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01.05.2006 | Yury Chumak, KHPG

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is implementing a Ukrainian “Miranda rule”

   

In order to safeguard the rights and liberties of people detained by law enforcement officers on suspicion of having committed a crime or administrative offence, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs has prepared a list of the main rights which must be read out by law enforcement officers when the person is being detained. The Ministry has sent this list to all bodies under its control for immediate implementation.

From henceforth, if a person is detained on suspicion of having committed a crime, the police officer must, at the actual place where the detention is effected  provide the person with the following information:

You are being detained on suspicion of having committed a crime.

In accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine and current legislation, you have the right to defence.

You have free choice of defence lawyer and you have the right to speak to this lawyer before being questioned.

You have the right at any time to lodge an appeal with the court against your detention and demand that a court or prosecutor’s office review the grounds for your detention.

You have the right to know what you are suspected of, to give evidence, make applications and objections

You have the right to give evidence, or refuse to do so.

If a person is detained on suspicion of having committed an administrative offence, the police officer must, at the actual place where the detention is effected  provide the person with the following information:

You are being detained in connection with an administrative offence.

In accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine and current legislation, you have the right to defence.

You have the right to defend yourself or to use the legal assistance of a defence lawyer.

You have the right at any time to lodge an appeal with the court against your detention

You have the right to know the reason for your detention.

You have the right to give an explanation.

According to the Minister’s Directive, in the nearest future the heads of law enforcement bodies must organize training in the above demands for police officers, and also check that they are fully complied with.

In July 2006 the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko instructed the Ministry of Internal Affairs to train its officers in rules for communicating with citizens, in compliance with international standards.

In many countries there is a rule based on the principle that criminal justice safeguards the accused person’s right to defence, and he or she can give evidence only in the presence of a lawyer. In the USA there is rule known as the Miranda Rule, named after a case involving Ernesto Miranda who was not informed by the police that he did not need to say anything and that anything he said could be taken and used against him in a court. This all took place in 1966. The claimant managed to have his sentence, passed on the basis of a voluntary confession made during an interrogation lasting several hours, overturned by the US Supreme Court.  This is how the famous “Miranda Rule” in accordance with which police officers arresting suspects must inform them of their rights. entered US legal tradition. If, at the point of detention, the traditional phrase “You have the right to remain silent” is not uttered, this omission can lead to the person’s acquittal.

In our country this norm is only just being introduced with the internal instructions of the MIA and there are no instructions in law according to which, if the law enforcement officers do not observe the Ukrainian

“Miranda Rule”, the suspect can expect a lighter sentence.

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