Monitoring of the case of Natalya Kulish (hearing on July 16, 2020)

On July 16, 2020, the Zaliznychny District Court of the city of Lvov considered the case in criminal proceedings number 12019140000000394 on charges of Natalya Kulish in an attempt to sell her underage daughter to the Czech Republic into sexual slavery (under Part 3 of Article 149 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). Criminal proceedings on charges of N.I. Kulish considered single-handedly by judge N.M. Rumilova. The International Society for Human Rights continues to monitor this case.

The course of the hearing. Prosecutor S.S. Krishtanovich filed a petition to extend the measure of restraint in the form of detention for a period of 60 days with the possibility of a bail in the amount of 192,000 UAH. He argued that the risks provided for by Article 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, which were the basis during the application of the measure of restraint, did not diminish, but the grounds for the application of N.I. Kulish against the accused. no milder measure of restraint other than detention has been established. The prosecutor noted that according to the certificate provided by the head of the medical unit of the pre-trial detention center, the state of health of Kulish N.I. assessed as satisfactory.

The defendant’s lawyer – Sidoruk E.O. objected to the stated petition, arguing that there was no substantial evidence of the existence of risks under Article 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine. The accused N. Kulish has been in custody for over a year, which, in his opinion, is contrary to Article 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine. Experts from the International Society for Human Rights are concerned about this situation.

The defense referred to the case law of the ECtHR, according to which, after a certain period of time, the mere existence of reasonable suspicion does not justify the deprivation of liberty, and the courts must give other grounds for extending the detention (judgment in the case “Borisenko v. Ukraine”, “Yablonsky v. Poland “). Moreover, these grounds must be clearly indicated by the national courts (“Eloyev v. Ukraine”, “Kharchenko v. Ukraine”).

According to the lawyer, the state of health of the accused is constantly deteriorating, new diseases have begun to develop. The lawyer noted that N. Kulish needs surgery on her leg.

According to the defense lawyer, court sessions are scheduled only for the purpose of extending the measure of restraint in the form of detention, since the criminal case itself is essentially not considered. She also stressed that there are circumstances that, in her opinion, were not taken into account by the court, namely: the strength of the social connections of the accused – the presence of a minor daughter and a minor son.

Natalya Kulish’s lawyer asked the court to grant her petition to change the measure of restraint to round-the-clock house arrest. The accused herself supported the petition and stated that with regard to the risk of hiding from the preliminary investigation and / or the court, she has nowhere to run and she will not harm herself or her family. During her stay in custody, the state of health of the accused, according to her, has deteriorated significantly due to unsanitary conditions, since they are taken to the shower once every two or even three weeks.

As follows from the case law of the ECtHR, conditions of detention can be deemed to degrade human dignity and violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, if during the time of detention, the state of health of the accused has significantly deteriorated. In particular, the Court notes factors such as overcrowding and unsanitary conditions in cells and their negative impact on the health and well-being of persons in detention for a long time (“Kalashnikov v. Russia”, “Florea v. Romania”). Kulish N.I. also complained about the presence of the above factors in the matter of deteriorating well-being.

The court, after consulting, decided to grant the lawyer’s petition, changing the measure of restraint from detention to round-the-clock house arrest for a period of 60 days.

The next hearing is scheduled for 08/14/2020 at 2:00 pm. Experts from the International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor this trial.