Summary: – 1. Introduction. – 2. The Right to a Fair Trial Under a Pandemic Condition: Are There Reasons to Derogate from the Fundamental Provision of the European Convention? – 3. Main Challenges of Criminal Judiciary Under Conditions of a COVID-19 Pandemic in Ukraine and Ways to Solve Them. – 3.1. Publicity under Conditions of Quarantine. – 3.2. Access to Videoconferencing as a Guarantee of the Right to be Heard in Court. - 3.3. Observance of Guarantees of the Victim’s Rights in the Conditions of a Pandemic. - 3.4. Reasonable Time Limits for Consideration of Criminal Cases in a Pandemic. - 3.5. Peculiarities of Judicial Control Proceedings in a Pandemic. - 4. Conclusions.
This article examines relevant issues of criminal proceedings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments have focused their efforts on protecting democratic values and ensuring not only the rights and legitimate interests of their people, but also their lives and health. At the same time, the pandemic has affected not only the economies of countries, but also their democratic development and fundamental rights, which have always been a priority of any democratic society. Courts and law enforcement authorities have faced challenges that have been and still are adequately addressed in order to ensure that the rights and legitimate interests of those seeking judicial protection are respected.
Each state independently assessed the degree of risks and the extent of permissible restrictions on the rights and freedoms of persons involved in the proceedings, so the present study analyses the different approaches that have been applied. At the same time, documents of the Council of Europe for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) have gained high importance, because they, among others, have developed tools for Council of Europe member states to address the problems of ensuring access to justice in the pandemic. The generalization and widespread discussion of such experiences is important, because it will be useful for states to further improve existing legislation, taking into account best practices.
Based on a study of changes introduced in the Ukrainian legislation to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease, conclusions are proposed about the nature and extent of the restrictions, as well as the principles on which they should be based and the guarantees to be provided. Recommendations that will contribute to improving the regulation of access to justice in criminal matters in a pandemic are also proposed.