The address of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights and UHUHR concerning vesting with powers on investigation to the State criminal and executive service of Ukraine
to the Prime minister of Ukraine,
to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine,
to the Minister of Justice of Ukraine
On December 21, 2016 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, having adopted the Law of Ukraine "On the Supreme Council of Justice", at the same time included in it provisions which don't concern the Supreme council of justice at all.
These provisions vested to the State criminal and executive service of Ukraine (SCESU) with powers to carry out pre-judicial investigation of all crimes, "committed in the territory or in premises of SCESU".
From now all cases of abuses, in particular, tortures committed by personnel of SCESU will be investigated by investigating officers from among its personnel. It contradicts the principles of proper investigation enshrined in the European convention for protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and formulated by the European Court of Human Rights and the European committee for prevention of tortures: independence, impartiality, care, urgency, competence, submission to control. It is obvious this is not in general about independence and impartiality in connection with creation of investigative powers in SCESU.
Besides, determination of exclusive competence of SCESU concerning all crimes committed in its territory or in its premises creates uncertainty concerning differentiation of competence of SCESU and other subjects of pre-judicial investigation.
Besides the mentioned amendments were adopted without observance of the procedure established by the law. P.1 of Art. 116 of the Law of Ukraine "On Regulations of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine" was violated (corrections concerned those provisions of the Law which are not amended during the first reading in general). These provisions weren't discussed in parliamentary committee for legislative ensuring of law-enforcement activities. Moreover, they were initiated through People's Deputies by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine that allowed to bypass the concord procedure of submission of the government draft law.
We are convinced that provision of investigative powers to SCESU is a violation of the fundamental principles of the fair and effective procedure of investigation according to it nobody can be a judge in own case. Such amendments will lead only to aggravation of a problem of inefficient investigation on cases of tortures and other abuses in places of detention which is system according to recognition of many international bodies.
Considering mentioned, we urge:
1. As soon as possible to cancel amendments of the legislation concerning vesting SCESU with investigative powers;
2. To stop immediately creation of investigative units of SCESU.