Parliament abolished the “Savchenko law”

Дата: 18 May 2017
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The Verkhovna Rada adopted a decision to repeal the so-called “Savchenko law”, which provides for the admission of one day of pre-trial detention for two days of imprisonment.

As reported by Ukrayinska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth), 227 People’s Deputies voted for the relevant changes.

The author of this bill, which is called “On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Regarding the Rule of Composition of Penalties and Offsetting the Term of Preliminary Conclusion) is a People’s Deputy, member of the political party Revival Anton Yatsenko.

Speaking in parliament, he said: “Practice has shown that among the 10,000 released, 1,500 have committed repeated crimes”.

“In fact, we release criminals who create crime situations and increase the growth of crime in the country”, – he said.

Now the amendments envisage that “pre-trial detention shall be counted by the court at the time of punishment upon conviction to imprisonment day after day”.

The court is allowed, when appointing punishments, to take into account the preliminary detention and mitigate the punishment or to completely release the convicted person instead of serving a sentence.

The Law comes into force from the day following the day of its publication.

As a reminder, the President Petro Poroshenko has approved the “Savchenko law” on December 23, 2015. The Law, in particular, provides for the admission of one day of pre-trial detention for two days of imprisonment.

After a while, the Law was actively criticized and there were initiatives to repeal the Law or take to make amendments, since a large number of criminals could be released in a short time under this Law.

The human rights organization Donetsk Memorial reported to the Human Rights Information Centre that the crime rate generally depends on the socio-economic situation in the country and on the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies, and does not depend on the number of former prisoners at liberty. When the total impoverishment of society is growing the number of citizens who dare to break the law is also growing. In addition, the organization is convinced that to a large extent the relapse of crimes depends on how the state cares for the released prisoners.

Earlier, the Donetsk Memorial has emphasized that the employees of the penitentiary system do not like the law most of all as it allows the convicts to be early released from prison without undergoing the corrupt procedure of parole.

The Donetsk Memorial human rights organization also noted that the main purpose of adoption of the law was terrible conditions in SIZOs (pre-trial detention centers), which are almost not recalled when the law is being criticized.

In addition, Oleksandr Bukalov, human rights defender and expert on the penitentiary system of Ukraine, wrote on the column of the Human Rights Information Centre website that in most cases “Savchenko law” only shortens the period of stay of the criminals in prisons for a few months, as not many criminals have spent more than six months in prison.

On September 15, Vadym Troyan, the acting Chief of the National Police of Ukraine, stated that 34 thousand prisoners to be released in 2016 in accordance to the law “On improvement of the procedure of considering pretrial detention as a detention sentence,” or so-called “Savchenko’s law”.

The judge Ihor Zvarych and Viktor Lozynsky, former people’s deputy of the Fatherland political party, were released pre-term in accordance to the “Savchenko law”.

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