The curious case of the state investigation truba
The State Investigation Bureau (the SIB) is another public authority designed to combat white-collar crimes.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, Art. 216, paragraph 4, SIB’s investigating authorities carry out pre-trial investigation of crimes committed by senior officials (the President of Ukraine whose powers have been terminated, the Prime Minister of Ukraine, a member of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the Director of NABU, the Prosecutor General, etc.), judges , law enforcement officials, civil servants, whose positions have been included into A category (in addition to investigation of crimes that involve corruption).
On the face of it, this provision is a positive step aimed at ensuring a truly unprejudiced investigation of cases against high-level officials.
The SIB has been widely promoted by the government as a specialized body that has to be created in in a form that would ensure the proper level of its independence, efficiency and professionalism.
In accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, final provisions, paragraph 1, the SIB’s competence becomes effective on the day it begins to operate, but not later than five years from the date when this Code has entered into force. Given that the Code has entered into force on November 19, 2011, the SIB should have begun to perform its functions no later than November 19, 2017.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, transitional provisions, paragraph 1, until the above paragraph 4, Art. 216 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine enters into force, powers for pre-trial investigation of crimes attributed to the investigation of the SIB have to be carried out by the investigators from the prosecutor’s office.
After Part 4, Art. 216 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine enters into force, criminal proceedings initiated by the investigating authorities of the prosecutor’s office continue to be carried out by investigating authorities of the prosecutor’s office who have the powers of investigators specified by this Code, until the end of the pre-trial investigation, but not more than two years. After the expiration of the two-year period, criminal proceedings initiated by the investigating authorities of the prosecutor’s office have to be transferred to the SIB’s investigators within three months.
It’s been five years since the Criminal Procedure Code came into force. It seems that five years should have been enough to create any public body and make it work.
However, all we have is the Law of Ukraine On the State Bureau of Investigation adopted on 12 November 2015 that defines the procedure for the establishment and functions of the SIB and the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No.127 dated 29 February 2016 On the Establishment of the State Bureau of Investigations.
16 November 2017, Roman Truba (over 6 years experience as a senior officer in the prosecutor’s office), was appointed as the SIB’s director, while prosecutor Olga Varchenko was appointed as its first deputy and the former prosecutor of Kiev Oleksandra Buryaka was appointed as a Deputy Director.
Given that the staff consists of experienced prosecutors, it is obvious that one should not hope for some real changes in the work of investigators, especially with regard to their very own employees of the prosecutor’s office.
Despite the appointment of the SIB’s management, the bureau will begin no sooner than 20 November 2017.
The investigators from the prosecutor’s office can continue conducting only those pre-trial investigations in criminal proceedings that began before 20 November.
Investigations of criminal cases within the competence of the SIB (that actually does not exist), which will have to be started following that date, will be dead in the water, since there is no any agency authorized to investigate such cases.
If investigators from the prosecutor’s office begin to investigate such cases, even inexperienced lawyers will be able to ruin such any of such cases in court.
So, unfortunately, another reform of law enforcement agencies was nothing more than a PR campaign.