Non-governmental organizations call to ensure publicity of court hearings related to the Russian war against Ukraine

Today, ensuring the high-quality work of all state bodies is more important than ever. The judiciary creates a vital foundation and framework for constructing and maintaining the rule of law. Therefore, the opportunity to observe justice is not only about increasing trust in the judiciary, but also strengthening faith in the basic principles of the rule of law and building our future together.
The whole world is watching Ukraine’s fight for freedom on the battlefield, and, in the decades to come, everyone will be watching this war in the courts. Both Ukrainians and the international community need to ensure the transparency of trials associated with Russia’s war against Ukraine to demonstrate the quality of justice and the inevitability of punishment.
As of June 3, 2022, it has been seven years since the procedure for trial broadcasting using the in-house technical capabilities of the courts was established.
The procedure of judicial broadcasting is one of the most significant achievements of the Revolution of Dignity. It is the continuation of the struggle for restoration of justice in the courts. On June 3, 2015, the first online broadcast of the court hearing by technical means of the Sviatoshynskyi District Court of Kyiv was conducted, and broadcast to the rooms next door and to the Lviv Court of Appeal (before the reform — Lviv Oblast Court of Appeal) in the case concerning the events of February 20, 2014, in Kyiv during the Revolution of Dignity. On July 6, 2015, the court hearing was also broadcast live on the YouTube channel «Judiciary of Ukraine». As of May 25, 2022, this YouTube channel has 5.97 thousand subscribers and 1,684,001 views.
The procedure was created and developed by representatives of civil society in cooperation with the Council of Judges of Ukraine and the press service of the Council of Judges of Ukraine. The Human Rights Vector NGO and the Trial in Simple Words project have been constantly supporting the development of a procedure of court hearings broadcasting using the in-house technical capabilities of the courts. Today, we are able to say that this system is widespread throughout Ukraine and significantly increases the level of publicity in Ukraine.
Article 129 of the Constitution of Ukraine defines the openness of the judicial process as one of the main principles of judicial proceedings in Ukraine. The publicity of the trial, which is open to all interested parties, can be seen as an integral part of the rule of law. Moreover, the openness of court hearings through online broadcasts, and providing media access to the courtroom, guarantees the right to a fair trial and compliance with the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
According to the Law of Ukraine, «On the Judiciary and the Status of Judges», the court hearing is broadcast with the permission of the court. If all parties in the case participate in the court hearing by video conference, the court hearing must be broadcast on the Internet. Under the norms of procedural law, a judge may also decide to consider a court trial in a closed court session, and in that case the broadcast cannot be carried out. In the case of an open trial, the judge must also take into account the public interest of the case when deciding whether or not to permit the broadcast. According to the law, subjects of public interest are information about human rights violations, threats to state sovereignty, and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
We welcome the actions of the Solomianskyi District Court of Kyiv, where the broadcast of case №760 / 5257/22 in the criminal proceedings against Shishimarin Vadym Yevheniiovych under Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Violation of laws and customs of war) was permitted. Now, the whole of Ukraine as well as many people abroad are closely watching the court hearings on the official YouTube channel and web portal «Judiciary of Ukraine». As of May 25, 2022, videos of the three Shishimarin hearings have garnered 8,000 views on the YouTube channel.
Therefore, we appeal to the judges of Ukraine to opt to broadcast court hearings, wherever possible, on the official YouTube channel and web portal «Judiciary of Ukraine» in cases related to the war.
The coordination of court communications teams is important for timely announcements of broadcasts and other coverage of war-related court trials on the courts’ information platforms. 
We call on the judiciary and local governments to support and develop the use of the procedure for the broadcast of court hearings using the in-house technical capabilities of the courts.
The signatory organizations:
NGO «Human Rights Vector»
NGO Kyiv Educational Center «Space of Tolerance»
NGO «Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union»
ZMINA Human Rights Center
Ukrainian Pacifist Movement
International Society for Human Rights — Ukrainian Section
NGO «Human Rights Media Initiative»
Human Rights Center Action
Advocacy Advisory Group
Publishing of Judicial Journalism «Lattice»
IGO «Ideological Guard»
To sign the statement:

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