President Viktor Yanukovych is satisfied with a new draft Criminal Procedure Code prepared by the Working Group on Criminal Justice Reform. "It is necessary to complete the work as soon as possible. I believe that the draft Code should be considered and approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 2011. I am convinced that the adoption of a new Criminal Procedure Code is crucial for establishing the rule of law in Ukraine and is one of the basic guarantees of human rights in our country," Viktor Yanukovych said, opening today’s meeting of the Working Group on Criminal Justice Reform. 

According to the President, the draft Code introduces a qualitatively new system of legal protection of a person, society and the state from criminal offenses and allows quick, complete and impartial investigation of criminal cases. 

Particularly, the draft Code significantly expands the rights of lawyers, who are enabled to gather and present evidence in court on part with prosecutors. “We will change the practice of Ukrainian courts demonstrating commitment to only one side of the process – the Persecution,” he said.

Another positive innovation introduced by the draft Code according to President Yanukovych is banning the court from considering evidence the information obtained by investigators through violence against or intimidation of suspects. "In the practice of the European Court of Human Rights protection of secrecy of communication and privacy holds important place. With respect to these standards the draft Code clearly lists cases in which law enforcement authorities are allowed to carry out covert investigations," Viktor Yanukovych said. Moreover, he added, covert investigations are allowed only in case of grave or especially grave crimes, and only pursuant to the appropriate court order.

According to President Yanukovych, the draft Code also prevents excessive application of detention measures. "The draft Code dedicates much attention to guaranteeing the right to a fair, independent and impartial trial," he said. In addition, a person accused of committing a felony is being entitled by the draft Code to a jury trial. 

Viktor Yanukovych also said that the draft Code makes possible an agreement between prosecutor and suspect, or between victim and suspect, thus allowing to substantially reduce the term of criminal offenses investigation. 

He reminded that in the process of drafting the Code, proposals of international and domestic experts, scholars and NGOs were taken into account. The President also proposed to show the draft Code to Europe's leading experts and take their comments into account in further work on it. 

Viktor Yanukovych also considers necessary submitting the draft Criminal Procedure Code for an expert opinion of the Council of Europe Venice Commission.


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