The government of Ukraine on February 28, 2018 initiated the creation of a commission to protect businesses from illegal searches and pressure from the authorities.
The Ministry of Justice drafted a resolution “On the establishment of an Interdepartmental Commission on Ensuring Compliance with Law Enforcement Authorities with Rights and Legal Interests of Individuals.” The Commission will be a permanent advisory body under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and will hold its meetings in public.
According to the Minister of Justice, the commission will include human rights defenders, representatives of business associations and the public, and will be headed by the Prime Minister of Ukraine. Representatives of the security forces will not be included in the commission, they will be called to the meetings of the commission and will only report on the work done, Pavel Petrenko added.
The Minister of Justice also noted that the commission was created to implement the Law of Ukraine “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts Regarding Ensuring Compliance of the Rights of Criminal Procedure Participants and Other Persons with Law Enforcement Agencies during the Pre-trial Investigation” No. 2213-VIIІ of November 16, known more as “Masks Show Stop!”, supported 312 deputies, which is the Constitutional majority. It entered into force on December 7, 2017.
Innovations of the law “Masks Show Stop!”
Legislative provisions provide for mandatory video recording of the search process. In this case, video recording is an integral application of the search protocol. This means that “actions and circumstances of a search that are not recorded in the record can not be entered in the search record and used as evidence in criminal proceedings” (Article 104 of the Criminal Procedure Code).
In addition, the law prohibits the re-opening of closed criminal cases and during the search to withdraw computer equipment, servers, mobile phones, as well as original accounting documents. Instead, it is possible to copy information with the involvement of a specialist. This norm, as human rights activists say, was introduced in connection with numerous searches in IT companies when they were deprived of equipment and important information.
The new law also consolidated the status of a lawyer as an integral part of the search process. All the evidence obtained without his participation will not be taken into account. A lawyer may independently videotape searches, but, in that case, he does not have the right to disclose the details of the pre-trial investigation. For violation of this requirement, the lawyer is expected to be criminally liable.
Analyzing the norms of the law, we see that the idea is wonderful. And whether the law “Masks Show Stop!” to protect the domestic business from the pressure of the security forces, time will tell.