Let’s Fight Racism Together

13.12.2008

Report on Crime

Filed under: Uncategorized — legalantiracism @ 08:42

If you have fallen victim to an attack, then immediately call police emergency line (102) or the local department of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) according to the place of the incident[1] or file a report on crime to the local department of MoI under Article 95 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) of Ukraine.

According to the laws of Ukraine, staff of the local department of the MoI shall dully register any report on crime. In case you personally approach a local department of police to report a crime, the report shall be registered by the attendant officer of the department in the appropriate journal. This officer is also obliged to give the complainant a «Notification Slip», which certifies that a report has been filed with the police. Such a duty of the police officer is prescribed by clauses 3.9 and 3.10 of the MoI Decree №400 «On the procedure of receipt and consideration by the agencies of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine of reports on crimes, which have been committed or are being prepared». If the MoI’s officer, after listening/receiving your report «forgets» to issue such a slip to you, then you should remind him of his duty referring to the mentioned provisions of the Decree. Make sure you keep the slip. In case you are sending a report on crime via mail, preferably use registered mail.  Two or three days after your letter has been received by the addressee, you will receive the notification of delivery which should have been signed by an official of the authority you sent the report to. This notification serves as a confirmation of report on crime. Keep the notification of delivery as well as the copy of the written report you have sent.

If you choose to file a report by writing, in order for you to get a faster response from the law enforcement authorities, try to make it clear and concise. This will facilitate understanding of the substance of the incident and your claims. Also mark in the text the supposed classification of the incident under the criminal law. The lawyers of relevant NGOs[2] can assist you to prepare the written report or you can make it by yourself, following the template contained in the Attachment №1. Note that it should contain all the basic elements listed above. The report shall be submitted to the local police department according to the place of incident.

In case you report on the crime orally, the law enforcement officers should immediately interrogate you about the circumstances of the incident and document your testimonies. if it is not practically possible for them to interrogate you immediately for example, when police are called  to the place of the crime, then it has to be done in the shortest possible time. Your testimonies are supposed to be recorded in the protocol of interrogation (See Attachment №2 for the standard form of such protocol). The police officer shall write down the circumstances of the incident according to your own words. After he has finished, he gives the protocol to you for review. When you sign the document it means you have certified that everything which is written in it is correct. It therefore means that, before you sign the protocol you must read it carefully (ask the interpreter/your friend who can speak Ukrainian to read and translate it for you). Make sure that the protocol contains all the necessary (from your point of view) information.  Make sure it includes all the basic elements required as listed below as well as ensure that all the details are reflected accurately. In case you see that this document lacks some information or some information is misinterpreted, insist on making corrections/additions to the protocol.

When you make a report on crime in witting or orally among other details you shall specify the following:

1) Your surname, given name(s), address, available means of communication (for example cell phone number);

2) Time and place of the incident;

3) Describe the circumstances of the incident in detail as possible (See the Section «Documenting a crime» herein);

4) What damage you have suffered (sum of money, which has been stolen, approximate cost of stolen goods, bodily injuries etc., attach the medical certificate if available);

5) What were the motives of the perpetrators in your opinion (racial, ethnic. hatred, material interest, personal enmity, or other factors). Describe the circumstances, on the basis of which you made this assumption;

6) Have you met the perpetrators before (if yes, then indicate what was the relationship between you before the incident, in what circumstances you got to know each other);

7) If you have not met the perpetrators before, then describe them in as much detail as possible (number, approximate age, sex, distinguishing marks, facial features, clothes etc.)

8) If you know of any witnesses to the incident, then inform the law enforcement agencies in the report of this fact (number, description, provide names and contact details, if known);

9) If you can, provide an assumption of the legal classification of the crime committed against you. This point is mandatory for the reports on crimes under Articles 125 and 126 Para 1 of the CC of Ukraine, when you file such report to a court;

10) Indicate what exactly you want the authorities to do for you: initiate a criminal case; to inform you on the results of the consideration of the report and investigation of the crime in writing. If you have suffered any bodily injuries, then you should certainly ask to be referred for a forensic examination. In case you have lost your I.D, request the law enforcement agencies to issue you a certificate on its loss.

Note! According to the norms of CPC of Ukraine, persons who are parties to a criminal case, but cannot speak the language used in the criminal proceedings, have a right to make reports, statements, give testimonies and file motions in their mother tongue. Such persons also have a right to use translation/interpretation services, including for the purpose of review of all procedural documents (Articles 19, 128 of CPC of Ukraine). This means that in case you do not speak Ukrainian, upon your request, the law enforcement officials should provide you with an interpreter free of charge. As it was mentioned earlier, the law also provides that you can use your mother tongue during the proceedings. However, the practice shows that prevailing majority of law enforcement officers do not speak any foreign language except Russian. This means that using your native language, as long as it’s not Russian, is hardly practicable. Furthermore, all procedural documentation is drawn up in Ukrainian. Thus even if you are fluent in Russian it is better to play safe and get yourself an interpreter, though you can still communicate with police and other officials and write the procedural documents in Russian.

You can also arrange for an interpreter yourself, not relying on the police. However, the person, invited by you as an interpreter should have a diploma, certifying his/her competence in that direction. You can seek for assistance from the relevant NGOs (See Useful Contacts Directory), which can help you to get a professional interpreter.

If you are not satisfied with the quality of translation/interpretation, provided by the person, who has been assigned to you by the authorities, or if you have any doubts with regards to neutrality of the interpreter, you can file a motion for his/her replacement with another specialist.

In any case, when you approach the police for the first time, invite a friend, who is capable of assisting you with interpretation into/from Ukrainian, to be present during your conversation with the police.

Note! If you have suffered bodily injuries, this must be certified in due course. For this to happen you have to indicate in the report on crime that you are requesting from the police for a referral for forensic examination. Even if you will bring the certificate issued by a doctor, the police shall still refer you to the forensic medical bureau for the examination.  Nothing but the conclusion of the forensic medical expert is considered to be a proof of the bodily injuries in the criminal proceedings. Upon referral by the police, such an examination is carried out free of charge.

However, the practice shows that sometimes police delay in referring victims for the examination for unreasonably long period of time. Mind that bodily injuries (especially light ones) may vanish with time. Therefore, if the police do not provide you with the referral for forensic examination within a few days (depending on the level of severity of your injuries), it is advisable that you go to the Forensic-Medical Examination Bureau on your own initiative. The examination, if performed without a referral from the police will cost you around 100-150 hryvnas. The forensic medical expert’s conclusion that you will be given after having paid is equally valid as a proof during the criminal proceedings as the one obtained upon a referral by the police. It is recognized as such by both the law enforcement authorities and the courts.

(The address and telephone of the Kyiv City Forensic-Medical Examination Bureau is found in the Useful Contacts Directory attached to this publication)

According to Article 98 Para 1 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, a prosecutor, investigator, preliminary investigation agency do not have a right to refuse to accept the report on crime, even if the type of crime the report is about does not lie within their competence. In case the police officer refuses to accept the report on crime from you, call the MoI trust line immediately (See Useful Contacts Directory). Introduce yourself and inform the trust line operator of what had happened (the name and the rank of the person who refused to accept the report on crime, name of the police department you approached etc.) and ask for assistance. Before calling, clarify the name and the rank from the police officer who refused to accept your application. He/she is obliged to give you those details about him or herself.

Keep in mind that after you have submitted the report on crime by mail or when you come to report on crime in person, competent authorities have to check your I.D. and remind you of the criminal liability for the intentional false accusation. If the law enforcement officials ask you in the course of investigation for any relevant information you have a duty to provide that information to facilitate the investigation process.

Note! After you have filed the report on crime, the prosecutor, investigator, preliminary investigation agency or a judge is obliged to take one of the following decisions within three days after the report has been made:

1) Initiate a criminal case;

2) refuse initiation of a criminal case;

3) Forward the report to the agency which has the competence to deal with crimes of that nature.

Simultaneously the law enforcement agencies shall take all the necessary measures to prevent or to terminate a crime. In some cases, where there are grounds to fear that there is a real risk to the life or health of a person, measures have to be taken to ensure the safety of the  person who made the report on crime.

Refusal to initiate a criminal case

Competent authorities may refuse to initiate criminal proceedings; only if the preliminary investigation on the report shows that there are no grounds for instituting a criminal case (features of a body of any crime are absent). In that instance the authority in question has the responsibility to inform you on such a decision by sending you a copy of the Resolution on rejection to initiate criminal proceedings (Article 99 CPC of Ukraine).

Rejection to initiate criminal proceedings may by challenged at the local Prosecutor’s Office (See Attachment № 6 for the template) or at the court (See Attachment № 7 for the template) within seven days after the receipt of the copy of the Resolution.

This right is defined by Article 99-1 of the CPC of Ukraine. If such a resolution was issued by the prosecutor — to a superior prosecutor. The complaint shall be filed by the person, whose interests it concerns or his/her legal representative within seven days after the copy of the resolution was received by the appellant. In cases of unreasonable refusal in the initiation of criminal proceedings by an investigator or preliminary investigation agency, the persecutor by his resolution sets aside the disputable resolution of the investigator or the preliminary investigation agency (Article 100 of the CPC of Ukraine).

The resolution issued by a prosecutor, investigator or preliminary investigation agency may be also be appealed against in the court as prescribed by Article 236-1 of CPC of Ukraine. A resolution by a court on rejection to initiate criminal proceedings may be contested by the person, whose interest is affected within seven days from the day of its receipt by the complainant of the copy of such a resolution to the appellate court.

Note! In case the results of forensic medical examination will ascertain that bodily injuries you have suffered are of trivial level, police will issue a resolution on rejection to initiate the criminal case. However this does not mean that the criminal case may not be initiated. This is due to the fact that, as it was mentioned above, crimes defined by Article 125 (Trivial bodily injuries) and Article 126 Para 1 (Battering and torment) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine are not subject to the preliminary and pretrial investigation. Criminal case on such kinds of crimes may be instituted by the court only if the victim reports on such an incident to the court in person. The specifics of the application of the mentioned provisions are considered in more detail in the section Some Provisions of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

After the criminal case on the reported incident was initiated, in case you have suffered moral damage and/or pecuniary (material) loss the competent authority upon request has to issue the Resolution by which you will be recognized as a victim  in the criminal proceedings.

Thus, according to Article 49 Para 2 of the CPC of Ukraine, the person, who suffered moral, physical or material damage caused by a crime, acquires the rights of the participant of the proceedings after this person was recognized as a victim.

In those cases, where the victim has died, the close relatives of such a person (parents, husband/wife, brothers/sisters, grandmother/grandfather, grandchildren) enjoy the right to participate in the proceedings on behalf of the victim (Article 32 Para 11 CPC of Ukraine).

Recognition of a person as the victim in criminal cases has a formal character and has to be dully documented by way of a Resolution issued by an investigator, preliminary investigation agency, judge or a court. The blank of the Resolution can be viewed in the Attachment №5 herein.

After you have been recognized as the victim in criminal proceedings, you acquire procedural rights as defined by the criminal law of Ukraine. The scope and the character of the rights a victim enjoys at the different stages (at pre-trial investigation as compared to judicial proceedings) of the criminal proceedings differ significantly. However at both stages, you can invite a legal representative to protect your interests throughout the course of the criminal proceedings. However, be mindful that the authority of such a legal representative to act on your behalf should be dully ascertained. The legal representative enjoys the same rights as the victim does and may act both together with the victim and on his/her own.

The state authorities do not have a duty to provide free legal services to persons of majority age who are victims in the crime. Thus, if you consider it useful to secure your position with the legal representative, you can only do this on your own initiative and at your own cost.

You can go to one of the NGOs listed in the Useful Contacts Directory attached hereto to get information on possibilities of professional legal assistance.

Furthermore, at any given moment during the proceedings you have a right to refuse legal representation.


[1] Contact information of oblast level as well as Kyiv district departments of the MoI of Ukraine you will find in the Useful Contacts Directory attached to this publication.

[2] See Useful Contacts Directory.

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