The urgency of this issue is that no citizen of Ukraine is immune from what may be called for interrogation and obtaining the status of a witness in a criminal proceeding, since it may accidentally be able to see an event or to find out the actual evidence, may subsequently become the subject of a criminal offense production.

In day-to-day work, pre-trial investigation bodies use a witness, usually for the purpose of fulfilling the tasks provided for in Article 2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. However, there are cases where the preliminary investigation authorities use the witness not completely on legal grounds, namely, for the purpose of obtaining information that may not be relevant to the substance of the criminal proceedings, as well as for the purpose of further use of the testimony of the witness against him. Therefore, the rights of a witness are very often violated, mainly because of the ignorance of the witness himself and the inability to defend himself.

By adopting obligatory laws, the state has consolidated the rights and obligations of an individual who has witness status in a criminal proceeding. In turn, an individual with such a status has to obey a certain order of behavior, creates for her a certain discomfort in everyday life.

In many cases, the person who has acquired the status of a witness is not simply unprepared to protect his rights from possible violations by law enforcement agencies, but also generally ignorant of elementary rights, which makes her campaign to investigator “a test on the verge of possible”.

The witness has the following rights (Part 1 of Article 66 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine)

1) to know in connection with what and in what criminal proceedings he is interrogated;

2) to use the legal assistance of a lawyer during the testimony and participation in conducting other procedural actions;

3) refuse to give testimony concerning himself, close relatives and members of his family that may be grounds for a suspicion, accusation of committing, close relatives or members of his family of a criminal offense, as well as testimony regarding the aforementioned information not subject to disclosure;

4) to give testimony in a native or other language, which he freely owns, and to use the help of a translator;

5) use notes and documents when giving testimony in cases where the testimony relates to any calculations and other information that it is difficult for him to keep in mind;

6) to reimburse the costs associated with the call for giving testimony;

7) to get acquainted with the protocol of interrogation and to submit petitions on making changes, additions and comments to it, as well as to make such additions and remarks personally;

8) make applications for security in cases stipulated by law;

9) declare a retraction to an interpreter.

One of the most important rights of a witness can be the right to use during the giving of testimony and participation in conducting other procedural acts legal assistance of a lawyer.

The counsel’s help in this case can be decisive for the protection of the rights and interests of the witness. Article 139 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine stipulates the consequences of non-appearance of a witness without valid reasons for a summons: the imposition of a monetary penalty in the amount of:

from 344 to 689, 00 – in case of failure to appear on the call of the investigator, prosecutor;
from 689 to 2756, 00 – in the case of failure to appear on the call of the investigator of the judge, the court.
1) detention, detention or serving a sentence;

2) restriction of freedom of movement as a result of action of a law or a court decision;

3) circumstances of force majeure (epidemics, military actions, natural disasters or other similar circumstances)

4) absence of a person at the place of residence for a long time as a result of business trips, travels, etc.;

5) severe illness or stay in a health care institution in connection with a treatment or pregnancy in case of impossibility temporarily leave this institution;

6) the death of close relatives, family members or other close relatives or a serious threat to their lives;

7) untimely receipt of a call for a call;

8) other circumstances, which objectively impossible the appearance of a person on the challenge.

In addition, a witness may be applied to a witness who, without good reason, arrived at a call.

An actuator is a compulsory escort of the person to whom it is applied, by the person who executes the decision on the implementation of the occasion, to the place of its calling in the time specified in the resolution.

Summing up the above, I advise all citizens to periodically get acquainted with their rights and responsibilities, and in case of unwillingness to defend themselves independently, apply for a qualified assistance to a lawyer.

Posted by Denis Kuzyk

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