Monitoring the case of Svetlana Vanzha (hearing on June 24, 2020)

On June 24, 2020, an online hearing was held in the Leninsky District Court of the city of Zaporozhye in the case of Svetlana Vanzha, who is accused of committing a criminal offense under Part 1 of Article 155 (premeditated murder) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

The session was attended by the prosecutor, the defense, the victim, the accused, the secretary and the panel of judges: T.F. Turbina, N.Y. Kozlova, A.M. Gnatyuk.

The trial against Svetlana Vanzha has been going on since September 2018.

During the court session on June 24, 2020, material evidence was examined (passport of the accused, kitchen knives, mobile phones). After that the defense filed a petition about the need to make a request for a phone number and obtain information about who exactly called an ambulance, since the testimony of the witness and the victim was different.

The prosecutor filed a petition for an extension of the measure of restraint in the form of detention, motivating it by the fact that at the moment the criminal proceedings cannot be completed, while the accused, realizing the severity of the crime committed and subsequent punishment, in order to avoid being brought to criminal responsibility and further punishment may be hiding from the court. Taking into account the personality of the accused, the nature and severity of the crime in which S. Vanzha is accused, the application of milder restraint is considered insufficient. The defendant’s lawyer objected to the prosecutor’s petition but did not file his own petition to change the measure of restraint to a softer one. This, according to the observer, may indicate a weak position of the defense.

For the entire period of the trial, the measure of restraint in the form of keeping the accused in custody has not changed. The court, having heard the opinions of the parties, satisfied all the requests of the parties.

The ISHR draws attention to the fact that during the entire trial, the accused was in the glass box. The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly stated in its decisions, in particular “Svinarenko and Slyadnev v. Russia” and “Labita v. Italy”, that keeping the accused in certain cases in a metal cage, or even in a glass box, may be considered a violation of Articles 3 and 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

The Court also notes that Armenia and Georgia, for example, removed the cages in their courtrooms as a result of reforms.

The court announced a break until July 28, 2020. The International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor and clarify all the details of this case.