Monitoring the case of Kozak and Kustovetskaya (session 11.01.19)

11/01/2019 in the Bogunsky District Court of Zhitomir, a hearing was held in the case of Kozak C. and Kustovetskaya S., accused of the murder of a student from Berdichev, Yulia Kozak (part 4 of article 189, paragraph 6.12 of part 2 of article 115, Criminal Code of Ukraine). The offense provides for the possibility of life imprisonment.

Timeline of the case.

01/22/2018 the Berdichevsky city court chose a measure of restraint in the form of detention for the accused Kozak C.

05/31/2018 the investigating judge of the Berdichevsky City Court granted the request of the investigator to apply a measure of restraint in the form of detention to S. Kustovetskaya.

06/11/2018 The Court of Appeal of the Zhytomyr Region considered the determination of the head of the Berdychiv City Court on sending criminal proceedings to another court. The determination is justified by the fact that the Berdichevsky District Court of the Zhytomyr Region does not have the required number of judges for the distribution of the specified criminal proceedings.

Since June 12, 2018, the case has been considered in the Bogunsky District Court of Zhytomyr.

On December 13, 2018, when considering the applications of the prosecutor to continue the detention of the accused, the defendants and the defense petitioned to change the detention to round-the-clock house arrest. Regarding the accused Kozak C. the court ruled that since the trial is ongoing, witnesses, including the minor son of the accused, have not been questioned, which suggests the possibility of influencing the witnesses, as well as taking into account the identity of the accused and the gravity of the alleged criminal offenses, the court rejected the request of the defense. The court satisfied in full the application of the prosecutor to extend the measure of restraint in the form of detention for Kozak S., leaving the accused in custody for another 60 days.

Regarding the accused Kustovetskaya C., the court decided to change the measure of restraint to round-the-clock house arrest.

In the motivational part, the court noted that the accused has a registration and permanent residence, strong social ties, she has a small child, she works. Given these factors, as well as the case law of the ECtHR, which indicates that there must be exceptionally good reasons for continuing to detain a person, only the gravity of the crime, the complexity of the case and the seriousness of the charges cannot be considered sufficient reasons for holding the person in custody for a sufficiently long period of time (“Todorov v. Ukraine”), the court did not find grounds for continuing an exceptional measure of restraint in the form of detention.

The course of the session 11.01.2019

The trial began 2 hours late due to the delay in the delivery of the accused Kozak by the convoy.

The victim did not appear at the hearing. The representative of the victim provided the court with a request from her to conduct a hearing without her being present.

At the time of the hearing, the conclusion of the examination was not ready. The prosecutor asked to postpone the hearing. The parties did not mind. But, since the term of the measure of restraint is ending, the court was forced to consider this issue at this court session. The prosecutor filed a request to extend the measure of restraint to the accused Kozak S. in the form of detention for another 60 days. And the accused Kustovetskaya S. – round-the-clock house arrest also for 60 days. The representative of the victim supported the motion.

The defense opposed the prosecutor’s requests and filed a motion to change the measure of restraint for Kozak S. for round-the-clock house arrest, and for the accused Kustovetskaya S. – for house arrest at night. The accused asked the court to give her the opportunity to work to support her elderly parents and a minor child.

The court decided to continue Kozak’s detention for another 60 days, and S. Kustovetskaya softened the measure of restraint for nightly house arrest.

In a comment to the representative of the ISHR, the judge said that a large number of listeners supported the victim and demanded that the accused be punished by the judges in the court hearings on this case, which were held earlier. Also, aggressively minded activists from “C14”, media representatives were periodically present. The court hearings were covered in the local press.

There was no press and activists at this court hearing, there were only a few listeners who did not disturb order in the courtroom.

The next session is scheduled for December 12, 2019. Experts from the International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor this trial.