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Ukraine introduces new defense tools in criminal procedure and significant changes in anti-corruption laws

In October, the Parliament adopted a number of changes of criminal law and procedure. This, along with the recent launch of the High Anti-Corruption Court, can significantly alter the intensity and directions of the law enforcement activity.

 

Key changes in criminal procedure

- Simplification of procedure of expertise

The Parliament lifted requirement to seek approval of investigative judge to arrange expertise and allowed to order it via private institutions in addition to state ones. In essence, the rules effective prior to reform of March 15, 2018, have been retuned.

- New ground to close cases due to expiration of limitation period

The investigative judge will have the power to close criminal proceeding upon motion of the prosecutor if individual who committed the crime has not been established. In turn, participants of criminal proceedings are now entitled to file such motion to the prosecutor.

 

Changes in anti-corruption laws

- Right to wiretap for National Anticorruption Bureau and State Bureau of Investigations

Both authorities were granted a right to wiretap information at telecommunication networks – one of the undercover actions, previously conducted only with involvement of the National Police and the Security Service.

- Whistleblowers law, which provides reward for reporting corruption

The whistleblowers are entitled to reward if subject matter of the crime or the damages caused exceed UAH 10 million[1]. The reward may constitute 10% of such amount (with upper limit at UAH 12,5 million). The decision about reward will be determined by court at stage of sentencing. Whistleblowers are entitled to report anonymously and seek for guaranties of confidentiality. The law enters into force on January 1, 2020.

- Criminal liability for unjust enrichment

This is an expected step in the light of Ukraine's international commitments. The introduction of the above law was actively discussed since this February, when Constitutional Court declared its previous version unconstitutional.

- New instrument to seize assets

Along with the reinstatement of unjust enrichment, the Parliament introduced a new mechanism to seize unjustified assets of officials (including the one transferred to third parties) within civil procedure. Threshold is UAH 1 million, assets of officials exceeding legal income for more than UAH 1 million may be considered as unjustified.

The claims for seizure are under jurisdiction of the High Anti-Corruption Court upon filings of Special Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office. The court is entitled to impose provisional measures on the assets. If it is not possible to confiscate the unjustified assets itself, the property of the defendant of the same value may be seized.

For further information, please contact Asters Partner Sergiy Grebenyuk and Counsel Orest Stasiuk.


[1] All amounts are calculated at the time of publication and are rounded.
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