Monitoring of the trial of Alexander Schegolev (session 02.07.2018)
On July 2, a regular court session was held on the case of former head of the Main Directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine in Kiev and the Kiev region Alexander Schegolev, who is accused of leading the anti-terrorist operation against the supporters of the Maidan (winter 2013-2014). Experts of the International Society for Human Rights continue to monitor this trial.
An unchanged violation of the right to a fair trial in this case is the delay in the process, which manifests itself as follows: from one session to another the same situation is repeated – interrogation of only 1-3 people, although, as is known, it is planned to interrogate about 130 victims and 600 witnesses. Based on mathematical calculations (the court meets for 3-4 hours, 3-4 times a month) according to lawyers, while maintaining this pace, the trial can last more than 10 years. Also, the factor of delaying the process can be the Decree of the President of Ukraine 449/2017 on the liquidation of the Shevchenkivsky district court (in which the case is heard) and the creation of the 5th district court in Shevchenkivskyi district of Kiev, as a result of which the case will be transferred to a new court and the trial will begin again from the preparatory proceedings, which lasted about a year in this case. At the same time, Schegolev has been in custody for 3 years already.
One of the basic rights in the field of legal proceedings is the right to trial by a court within a reasonable time, as indicated by the previous decisions of the ECHR. The accused must have the right to expect to carry out the proceedings in his case with special care. The provisions of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights are designed to prevent accused persons from being too long ignorant of their fate (“Nakhmanovich v. Russia”, “Ivanov v. Ukraine”, “Burov v. Ukraine”).
During this session only one victim was interrogated. Like all the previous ones, he did not hear about the participation of the general in the criminal actions imputed to him. Also, a petition for changing the restraint was considered: the defense pointed to the arguments above, referred to the practice of the ECHR. As a result, the petition for changing the restraint to house arrest was refused. Given the emerging trend of the courts applying the ECHR’s practice of changing the restraint to house arrest on the “non-alternative” (according to the Criminal Procedures Code of Ukraine) articles, the Expert Council expresses concern about such a long period of detention without sufficient justification by prosecutors that it is impossible to apply milder restraint. In the case of Moiseev v. Russia, the ECHR stated that detention for more than two years and six months was cause for concern and repeated consideration by the court of the question of compliance with reasonable deadlines. Thus, it is assumed that the defense’s petitions to change the procedure for examining evidence in order to prevent unnecessary delays in the process must be carefully examined and taken into account by the court. In its decisions, the ECHR also insists that holding the accused in custody requires additional efforts on the part of the authorities to conduct the proceedings promptly (Kobernik v. Ukraine).
Experts of the International Society for Human Rights will continue monitoring this litigation. The previous materials can be found here.