• Topics / Politics and human rights
• Topics / The right to a fair trial
ECHR Chamber Judgement in Lutsenko Case due on 3 July
The European Court of Human Rights will be announcing its judgement following the public hearing into the case on 17 April this year. The Court states that the case concerned a well-known politician’s complaint that his arrest and the decision on his detention were arbitrary and unlawful, and that he was not informed about the reasons for his arrest.
On 17 April 2012 the European Court of Human Rights held a public chamber hearing in the case of Lutsenko v. Ukraine. The case concerns former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko’s “complaint that his arrest and the decision on his detention were arbitrary and unlawful, and that he was not informed about the reasons for his arrest.”
The chamber hearing can be heard here:
The Court informed that following the hearing, it “will begin its deliberations, which will be held in private. Its ruling in the case will, however, be made at a later stage.
The following is from the information on the Court’s website at the time of the hearing (see below for the questions the hearing was to consider)
The applicant, Yuriy Vitaliyovych Lutsenko, is a Ukrainian national who was born in 1964 and is detained in Kyiv. He is a former Minister of the Interior and the leader of the opposition party Narodna Samooborona. In November 2010 the General Prosecutor’s Office brought criminal proceedings against Mr Lutsenko for unlawfully arranging different work-related benefits for his driver. On 11 December the same year, the prosecution brought another criminal case against Mr Lutsenko for abuse of office, for allegedly arranging the allocation of a one-room apartment to his driver. The two criminal cases were joined. On 13 December 2010 the prosecutor completed the investigation, formally indicted Mr Lutsenko and invited him to study the case file, which he did on several occasions between 15 and 23 December 2010.
Mr Lutsenko was arrested on 26 December 2010 near his home by officers of the Security Service and the investigator of the General Prosecutor’s Office in connection with another criminal case brought against him on 24 December 2010. According to him, he was not informed of the reasons for his arrest and was not given a copy of the charges against him. On 27 December 2010 Mr Lutsenko and his lawyer attended a hearing before the Pechersky court, which they had only found out about 20 minutes before it started. The hearing concerned the prosecutor’s request to keep Mr Lutsenko in detention pending his trial. According to Mr Lutsenko, he only discovered what the hearing was about after the hearing had started. The court allowed the prosecutor’s request, accepting their reasoning which included the arguments that the applicant and his lawyer had studied the case file slowly and had given information about it to the media. The court further found that Mr Lutsenko had tried to prevent the investigation and was capable of influencing it, and had not admitted his guilt. Mr Lutsenko’s lawyer appealed unsuccessfully. Mr Lutsenko remains in detention. He was convicted on 27 February 2012.
The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 21 January 2011. Relying on Article 5 §§ 1 (b) and (c), 2 and 3 (right to liberty and security) of the
Convention, Mr Lutsenko complains in particular that his arrest and detention were
arbitrary and unlawful, and that he was not informed about the reasons for his arrest
Relying also on Article 6 §§ 1, 2 and 3 (a) and (b) (right to a fair trial), he complains that
he was not informed in advance about the subject of the court hearing of 27 December
The Court communicated the application to the Ukrainian Government in April 2011. It
asked the Government to reply to a number of questions, including whether Mr Lutsenko had been detained for a purpose other than those envisaged in Article 5, contrary to Article 18 of the Convention, given his active participation in political life in Ukraine and his opposition to the Government.
Representatives of the parties
V. Lutkovska, Agent,
I.Y. Fomin, Counsel
V. Telychenko, Counsel
The public hearing was to discuss the following:
QUESTIONS TO THE PARTIES
1. Did the applicant’s deprivation of liberty during the period between 26 and 27 December 2010 fall within paragraphs (b) or (c) of Article 5 § 1?
2. Was the applicant deprived of his liberty in breach of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention? In particular, was the applicant’s detention free of arbitrariness and was it based on law given that the arguments of the domestic authorities for the applicant’s detention referred to his unwillingness to refrain from exercising his rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and that the authorities decided to change the preventive measure after the investigative actions in the criminal case had been already completed? Was the applicant’s detention applied for a purpose other than those envisaged by Article 5, contrary to Article 18 of the Convention given the applicant’s active participation in the political life in Ukraine and his opposition to the Government?
3. Was the applicant informed promptly of the reasons for his arrest, as required by Article 5 § 2 of the Convention?
4. Was the applicant brought before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power, as required by Article 5 § 3 of the Convention? Was the procedure before the Pechersky District Court on 27 December 2010 in conformity with Article 5 § 3 of the Convention?
5. Did the applicant have at his disposal an effective procedure by which he could challenge the lawfulness of his detention, as required by Article 5 § 4 of the Convention? Was the procedure by which the applicant sought to challenge the lawfulness of his pre-trial detention in conformity with Article 5 § 4 of the Convention?