Ukraine adopts law preventing arbitrary actions by law enforcement agencies

On 1 December 2017, the President of Ukraine signed the Law "On Introducing Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts Aimed at Preventing Pressure of Law Enforcement Bodies on Business" (the "Law") that is expected to be officially published soon.

As we have previously reported, the Law is designed to prevent undue pressure being applied by, and abusive practices of, law enforcement agencies in the course of criminal investigations.

The Law introduces significant safeguards for businesses against arbitrary treatment by law enforcement agencies, including:

  • Mandatory audio and video recordings of office searches. Consequently, recordings of searches shall be attached to search records and an advocate is vested with the right to perform its own video recording of a search
  • The right to an advocate's assistance at any stage of a search, if a search is conducted in a person's residence
  • Inadmissibility of evidence collected in the course of searches conducted without the making of proper recordings or during which an advocate was denied access
  • Limitation of the right of seizure of computer hardware, servers, mobile telephones and originals of the financial documentation of businesses
  • Prohibition on reopening criminal proceedings on the basis of facts which earlier served as the grounds leading to initiating previously closed criminal files
  • Any person who brings a criminal complaint to a law enforcement body is entitled to receive confirmation of opening the criminal file within 24 hours of making the complaint
  • Compulsory video recording of a criminal proceeding during the consideration of the prosecution’s applications by the investigative judge
  • Establishing a Commission which will issue recommendations to law enforcement bodies regarding the prevention of human rights abuses and disciplinary measures for human rights violators.

The Law will come into force on the day following its official publication, which is due soon, except for the provision regarding video recording of court proceedings, which comes into force from 1 January 2019.

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