Under martial law, the terms in the criminal process should be extended

During the wartime, it is impossible to ensure compliance of pre-trial investigation bodies, prosecutors and courts with the deadlines set by the CPC of Ukraine. As a result of this, the rights of participants in criminal proceedings and the procedure of calculation of the terms of the pre-trial investigation may be violated.

Under the martial law, conducting investigative (search) and other procedural actions both before and after notifying a person of suspicion can be significantly complicated, and in some cases – impossible. If the pre-trial investigation body is unable to investigate in due time, it shall not be possible to justify the waste of procedural time.

However, the CPC of Ukraine does not stipulate a solution to be applied when it deems impossible to perform the relevant actions within the timeframe specified by law. This is about the terms of performing the following procedural actions:

  • consideration of petitions during the pre-trial investigation (Article 220 of the CPC);
  • reviewing the materials of the pre-trial investigation before its completion (Article 221 of the CPC);
  • filing and reviewing a complaint against the decision, action or inaction of the investigator, coroner or prosecutor (Articles 304, 306 of the CPC);
  • appeal against non-compliance with reasonable time limits (Article 308 of the CPC);
  • proclamation of a court decision (Article 376 of the CPC);
  • appeal and cassation appeal (Articles 395, 426 of the CPC).

Therefore, experts suggest to amend Article 615 of the CPC of Ukraine, which establishes a special regime of pre-trial investigation, in particular, under martial law, to add provisions that:

  • establish the possibility of extending the term of pre-trial investigation for the period of martial law or state of emergency, in the whole of Ukraine or its separate localities;
  • introduce the possibility of committing certain procedural actions, the commission of which is objectively impossible, in particular, under martial law or state of emergency, as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days after the termination or abolition of martial law or state of emergency.
22, March 2022