Monitoring of the trial of V. Bick

V. Bik, foto:  

On September 27, a regular court hearing was held on the case of Vladimir Bik, Ex-head of the Department of Counterintelligence Protection of the interests of state in the sphere of information security of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), who is accused of high treason via assisting a foreign state and its representatives to conduct subversive activities against Ukraine. Experts of the International Society for Human Rights are following this legal process since the spring of 2017. The material collected during the monitoring indicates some trends that are being in conflict with observance of the right to a fair trial and other human rights.

The charge. General Bik is accused of organizing collection and transfer to the Security Service of Russia (FSB) of video materials (obtained from the open sources) compromising and defaming the Maidan supporters, representatives of the then opposition forces, in order to convince the population of Ukraine of the fallaciousness of the European choice. Thus, according to the prosecutor’s office, V. Bik assisted the Russian intelligence service in the “information war” against the activists of the Maidan (winter events of 2013-2014). Those materials were used by the FSB of the Russian Federation to change the consciousness of a part of the population of Ukraine, which led to illegal referendum in the Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and loss by Ukraine of a part of its territory.

During the trial it became clear that General Bik’s contacts with Russian intelligence service were carried out within the framework of his official duties. V. Bik occupied the post of a Chairman of the Commission on Information Security of the Council of Heads of Intelligence services and Law Enforcement Agencies of the CIS countries. International contacts (including those with representatives of Russian intelligence service) within the framework of this structure are regulated by the treaty of 1992 (which has not been denounced by Ukraine yet).

It remains unclear how the chairman of the CIS Information Security Commission could not contact with the FSB representatives and at the same time remain in his position? Nevertheless, such understanding of public service is characteristic of some representatives of today’s government, especially when it comes to political opponents. For example, according to the law on lustration, officials during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych should have left their posts on their own as soon as the events on Maidan began, otherwise they can be held responsible, for continuing their duties.

Trial. The trial of V. Bik has been going on for almost three years, the suspect spent all that time in the pre-trial detention center. The court regularly meets in order to extend his term of detention, and some court hearings are held only for this purpose. Like most cases that have political motivation, General Bik’s case is being considered “without rushing”, court hearings are held on average once per month or month and a half. The situation is complicated by the change in the composition of the court that took place in the summer of 2017, after which the proceedings of the case started from the beginning. Under such circumstances, the principle of conducting a trial within a reasonable time is completely ignored.

During all that time V. Bik was deprived of the opportunity to seat at the table of defense together with his lawyers in the courtroom. Only recently he became a full-fledged participant in the judicial process, which is necessary to observe the adversarial principle, since the accused received the opportunity to constantly communicate with his defenders during the court hearing.

It is worth to specifically note the methods used for submitting evidence by the prosecutor’s office. During the trial, the prosecution provides the court only with extracts of the videos that V. Bik collected. Such a submission of the materials does not provide an opportunity to fully understand the context in which the videos were shot, impedes a comprehensive examination of the evidentiary basis.  A similar approach of providing evidence by the prosecutor in the form of “cut” videos was observed by the ISHR experts in the case of high treason of ex-President V. Yanukovych.

Experts of the International Society for Human Rights will continue monitoring and clarifying the details of this trial. The next court hearing will be held on October 13.

Expert Council of the ISHR