Rada settles terms of investigation of war crimes
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has settled the terms of the investigation of war crimes.
In general, 278 deputies voted for relevant bill No. 9314-d on amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code regarding the specifics of calculating the terms of pretrial investigation under martial law at a plenary session on Wednesday, a member of the Holos faction Yaroslav Zhelezniak said on his Telegram channel.
As said in the explanatory note, the draft law is designed to ensure the effective implementation of pretrial investigation of criminal proceedings under martial law, in particular, by excluding the calculation of the terms of pretrial investigation in criminal proceedings for war crimes and genocide crimes in which a person has not been informed of suspicion.
The bill amends the Criminal Procedure Code, according to which the period of pretrial investigation from the moment of entering information about a criminal offense into the Unified Register of Pretrial Investigations or the issuance of a resolution on the start of a pretrial investigation until the day of notification of suspicion to a person will not be calculated in criminal proceedings regarding war crimes and genocide crimes.
In addition, amendments have been made to the Criminal Procedure Code that establish a special regime of criminal proceedings under martial law, and which corrects the primary regulatory regulation of the issue of calculating during martial law the terms of pretrial investigation in criminal proceedings in which no person was informed of suspicion on the date of martial law.
Earlier, in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine, the head of the Department for Combating Crimes Committed during the Armed Conflict, the Prosecutor General’s Office, Yuriy Belousov, spoke about the legal conflict regarding the duration of the investigation of war crimes.
He explained that the Criminal Procedure Code has a separate article concerning martial law, but it does not contain an unambiguous interpretation.
According to Belousov, the Criminal Procedure Code sets the time limit for the investigation of serious crimes – 18 months, and if those involved are not identified and no one is suspected, then the pretrial investigation ends after 18 months. Further, as the head of the Department of War noted, the case is either closed, or the prosecutor's office should extend the investigation period with the investigating judge.
"And here's the problem: objectively, we simply don't have enough judges to consider the entire array of petitions for extension of terms. For example, for the entire Kharkiv region, we now have about 17,000 criminal proceedings on war crimes. The extension of the time limits should be considered by the courts at the location of the pretrial investigation body. And there are four judges in the court of this district. And 17,000 of our proceedings! The judges have a million other cases. Even if they just put seals without considering, they won't have time," he said.
Thus, as the head of the Department of War noted, a critical situation is developing, and it can be resolved through the adoption of bills that relate to amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code regarding the timing of pretrial investigation during the war.
He also said that for the proceedings started in the first days of the full–scale invasion – in February and March last year - the deadlines expire in August.
"If the bill is not adopted now, and we understand that the judges will not cope objectively, we will start losing proceedings and we will not be able to do anything. Then the enemy will smile in our face, and we will not be able to do anything," Belousov summed up.