Ukraine: Appropriate length of legal proceedings, especially for minors

The implementation of the right to an objective, judicial process as well as a legitimate and fair judgment remains a difficult challenge for all states of the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine.

This does not only concern the conviction of innocent people or the promulgation of manifestly unfair trials, but also endlessly protracted legal proceedings, which result in defendants waiting for years for their futures to be decided.


Court hearing on the case of the minor, Maxim Nitsenko (Izium, Ukraine) 

Is this a problem of great importance? After all, it is not a question of imprisonment without investigation or a trial. The ISHR finds, that upon closer examination, the problem does prove to be significant.

Within a criminal case, a great number of those who come into contact with the Ukrainian judiciary spend multiple years detained in prison cells while under investigation, in which the accused must wait until his fate is decided.
In the case of a conviction, the prisoner is charged with two days of imprisonment for each day spent under investigation (in detention); in the case of an acquittal, he or she was simply robbed of a few years of his or her normal life.

Yes, there is a very modest material compensation; however, can it replace the loss of freedom and restore the damaged reputation of the innocent?

The chairman of the Ukrainian section of the ISHR, A. A. Sukhorukov, speaks with the defendant M. Nitsenko (Mr. Izyum, 2017)

Unfortunately, the recent events in the eastern Ukraine has escalated this problem; it has resulted in defendants falling under the new category of politically motivated offenses. Among the accused are minors.

Especially in the case of these minors, the question is raised as to how such long periods of time in a criminal environment will affect them. Instead of receiving an education, they are exposed to the hard lessons of criminal life. Instead of normal geography lessons, they study the spaces of correctional institutions. On the whole, these young people were not dreaming of living life like a romanticized Robin Hood-style criminal when they were still living in freedom. Instead, with the foolishness and rebellious spirit of youth, they spread their social and political views on the all-knowing Internet, or found themselves at the wrong place at a difficult time in their country. Will they survive and not be lost in a criminal environment during this period of forced isolation from society?

Statistics of the European Court of Human Rights on violations of various categories of human rights

The right to a fair trial, to reasonable terms of a trial, to the safety of the defendants and convicts – these categories of rights are among the five most frequently violated by Ukraine, according to European Court of Justice statistics. Can positive changes in these figures be expected, behind which are the fates of people? What steps should be taken to achieve these goals?

From the blog of an ISHR Expert group