Prosecutor: Videoconference in UESU trial takes into account Tymoshenko's reluctance to appear in court

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Aug. 14, 2012, 12:30 p.m. | Politics — by Interfax-Ukraine

This picture taken on August 7, 2012 shows a video conference room prepared the hearing of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko in Kachanivska penitentiary colony for women in Kharkiv. The decision to reconvene the hearing on August 14 came after prosecutors asked for the ailing 2004 Orange Revolution co-leader to be questioned from hospital by video conference so that the proceedings could finally be held.

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.

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