Monitoring the case of Kulish Natalya (hearing 02/04/2020)

02/04/2020, in the Zaliznychny District Court of the city of Lvov, a criminal case was examined in case number 12019140000000394 on charges of Natalya Kulish in an attempt to sell her minor daughter to the Czech Republic for sexual slavery (under part 3 of article 149 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

Criminal proceedings on charges of Kulish N. considered collectively. The board is composed of three judges A. Kirilyuk, N. Rumilova, A. Liush. The court hearing in this case was scheduled for 4 pm. However, it began at 4:25 pm in connection with the lateness of the lawyer of the accused Kulish N. – Savaydy M.

During the hearing, Natalia Kulish filed a motion to replace the lawyer due to the fact that, in her opinion, the lawyer Savaida M. defended her improperly. According to the accused, the lawyer did not provide her with a copy of the case file, did not arrive at meetings in the remand prison, and did not discuss with her the legal position of the defense line.

The court granted the request of the accused Kulish N. and in this regard, adjourned the hearing to 02.17.2020 at 11 am.

The European Court considered a similar situation when the applicant in the “Zagorodniy v. Ukraine” case claimed that the activities of the lawyers appointed in his case had been ineffective. In the context of the decision in this case, the ECtHR noted that although the right of every person accused of a criminal offense to effective defense by a lawyer is not absolute, it is one of the main foundations of a fair trial. A person against whom criminal charges have been brought forward and who does not wish to defend himself in person must be able to avail himself of legal assistance of his own choosing.

The fact that for some time the accused, in her opinion, was provided with improper assistance from a lawyer, may indicate a violation of one of the basic principles of a fair trial – the right to defense.

A fair trial is the procedural right of every person whose rights are violated, not recognized or contested. The essence of this right is that, firstly, it is a right to protect other rights, and secondly, this right has its own self-sufficient value, as an integral element of the rule of law.

In particular, in the case of “Chutura v. Croatia”, the ECtHR concluded that the right to a fair trial was violated because the lawyer took part in the case as a passive observer, thereby not providing effective legal representation, in violation of the Convention.

The next session is scheduled for 02/17/2020 at 11:00 am. Experts from the International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor this lawsuit.