Monitoring of the case of Vladimir Ilyich Galanternik (sessions on December 07-09, 2021)

On December 9, 2021, the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court (VAKS) completed consideration of the application of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) detective to choose a measure of restraint in the form of detention for the businessman V.I. Galanternik, suspected of creating and leading a criminal organization in Odessa. Earlier in relation to V.I. Galanternik, a decision was made to conduct a special pre-trial investigation (see report dated 11.9.21-11.10.21). The Information and Analytical Center of the International Society for Human Rights continues to monitor the proceedings within the framework of the “Odessa case”.

According to the results of the consideration, the investigating judge of VAKS H.V. Movchan decided to satisfy the prosecutor’s petition for election of the measure of restraint in the form of detention. During the hearing, the ISHR observers noted several points that cause ISHR experts to fear about the objectivity and impartiality of the court:

1.Taking into account the practice of the ECtHR, V.I. Galanternik does not hide from the court and investigation; the authorities did not make the necessary efforts to attempt to contact him.

As stated in the December 3 report, the ECtHR in the case of “Colozza v. Italy” noted that the situation when the national court and pre-trial authorities declare the whereabouts of a person with whom another public authority is corresponding at the same time is incompatible with the provisions of Article 6 of the ECHR. The Court attaches particular importance to whether due diligence has been exercised on the part of the Contracting States in order to guarantee the effective exercise of the rights guaranteed by Article 6 of the Convention. The situation with V.I. Galanternik is almost identical to the situation with Mr. Colozza, which suggests that in the event of an appeal to the ECtHR, a violation of the right to a fair trial may be ascertained.

2.Violation of the right to defense. The court ignored the request of the lawyers to apply, in the form of international legal assistance, to the relevant UK authorities to ensure the personal participation of V.I. Galanternik in court session via videoconference. Which, together with the lack of a proper attempt to contact the suspect (see paragraph 1), raises doubts among an objective observers about the observance of the right guaranteed by the European Convention to defend oneself in person (paragraph 3 (c) of Article 6 of the ECHR). Considering the issue of personal participation of a person in a hearing, the ECtHR has repeatedly noted that in order to ensure the right to a fair trial, a party to a case must be informed about the hearing in such a way as to be able to attend it if he or she decides to exercise the right established by national law (“Shandrov v. Russia”, para. 27). Ignoring by the court the desire of the suspect to legally attend court sessions by videoconference in the form of international legal assistance from the relevant courthouse in the UK can be regarded, if applied to the ECtHR, as the second episode of violation of Article 6 of the ECHR.

3.The presence of a “political component”. As noted by the IAC ISHR observer, the prosecutor repeatedly raised the issue of “acquiring” by V.I. Galanternik of the “Trust the deeds” political party, as well as the activities of this party. However, such a reference to the political affiliation of V.I. Galanternik raises concerns about possible political persecution, since the offenses he is charged with are of an economic nature, and the process of creating and operating the party is not the subject of this judicial review. It should be noted that in the Section 2.5 of the ISHR annual report “Observance for the right to a fair trial. 2020” ISHR experts concluded that in cases with a “political component”, both in 2019 and 2020, the violations of the right to a fair trial is more common. This is objectively confirmed by the conducted statistical analysis.

In this context ISHR experts note that the decision of the investigating judge may cause concern not only that the process of choosing a measure of restraint was contrary to the principles of the European Convention, but also in the fact that, given that this is already the second decision regarding V.I. Galanternik (the first concerned permission to conduct a special pre-trial investigation), further judicial investigation may be contrary to the principles of fair trial guaranteed by the European Convention.