternative measures (“Kharchenko v. Ukraine”, paras. 80-81; “Tretyakov v. Ukraine” para. 59). Also, in the case of “Rudenko v. Ukraine” (para. 66), when extending the terms of detention, the domestic courts mainly referred to the gravity of the charges against him and the likely risk that he would evade the investigation, not properly assessing no other circumstances of his particular case, and the Court considers that the grounds for this content were not “relevant and sufficient” and found a violation of Article 3 § 3 5 of the Convention. From this it follows that in the issue of extending measures of restraint, Alexander Gurko and Maria Gumenyuk could have committed a violation of Article 5 of the ECtHR. The International Society for Human Rights has repeatedly noted the need to argue for the reasons for the extension of measures of restraint by the court, especially the exceptional measure of restraint – detention. Automatic (without specifying and justifying the risks stipulated by the CPC) extension of the measure of restraint is one of the most common trends in violation of the right to a fair trial in Ukraine. And the random selection of cases for monitoring from video broadcasts (published on the official website of the judiciary of Ukraine), due to the limited ability of observers to personally attend court hearings, only confirms the magnitude of this problem.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 12, 2020. The International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor this case.