Monitoring of the case of Roman Andreevich Petruk (session 08.03.2020)

On August 3, 2020, in the Novograd-Volynsky city court of the Zhytomyr region, a court hearing in the case of Petruk Roman was held. He is accused of committing a crime under Part 2 of Article 289 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, namely: illegal seizure of a vehicle repeatedly or by prior conspiracy by a group of persons, or combined with violence that is not dangerous to the life or health of the victim, or with the threat of such violence, or committed with penetration into a room or other storage facility, or with significant material damage.

Criminal proceedings on charges against R.A. Petruk considered single-handedly by judge Nagornyuk Y.V. The International Society for Human Rights is starting to monitor this case.

The course of the court session: At the beginning of the trial, it was established that the victims did not appear at the court session for reasons unknown to the court.

The defendant’s lawyer, V.A. Radziwil, filed a motion to bring the victims, noting that this was not their first failure to appear in court. The defense also expressed the opinion that it is necessary to switch to the examination of written evidence of the case (if the victims will fail to appear again) in order not to violate the principle of reasonableness of the terms of the trial.

Other participants in the court proceedings supported the opinion of the defense lawyer.

In addition, at the beginning of the session, the decision to change the prosecutor in this case was attached to the case file.

After examining the materials of the criminal proceedings, after hearing the opinions of the participants in the proceeding, the court came to the following conclusions:

In accordance with the requirements of Article 325 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, if the victim did not appear at the hearing when summoned, duly notified of the time and place of the hearing, the court, having heard the opinion of the participants in the proceedings, depending on whether it is possible in his absence to find out all the circumstances during the trial, decides whether to conduct a trial without a victim or to postpone the trial. The court has the right to impose a monetary penalty on the victim in the manner provided for by Chapter 12 of the CCP of Ukraine.

According to Article 139 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, if the victim, who was summoned in the manner prescribed by the Code (in particular, there is confirmation of his receipt of the summons or familiarization with its contents in another way), did not appear without good reason or did not report the reasons for his non-arrival, the court postpones the proceedings and has the right to issue a resolution on imposing a monetary penalty on the victim in the amount of 0.5 to 2 times the subsistence level for able-bodied persons.

In this respect, one should also refer to the practice of the European Court of Human Rights. So, in particular, paragraph 26 of the judgment of the ECtHR of May 15, 2008 in the case “Nadtochy v. Ukraine” states that the principle of equality of arms is one of the components of the broader concept of a fair trial – provides that each party must have a reasonable opportunity to present its position under conditions that do not place it in a substantially disadvantageous position compared to the opposing party (“Dombo Beheer v. the Netherlands”).

Each party must be given the opportunity to know and comment on the observations or evidence submitted by the other party, including the other party’s appeals (“Bier v. Austria”).

Thus, the consideration of the case in the absence of a participant in the trial, regarding which there is no information about the delivery of a summons to him, is a violation of Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Considering the above, the court ruled to impose on each victim a monetary penalty in the amount of 0.5 of the subsistence minimum for able-bodied persons.

The International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor and clarify the details of this proceeding.