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(Feb 18, 2011) In January and February 2011, the Verkhovna Rada (legislature) of Ukraine adopted a number of amendments to the country's Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure. The amendments provide for better guarantees of the rights of the accused persons, specify the role of jurors in criminal trials, regulate the process of studying case materials by the defendant, and define the duties of investigators. For the purpose of uniform interpretation and application of the Criminal Procedure Code provisions, the Verkhovna Rada established in the Code a definition of "close relatives," which now includes spouses, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren. (Bill on Introduction of Amendments to Article 32 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine (regarding the definition of "close relatives") [in Ukrainian], Verkhovna Rada website, (last visited Feb. 15, 2011).) Another procedural amendment affects the terms of detention during preliminary investigation. Only those who are accused of committing a crime punishable by imprisonment for a five-year or longer term can be incarcerated before the court tries and possibly convicts them. Pregnant women, mothers with children under three, and disabled individuals are exempt from this rule. Each detention must be approved by a court. (Bill on Introduction of Amendments to Article 155 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine (in regard to the grounds for detention), [in Ukrainian] Verkhovna Rada website, (last visited Feb. 15, 2011).)

In regard to the Criminal Code, article 142, which prosecutes the conduct of illegal experiments on humans, was amended to increase the punishment if this crime is committed against minors, two or more people, or by force or deceit, and article 149 on human trafficking was amended to criminalize any other illegal agreement concerning a person. Conclusion of such an agreement with the purpose of exploitation, recruiting, transferring, transporting, hiding, or accepting a trafficked person will be punished by up to eight years of imprisonment, apart from the punishment for human trafficking itself. (Bill on Introduction of Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine (in regard to crimes against human life, health, freedom, and dignity) [in Ukrainian], Verkhovna Rada website, (last visited Feb. 15, 2011).)

Also, a new Amnesty Law was passed on the first reading on February 4, 2011. (Bill on Amnesty [in Ukrainian], Verkhovna Rada website, (last visited Feb. 15, 2011).) With the goal of reducing budgetary spending for correctional institutions and decreasing the size of the prison population, the bill provides for release of the following groups of people from prisons, if they have committed minor offenses or crimes by negligence: pregnant women; those who were minors when they committed a crime; parents who have minor children or disabled dependents, regardless of age; war veterans; participants in the mitigation of the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe; people who have reached the age of retirement; and disabled prisoners if they suffer from diseases included on a supplementary list. (A summary of these acts in Russian is published by the Elektronni Visti news portal at,,, & (all last visited Feb. 15, 2011).)

Author: Peter Roudik More by this author
Topic: Crime and law enforcement More on this topic
 Criminal code More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Ukraine More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 02/18/2011