With reference to the cycle “Who is responsible for what in Ukraine” we are exploring the system of justice and law enforcement agencies. Investigate jurisdiction, jurisdiction and separation of functions – are brief and accessible in the review of the correspondent of “HROMADA Skhid”, who has a rich experience of law enforcement activities and active interaction with the system.
My grandaunt used to tell fortunes by cards. When I was a little kid, I often heard strange dialogues about “big houses”.
- I see a late walk into the big house – a serious fortune-teller looks at the old cards.
- Where is it?
- Well, it is a police, a prosecutor’s office, maybe you will have legal proceedings – the eyes of the “client” become square, the face – the color of chalk.
I do not have cards, but I have experience of dealing with these structures after the reforms, so I will not scare, instead I will tell why it is not all that bad right now.
The law enforcement system that has to protect each of us individually and the state as a whole, is the great: the National police, the National Security Agency (NSA), the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), and National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), courts of various specializations and instances, the customs… And also some parts of state bodies performing law enforcement functions – from environmental inspectors to Ministry of Internal Affairs helicopter units (it is no joke, they really want to create them). All of them work depending on investigate jurisdiction and jurisdiction.
Investigate jurisdiction indicates who should investigate a certain crime. For example, cases of broken windows, theft or murder will be dealt by the National police, of non-payment of taxes by the Financial Investigation Bureau of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, one millionth bribe to the official will be investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), separatism will be dealt by National Security Agency (NSA), non-corruption crimes of top-ranking officials (ministers, heads of various nationwide institutions, etc.) is overseen by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).
Upon completing the investigations, these cases will also be heard by different courts. Some cases will be heard by a judge of the ordinary district court, some by an administrative court, some by an economic court, and, for example, a corruption case involving sums of more than half a million hryvnia, will be heard by the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC).
In everyday life, ordinary citizens more often have dealings with police, prosecutor’s office and a court. So, let us talk a little bit more.
If your rights are violated, your property is damaged, your health is harmed, you should go to the police. You can file a report describing what happened at the nearest police station or call the police at 102 (from mobile phone without any code and free of charge, even if there is no money in your mobile account). If you see any action being taken against someone or breaking public order, I highly advise you to dial 102. This is the only way we can establish order in the country and create safe living conditions for ourselves and for the nearest and dearest ones (at the end I will tell the story how I do it -).
After you have filed the report, the police officer must determine which article of the law has been violated. If it is an administrative offense, then the police draw up an administrative offence report, and after a brief investigation of the circumstances (from 1 day up to 15 days), the administrative proceedings are heard by the court. There are administrative offenses by which the police can immediately order a sentence without court involvement. This is usually a minor offense. For example, the misconduct of buying homemade moonshine. The police are investigating this fact and it decides to impose a fine (from 1.000 to 5.000 UAH, by the way!). The same applies to the fining of drivers who violate traffic rules – of course, if there were no fatal casualties.
If you have reported about serious crime that falls under the Criminal Code of Ukraine, then the police officer is obliged and emergently to report about this crime to the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations (URPI). You can also file a criminal complaint to the prosecutor’s office, and then the prosecutor must submit a notice to the URPI and you will be issued an extract on registration of criminal offense in this register. The pre-trial investigation begins with the URPI entry. However, the prosecutor’s office is currently deprived of the functions of investigation. Therefore, within 24 hours, the prosecutor must refer the case for investigation to the police (or the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) or other bodies, depending on the investigate jurisdiction about which I mentioned at the beginning). The police are working on the case together with the prosecutor’s office. The investigating prosecutor must oversee the progress of the investigation, compliance with all rules and lawfulness of investigative actions. Searches and detention in custody during an investigation may take place only through a court proceeding ad seciam of a prosecutor or investigator.
Criminal investigations should extend no more than six months. If the investigation cannot be completed within six months, the investigating prosecutor or police investigator will apply to the court for permission to continue the investigation. If the judge denies the motion, the case is either dismissed or referred to a court.
The court procedure should be based on the equality of participants in the trial, the competitiveness of the parties and the free presentation of evidence, as well as the presumption of innocence: disclosure of guilt by the investigating authorities and providing the accused with the right to defense. The Constitution of Ukraine provides for the right of each defendant to defend himself personally or through freely chosen by him in his sole discretion lawyers who can provide effective legal defenses (lawyers). If the average monthly income of a citizen does not exceed 4.024 UAH – two living wages as of 2020, he has the right to request a lawyer at the state expense.
The prosecutor in a court always acts for the prosecution, protecting the violated rights of a citizen or a state. The prosecutor’s office also oversees the enforcement of the court’s case.
Court decisions are binding if enforced and not appealed in the higher courts. The vast majority of issues are resolved in local courts, so they are the most numerous. If a decision of a local court does not satisfy one of the parties of the proceedings, it may appeal the decision in the higher courts.
It should be noted that in recent years, the Ukrainian courts have been quite supportive of the vulnerable categories of claimants – pensioners, displaced persons, people from the occupied territories. Therefore, you should not be afraid to turn to court to protect your rights: resumption pensions, establishing birth or death in uncontrolled territories, issuing relevant documents of the Ukrainian sample, etc.
I will not talk about the executive service, officers of justice, the pretrial detention centers, the prisons and the colonies, as this is a separate big topic. I will tell the promised story of how I personally change Ukraine for the better. One day I had to ride a bus whose driver had probably dreamed all his life about participating in Formula 1. Another bus driver dreamed about it too, so just in the middle of the road, they decided to find out who was the king of the highway there. And the race began. Sometimes the buses were so close that I saw the panic in the faces of the passengers of the second bus. In our bus, of course, passengers also shouted, swore and tried to hold onto the handrails on the road curves. Drivers were indifferent, they continued racing. I dialed 102 because it was getting too dangerous. The call was accepted, and at the final stop, the violators were already waiting for the “educational work”.
So be careful about protecting your rights and safety, it generally requires neither much effort nor much time. Take care of yourself and do not abuse the law.
Iryna PERKOVA/Gromada Skhid No. 4 (13) 2020
The crime rate in Donetsk region is one of the lowest in the country and amounts to 52 criminal offenses per 10.000 people. Every year, police solve more than 9.000 criminal offenses.
In 2019, more than 405.000 people applied to the police of the region. In five years, the number of appeals has doubled (as for 2015 – 194 thousand), which indicates about increasing in public confidence to the police (according to the Headquarters of the National Police in Donetsk region).
Charitable Foundation Caritas Mariupol, with the support of the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Program within the project “Effective Governance and Involvement of Citizens for the Achievement of Justice, Security, Environmental Protection and Social Unity in Eastern Ukraine”, undertakes measures to provide free primary legal aid in Marinka, Volnovakha and Manhush district. Litigation, legal advice on conflict issues – free assistance is provided to those in need in the district council premises and by telephone (from Monday to Friday, 8 am – 4 pm):
Marinka: (050) 013 25 53, (067) 267 58 69
Manhush: (050) 013 25 56, (067) 267 58 13
Volnovakha: (050) 013 25 68, (067) 267 58 16.