Following a meeting with members of the HRC (Human rights Council), an approved list of instructions contains an indication that some issues are under consideration. These include empowering the defence with the right to appoint a forensic investigator and the introduction of an institution of investigative judges. HRC member, and vice president of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers, Henry Reznik, proposed these amendments.
Mr Reznik’s proposed amendments are particularly valuable to the bar community, as they expand the lawyer’s powers, open up new ways of protecting principals and, as a result, increase the likelihood of acquittal. The fact that the President noted Reznik’s proposal gives rise to hope that the legislature will pay attention to the existing problem of infringing on the already short list of lawyers’ rights and a significant court bias in favour of the prosecution.
The right to appoint a forensic investigator will allow the defence to receive a professional and objective opinion. To date, investigative-led research often has had an accusatory bias, caused by practices that have developed over the years. In our activities, we have repeatedly deployed expertise with leading industry professionals, which, in essence, and quality, differed significantly from investigations conducted by state institutions.
The introduction of an institution of investigative judges also looks like a promising change, as it will help protect judges considering criminal cases from the notorious accusatory bias. The fact is that the judge, who chooses a preventive measure and other procedurally coercive measures against the accused, involuntarily creates the impression of guilt, even if new circumstances subsequently appear that indicate the need for acquittal.
We believe that the advocacy should coordinate efforts and propose specific formulations of amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code and other federal laws, because otherwise, the legislature may adopt other changes that will not help to change the situation in essence.