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Haste (and the Verkhovna Rada) vs. the Right to a Fair Trial

09.04.2011 |


On Friday the Verkhovna Rada passed a draft law allowing for limitation on the time frame for a person accused to read the material of his or her case. The bill received 263 votes.

Up till now there was no restriction in law on the time needed for the person and their lawyer to familiarize themselves with the material.

The new law, if it comes into force, will allow the investigator or the Prosecutor to make the relevant application to the court if they deem the accused and their lawyer to be dragging out the process.  The judge may establish a time limit. After this has elapsed, the accused will be considered to have become fully familiar with the material whether or not this is actually the case. The Prosecutor, the accused or their lawyer would have three days to appeal against such a court ruling.

The deputies did not vote for the amendment which stipulated that the law could not be applied to those persons facing charges who have already begun reading their files.  This, obviously, includes the many opposition politicians, most prominently Yulia Tymoshenko, whose criminal charges have led to many statements of concern both within Ukraine and abroad.

Deputies from the opposition denounced the law as a violation of the Constitution. According to Yury Karamzin from Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence, the figure of 263 votes was reached despite there being only 72 members of the ruling majority in parliament.

From a report at

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