Monitoring of the case of Irina Stepanovna Ukhanyova (hearing of January 29, 2021)

On January 29, 2021, a hearing was held in the Chutovsky District Court of the Poltava Region in the case of Irina Ukhanyova, judge of the Volchansky District Court of the Kharkov Region. She is charged with Part 2 of Art. 375 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, namely the ruling of a knowingly unjust verdict, decision or ruling that entailed grave consequences or were committed from mercenary motives, in other personal interests or in order to obstruct the legitimate professional activities of a journalist.

At the court session on November 14, 2016, judge I. Ukhanyova forbade activist M. Kornienko from using a portable recording device and filming an open court session.

As noted in the victim’s complaint, Judge I. Ukhanyova summoned the police officers, who groundlessly drew up an administrative offense protocol against M. Kornienko under Article 185 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses. Aware of the absence of an administrative offense in M. Kornienko’s actions, the judge brought him to administrative responsibility, applying an administrative penalty in the form of administrative arrest for a period of 15 days.

At the beginning of the hearing, the accused filed a motion to close the criminal proceedings. She claims that, according to the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine dated June 11, 2020, upon the submission of people’s deputies, Article 375 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine was declared illegal and unconstitutional, in addition, on December 11, 2020, this article became invalid, therefore, asks to close the criminal proceedings, since such article does not exist in the Criminal Code.

The prosecutor did not object to granting the request. In her opinion, criminal proceedings can be closed.

The victim’s defense attorney was categorically against the closure of the case and believes that it should be investigated in accordance with the law. He was also outraged by the fact that the accused is still serving as a judge. He believes that this is a grave crime and for its commission I. Ukhanyova should be punished.

The court on the spot made a decision, with the aim of inadmissibility of violating the rights of the victim, to postpone the consideration of the petition and give time for its study by other participants in the proceeding, as well as to give the defense the opportunity to form its position.

The next hearing will take place on February 18, 2021. The International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor and clarify the details of these criminal proceedings.