The possible use of videoconferencing in trial is a common European practice, Viktoria Kalyta, a prosecutor in the UESU case on charges brought against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, has told Interfax-Ukraine.
“Our proposal to hold a hearing via videoconference is based solely
on the provisions of the current legislation. My colleagues and I talked
about this many times. The talks that participation in a hearing via
videoconference is illegal and that allegedly only one separate
procedural action can occur through videoconference are nothing but an
attempt to interpret the provisions of the law as they want,” she said.
She said that the possibility of holding a videoconference was
envisaged in Article 85-3 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine.
“This provision foresees the defendant’s possible participation in
the proceedings via videoconference. This provision does not restrict
the work of a lawyer who can be present in the courtroom and next to his
client. My colleagues and I have repeatedly noted that the use of this
provision is possible only with the consent of the defendant. Such a
process is impossible without her consent,” the prosecutor said.
When asked to comment on statements made by Tymoshenko’s defense team
that the use of videoconferencing could be challenged in the European
Court of Human Rights, Kalyta said: “Frankly speaking, I don’t
understand what they are planning to challenge. The court can make such a
decision solely on the basis of the defendant’s consent. In addition, I
want to emphasize that the practice of videoconferencing is a European
practice, which is envisaged in the current and new Criminal Procedure
Code in accordance with European and international standards. This
provision is aimed at humanizing criminal justice and court proceedings.
Accordingly, such statements are nothing but an attempt to pass the
desirable for reality.”
She also added that through such a petition the public prosecution
had taken into account the defendant’s position regarding her
categorical refusal to appear in court.