Deputies allow use of special equipment to discover corruption
The Verkhovna Rada has adopted at first reading a draft Law "On Amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine on strengthening the role of civil society in combating corruption."
The bill would make changes to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, the Criminal Code and the Code of Administrative Offences.
The bill envisages the introduction into criminal procedural law of the institution of public prosecution, which is to be applied with respect to the offenses listed in Articles 368 (acceptance of an offer, a promise or receipt of an illegal benefit by an officer) and 370 (provocation of a bribe) of the Criminal Code.
It is planned to establish that the public prosecutor may be any natural or legal person who is a direct victim of a criminal offense or who has knowledge of the committing by other persons of a criminal offense for which criminal proceedings may be applied in the form of public prosecution, and who has filed with an investigator or a prosecutor a statement or report of the relevant criminal offense, and a statement on conducting criminal proceedings in the form of public prosecution (Part 1 of Article 59-1 of the CCP in the wording of the project).
The person may have a representative, and also has the right to support the prosecution in the court along with the prosecutor, irrespective of the consent of the victim, or may refuse to support the charges.
The bill proposes to decriminalize such acts as obtaining special technical means for gathering secret information and the illegal acquisition, sale or use of special technical means for obtaining secret information.
As stated in the explanatory note to the bill "the success in identifying corruption cases and exposing corrupt persons depends to a great extent on opportunities for obtaining audiovisual evidence, photographs - the main source of which are usually secret investigation (investigative actions) using special technical means for obtaining secret information, which an ordinary citizen - the victim of corrupt actions of officials – is not able to carry out independently while complying with the procedures established by the law."
Therefore, the bill suggests to exclude Article 359 "the Illegal purchase, sale or use of special technical means for obtaining information" of the Criminal Code and Article 195-5 "Illegal possession of special technical means for obtaining secret information" of the Administrative Code, as well as to amend Article 201 "Smuggling" of the Criminal Code and Article 15 "Responsibility of military personnel and other persons who are subject to disciplinary regulations for administrative offenses."
As stated in the report of the Central Scientific Experts Office of the Ukrainian parliament the bill grants public prosecutors with sufficiently broad rights to collect evidence.
In addition, the report points out the danger of abuse by the "public prosecution" in order to dismiss a judge from performing his duties for some period of time, thus eliminating the possibility of consideration of a specific court case, in which the initiator of the prosecution has an interest, or a person on behalf of whom the initiator is carrying out the "prosecution."
"Likewise, a "public prosecution" may be organized in order to impede the activities of prosecutors, police and other officers of good faith," according to the report.
"In general, it should be noted that the establishment of the suggested institution implies significant corruption risks and opportunities for blackmail against any judiciary, law enforcement officials and civil servants" the report reads.
As UNIAN reported earlier, on April 21, the corresponding bill did not receive the required number of votes to be passed at first reading.