Monitoring of the case of Alexander Shchegolev (23.06.20)

On June 23, 2020, a regular hearing in the case of Alexander Shchegolev was held in the Shevchenkovsky District Court of Kiev.

Alexander Shchegolev is accused of organizing the violent dispersal of peaceful protests on February 18-19, 2014. For a long time, the ex-head of the Secret service (SBU) of Kiev and the region was in custody, but on June 26, 2019, the court released him under round-the-clock house arrest and ordered him to wear an electronic bracelet, later the measure of restraint was changed to a personal obligation.

On June 28, 2020, the lines of the measure of restraint of the accused – a personal obligation expire, therefore, on June 17, 2020, the prosecutor sent a petition to the court to resolve the issue of changing the measure of restraint from a personal obligation to a 24-hour house arrest using an electronic control device.

The prosecutor believes that the measure of restraint must be changed in order to ensure that the accused fulfills his duties, and also points to the existence of risks that have already been declared earlier and continue to exist at the moment, namely:

– the possibility of the accused to hide from the court;

– the ability to destroy, hide any of the things or documents that are essential for establishing the circumstances of the case;

– the risk of illegal influence on witnesses and victims, also experts, etc.;

– other actions that may be committed by the accused to obstruct the consideration of the case.

According to the prosecution, these risks are not diminishing, but on the contrary. Also, the prosecutor drew attention to the fact that the accomplices of the crimes incriminated to the accused Shchegolev – the first deputy head of the SBU Totsky and the head of the SBU Yakimenko for this time have chosen a measure of restraint in the form of detention, which also indicates an increase in risks, since these persons can assist the accused in an attempt to escape from the court. During the monitoring of this case, the experts of the ISHR have repeatedly noted that throughout the entire trial, the list of risks in the prosecutor’s applications does not change.

The representative of the victims also asked to grant the prosecutor’s request because he believes that there may be threats to the victims or their relatives, and there is also a risk of changing the testimony of witnesses due to the influence of the accused.

At the beginning of the hearing, Shchegolev’s defender noted that a copy of the petition was not sent to the accused, and this is already a direct violation of the procedural legislation of Ukraine. And, therefore, there is a reason to refuse to satisfy the prosecutor’s petition.

The lawyer draws attention to the fact that Article 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine stipulates that the petition must necessarily indicate the circumstances that:

– arose after the previous decision to apply a measure of restraint;

– existed at the time of the previous decision on the application of a measure of restraint, but about which the investigator, the prosecutor at that time did not know and could not know.

But there are no such circumstances, and this is the second reason to refuse to grant the petition.

Thirdly, materials that confirm these circumstances must be added to the application, but they are not there either.

The defense attorney noted that the prosecutor had already several times asked the court to change the measure of restraint, despite the fact that the accused fulfills his obligations. Also, he is against any electronic means of control, because their absence in no way causes violations of A. Shchegolev’s duties or the occurrence of risks.

Based on the above, given the circumstances of the case and the positive procedural behavior of the accused, the court continued the measure of restraint in the form of a personal obligation for 60 days until 08.21.2020.

Also, earlier, the experts of the ISHR often drew attention to the fact that in this case the principle of reasonable time is violated, because the trial has been going on for more than five years. The case law of the ECtHR suggests that the reasonableness of the length of the proceedings is determined taking into account the circumstances of the case, which require an assessment in the aggregate (para. 36 of the judgment “Boddaert v. Belgium”). Of course, if certain stages of the proceedings are carried out at an acceptable speed, the total duration of the proceedings may nevertheless exceed a “reasonable time” (para. 44 of the “Dobbertin v. France” judgment).

However, Article 6 of the Convention requires that judicial proceedings be expeditious. A fair balance must be struck between the various aspects of this fundamental requirement (para. 39 of the “Boddaert v. Belgium” judgment).

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