In 2017, the Ukrainian Section of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) began to monitor the level of observation of the right to a fair trial in Ukraine within the scope of its human rights work. The decision to conduct such work was based on several factors, including the appeal of lawyers and civil society representatives who reported violations of human rights in “politically motivated” criminal proceedings. Additionally, it occurred in response to the interest of the international community in information related to implementation of reforms, particularly the reform of the judiciary system, which was initiated by the Ukrainian government.
The primary form of monitoring is the attendance of court hearings by ISHR Ukraine representatives and the subsequent publication of reports based on the results of these hearings. During this work, experts from the ISHR made an effort to communicate with the defense, judges and prosecutors, as well as relying on official documents (court decisions, appeals of the parties, etc.) provided to us by both sides of the proceedings. Furthermore, communication with relatives of the defendants was an important part of the monitoring process. Each report was published on our online information-sharing platform www.humanrights-online.org, and was distributed to politicians and public figures in EU countries, – to Ukrainian lawyers and human rights defenders, and to
representatives of the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, among others. Significant part of the material was available not only in Russian but also in English.
We believe that this approach (presence at court sessions and preparation of short reports1; examination of official documents, communication with lawyers prosecutors, judges, defendants and their relatives) allows for the collection of the material necessary to perform an analysis of the situation, to identify tendencies and problems in each individual case, and in these criminal proceedings as a group.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to cover all criminal cases that can be described as “politically motivated”. There is a limit to the physical capacity of the team engaged in this work, and, as mentioned earlier, we primarily concentrate our efforts on the proceedings that were addressed in appeals received by our organization. However, the information collected over the course of the year gives us an opportunity to prepare an annual report and to analyze the situation regarding prosecution of journalists, ex- officials and civil activists.
In this report, we attempt to highlight the main trends in human rights violations identified in the monitoring process and qualify them based on international human rights law, especially the ECHR and the rulings of the ECtHR. The report consists of two parts: an analysis of the monitoring of the right to a fair trial in Ukraine conducted by experts of the ISHR and texts of reports on the monitoring of court sessions, which served as a source in the preparation of the analysis.Ukraine_ISHR_Report_mein_Vorwort_2017