Public accusation of corruption: risks and consequences
On May 22, 2015, draft law No. 1165 was adopted in the second reading, which introduced a public prosecution procedure in the investigation of corruption crimes. If you do not think about the content of the provisions and how they will be implemented in Ukrainian realities, then we are talking about the possibility of citizens to initiate an investigation of crimes and partially act as a prosecutor.
The authors of the bill expect that this mechanism will become an effective institution, an alternative to the criminal prosecution of corruption crimes of a public nature and public resonance.
If you read the provisions on the merits, they contain risks, both for officials who may be accused of corruption, and for those who will act as a public prosecutor.
Risky permission is imperfectly enough for accepting an offer, promise or receiving undue profit (Article 368 of the Criminal Code) and for provoking bribery (Article 370 of the Criminal Code). After all, to build a dialogue so that on the record it sounded like extorting a bribe is not so difficult. Since no one can guarantee that the actions of the public prosecutor may include such motives as revenge, the desire to eliminate political competitors – officials (judges, prosecutors, investigators, etc.).
Also, do not forget that the recording of a conversation can be taken out of context. It is for these reasons that the technical requirements and the conditions in which they are used, the legislation provides for special requirements. In this case, they are leveled out by the addition of Part 4 of Art. 87 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows the recording of a conversation invisible to the interlocutor, for example, to a mobile phone, after which the public prosecutor can:
Submit an application for the commission of a crime by an official, independently conduct an examination to determine that the words or actions of the official were actually uttered (committed) and recorded by this particular technical means;
Demand both the investigator, the prosecutor, and directly in court to remove the official from office;
Require both the investigator, the prosecutor, and directly in court to apply any other measures to ensure criminal proceedings, including detention of an official;
Receive copies of all investigation materials;
Demand to complete the investigation in haste.
Moreover, a public prosecutor in criminal proceedings can simultaneously be a witness, a victim, and another participant in the proceedings. At the same time, the investigator and the prosecutor should actually act under the direction of the public prosecutor, because, otherwise, he can bypass them and go directly to the court (according to the updated part 7 of article 132 of the CPC).
If we take into account the level of corruption risks in our country and imagine what scale the practice of initiating criminal proceedings by a public prosecutor, which can be a public activist, a journalist, and a pensioner, can take on, there is a concern about the ability of law enforcement agencies to provide protection to all those who want to take on yourself mentioned mission.
The proposed changes could be considered positive if there were no doubts about the abuses with their use, since there are risks in some cases when they will satisfy not political needs, but political and personal motives.