Opora

OPORA's observers noticed that the voters were brought by buses to election precincts in an organized manner. The organization calls on law enforcement bodies to investigate into the fact of voter transportation, ordered by Kryvyi Rih City Association of Veterans, and determine the source of financing and whether it has signs of indirect voter bribery.

 

DESCRIPTIVE NOTES   From February to August 2015 the Civil Network OPORA with the partnership of International Foundation of electoral systems (IFES) conducted monitoring of the activities of law enforcement agencies and judicial institutions of Ukraine related to investigation of  crimes  expressly or by implication associated with electoral process.  The subjects of monitoring were: 1) crimes against voting rights of citizens during the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine on the 26th of October 2014; 2) financial abusive practice of members of electoral commissions during the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine on the 26th of October 2014; 3) investigation of crimes related to organizing of pseudo-referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk regions,  and ensuring the inevitability of the punishment in such cases.  Monitoring of the activities of law enforcement agencies and judicial institutions of Ukraine related to investigation of offenses against voting rights of citizens during the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2014 gives evidence concerning unsuccess of more than 77% of criminal procedures.  As of August 2015 225 from 291 criminal procedures related to offenses against voting rights of citizens during the extraodinary elections of people's deputies of Ukraine have been already closed.  Around 5 % of criminal procedures (14 out of 291 procedures) were submitted to the court. Therewith the materials of 13 criminal procedures were submitted to the court with crime bill, 1 procedure resulted as a petition on exemption from criminal responsibility sent to court.  Just 24 people were defendants in the court proceedings concerning offenses against voting rights of the citizens at the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2014. This is proven by information of the Unified Register of judgments. 7 out of 25 people received punishment of a penalty from 1700 to 6800 hryvna and diprivation of the right to hold office, associated with the activities in election commissions to the central and local authorities for 2 years. Only 5 persons received a sentence of 5 years imprisonment with diprivation of the right to hold simultaneous positions in election commissions for 2 years. All these persons were released from serving the main punishment with probation for period of one year. One person received a custodial sentence for a term of one year, with diprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions, commissions on referendum, to be an official observer for a period of one year. 8 persons appeared in the court considered petition for exemption from criminal responsibility. Instead, one person charged with receiving of voting paper, not only with his own passport, but with a document of another person was released from criminal responsibility, as court found thant an act has lost its public danger. OPORA notes the tendency to punish direct perpetrators of crimes against the voting rights of citizens and the lack of identification and bringing to responsibility of organizers of illegal elections technologies. For example, in one of the criminal proceedings, that was considered by the court, a person was brought to justice for giving 100 hryvna to each of 24 citizens for their agreement to vote in support of a candidate, therewith the initiator of such actions has not been identified (Khmelnytsky region). Another illustration of this trend relates to the illegal issuance of voting papers, and the persons, who had no right to receive voting papers have not been identified by the investigation. Most defendants in the judicial process were members of district election commissions (11 of 25 people). Members of election commissions have been brought to responsibility due to the actions done during the elections related to the fill-out of the vote count protocols not at the meeting of PEC or illegal manufacture of vote count protocols "Specified" (Zhytomyr region), receiving of voting papers by the member of PEC instead of relatives or persons, who were abroad on election day (Khmelnytsky, Vinnytsia region), issuing of voting papers to unidentified persons instead of voters, who were abroad (Ternopilska region). At the same time, voters and / or other citizens were often brought to responsibility for actions related to the removal of voting papers outside the polling station (Donetsk, Rivne regions), obtaining voting papers instead of another voter (Odessa region), participation in bribery of voters (Khmelnytsky, Dnipropetrovsk regions). In a few ammount of court judgements defendants were often exempted from responsibility under the fact that an act has lost its public danger or an accused person was recognized as having ceased to be socially dangerous. It’s an interesting situation with the investigation of the criminal proceedings in the single-mandate constituency №102 (Kirovohrad region). In this constituency the proceeding related to bribery of voters were closed under the enactment of a law which abolished criminal responsibility for acts committed by a person. We are talking about amending the Criminal Code of Ukraine concerning allocation of bribery of voters as a separate crime (amendments to Article 157 of the Criminal Code concerning obstruction of election and the implementation of Article 160 of the Criminal Code concerning bribery of voters). As the bribery was not decriminalized, such an interpretation of amendments which were made to the Criminal Code in practice led to the closure of high-profile criminal proceedings. A lack of practice of analysis of the facts of the offenses by the courts which were detected in the course of the judicial process can be considered as another trend. For example, in the case of the signing of the protocol of vote counting at a polling station without digital signatures it was found that such actios were taken not only by three defendants, but also by all members of the PSC. However, the new circumstances do not frequently get the proper legal analysis during the judicial process. During the judicial examination of crimes in the sphere of violation of voting rights of citizens we can see the tendency of sentencing in an amount less than the sanction determined by the Criminal Code of Ukraine. There are 52 criminal proceedings for offenses against voting rights of citizens relevant in the whole country which are still under the investigation process. Most of these proceedings are recorded in the Donetsk region (26), Kiev (13), Kiev region (5). Judgments related to the investigation of financial abuse practice of the members of election commissions during the extraordinary parliamentary elections (90 sentences) were registered much more often than cases of crimes against the voting rights of citizens. Despite the proactive law enforcement agencies to investigate financial abuse practice in most cases court applied a conditional exemption from punishment, amnesty, impossion of less severe punishment than defined by the law, imposing penalty in minimum amount prescribed by sanction (1700 UAH), imposing deprivation of the right to hold executive positions in election commissions (chairman, secretary of the commission) for a period of 1 year. One of the important aspects of OPORA research were investigations of acts related to the organization of pseudo referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk regions in spring 2014. 9 court decisions related to the organization of pseudo referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk regions  were published in the Unified Register of judgments. It should be noted that all the accused persons were released from serving the punishment with probation for period of 1 to 3 years. In most cases the members of the "pseudo election commissions" have the relevant experience for legitimate elections in Ukraine. Given the small number of the persons brought to responsibility, there is a danger that organizers of pseudo referendums will participate at the next local elections on Oct. 25, 2015 as the members of election commissions, that is unacceptable in terms of public confidence in the election results. In addition, attention is drawn to the limited coverage of court decisions of the cities and regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions (mainly Mariupol, Kramatorsk), despite of the widely used activity on the organization of illegal referendums on the territory of these regions SHORT CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Subsequent to the results of the monitoring OPORA made the following conclusions: As of the end of August 2015 most of the criminal proceedings initiated in early parliamentary elections of Ukraine on 26 October 2014, has been closed (77% of the total amount). The most common reason for closure of criminal proceedings was the lack of a criminal offense composition (paragraph 2 of Part 1 of Article 284 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). According to the OPORA estimations in rare cases criminal proceedings were closed by the investigating authorities because of inadequate practical application of legislation.  Investigation of crimes against the electoral rights of citizens at the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2014 did not lead to punishment of the organizers of illegal election technologies. Persons who directly participated in illegal activities during the parliamentary elections, were punished more leniently and with less amounts of punishment compared to the maximum possible type of punishment (appointment by the courts more lenient punishment as the lowest limit of the sanction and release from serving the punishment with probation period). Investigating authorities actively concluded agreements with the accused persons on the recognition of guilt, which led to relatively liberal application of penalties. Instead, the number of criminal proceedings which culminated appeal to a court, testify the fact of fragmented investigations and failure of the principle of inevitability of punishment for crimes on practice. This trend is particularly evident on the facts of bribing voters that were recorded massively in single member constituencies on the extraordinary parliamentary elections 2014. During the investigation of criminal proceedings in which charges were brought against members of the PEC there was no legal evaluation of the actions of other PEC members who were de facto accomplices in crime. In terms of the actual circumstances of the cases, it seems selective prosecution of those members of election commissions, who committed gross violations of the law when issuing voting papers or vote counting at a polling station. In the investigation materials received by the courts, persons, who initiated crimes related to bribery of voters or illegal obtainment of voting papers, have not been established in most cases.  Common practice of courts was the appointment of more lenient sentence than is required by the law, due to an agreement on the recognition of guilt between the investigation and the accused person. Taking into account the applied types and measures of punishment by courts we can talk about the lack of punishment necessary and sufficient to prevent new crimes.  A disparity between the number of filed pre-trial investigation messages and information about events that may contain signs of a crime and the number of registered proceedings were recorded in some regions. It occurs due to ignorance of the appealers and unwillingness of law enforcement to record the proceedings, which have the potential to be closed.  Priority recommendations: Establish for pre-trial investigation authorities a special procedure for consideration and responses on treatment of citizens in order to eliminate the practice of registering the actual reporting of crimes in the status of treatment of citizens without entering data in the Unified State Register of pre-trial investigations. This special procedure must include justification no grounds for posts citizens' registration in the Unified State Register of pre-trial investigations; Legally regulate the obligation of investigation actions concerning the establishment of presence or absence of connection between the actions or omissions, which have elements of electoral crimes, and possible adoption of an offer or receipt of illegal remuneration. If such a benefit or intention to receive it is confirmed, actions or omissions, in particular the members of commissions, should also be qualified under the  Part 1 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine; Clarify the wording of Parts 1, 2 and 3 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine "Bribery of voters, participator of referendum" to avoid double interpretations of the provisions of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and strengthening the capacity of law enforcement agencies in preventing and investigating technologies to bribe voters (see. Section "Detailed conclusions and recommendations»); Determine the list of election documents in the Law of Ukraine "On elections of people's deputies", "On Local Elections", "On elections of the President of Ukraine". These changes will facilitate the extention of qualifying the cases of signatures forgery in the voter list and control coupons of the voting papers as falsification of election documents (or the determination of election documents can be contained not in the special election laws, but in the note to Article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (falsification of election documents); Legaly to prevent the application of Article 48 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (concerning exemption from criminal liability in connection with the change of circumstances) to the offenses under Article 157-160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine;   The research confirmed the active use of Article 48 of the Criminal Code to the electoral crimes that do not facilitate the application of sufficient punishment and prevent new ones. In addition, it is inappropriate to treat a particular end of the electoral process as the loss of public danger of the offense as a result of changing circumstances; Increase the term of disqualification to hold office in the election commissions, to be an official observer, trustee or authorized electoral person, engage in other activities related to the election process and referendum till expungement of conviction. The current statute of the law concerning deprivation of the law for a period of one to three years allows the participation of law violators in the organization of election legislation in the next electoral cycle. Give legal definition of "fraud" and "coercion" as a way of impeding of free exercise of electoral right by a citizen; Make open statistics from the Unified Register of pre-trial investigations to the public; Allocate additional penalty as deprivation of the right to participate in the work of election commissions not only in the case of commitment of crime by the member of election commission against the electoral rights of citizens, but also for committing any other crimes during the implementation of status of the member of election commission.  POLITICAL AND INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS OF STATE IN ENSURING OF INEVITABILITY OF PUNISHMENT OF PERPETRATORS OF CRIMES AGAINST VOTING RIGHTS OF CITIZENS  Domestic transformations in 2014-2015 and international context around Ukraine strengthened the discussion on the ability of the Ukrainian state to provide proper electoral standards. Extraordinary elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on October 26, 2014, as the presidential elections in Ukraine last May, were compared by national and international observers to the previous election periods. The quality of the electoral process after the change of power in Ukraine due to mass civil actions in late 2013 and early 2014, had the ability to certify or deny the new leadership of the state to guarantee voting rights. International reaction to the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine on the 26th of October 2014 The course of extraodinary campaigns in 2014 showed some progress of Ukraine in conducting elections that meet the principles of voting rights, rule of law, political pluralism and specificity, publicity and transparency. In particular, the statement of preliminary findings and results of the International Observation Mission for extraodinary elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which was prepared by the joint efforts of the OSCE / ODIHR, OSCE PA, PACE, European Parliament (EP) and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, noted that extraodinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine was an important step in the efforts of Ukraine to hold democratic elections in accordance with international obligations. Statement stressed on the positive aspects of the election process liked impartial and efficient work of the CEC, high competition among the participants, the presence of a genuine choice for citizens, as well as general respect for fundamental freedoms. Compared to the parliamentary elections in 2012, as noted in a statement, abuse of administrative resources was not the key issue. At the same time, the Ukrainian state was called for the elimination of deficiencies in the supremecy of the law. The Final Report of the Election Observation Mission of OSCE / ODIHR on extraodinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine on October 26, 2014 contained recommendations for the need to further consolidate the progress in observing electoral standards. In particular, the recommendations include the need for prompt investigations into all cases of violence and intimidation of the electoral process in independent and impartial manner and to bring guilty parties to justice. In addition, to further ensure the integrity, transparency, accountability and the rule of law in election commissions it should be necessary to introduce the set of coordinated anti-corruption actions. Accorfding to the findings of the OSCE / BDIL members of the electoral process should make stronger efforts to prevent the use of civil servants to obtain unfair advantage in the electoral process during the election campaign period, confirming the preservation of the need for their abuse of administrative resources. Conclusions of national observers on the parliamentary elections in 2014 Domestic observers also noted the progress of Ukraine in ensuring the standards of elections, but the number of violations that they recorded gives an evidence of significant problems that accompanied extraodinary parliamentary elections. According to the official observers of OPORA at the extraordinary parliamentary elections of Ukraine on the 26th of October, 2014 the structure of violations has changed significantly in comparison with the regular election in 2012. If in 2012 the most common violation was the abuse of administrative resources, but in 2014 during the extraodinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine the electoral subjects often violated rules for election campaigning (violation were manifested mostly in the distribution of campaign materials without output data). Instead, the same as in 2012 one of the most common types of violations during the parliamentary elections in 2014 was the bribery of voters (195 found evidence of signs of vote-buying). OPORA observers reported that vote buying was often manifested in providing money, goods and services to the voters by the candidates for people's deputies of Ukraine during the election campaign. 124 cases of criminal (power) interference in the electoral process (most-damaged property and campaign materials), 107 facts of use of administrative resources in elections (dominated by cases of illegal involvement of officials in the campaign), 21 incident of obstruction of journalists and officials observers (mostly - non-admission of these subjects at meetings of election commissions) were detected At the extraodinary parliamentary elections. OPORA observers recorded 21 attempts of falsification of election documents. Therewith most often they found inadequate evidence in making adjustments to the protocol on the count of votes at the polling station. In addition, OPORA placed on record 165 cases of violations as the procedural violations which were made by election commissions and other election subjects, central and local authorities without the express intent to violate the legitimate electoral process. Overall, for the entire period of the electoral process OPORA recorded 1114 facts that had signs of violations of the Law of Ukraine "On Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine" and / or the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The efforts of public authorities to prevent crimes against the voting rights of citizens and ensure the inevitability of punishment for their perpetration The state and its law enforcement agencies played the crucial role in the prevention of crimes against the voting rights. At the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine on the 26th of October 2014 public authorities and police demonstrated willingness to prevent electoral crimes and ensure the effective investigation of illegal acts. In particular, during the election process Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine administered a special interactive map, which recorded messages and statements about violations of the law to the appropriate election. According to the information posted on the map of MIA of Ukraine 509 events were recorded with the signs of criminal offense held during the election process, and 73 events with signs of administrative violations. Operational headquarters on recording and combating of violations, on providing security measures during the election was set up in September 2014 according to the decision of the interdepartmental meeting at the Council of National Security and Defense of Ukraine. Staff structure created at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine operated at the national and local levels. At the same time, OPORA observers noted that the activities of operational headquarters became more active just a week before polling day. A telephone conference held on October 21 under the chairmanship of Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and with the participation of the representatives of the Security Service, Prosecutor General's Office which dealt with the prevention of electoral offenses. Therefore, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov took over responsibility for public law enforcement reaction to violations of law and crimes against voting rights of citizens. In terms of growing number of acts with the signs of crimes against of voting rights of citizens the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine on October 14, 2014 (concerning the strengthening of responsibility for violation of voting rights)." In particular, the Law singled out the bribery of voters as a separate offense and established liability for the person, who bribes, and for those, who receive it, in other words for voters. The Law also envisaged the responsibility for the election campaign by providing enterprises, institutions, organizations undue advantage or the provision of free goods (except goods containing visual depictions of names, symbols, flags of political parties, the value of which does not exceed 3% of the minimum wage), works, services. The amendments to the Criminal Code strengthened responsibility for crimes against the voting rights of citizens directed to overcoming undue liberalization of criminal legislation in this area. However, the President of Ukraine signed the Law "On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine (concerning the strengthening of responsibility for violation of voting rights)" only on October 20, 2014 (six days before the vote at the extraordinary parliamentary elections Ukraine), which made it impossible to use enhanced measures of responsibility to most violations recorded during the election process.   Experience in the election in Ukraine shows the need to ensure effective inevitability of punishment for perpetrators of crimes against citizens' voting rights, without which no improvement of applicable laws will not lead to raising the standards of the electoral process. Dependence of elections quality from the political context rather than from legal factors does not allow to consolidate progress towards a true and fair elections. 10 months has already passed as of August 2015 starting from the date of the vote at extraodinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine. During this period the internal affairs agencies had to demonstrate concrete results of investigations of crimes against the voting rights of citizens. RESULTS OF INVESTIGATION OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURES ON CRIMES AGAINST VOTING RIGHTS OF CITIZENS. EFFICIENCY ESTIMATION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND JUDICIAL INSTITUTIONS  Criminal proceedings concerning violations on the extraordinary elections 2014 in national context Within the monitoring of law enforcement agencies and judicial institutions on investigations of crimes against electoral affairs of citizens OPORA sent requests to the Central Investigation Department of the Interior Ministry of Ukraine, the main departments of regional Interior Ministry offices of Ukraine every month since February 2015, and carried out continuous monitoring of website of the Unified  Register of court judgments. As of August 31, 2015 the authorities of internal affairs of Ukraine began 291 criminal proceedings pursuant to Articles 157-160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. According to the Central Investigation Department of MIA of Ukraine most of all criminal proceedings were initiated under Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Obstruction of suffrage or the right to vote in the referendum, the work of the election commission or the commission of referendum or of an official observer) -181 proceedings. The second most common criminal proceedings were the  ones initiated under Article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (providing false information to the authority of the State Register of Voters or falsification of electoral documents, referendum documents, results of the voting or data to the State Register of Voters) - 46 criminal proceedings. 37 criminal proceedings were initiated under Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (bribery of voter, participant of referendum) that ranks third among the totality initiated proceedings. Instead, 17 proceedings launched under Article 158-1 of the Criminal Code (illegal use of voting papers, voting paper in a referendum, vote by the voter or referendum’s participant more than once), 9 - under Article 159-1 of the Code (Violation of campaign financing of candidates, political parties (block), 1 - under Article 158-2 (illegal destruction of election documents or referendum’s documents). It should be noted that under Article 159 of the Criminal Code (violation of the secrecy of the vote) no criminal proceedings was violated. As of August 31, 2015 only 14 out of 291 criminal proceedings were effectively completed during pre-trial investigation. Indictments were sent to court in 13 out of the 14 completed criminal proceedings. One of the criminal proceedings ended with referral to the Court a request for exemption from criminal responsibility.  Indictments sent to court often related to criminal responsibility under Article 158-1 (illegal use of voting papers, voting paper in a referendum, vote by the voter or referendum’s participant more than once) - 6. Under Article 158 (Providing false information to the authority of the State Register of Voters or falsification of electoral documents, referendum documents, results of voting or data to the State Register of Voters) - 3. Two indictments were sent to court under Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Obstruction of suffrage or the right to vote in the referendum, the work of the election commission or the commission of referendum or  an official observer) and 160 (bribery of voter, participant of referendum). Application for exemption from criminal responsibility concerned Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. 225 criminal proceedings were closed as a result of the preliminary investigation on the basis of Article 284 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine. The other word more than 77% of all criminal proceedings initiated at the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine failed. As of June 26, 2015 52 criminal proceedings are being investigated (almost 19% of the total).  Criminal proceedings for extraordinary parliamentary elections -2014, which are still pending investigation (August 2015), under the articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine Under Art.157 Under Art.158 Under Art.158-1 Under Art.158-2 Under Art.159-1 Under Art.160 4 20 5 1 6 16 Criminal proceedings concerning violations on extraordinary elections in 2014 in a regional context Most criminal proceedings at the extraordinary parliamentary elections in Ukraine were registered and opened in the city of Kiev (52), Donetsk region (50), Odessa region (41), Kiev (29), Chernihiv region (28), Kharkiv region (18). Instead, most indictments were sent to the court in Dnipropetrovsk, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytsky regions (two indictments for each of these areas). One indictment was sent to the court in Donetsk, Odesa, Vinnytsia, Rivne, Ternopil regions. Most criminal proceedings which are still pending investigation, were recorded in the Donetsk region (26), Kyiv (13) and Kiev region (5). At the same time, as of August 2015 in Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Khmelnytsky, Ternopil, Chernihiv, Zaporizhia, Sumy, Transcarpathian, Volyn, Lviv, Poltava, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kirovohrad regions there was no criminal proceeding an investigation which is still ongoing.  ANALYSIS OF JUDICIAL JUDGEMENTS ON CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS RELATED TO VOTING RIGHT OF CITIZENS  Analysis of judicial judgements on criminal proceedings related to the parliamentary elections 2014  Criminal proceedings considered by the court  OPORA analized court judgments in detailes materials of which are available in full on the website of Unified Register of court judgments. In the Unified State Register of judgments there are available 11 judgments upon consideration of indictments.  The largest share of decisions (4 decisions) concerns part 2 of Article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (the provision with voting papers by a member of election commission to a person who has no right to have it). In three of these four cases members of the election commission issued the documents to persons, who were not identified by investigation. Voting papers were “issued” to people who in fact were abroad in the period of elections, but were registered in the lists of voters in Ukraine, the members of election commissions falsified the signatures of such voters in the voter list as well as in the control coupons. In all these cases only members of the PSC were brought to the responsibility, the actual perpetrators of the crime were not identified by the investigation or members of the electoral commissions received remuneration for the following actions, to whom voting papers were handed over (to the relatives of those, who were abroad or to the representatives of individual candidates). Position of part 2 of Article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine does not provide differentiation of handing over of voting paper by the member of the election commission to a person, who has no right to it to influence the election results. However, in the case of a monetary remuneration for his actions this act would be qualified collectively with part 1 of Article 160 (receiving of undue advantage by the voter for committing or non committing any acts relating to his voting rights directly), so this person, according to the OPORA’s view, must be punished in more severe manner. In one of the four proceedings under part 2 of Article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (the provision with voting papers by a member of the election commission to a person who has no right to have it) – a member of the election commission received voting papers  and voted for his relatives: his mother and his husband. Criminal proceedings pursuant to Part 1 of Article 158 rank second in the number of sentences available in the Unified State Register of judgments (decisions 3). In the two cases referred to concealment and brought ballot, one person newsletter about getting another person on the passport of another person. In the case of the abduction and concealment ballot investigating authorities should find out whether it was guilty of conspiracy to transfer bulletin others for illegal fee, in which case the actions of the accused were to qualify for the totality of ch. 1 of article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.  2 sentencces in the Unified Register of judgements are available under part 1 of Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (bribery) (as amended until 23.10.2014) and under part 2 of Article 158-1 (falsification of Protocols counting).  The judgement in the case # 703/4743/14-k of Smilyanskij Municipal Court in Cherkasy region has not been published in the Unified State Register despite of the request of OPORA to the State Court Administration. According to mass media the actions of the accused person were qualified on the grounds of a criminal offense under part 4 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (bribery of voters). During the judicial examination pursuant to Article 472 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine the prosecutor and the accused person concluded an agreement on recognition of her guilt in the alleged crime.  Court approved the specified agreement and sentenced the defendant to 5 years of imprisonment with a relief from serving primary punishment with probation for a period of 2 years. The defendant was also denied the right to be an official observer at the parliamentary elections Ukraine and to be engaged in campaigning for 2 years. According to the decisions published on the official website of the Unified Register of judgments, 2 persons were accused of crimes against voting rights of citizens (including 8 people when considering an application for exemption from criminal responsibility which is received by the court). The most frequently the courts administered the punishment as a penalty (minimum penalty in the amount of 1700 UAH, maximum – 6800 UAH), which was combined with the deprivation of the right to hold official positions related to the activities in election commissions to the central and local authorities for the period of 2 years. According to the calculations of OPORA 8 people received an appropriate punishment. At the same time five people were sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment with deprivation of the right to be engaged in activities related to the eletion process for 2 years (or the right to occupy positions in the district election commissions during the presidential elections of Ukraine, parliamentary elections of Ukraine, deputies of local councils, village, town and city mayors). One person was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of one year with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions, commissions on referendum, to be an official observer and to be engaged in activities related to the election process and referendum for a period of one year. Instead, one person who was charged with receiving the voting paper not only with his own passport, but with the document of another person was released from criminal responsibility (it was declared that as a result of changing circumstances for the moment of the criminal proceedings committed his act has lost its social danger or that person ceased to be socially dangerous). Court decisions often refer to the persons not identified by the investigation, who initiated the crime or were directly related to its commission. For example, an accused person in case # 606/592/15-K, which Belogorsky District Court in Khmelnytsky region considered, issued 100 UAH to each of twenty potential voters in the village Vodychky of Bilohorsk district, Khmelnitsky region, who agreed to vote for a certain candidate. At the same time, the defendant has the relevant illegal activity with an unknown to the investigation person, who promised to give him additional compensation in case if the candidate picks exactly the number of votes at the polling station for which the funds were paid. At the same time, the decision of Baltskoho District Court of Odessa region indicated that the accused person with the passport of another person arrived at the place of voting where using the negligence of a member of the PEC due to accumulation of voters next to the member of comission, provided that member of PEC with his passport and the passport of another person after that received from another member of the commission a voting paper on the name of another voter for voting in national multi-mandate constituency of single-mandate constituency # 137 and a voting paper for voting in single-mandate constituency # 137 that she had no right to recieve. Thus a charged person in an unnoticed by the commission’s members of the polling station # 510 078 way imitated a forged signature in the paragraph "signature of voters for voting papers receiving"on behalf of other voters in the list of voters, who received voting papers for voting in the polling station, and imitated a forged signatures in control coupons of the voting papers. Further, the illegal actions of the accused person were discontinued by an observer at the polling station, and these voting papers were marked by the members of commission as "spoiled." At the same time, the person was released from criminal responsibility, as it was recognized that as a result of changing circumstances for the moment of the criminal proceedings committed his act has lost its social danger or that person ceased to be socially dangerous). Brief description of court judgments published in the Unified Register of judgments: extraordinary parliamentary elections -2014 Region, city/district Prosecution under article, part of article of the Criminal Code of Ukraine/ Circumstances Number of accused persons Measure of punishment Donetsk region, Mariupol’ city, Prymorskiy district                Part 3 of article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (falsification of vote count protocol) Circumstances: partial filling of vote count protocol without holding final meeting of PEC   1 (Secretary of PEC) Penalty - 6800UAH with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions during elections to central and local authorities for a period of 2 years (with concluded agreement on the recognition of guilt) Ternopil region, Terebovlya district Part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (provision of voting paper to a person who does not have the right to receive it). Circumstances: Members of PEC issued voting papers to unidentified persons instead of persons who were abroad on the date of the election  2 (members of PEC) Penalty - 6800UAH with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions during elections to central and local authorities for a period of 2 years Khmelnytskiy region, Shepetivka district Part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illegal receipt of voting papers and member of election commission voting more than once) Part 1 of article 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – falsification of official documents. Circumstances: Receipt of voting papers by member of PEC in multi-mandate and single mandate constituencies instead of the voter who was abroad on the date of the election, forgery of signature of the voter in the list of voters  1 (member of PEC) Penalty – 6800 UAH (six thousand eight hundred) with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions during elections to central and local authorities for a period of 2 years (cumulative sentencing by means of absorption of less severe punishment by more severe one) Vinnitsa region, Yampil’ district  Part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine  Circumstances: Member of PEC (in collusion with other member of PEC) received voting papers instead of her relatives. Other member of PEC deposited the voting papers into the ballot box. 2 (members of PEC) Sentenced to 5-year imprisonment with deprivation of the right to engage in activities related to election process for a period of 2 years. Accused persons were relieved from serving primary punishment and placed on probation for a period of one year.     Odesa region, Balta district Part 1 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine  Circumstances: Voter took advantage of “inattentiveness” of member of PEC and received voting papers having shown not only her passport, but also the passport of  other person 1 (voter) Person was discharged from criminal liability (due to recognition of the fact that such act does not pose a risk to the public anymore or the accused person has ceased to be socially dangerous at the time of criminal proceedings due to change of conditions) Rivne region, Sarny district Part 1 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine  Circumstances: Voter took voting papers with him outside the polling station  1 (voter) Penalty -1700 UAH Donetsk region, Mariupol’ city, Ordzhonikidze district  Part 1 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine  Circumstances: Voter took voting papers with him outside the polling station 1 (voter) Penalty -1700 UAH (with concluded agreement on the recognition of guilt)   Zhytomyr region, Malyn district   Part 3 of article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine  Circumstances: Blank vote counting protocol signed at the polling station.   “Revised” protocol issued outside of a meeting of PEC  3 (Head, Deputy Head, Secretary of PEC) Sentenced to 5-year imprisonment with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions during election of President of Ukraine, People’s Deputies of Ukraine, deputies of local councils, mayors of villages, towns and cities for a period of 2 years (with concluded agreement on the recognition of guilt)    Accused person was relieved from serving primary punishment (imprisonment) and placed on probation for a period of 1 year.   Dnipropetrovsk region, Novomoskovsk district Part 1 of article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (previous version valid before 23.10.2014) Circumstances: The accused person bribed two voters indirectly through provision of two discount coupons for purchase of goods (worth 85 and 137 UAH correspondingly) 1 Penalty -5100 UAH (with concluded agreement on the recognition of guilt). Zhytomyr region, Olevsk district Part 5 of article 27, part 1 of article 358, part 1 of article 190, part 3 of article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine 8 persons Application for relief from criminal liability Khmelnytskiy region, Bilogirsk district Part 1 of article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (previous version valid before 23.10.2014) Circumstances: The accused person gave 100 UAH to each of 24 persons as a reward for voting for certain candidate for People’s Deputies of Ukraine by prior arrangement with unidentified person 1 Custodian restraint for a period of one year with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions, referendum commissions, to act as official observer and engage in activities related to election process and referendum for a period of 1 year.     Accused person was relieved from serving primary punishment and placed on probation for a period of one year. Ternopil region, Terebovlya district Part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine  Circumstances: Members of PEC issued voting papers to unidentified persons instead of voters who were abroad  on the date of the election  2 (members of PEC) Penalty – 6800 UAH with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions during elections to central and local authorities for a period of 2 years (with concluded agreement on the recognition of guilt). The analysis of court decisions found that the voter list and the control coupons of voting papers were not related by the investigating authorities to the election documents. This case-law practice directly affected the type and measure of sentence, which was selected by the courts for persons, who were found guilty. In addition, in sentencing for crimes related to violation of electoral law exemption from responsibility were frequently used based on the recognition that as a result of changing circumstances for the moment of the criminal proceedings committed his act has lost its social danger or that person ceased to be socially dangerous (Article 48 of the Criminal - Procedural Code). This interpretation of criminal offenses in the elections resulted in mitigation of punishment for persons who committed the relevant offense. Quite often courts selected deprivation of the right to hold positions in the election commissions for a period of 1 to 2 years as an additional penalty.  Criminal proceedings which investigations are still ongoing  The judicial examination of the two criminal proceedings is still ongoing: the case # 596/3/15 is intended for consideration in Husyatyn District Court in Ternopil region from January 23, 2015 till October 1, 2015; (indictment pursuant to part 3 of Article 15, part 2, of Article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) the case # 711 / 51/15 is intended for consideration in Prydniprovskij district court of Cherkasy city on September 21, 2015; (indictment pursuant to part 4 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). Appeal of refusal to initiate and to close criminal proceedings  It’s necessary to note that in the Unified State Register of judgments there are cases of appeal and closing of criminal proceedings and refusal to start criminal proceedings.  Thus, analysis of decision made by the Court of Appeal of Chernihiv region on January 14, 2015 seems to be rather interesting in this context [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42283771].  As we see from the materials of the proceedings, investigators carried out a preliminary investigation into the free distribution of presents baskets dedicated to a religious feast of the Holy Virgin in October 2014 by the agitators of the candidate for people's deputies of Ukraine in the majority constituency #207 on the territory of Horodnya, Semenov and Novgorod-Seversky districts of Chernigov region. According to the facts of the 13th of October 2014 information with a number №12014270110000378 on criminal offenses stipulated by part 1 of Articles 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine was entered to ERDR. With the same materials it was found that the investigator during the preliminary investigation of testimonies investigated the persons, who handed out presents’ baskets as representatives of candidate to people’s deputies, as well as people, who received these presents’ baskets. These statements indicate that when receiving presents’ baskets there were no appeals and proposals from the agitators, and receiving of these presents did not effect on the persons’ will during the voting. In such circumstances, the chamber of judges concluded that at the closure of criminal proceedings investigator reasonably pointed out that the actions of candidates to people’s deputies of Ukraine and those, who gave away the baskets with presents on his behalf had no signs of a criminal offense provided in part 1 of Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Therfore the distribution of goods itself, provision of works and services, accompanied only with mention of the names of candidate, party, local party organizations pursuant to part 1 of Article 157 as amended (as amended until 23.10.2014 ), and Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine without emphasis on the fact that in the case of obtaining illegitimate benefits or goods a voter should commit or not commit any act related to his direct suffrage or the right to vote are not qualified as bribery. The decision of the Court of Appeal of Odessa region as of 29.12.2014 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42282900], concerning the appeal on refusal to start criminal proceedings is also similiar. Thus, in the Primorsky district court of Odessa city the applicant complained about decisions, actions and omissions of investigator and indicated that on October 5, 2014 he as a candidate to people’s deputies appealed to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Odessa region with application on commiting an offence, provided in Articles 157, 159-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine concerning violations of the electoral legislation. However, agianst the Criminal – Procedure Code the applicant has not received any response, and for his oral request it was reported that investigators of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Odessa region considered the statement not according to the Criminal - Procedure Law, but in accordance  with the Law of Ukraine" On appeals of citizens ". There are similar solutions on complaints of lack of response to reports of offenses during the parliamentary elections 2012 in the Unified State Register of judgments. (Decision of Svitlovodskskij district court in Kirovograd region as of 24.01.2013 http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/28880548 and the decision of the Court of Appeal in Kirovograd region, as of 21.10.2013 http: //www.reyestr.court. gov.ua/Review/34298683). ). A large number of reports reviewed in accordance with the procedures defined by the Law on Public Appeals may indicate the reluctance of law enforcement agencies to record the proceedings, which can potentially be closed. After all, according to the CPC regulation to close the proceedings is made after a series of investigations, while the response to an appeal under the Law of Ukraine on applying of citizens requires only verification of the facts contained in the appeal without measures provided in CPC (including examination of witnesses). As you can see there is a problem with the term of appeal of such actions of investigative authorities. Thus, in accordance with paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Article 303, part 1 of article 304 CPC of Ukraine omissions of prosecutor, which is the failure to register information on criminal offenses to the Unified Register of pre-trial investigation after receiving allegations or reports on a criminal offense, can be appealed in particular by the applicant, the victim, his representative or legal representative within ten days of the decision, an action or omission. If the decision of investigator or prosecutor is issued in the decree, the deadline for appeal starts from the date of receiving of its copy by the applicant. However, in the case of registration of an appeal, against the wishes of the applicant, in the order of the Law of Ukraine "On citizens' appeals” the applicant receives a response within one month from the date of receiving an appeal (Article 20 of the Law of Ukraine "On Public Appeals "). Thus, at the time of receipt of such a response from the investigating authorities, the term of appeal on omissions which is failure to register information on criminal offenses to the Unified Register of pre-trial investigation to a court defined in the Code of Ukraine is already violated. In these cases the courts, as we see from the judgements published in the Unified State Register of judgments, can make a decision on the extension of access to a court, but they have no obligation to do it and they do not always take such a decision.  Appeal proceeding of criminal proceedings   In the Unified State Register of judgments there is also available information about the results of the appeal we have studied in the proceedings. Thus, the Court of Appeal in Zhytomyr region on August 20, 2015 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/49313215] considered criminal proceedings on the appeal of one of the three defendants on the sentence of Malyn district court, Zhytomyr region as of June 22, 2015 year.  In the appeal the appellant (Secretary of the Commission) requests the court to sentence him to cancel and close the criminal proceedings on the basis of the absence of criminal offense in his actions. According to the appellant no objective and subjective aspect of the crime is established in his actions provided in part 3 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The appellant believes that a protocol he signed is not the subject of the crime because it is not among the documents which give the right to consider that the document had some legal implications for the counting of votes at polling stations. He notes that when the protocol on the vote count was detected by observers from parliamentary candidates and by voters at the polling station he explained immediately that these actions were not made deliberately but mechanically, by accident. This is confirmed by an act of election commission, according to which 2 protocols 793, 724 were identified invalidated due to mechanically chance of signing before the vote count. He believes that his actions of accidentally signing of this protocol did not cause any harm, did not affect the vote count and could not lead to election fraud because the minutes were canceled. He notes that he did not finally complete the vote count protocol and registered only names of members of the election commission, head of the commission, deputy chairman and secretary, members of the election commission and the date of issue. No other false information has been registered to the protocol. He specifies that the objective and subjective circumstances that have influenced the eventual signing of the Protocol to the end of voting time was already late time, furthermore he served as secretary of the election commission at the first time and was tired. The chamber of judges decided to leave the appeal without satisfaction and the judgement of Zhytomir district court in Zhytomyr region as of January 22, 2015 on it to leave unchanged. To OPORA’s point of view, attention should be paid to the objective evidence of the secretary in which he notes that "he served as secretary of the election commission at the first time", and also to the objective evidence of one of the witnesses, an observer at the parliamentary elections of Ukraine, according to which "the chairman and the secretary explained that they did not know that this is a violation because they have been appointed only two days before the voting." Of course, such an explanation can not be the circumstances that the court takes into account in criminal proceedings. However, these facts are interesting from the point of view of the organization of the election process, and indicate the need for strict compliance of requirements, the availability of experience in guiding the committee and going through learning by all members of the PSC. It should be noted that unlike the other defendants in this case (who signed two protocols, one of them with the entered data only about committee’s members and candidates, and the other one also with the number of issued voting papers, namely "528", with the number of voters entered at the polling station to the extraction from the voters’ list for homebound voting, namely "46”) the Secretary signed just minutes without digital data with information about committee members and candidates. In fact, according to the indictment and the judgment we conclude that signing of a blank vote count protocol itself, which is made not at the meeting of counting of votes and with violation of the order of its preparation is the subject to the qualifications pursuant to part 3 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Analysis of court judgments on criminal proceedings related to the parliamentary election 2012.  In order to collect the data needed to compare the effectiveness of law enforcement in 2012 and 2014, OPORA completed the analysis of judgments for the period of 2012, published in the Unified Register of judgements. In particular, it was found that the proceedings on obstruction of electoral law by means of deception occurred in practice of proceedings consideration in 2012 (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/28613387), while in 2014 despite widespread practices the  court did not consider such proceedings. The proceedings were about the distribution of leaflets with anti-Ukrainian content on behalf of competitor and invitations to distribute food, postcards with candidate refusal to run for election. Unfortunately, not all the crimes that were actually aimed at obstructing the electoral law fraudulently were qualified as such, for example http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/37271179. Law enforcement agencies and court applied the qualification for the article 361 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (unauthorized interference with operation of computers (PCs), automated systems, computer networks or telecommunications networks). According to OPORA, registration of site (domain) in Internet, which is a fake website, a clone site of Crimean Republican organization of the Party of Regions «http://regioncrimea.org»; and organizing the implementation of «DDoS-attacks" on information and software resources of website of Crimean Republican organization of the Party of Regions, mailing a fraudulent appeal of the Prime Minister of Crimea and the Chairman of the Crimean Republican organization of the Party of Regions as if from the official e-mail addresses, were aimed at reducing the rating of the Party of Regions in Crimea, that had been also qualified persuant to Part 1 of Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Analyzing a sentence of Galitskij district court in the Ivano-Frankivsk region as of November 19, 2012 we come to the conclusion that arson of campaign headquarters of candidate, party, local party organization during the election process should have been qualified under Part 2 of Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (obstruction of electoral subject connected with the destruction or damage of property), in conjunction with part 2 of Article 194 (intentional destruction or damage to another's property, which caused heavy damage, committed by arson, explosion or other method). [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/47482471] Trend of the judicial examination of cases in 2012 and 2014 was a prosecution of only direct perpetrators of crimes, but not the organizers (in no case the head of campaign headquarters of candidates was brought to responsibility, in the interests of whom the organizers bribed the voters or obstructed of suffrage otherwise).  OPORA paid special attention to the peculiarities of the investigation of electoral crimes in five single-mandate constituencies ## 94, 132, 194, 197, 223, where in 2012 the CEC failed to establish the voting results. OPORA prepared several individual requests for information to the police and prosecutors. In particular, it was found that the investigation of election offenses recorded in 2012 in five problem districts is still ongoing. OPORA also sent requests on investigation of electoral crimes in the districts, where deputies of Ukraine Pavlo Baloga, Alexander Dombrowski, Igor Markov were elected, and who were deprived of parliamentary powers by the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court in 2013. We should remind that in 2013 the Supreme Administrative Court found results of voting in a number of districts as "unreliable" wherein 2012 the people’s deputies of Ukraine were elected on the regular elections despite the actual political responsibility of deputies, namely the suspension of their powers, the performers and organizers of falsification have not been brought to justice in fact. The register also contains an application for exemption from criminal responsibility of persons accused of violating of the election law on parliamentary elections in 2012. Application for exemption from criminal responsibility according to the Unified State Register based on the criminal proceedings #12015060260000059 concerning eight people was filed to Olevskij district court in Zhytomyr region on the grounds of criminal offenses under Part 5 of Article 27, Part 1 of Article 358, part 1of Article 190, Part 3 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (falsification of election documents) ([http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/43569213]). Application reffered to paragraph 2 of Part 1 of Article 49 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine which stipulates that a person is exempted from criminal responsibility, if three years passed from the date of committing an offense and the date of entry into force of the sentence - in case of a minor offense (which stipulates a punishment in the form of imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or whatever, a more lenient punishment). Court denied the petition of the Prosecutor to exempt eight suspects from criminal responsibility on the criminal proceedings #287 / 21/15 on charges of committing criminal offenses pursuant to part 5 of Article 27, Part 3 of Article 358, Part 1of Article 190, Part 3 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and returned the petition to the prosecutor to carry out criminal proceedings in general terms. According to the court the suspects were also accused of a crime provided in part 3 of Article 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine which refers to crimes of medium gravity (Part 3 of Article 12 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) as the sanction of Article provides a maximum punishment of imprisonment for up to five years therefore they can not be released from responbility under paragraph 2 of Part 1 of Article 49 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. An analysis of court judgments on bringing to justice the organizers of illegal referendums   There are eight judgments concerning responsibility for organizing and conducting pseudo-referendum in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the Unified State Register of judgments. OPORA considers it’s necessary to study these solutions and bring their content to public. In this category of cases, falsification of election documents focused not only on violations of electoral rights of citizens as pseudo count violates credibility of will, and such actions were aimed at violating the Constitution and the territorial integrity of the state to change the boundaries of the territory and the state border of Ukraine. In most cases, the members of "pseudo election commissions" had experience in election commissions during elections in Ukraine. As the number of those who were involved in the simulation of election commissions during the "pseudo-referendum" is critically low, there is a danger that a person involved in such work but have not been brought to justice will become a member of the election commission on regular local elections in 2015. It should be noted that most of the solutions available in the Unified State Register are about the organization and holding of "pseudo-referendum" in Mariupol and Kramatorsk, those members of election commissions were brought to responsibility who admitted their guilt and they concluded agreements on the recognition of guilt. In particular, most of the decisions on Kramatorsk city are about to justice members of one election commission (located in school # 32). Thus, the number of persons brought to justice compared to the number of created “pseudo election commissions” on May 11, 2014 is critically low. Analysis of court judgements on frauds of members of commissions Around 90 senteces were found out which were related to fraud investigations during extraordinary parliamentary elections. They can be divided into the proceedings: under Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (misappropriation, embezzlement or taking it through abuse of office), in the case of appropriation of one-time cash funds for remuneration of members of district election commission by a chairman of the commission (a judgement did not mention a falsification of minutes of the meetings and resolutions of the commission, and falsification of signatures in the statement, although without these actions the payment could not be transfered); payment of compensation to the person who has signed a contract for performance of works in the election commission on the fee paid basis, but at the time of the treaty was not released from duty at the main place of work (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/ Review / 44333605); appropriation of money of a member of commission, who worked according to the contract on a permanent basis (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/43083821); under the Articles 191 and 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (forgery) in case of forgery of the minutes of the resolution on the distribution of one-time financial assistance by the head alone or in collusion with some members of commission and; (in some cases despite the similar objective aspect we can find the qualifications collectively determined by Articles 191 and 358 (Forgery of documents, seals, stamps and forms, sale or use of forged documents, stamps, seals) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine; under Article 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine in case of official employment of some persons and the actual performance of works by others (for instance a driver (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/47180734,http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/44977029, http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/45682610), secretary on a full-time basis (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/46158358), entering of false information in the timesheets (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/44993497). http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/39971882 http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/39995181 Article 190 http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/39930826 http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/39850030 http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/39827208 358 http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/38448148 http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/37530002 356 http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/38589383 under Article 190 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (fraud). For example, when the chairman of PSC signed on his behalf a contract with the DEC to perform work on the preparation and holding of extraordinary parliamentary elections, hiding certain information from the Election Commission of Ukraine on parliamentary elections in single-mandate electoral district №136 and from its chairman, namely the fact that at the time of the treaty he is not released from duty at the main place of work (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/44333605); under Article 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (forgery of documents, seals, stamps and forms, sale or use of forged documents, stamps, seals). For example, knowing that a member of the PEC in the period from 10.27.2014 to 10.31.2014 worked not in the district election commission, but in his permanent place of work in Yarmolinetskiy district state administration, another member of the PEC by prior agreement with PEC secretary personally using ballpoint pens marked his timesheets as if he worked eight-hour days at the specified polling station in that period of time, thus filled out false information about the work at a polling station, which resulted in illegal overpayments from the budget to the secretary of the election commission in the amount of 465 UAH 90 kopecks (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/38589383); under Article 356 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (arbitrariness). This qualification was applied in the prosecution of members of election commissions in 2012. For example, a member of the PEC, being at the cash desk of of DEC, on the basis of payroll register as of November 2012 self-willed and against the established law received cash remuneration instead of another member of the election commission in the amount of 1 883.85 UAH, she did not transfer the money to the appropriate person, but use it for her own needs, causing material damage to the victim on the above mentioned amount (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/38589383). The same as in the cases of violation of voting rights of citizens, in most cases court applies a conditional exemption from punishment, amnesty, emposing of less severe sentence than it is defined by the law, sentencing in a minimum amount prescribed by a sanction (1700 UAH), deprivation of the right to hold executive positions in election commissions (chairman, secretary of the commission) for a period of 1 year. According to OPORA in the following types of frauds such persons should be punished with deprivation of the rights to participate in the work of election commissions, and not only with deprivation of the right be appointed to the administrative board. Analysis of court judgements on other criminal proceedings committed by the members of election commission   In the Unified State Register of judgments there are also other decisions on violations committed by the members of election commissions. In particular, violation of law pursuant to Article 345 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (threats or violence against a law enforcement officer). For example, the deputy and chairman of the PEC in parliamentary elections on Oct. 26, 2012, knowing that the victim is a senior lieutenant of police, head of temporary detention, during the preparation and holding of extraordinary elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, intentionally punched him in various parts of the body, causing injury in the form of a closed fracture of the nose, scalp bruises, bruises and abrasions of face, left ear, scratches of mucosa of the left cheek, a bruise of the left tibia. According to the conclusion of a forensic expert a victim had a head injury with a fractured nasal bones, brain concussion and left-sided sensorial hearing loss that belong to minor bodily harm with short-termed health disorder. (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/45065652). ANALYSIS OF LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF INTERIOR AND COURTS IN INVESTIGATION AND SENTENCING FOR CRIMES AGAINST VOTING RIGHTS OF CITIZENS AT THE EXTRAORDINARY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS OF UKRAINE  Problems of law enforcement practice related to improper application of the law  Analysis of reasons for closure of criminal proceedings In most cases, authorities of pre-trial investigation, prosecutors and courts close the proceedings under  paragraph 2 of Part 1 of Article 284 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (they established a lack of corpus of criminal offense). But there are also some cases (particularly proceedings on irregularities in constituency #102 in Kirovograd region) of closure of criminal cases under paragraph 4 part 1 of Article 284 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (enactment of the law which abolished criminal responsibility for acts committed by a person). We would like to remind that on October 19, 2014 the President signed the Law "On Amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine concerning the strengthening of responsibility for violation of electoral rights of citizens" adopted on October 14. The law excluded the word "bribery" from Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine ("bribery" was recognized as a method of obstruction of the electoral law), but set out a new version of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine "bribery of voters, participant of referendum." Thus bribery of voters has been transferred from the way of obstructing electoral law to an independent crime. This change does not mean the decriminalization of bribery, vice versa, responsibility for bribery has been strengthned after enforcement of a law starting from October 23. As criminal law which strengthens responsibility has retroactive force and bribery are not decriminalized, the investigation should be completed pursuant to paragraph 1 of Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Improper application of the law in practice led to the fact that adoption of the Law on strengthening of responsibility resulted in closure of criminal cases in connection with the abolition of criminal responsibility.  2. Only direct perpetrators of crimes, who admitted their guilt during the investigation, were brought to responsibility. An agreement on the recognition of guilt was concluded in four out of 12 cases published in the Unified State Register of judgments, in one case the internal affairs sent a request for exemption from criminal responsibility.  2.1. No notice of suspicion were served and no punishments were applied to organizers of bribery schemes or persons to whose interest the "pyramid of bribery" crime were organized or "carousel" run was scheduled in any criminal proceedings concerning bribery of voters. Prosecution was fractionary in comparison with the scale of bribery (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42636190; http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/41897917); 2.2. In cases of illegal issuance of voting papers responsibility was brought to one member of the election commission, although according to part 3 of Article 85 of the Law of Ukraine "On Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine" during the voting there should be two members of the district election commission who enable the voter to vote at the polling station: (one member of PEC provides the voter with a list for the signature; the second member of the election commission enters his name , initials on control coupon, sign it and affix the number of registration of the voter in the list of voters). Thus, this crime could be committed with the complicity of a PEC member who was responsible for the voter lists, or a PEC head did not allocate responsibilities of the member of PEC on election day meeting the requirements of the law that led to the possibility of committing crime by one person (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42604570); 2.3. Actions of a member of the election commission issuing the voting papers for allowing a person who had no right to it were justified with the words in the sentence "... inattention due to accumulation of voters next to the member od election commission." The investigation concerning actions of members of election commission on providing a person with a voting paper, who has no right to it, has not been conducted, suspicion was served only to one person, who illegally obtained a voting paper and acknowledged his guilt (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/41883924). 2.4. In the case on signing of unfilled protocol on the vote count and data entering outside the meeting of election commission by the members of the election commission, responsibility should have been brought not only to three members of PEC, who directly copied a protocol indoors of DEC, but to commission members and authorized delegates of candidates, who agreed to sign a protocol before entering of the results of calculation. Such actions are, in our view, regulated by part 3 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (the signing of the protocol on the count of votes before data entering) (http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42426453). 2.5. Facts of offenses detected during the judicial examination with an indication contained in the text of decisions are not the subject for further analysis by the court (for example an agitator recognizes that he worked at the headquarters of candidate for remuneration of 500 UAH (http://www.reyestr.court.gov. ua / Review / 28613387), that is a violation of the order of campaign financing, as financial resources are not from the election fund, an executed person is not employed; during a court session it was clarified that the vote count protocol without digital data was signed at the polling station by all members of the PEC and not only by three defendants http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42426453). It should be mentioned that according to the Criminal – Procedure Code 2012 there is no practice of making some decisions in criminal jurisdiction unlike other types of proceedings , but the facts of violations of the law revealed during the judicial examination should not be left without legal analysis. 3. In accordance with part 2 of the Resolution of the Supreme Court of Ukraine #7 as of  October 24, 2003 "On the practice of punishment by the courts" a person who committed the crime, should be sentenced in a manner necessary and sufficient for his correction and prevention of new crimes. At the same time, in the sphere of violation of voting rights of citizens there is a tendency of sentencing in an amount less than determined by a sanction of the Article or in minimum amount specified by a sanction. Thus, out of 10 decisions  available on the website of the Unified State Register in three cases persons were sentenced more lenient  than it is stipulated by the law under Article 69 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine or due to an agreement on guilt recognition; in 3 other cases persons sentenced to deprivation or personal restrain were exempted from serving a sentence with a probation period of 1 year; in 2 cases persons were exempted from criminal responsibility due to the change of circumstances (Article 44 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) and at the request of prosecutors (under part 2 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine); in 2 cases persones were sentenced with the minimum sanction specified in article - a penalty of 100 tax-exempt minimums (1,700 UAH). 4. In some regions we can see some disparity between the number of submitted reports and information about the event that may contain signs of a crime and the number of registered proceedings (including Volyn, Zhytomyr, Mykolaiv regions). On the one hand it indicates a lack of knowledge of the applicant (who must emphasize that he applies a report of a crime and requires its registration in the Unified Register of pre-trial investigation). On the other hand, the large number of reports examined in accordance with the procedures specified by the Law on appeals of citizens, may indicate the reluctance of law enforcement agencies to record the proceedings, which can be potentially closed. Problems of law enforcement practice with a need of amendments to legislation  We have specified a number of problems and offer the following suggestions:  1. The voters list and the control coupons of voting papers are not determined by the investigators like election documents. This enforcement practices directly affected the sentence which was selected by the courts for convicted persons. If the list was interpretated as the election documents, the person, who is guilty of issuing of voting papers to the person, who had no right to this by means of falsifying the signature on the list of voters and the control coupons, would be accused of crimes pursuant to Article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and part 2 of Article 158 (falsification of election documents). In most cases, falsification of signatures was only described in the materials of the case, but it does not affect the qualification. Only decision # 42604570 EDRSR the qualifications of signatures falsification was identified as falsification of official documents, but not as falsification of election documents. Suggestion of OPORA concerning improvement of legislation:  To provide an article entitled "Definitions" in the Law of Ukraine "On Elections of People's Deputies," the Law of Ukraine "On Local Elections", the Law of Ukraine "On the Election of the President of Ukraine" which determines the list of election documents. The election documents are the following - resolutions, reports, decisions and acts of election commissions, voter lists, voting papers and other documents used in the preparation of the voting, counting and certification of voting results by the election commission. Alternative: Definition of the election documents can be determined in the note to Article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (falsification of election documents) instead of special election laws. 2. Exemption from responsibility was frequently applied when sentencing for crimes related to violation of electoral law based on the recognition that such act does not pose a risk to the public anymore or the accused person has ceased to be socially dangerous at the time of the criminal proceedings due to change of circumstances (Article 48 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine). This interpretation of criminal offenses in the elections led to impunity for those who committed the relevant offense. As the election process is cyclic, we can not interpret the end of the particular election process as the loss of public danger of the offense due to changes of circumstances (for example, in a decision #41883924 EDRSR the court applied the exemption from responsibility for a vote for another person). If there are mitigating circumstances the person must suffer the negative consequences of the offense as a minimum sentencing identified by the sanction of article or application of Article 69 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (use of linient sentence envisaged by law). It may be a penalty of 100 tax-exempt minimums – 1700 UAH (for example, a similar sentence as a minimum sentence was applied in decisions ##42410563, 42084983 EDRSR). Suggestion of OPORA concerning improvement of legislation: To amend the Article 48 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine by providing the impossibility of applying of Article to crimes under Article 157-160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.  3. Quite often courts reasonably selected deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions for a period of 1 to 3 years as an additional penalty.  Deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions is often used in the proceedings on crimes against voting rights of citizens as an additional punishment. Reference of the court decisions to a particular type of election commission to which perpetrators has no right to belong is absolutely an inappropriate (for instance, the decision # 42426453 EDRSR – deprivation of the right to hold office in the district election commissions during the elections for a period of 2 years). This formulation does not actually deprive the rights of these persons to belong to the district and territorial election commissions. The additional sentence as deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions is applied under Article 55 for a period of 1 to 3 years, but most regular elections in Ukraine are held once in 5 years, so disqualification to hold office in the election commissions upon sentence for a period of 1 to 3 years (Decision ## 42426453, 42604570, 42470585 EDRSR) can lead to opportunities for such persons to become members of commitions at the next regular election. The additional sentence as deprivation of the right to be engaged in activities related to the election process and referendum shall be administered in case of committing any and all crimes against the voting rights of citizens, but not just crimes committed by a member of the election commission or the commission of referendum.  Suggestion of OPORA concerning improvement of legislation: To amend part 1 of Article 55 with paragraph 3 "Deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions, as well as to be an official observer, authorized or trusted person of the subject of election process, to be engaged in other activities related to the election process and referendum is fixed for a period of ten years" . To amend sanctions of part 1 of Article 157, part 1 of Article 158-1, part 1 of Article 158-2, part 1 of Article 159, part 1-3 of Article 159-1, part 1 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine with the words "with the deprivation of the right to be engaged in activities related to the election process and referendum for a period of ten years". In sanctions of parts 2-4 of Article 157, parts 2-4 of Article 158, part 2 of Article 158-1, part 2 of Article 158-2, part 2 of Article 159, parts 1-3 of Article 159-1, parts 2-4 of Article 160 the words "with deprivation to hold certain positions or to be engaged in certain activities for a term of one to three years" change with the following "with deprivation of the right to be engaged in activities related to the election process and referendum for a period of ten years", in part 2 of Article 158-2 to delete the words "or without". Problems to the public information access  1. OPORA found problems with access to information about the published decision. Information about the beginning of the judicial examination of several criminal proceedings (№ 283/3560/14-K, № 703/540/15-K) is available in the Unified State Register of judgments. However, the final decisions themselves are out of the Unified State Register of judgments. OPORA requested the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine to provide information on trial phase of criminal proceedings. The State Judicial Administration in response to the request noted that the responsibility for the improper publication of the judgment is carried by heads of courts. Pursuant to Article 212-3 of CUAO "Failure to provide access to judicial decisions or materials of the case upon the request of the person as well as any other violation of the Law of Ukraine "On access to court decisions "- imposed a penalty on officials from 425 to 850 UAH. Therewith Representatives of the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Human Rights or Representatives of Commisioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Human Rights draw up a protocol on an administrative offense. In our opinion, it is necessary to put a function of control over the compliance of the number of considered cases and the number of published decisions to the State Judicial Administration, and give it the right to draw up protocols on an administrative offense.  Detailed recommendations Information on the progress of the investigation and sentencing in the criminal proceedings concerning crimes against the voting rights of citizens has great public importance. Impunity of persons committed, in particular the massive bribery of voters, on the one hand deepens mistrust of the society to the capacity of public authorities to carry out effective reforms in the near future, on the other hand maintains the confidence in impunity of the organizers and perpetrators of crimes for their criminal actions, the ability to avoid penalties applying corruption mechanisms. Deficiencies of the existing system of investigation and prosecution could be identified only by a constructive dialogue with the civil society, law enforcement agencies and courts as well as to work out suggestions to improve legislation and law enforcement practices. At the same time the public has to ensure an effecient control over meaningful investigation of 52 criminal proceedings, pre-trial investigation of which is still ongoing. The priority recommendations include: 1. It is necessary to amend the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine and the Law "On citizens' appeals” regarding law enforcement response to reports of crimes and appeals. To eliminate the practice of registering of reports on crimes as appeals of the citizens without entering data in the Unified State Register of pre-trial investigations, a special procedure should be needed for authorities with investigative functions to considerate and response to public appeals. The authority with investigative functions should justify  in each case of receiving a request a lack of grounds for registration of a report in the Unified State Register of pre-trial investigations and forward the report with such justification to the applicant within 10 days, providing the possibility to appeal such a response as inaction of prosecutor, which is defined as the failure to enter information on criminal offenses to the Unified Register of pre-trial investigation after receiving application or report on a criminal offense in the manner specified under Articles 303, 304 of CPC of Ukraine. An appeal is considered and decided (after sending a report on a lack of grounds for the registration of proceeding in the Unified State Register of pre-trial investigation) within general period provided by the Law of Ukraine "On citizens' appeals” (no more than one month from the date of its receipt and those cases which do not need additional examination - immediately, but not later than fifteen days from the date of receipt). To reduce expenses from the state budget for sending notifications on a lack of grounds for registration of proceedings in the Unified State Register of pre-trial investigations, it should be necessary to send a notification to email address of the applicant, if the applicant gives permission for such a form of receipt. Applicant notes his consent to receive notification on a lack of grounfs for registration of proceedings in the Unified State Register of pre-trial investigations electronically in his application, or verbally in case of registration of application in person with affixing the mark on such a consent, along with a mark of the registration of request. 2. Law enforcement agencies did not ascertain whether actions or omissions which have elements of crime (for instance hiding and bringing the voting paper outside, issuing of voting paper to the person who had no right for it and so on) related to offers or receipt of illegal remuneration. In all cases, offers or receipt of illegal remuneration, in particular by the members of commissions from the subjects of election, acts of such persons should be qualified under Part 1 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. 3. Today the distribution of goods, provision of works and services itself, accompanied with only the mention of names of candidate, party, local party organizations under part 1 of Article 157 as amended (as amended until 23.10.2014) and under parts 1 and 2 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine is not qualified as bribery, without emphasis on the fact that in the case of obtaining illegitimate benefits or goods voter should do or do not any actions direct related to his voting rights. According to Part 3 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine providing enterprises, institutions, organizations with undue advantage or the provision of free goods (except goods containing visual depictions of names, symbols, flags of political parties, the value of which does not exceed the amount specified in the legislation) works and services is also defined as a way of campaigning, the other words these activities should be carried out with the aim of encouraging voters to vote for or not to vote for candidates. According to OPORA a person may also be brought to criminal responsibility for the distribution of goods and services just mentioning the name of the candidate or the name of the party, local party organization without encouraging voters to vote for or against a candidate.  4. To make amendments to part 3 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine suggested by a working group of experts, including experts of IFES and OPORA. Part 3 of Article 160 shall be amended as follows "The promise of granting or provision money or goods for free or on preferential terms (except for products containing the visual depictions of the name, flag of party, local party organization, last name, first name, father name or depiction of the candidate in the relevant election, provided that the value of such goods does not exceed an amount determined by the law), works, services, securities, credits, lottery tickets, other valuables to persons or entities that accompanied with campaigning or mentioning the name of the party, local party or the name of a candidate to the relevant election – is sentenced by imprisonment for a term of two to four years, or imprisonment for the same period with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or to be engaged in certain activities for a term of one to three years. " Text of the note shall be amende as follows "Note. In this article, the undue advantage should be read as financial funds or other property, advantages, benefits, services or any other intangible assets" that will allow to bring to responsibility for providing undue benefit in any amount, but in the amount that is 3% more of a minimum wage (36.54 UAH) as it is at the moment. 5. To amend parts 1, 2 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: part 1 shall be amended as follows "to the member of the election commission, subject of election", part 2 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine shall be amended as follows "to the member of the election commission, subject of election", "implementation of status of the member of election commission, subject of election","making decisions, actions, omissions of the election commission, actions, omissions of the member of the election commission, registration, actions or omissions of the  subject of election process. " Thus part 1 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code should sound as follows: "Accepting of the offer, promise or receipt of an undue advantage by a voter, a member of the election commission, the subject of the election process, a participant of referendum for himself or a third party for committing or non committing any actions related to the direct implementation of his voting rights or suffrage, the implementation of status of the member of election commission, subject of election (refusal to participate in the voting at a polling station (referendum polling station) more than once, voting for a particular candidate in the election or rejection of such voting, hand over of voting paper (voting paper in a referendum) to another person, making a decision, action, omission by the election commission, action, omission by the member of the election commission, registration, action, omission by the subject of election), regardless of the actual expression of a person and results of the voting”. Part 2 of Article 160 of the Criminal Code should sound as follows: "Offer, promise or giving an undue advantage to a voter, a member of election commission, subject of election or participant of referendum by committing or non committing any acts related to the direct implementation of his voting rights or the right to participate in the referendum, the implementation of status of the member of the election commission, subject of election (refusal to participate in the voting at a polling station (referendum polling station) more than once, voting for a particular candidate in the elections, candidates from political parties, local political party or rejection of such voting, hand over of voting paper to another person, making a decision, action, omission by the election commission, action, omission of the member of the election commission, registration, actions or omissions by the subject of the election process), "  Such formulation will emphasize the need of qualification of an action of the member of election commission to obtain undue benefit for the actions or omissions, such as the issuance of voting paper to a person who has no right to it under part 1 of Article 160, and will also allow to bring "technical candidates" to justice for the registration, nomination of candidates to the election commission and other similar actions as the illegal remuneration.  6. Criminal acts that lead to a distorted representation of voters on the activities of candidate, party, local party organization, reducing their rankings prevent their campaigning, though can be covered by the other elements of the crime, and should be classified collectively under part 1 of Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (obstruction of free exercise of voting right by a citizen, obstruction of activity of the subject of election connected with a fraud). For example, registration of the website-clone of a political party distributing there an information, which is negatively perceived by the voters should be qualified collectively under articles 361 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (unauthorized interference with operation of computers (PCs), automated systems, computer networks or networks telecommunications) and part 1 of Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine); arson of campaign headquarters of candidate, party, local party organization during the election process should be qualified under part 2 of Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (obstruction of activity of the subject of election connected with the destruction or damage of property), collectively under part 2 of Article 194 (deliberate destruction or damage of another's property that caused heavily damage committed by arson, explosion or other method). 7. To amend Part 1 of the Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, by providing a note with an interpretation of the fact which actions should be attributed to "fraud" or "coercion". In particular, based on the analysis of judicial practice regarding consideration of criminal proceedings of crimes qualified under Part 1 of the Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine as obstruction of suffrage in parliamentary elections of 2012, we can offer the following definition: "deception should be considered deliberately false information or withholding of information that is intended to mislead, to form a false opinion about the characteristics of individual voters, candidates, political parties, local political party, activity of another subject of the election process, the initiative group of referendum, commission of referendum, member of the election commission, a member of the initiative group of referendum, member of referendum commission or official observer of his actions and inaction». 8. To amend the Order of the Prosecutor General's Office "On Unified Register of pre-trial investigations." Provide opportunity for free public access to statistical information of the Register, namely data for the selected period concerning the number of asylum proceedings in terms of the subject registration and qualification under articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine; the number of proceedings for a selected period investigation of which in the same period went / goes on in terms of the investigative jurisdicton, administrative-territorial units and qualifications for the articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine; the number of closed criminal proceedings for the corresponding period in terms of investigative jurisdiction, administrative-territorial units and qualifications under the articles of the Criminal Code Ukraine. 9. According to OPORA, not only for violation of election laws, but for any type of criminal offenses committed by a person in the status of a commission member, [such criminal offenses were recorded in parliamentary elections in 2014 provided by Article 190 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (fraud), Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (misappropriation, plundering of property or taking it through abuse of office), Article 345 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (threats or violence against a law enforcement officer), Article 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (forgery of documents, seals, stamps and forms, sale or use of forged documents, stamps, stamps), Article 366 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (office forgery), criminal offenses of the participants of pseudo referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk regions, convicted under Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (encroachment on territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine), Article 295 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (calls to actions that threaten public order), and other criminal offenses], such a person shall be deprived not only of the right of hold office, but also the right to participate in the work of election commissions for the whole period of time till the expungument of conviction for this type of crime.   Judicial practice concerning the exercise of right to vote at the elections of People’s Deputies  Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens during election of People’s Deputies in 2014  Case type Court judgment Circumstances of a case Content of court judgment Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 3 of article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (falsification of vote count protocols)  Judgment of Prymorskiy district court in Mariupol’ city, Donetsk region as of   22.06.2015 [ http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/45298174] Head, secretary and member of PEC partially filled out the vote count protocols in multi-mandate and single-mandate constituencies, entered last names and the initials of persons into the information boxes corresponding to Head, Deputy Head, Secretary, members of PEC, as well as filled in information about date of protocol, polling station №, address of polling station, number of voting papers issued to voters “528”, number of voters registered in the list of voters of this specific polling station for the purpose of voting in their current location “46”, last, first and middle names of candidates for People’s Deputies of Ukraine, and then signed this  protocol in boxes corresponding to Head of PEC, Secretary of PEC, member of PEC without waiting for the results of vote counting. These acts were performed at around 17:30 without starting a final meeting of PEC in violation of paragraph 1 of part 1 of Article 91 of the Law of Ukraine “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine”. Illegal acts of these persons were detected by official observers of candidates for people’s deputies and voters directly at the polling station.     An agreement on the recognition of guilt was approved. The court imposed a punishment under part 1 of article 69 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine in the form of penalty amounting to 400 tax-exempt minimums (6800 UAH) with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions during elections to central and local authorities for a period of 2 (two) years. Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (provision of voting paper to a person who does not have the right to receive it) Judgment of Terebovlya district court in Ternopil’ region as of 02.04.2015 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/44007083] On October, 26, 2014 between the period of 08:00 and 20:00, two members of the election commission issued voting papers for voting in the national multi-mandate constituency and single-mandate constituency to unidentified persons who did not have the right to receive a voting paper, while being inside the voting premise and fulfilling their responsibilities of issuing voting papers to voters, and then made corresponding records in the control coupons of above-mentioned voting papers by entering № 995,776, 777, 864, 86. Voters registered under above-mentioned numbers were abroad on the date of the election.   An agreement on the recognition of guilt was concluded with the accused persons. The court found the accused persons guilty of committing a criminal offence under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and imposed a punishment under part 1 of article 69 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine in the form of penalty amounting to 400 tax-exempt minimums (6800 UAH) with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions during elections to central and local authorities for a period of 2 (two) years. Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine - illegal receipt of voting papers and member of election commission voting more than once; part 1 of article 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – falsification of official documents Judgment of Shepetivka municipal and district court in Khmelnytskiy region as of 03.02.2015 [ http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42604570] Member of PEC, responsible for issuing the voting papers to voters, took advantage of the absence of her fellow villager, who was abroad on the date of election, and illegally received two voting papers for voting in national multi-mandate constituency and single-mandate constituency instead of him, forged his signature in the update version of the list of voters in line №29 opposite his name, as well as in the “signature of voter receiving the voting paper” box of control coupon №29 in  national multi-mandate constituency and single-mandate constituency №190, and used them personally for voting more than once on the 26th of October, 2014, between the period of 14:30 and 17:00.   The court found the accused persons guilty of committing criminal offences under part 2 of article 158-1, part 1 of article 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and imposed the following punishments: under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and part 1 of article 69 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine in the form of penalty amounting to 400 tax-exempt minimums (6800 UAH) with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions during elections to central and local authorities for a period of 2 (two) years; under part 1 of article 358 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine in the form of penalty amounting to 1700 (one thousand seven hundred) UAH. Pursuant to part 1 of article 70 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine on the strength of evidence of conviction of aggregate of crimes, the court imposed a final punishment in the form of penalty amounting to 6800 UAH with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions during elections to central and local authorities for a period of 2 (two) years through absorption of less severe punishment by more severe one. Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illegal receipt and illegal provision of voting paper, citizen voting more than once, performed by member of election in collusion with a group of persons)   Judgment of Yampil’ district court in  Vinnytsya region as of January 28, 2015: [ http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42470585] Member of PEC, in collusion with other member of PEC and with the intent to illegally receive and issue voting papers as well as vote more than once, received voting papers instead of her relatives (her mother and husband) during the conduct of extraordinary election of People’s Deputies of Ukraine on the 26th of October, 2014. Having received the voting papers, she voted instead of her relatives and then handed over the marked voting papers to member of PEC who deposited them into the ballot box, thus executing collective criminal intent to the end. The above-specified actions of member of PEC, who illegally received voting papers instead of her relatives and voted instead of them, were determined under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illegal receipt and illegal provision of voting paper, citizen voting more than once, performed by member of election in collusion with a group of persons) by bodies of prejudicial inquiry. Actions of other member of PEC, who deposited these voting papers into the ballot box, were also determined under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.   The court approved the agreement on the recognition of guilt of the accused persons. The court found the accused persons guilty of committing a criminal offence under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and imposed a punishment in the form of 5-year imprisonment with deprivation of the right to engage in activities related to election process for a period of 2 years, as agreed by the parties. Pursuant to article 75 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the accused persons were relieved from serving primary punishment and placed on probation for a period of one year. Pursuant to paragraphs 2-4 of part 1 of article 76 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the accused persons are obliged not to leave Ukraine for permanent residence abroad without the consent of criminal executive inspection; to inform criminal executive inspection on the change of place of residence, work or study, and show up periodically for registration in the criminal executive inspection.   Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (provision of voting paper to a person who does not have the right to receive it) Judgment of Balta district court in Odesa region as of 10.12.2014 [ http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/41883924] Voter brought her passport and another person’s passport to the polling station where she took advantage of inattentiveness of member of PEC, who was distracted by other voters crowding nearby, and presented both passports to member of PEC, following which she received two voting papers per each passport for voting in national multi-mandate constituency and single-mandate constituency. Moreover, voter forged another person’s signature in the list of voters, who received voting papers for voting in the voting premises, and also put her signature in “signature of voter receiving the voting paper” box of control coupon on behalf of another person without being noticed by members of PEC. Later on, her illegal actions were stopped by official observer at the polling station while the illegally issued voting papers were marked as “spoiled” by members of the commission whereof resolution on the detection of violation of procedure for issuing a voting paper was prepared as of 26.10.2014. Criminal actions were determined under part 1 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine as receipt of voting paper by a person who does not have the right to receive it.   Person was discharged from criminal liability under article 48 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (first time offender who committed crimes of light or average weight, may be due discharged from criminal liability in case of recognition of the fact that such criminal act does not pose a risk to the public anymore or the accused person has ceased to be socially dangerous at the time of criminal proceedings due to change of conditions). Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 1 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (theft and fraudulent concealment of voting paper) Judgment of Sarny district court in Rivne region as of 13.01.2015 [ http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42410563 ]  On October 26, 2014 at around 13:35,  a voter who was in a state of alcoholic intoxication received the following three voting papers for signing from members of the precinct election commission while being in the premises of the polling station and exercising his right to participate in the elections: for choosing a candidate for People’s Deputies of Ukraine in multi-mandate constituency, a candidate in single-mandate constituency № 156, and a candidate for mayor of Sarny, which he concealed and took with him outside the premises of polling station without exercising his right to vote in violation of the law.   The court found the accused person guilty of committing a criminal offence under part 1 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and imposed a punishment in the form of penalty amounting to 1700 UAH. Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 1 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (theft and fraudulent concealment of voting paper) Judgment of Ordzhonikidze district court in Mariupol’ city, Donetsk region  as of 26.12.2014  [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42084983] On October 26, 2014 at around 16:50, an accused person who was in a state of alcoholic intoxication received a voting paper from member of PEC for voting in national multi-mandate constituency and single-mandate constituency. Then he entered the booth for secret voting where being under the influence of personal motives and acting intentionally for the purpose of secretly stealing the voting paper, he folded the voting papers and hid them in the sleeve of his coat. The accused person came out of the booths for secret voting and deposited a foreign object instead of voting paper into the ballot box in violation of part 9 of article 85 of the Law of Ukraine “On Elections of People's Deputies", whereupon he left the premises of polling station with two stolen voting papers and had a real opportunity to make use of them at his sole discretion.   An agreement on the recognition of guilt was approved. The court found the accused person guilty of committing a criminal offence under part 1 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and imposed a punishment in the form of penalty amounting to 1700 UAH. Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 3 of article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (signing vote count protocol at the polling station, signing voting results protocol or election results protocol or referendum results protocol prior to filling it out, or issuing or signing such a protocol outside of a meeting of election commission or referendum commission where vote counting process takes place) Judgment of Malyn district court in Zhytomyr region as of 22.01.2015 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42426453] During the final meeting of the PEC, held on 10.26.2014, Head of the election commission put signatures in “Head of PEC” boxes of vote count protocols, which were partially filled by the secretary of PEC, and gave them for signing by members of PEC and accredited agents of candidates for People's Deputies of Ukraine prior to filling in the results of vote count. Subsequently, election documents including the signed protocols were transported to TEC by Head, Deputy Head and Secretary of PEC in accordance with article 93 of the Law. Several mistakes were found in the process of checking the vote count protocols in TEC, whereby members of PEC were denied acceptance of election documents and obliged to correct the mistakes by preparing a protocol marked “Revised”. On October 27, 2014 at around 03:00, Head, Deputy Head and Secretary of PEC, having signed blank vote count protocols in their possession, continued their collusive illegal action in the premise of TEC by entering the women's restroom on the 2nd floor in the same the premise and filling the blank boxes with voting results outside the polling station on the basis of mistakes found by territorial election commission. Illegal acts of these persons were detected by official observer.   The court approved the agreement on the recognition of guilt concluded between the accused Head, Deputy Head and Secretary of PEC. The court found the accused persons guilty of committing a criminal offence under part 3 of article 158 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and imposed a punishment in the form of 5-year imprisonment with deprivation of the right to hold office in the precinct election commissions during election of President of Ukraine, People’s Deputies of Ukraine, deputies of local councils, mayors of villages, towns and cities for a period of 2 years. Pursuant to article 75 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the accused persons were relieved from serving primary punishment and placed on probation for a period of one year.  Appeal proceedings concerning the judgment of Malyn district court in Zhytomyr region as of 22.01.2015 Judgment of court of appeal in Zhytomyr region as of August 20, 2015 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/49313215 The disputed court decision condemns Head, Secretary and member of election commission for signing vote count protocols prior to the end of voting. The appellant pointed out in his appeal that there is no objective aspect of crime in his actions for as he did not complete all details in the vote count protocol and only filled in the names of members of the election commission, head of the commission, deputy head, secretary, members of the precinct election commission and also the date of the protocol. No other false information was entered into the protocol. According to the panel of judges, provided cumulative evidence confirms the correctness of the findings of the court and refutes the arguments of the appeal of the accused person regarding the absence of criminal offense in his actions and the absence of objective aspect of crime.   The appeal of accused person was dismissed while the decision of Zhytomyr district court in Zhytomyr region as of 22.01.2015 relating thereto was upheld. Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 1 of article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (previous version valid before 23.10.2014)(bribery of voters) Judgment of Novomoskovsk municipal and district court in Dnipropetrovsk region as of 10.02. 2015  [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/42636190] On December 12, 2014 at around 08:15, the accused person subject to the consent of the voter to vote in favor of a certain candidate in return for obtaining discounts on the purchase of products of “Dnipropetrovsk bakery № 11”, namely, purchase of pasta, halva and cookies with 30% discount, bribed the voter indirectly through provision of  30%-discount coupons as a reward for  voting in favor of a certain candidate for People’s Deputy of Ukraine. The voter used these 30%-discount coupons for buying food products worth 85 UAH in total including discount. Later on, at around 12:00 the accused person continued executing her criminal intent by conducting pre-election campaign, grossly violated the requirements of article 71 of the Constitution of Ukraine, paragraph 2 of Article 6; paragraph 14 of article 74 of the Law of Ukraine “On Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine” by offering previously unfamiliar voter to vote in favor of a certain candidate in return for a reward in the form of discount coupons. At around 12:15, while standing near the grocery store and having received the consent of another voter to vote for a certain candidate in return for obtaining discounts on the purchase of products, who in turn made use of provided 30% discount by purchasing food products worth 137 UAH in total including discount.   An agreement on the recognition of guilt was approved. The court found the accused person guilty of committing a criminal offence under part 1 of article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and imposed a punishment in the form of penalty amounting to 300 tax-exempt minimums (5100 UAH), as agreed by the parties. Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 1 of article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (previous version valid before 23.10.2014)(bribery of voters) Judgment of Bilogirsk district court in Khmelnytskiy region as of  12.12.2014 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/41897917] On October 20, 2014, at around 10:00, unidentified person offered the accused person to campaign in favor of candidate for people's deputies of Ukraine, having promised to pay 100 UAH to each voter, who will agree to vote for a certain candidate, and pay out additional compensation to the accused person, if the specified candidate will receive the target number of votes at the polling station. The accused person stated that at the same time unidentified person gave him forms of contracts and money in the amount of 2 000 UAH, which he pledged to distribute among voters by giving 100 UAH per person, thus convincing them to change their choice of candidate at the election. The accused person distributed all the money given to him in the amount of 2 000 UAH and filled out 24 contracts. Moreover, he informed that he has four more filled out forms of contracts concluded with residents of Vodychky village, who provided their passport details and signed the contracts, but he did not have enough money for them, so he promised to give them the money after the next meeting with the unidentified person. On the morning of October 22, 2014, the accused person had another meeting with unidentified person where he reported about the work done and, moreover, informed that he has 4 more contracts concluded with residents of Vodychky village but he does not have enough money to pay them, after which he received additional 400 UAH. The accused person also stated that the blank forms of contracts, which were seized in his house by the police, were also received from the unidentified person for the purpose of bribing voters, however, in the process of giving the money to residents and filling out the contracts he made mistakes in these two contracts and therefore left them at home.   The court found the accused person guilty of committing a criminal offence under part 1 of article 157 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (previous version valid before 23.10.2014) and imposed a punishment in the form of custodian restraint for a period of one year with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions, referendum commissions, to act as official observer as well as engage in activities related to election process and referendum for a period of one year. Pursuant to article 75 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the accused person was relieved from serving primary punishment and placed on probation for a period of one year.     Criminal proceedings concerning violation of electoral rights of citizens under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (provision of voting paper to a person who does not have the right to receive it) Judgment of Terebovlya district court in Ternopil region as of  02.04.2015  [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/44007083] On October 26, 2014, the accused person - member of PEC had several criminal intents aimed at giving the voting paper to a person who did not have the right to receive it. The accused person executing her criminal intent on the first and second occasion while being inside the voting premise and fulfilling her responsibility of issuing voting papers to voters - issued one voting paper for voting in the national multi-mandate constituency to an unidentified person, who did not have the right to receive a voting paper, and made corresponding records in the control coupon of above-mentioned voting paper by entering № 86, 776, 864, 777, 776, 995 in the “registration number of the voter in the list of voters at the polling station” boxes referring to the persons who were abroad on the date of the election.   The court approved the agreement on the recognition of guilt of the accused persons. The court found the accused persons guilty of committing a criminal offence under part 2 of article 158-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and imposed a punishment under part 1 of article 69 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine in the form of penalty amounting to 400 tax-exempt minimums (6800 UAH) with deprivation of the right to hold office in the election commissions during elections to central and local authorities for a period of 2 (two) years.      Criminal proceeding concerning prosecution of organizers of illegal referendums in Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Case type Court judgement Circumstances of a case  Content of court judgement Prosecution of organizers of illegal referendums Judgement of Illichivsk district court of Mariupol city in Donetsk region as of  30.10.2014  [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/41166289   ] During the pre-trial investigation it was found that in late April 2014, the accused person, acting intentionally, in order to change the boundaries of the territory and the state border of Ukraine gave his consent to the representatives of political asset "DPR in Mariupol” to participate in the referendum on the “independence of Donetsk People’s Republic" in the Donetsk region, which is a part of the administrative-territorial system of Ukraine under Article 133 of the Constitution of Ukraine and was included in the district election commission of Illichivsk district of Mariupol city. Further on May 11, 2014 an accused person along with other persons not identified during the pre-trial investigation provided a delivery of unrecorded voting papers to the established against the law of Ukraine territorial election commissions in Mariupol beforehand. During the day till 15 o’clock he performed his functional duties at the specfied building, namely: he prevented entering of third vehicles and persons that could harm the voting process, he guarded the voting boxes, and facilitated the self-proclaimed referendum in order to avoid its disruption and make it reliable. The accused person and the prosecutor concluded an agreement on recognition of guilt. The defendant was convicted  by a court for committing of criminal offenses under part 2 of Article 110 and Article 295 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the parties agreed for a punishment as follows: Under part 2 of Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine - to five years of imprisonment; under Article 295 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine - to 2 years of personal restraint. Under Article 70 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine for multiple offenses by absorption of less severe punishment by more severe punishment finally he was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment. Under Article 75 of the  Criminal Code of Ukraine an accused person was released from punishment with a probation period of 3 years.   Prosecution of organizers of illegal referendums Judgement of Velykonovosilkivskijdistrict court in Donetsk region as of 13.11.2014 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/41342801 ] An accused person having negatively attitude towards the current government in Ukraine conspired with unknown persons, while being in the city of Volnovakha in Donetsk region, and violating Chapter III of the Constitution of Ukraine took actions actively to ensure the conduction of illegal referendum on May 11, 2014 in Volnovakha district in Donetsk region which according to Article 133 of the Constitution of Ukraine is a part of the administrative and territorial structure of Donetsk region of Ukraine. He organized the gathering of  voluntary contributions from the citizens of Volnovakha district to conduct the above mentioned referendum, he  arranged a headquarter office for DPR,  he paid a rental fee for this office (without any written pappers) using the obtained money in the amount of 430 UAH. Later the accused person performed duties, imposed by the unidetified organizers of the referendum, on taking control over the voting in order to avoid its disruption and make the voting process reliable and legal, as well as to make the process of vote count reliable. The accused person and the prosecutor concluded an agreement on recognition of guilt. Under Article 75 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine a defendant was  released from punishment and from custody in the courtroom, provided that during a probation period of three years he will not commit an offense under Article 76 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and will fulfill his obligations in a good faith: not to leave Ukraine for permanent place of residence without a permission of criminal-executive inspection and to notify it of the change of residence.  Prosecution of organizers of illegal referendums Judgement of Primorskij district court of Mariupol city in Donetsk region as of 14.10.2014 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/41076807] On April 12, 2014, an accused person taking part in a protest in the support of creation of the Donetsk People’s Republic that was held next to the illegally occupied by the supporters of "DPR" building of the Mariupol City Council with the purpose to change the boundaries of the territory and the state border of Ukraine, the accused person joined the initiative group to take part in the organization of the illegal referendum and worked as a financier for this initiative group of "DNR".  At the end of April 2014 in the building of the Mariupol City Council, the defendant agreed to perform duties of the Deputy of self-appointed Head of the election commission being responsible for organizing and conducting of all events in the Primorsky district of Mariupol in order to proclaim the independence of "Donetsk People’s Republic" from Ukraine violating the norm of the Constitution of Ukraine.  In particular, on May 11, 2014 he performed duties of the Deputy Head of the election commission. Such actions were qualified as deliberate actions taken to change the boundaries of the territory of the state border of Ukraine committed by a conspiracy under Part 2 of Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine with a violation of the order established by the Constitution of Ukraine.    The accused person and the prosecutor concluded an agreement on recognition of guilt. Court sentenced the accused person to five (5) years of imprisonment. Under Article 75 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine a person was released from punishment with a probation period,  provided that during a probation period of 3 (three) years he will not commit an offense and will fulfill his obligations in a good faith. Prosecution of organizers of illegal referendums Judgement of Kramatorsk municipal court as of 19.08.2015 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/48787169] In an effort to take criminal activities  the members of the terrorist organization "DPR" distributed the announcements of intent to conduct an illegal referendum on May 11, 2014 on the administrative territories of Donetsk region which are temporarily beyond the control of Ukrainian authorities, the only one purpose of the mentioned referendum was to poll illegally the  residents of Donetsk region to recognize illegal creation of “DPR”  and its further independent existence  followed by the falsification of the results of count of allegedly their will to change the borders of Ukraine.  The accused person was informed about the remuneration for taking actions in order to change the boundaries of the territory of Ukraine, including his participation in illegal "referendum" on May 11, 2014 on the separate territory of Kramatorsk city by means of simulating of  the functions of "a representative of the district election commission” by the accused person on May 11, 2014, acting deliberately, with a single criminal intent, performing certain functions allegedly of "the Secretary of the district election commission # 32", the accused person issued sheets of paper, similar to voting papers, to the citizens, kept their records, created the lists of the persons who participated in this illegal polling and signed protocols on results. The accused person and the prosecutor concluded an agreement on recognition of guilt.  Under Article 75 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine a person was released from punishment with a probation period of one year, provided that during the above mentioned he will not commit an offense and will fulfill his obligations in a good faith.   Prosecution of organizers of illegal referendums Judgement of Kramatorsk municipal court as of  17.06.2015 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/48726843] An accused person read and understood on his own the distributed information about the lists of the persons for the participation in the illegal event on May 11, 2014 on the territory of the city and,  pursuing their own political reasons,  decided to be involved in criminal activities. The accused person was informed of a cash remuneration in the amount of $ 500.00 UAH for taking  actions to change the boundaries of the territory of Ukraine, in particular his participation in illegal event as "referendum" on May 11, 2014  by simulating of performance of the functions of "a representative of the district election commission' . At the same day, around 21:00 while continuing execution of his criminal intent, and not taking part in counting of the number of persons, who were actually present during this polling, he has signed the prior prepared protocols of the results of the simulation of people's will, which were subsequently received by the persons, who were not identified by the investigation, to their illegal use when trying to illegally change the boundaries of the territory of Ukraine in the manner that is not determined by the Constitution of Ukraine.    The accused person and the prosecutor concluded an agreement on recognition of guilt. Court sentenced to 3 (three) years of imprisonment, imprisonment in the criminal-executive institutions.  Under Article 75 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine a person was released from punishment with a probation period for one year, provided that during a probation period he will not commit an offense and will fulfill his obligations in a good faith. Prosecution of organizers of illegal referendums Judgement of Zhovtnevij district court of of Mariupol city as of 06 .11.2014  On May 11, 2014, in the city of Mariupol, Donetsk region, a defendant, acting on a prior agreement with a group of people, being aware that his actions would lead to changes in the boundaries of the territory and the state border of Ukraine, breaking the section №III of the Constitution of Ukraine, came to Zhovtneva voting station in Mariupol at 9 o’clock, which was situated in the building of the Mariupol City Council. He performed his functional duties during the day till 16 o’clock at the specified building, namely: he prevented entering of third vehicles and persons that could harm the voting, he guarded the voting boxes, and facilitated the self-proclaimed referendum in order to avoid its disruption and make it reliable. Illegal referendum was held by affixing a correspondent mark in columns "yes" or "no" to the question "Do you support the Act of state independence of the Donetsk People Republic?» The accused person and the prosecutor concluded an agreement on recognition of guilt. The court found the accused person guilty of committing a criminal offence determined by part 2 of Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of five years. Pursuant to  Article 75 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine the convicted person was released from serving punishment and placed on probation provided that during a probation period of three years he will not commit an offense and will fulfill his obligations in a good faith.  Prosecution of organizers of illegal referendums Judgement of Kramatorsk municipal court as of 09.06.2015[http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/44866629] On May 10, 2014 the defendant, acting with selfish motives and pursuing his own political reasons,  in order to receive remuneration gave his consent to organize an above mentioned illegal referendum, agreed to be responsible for the simulation of work of "the district commission # 32" and false conducting  of people's will on May 11, 2014. Performing duties of the alleged "Head of the district commission № 32" the defendant organized, supervised and coordinated the work of the "representatives of the district commission," issued them documents similar to voting papers, distributed the responsibilities between them concerning creation of lists of citizens, who completed the specified illegible polling, and further preparation and signing of protocols on the results, the defendant handed over the filled voting papers and protocols on results of simulation of people's will signed by him to persons not identified by the investigation for further use when trying illegally to change the boundaries of Ukraine.  The accused person and the prosecutor concluded an agreement on recognition of guilt. The court found the accused person guilty of committing a criminal offence determined by part 2 of Article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of five years. Pursuant to Article 75, 76 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine the convicted person was released from serving punishment and placed on probation provided that during a probation period of two (2) years he will not commit an offense and will fulfill his obligations in a good faith.  Prosecution of organizers of illegal referendums Judgment of Bilokurakyne district court in Lugansk region as of 21.10.2014 [http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/41623605] The accused person, having the criminal intent to change the existing boundaries of the territory and state border of Ukraine in violation of the procedure established by the Constitution of Ukraine, entered into a criminal conspiracy with unidentified persons while staying in a small town of Bilokurakyne in Lugansk region, received voting papers for conduct of the so called referendum on support for the declaration of independence of Lugansk People's Republic as of 11.05.2014. Then, in execution of a unified plan aimed at changing the boundaries of the territory and the state border of Ukraine he visited several settlements in Bilokurakyne district of Lugansk region, namely Bunchukivka, Lubyanka, Zayikivka, Oleksiyivka, Pavlivka, and Belokurakino where in places of public assembly he encouraged people to vote at the referendum and issued above-mentioned voting papers to local residents. After holding the vote in places, which were not specially equipped for this purpose, they collected all the issued voting papers in Belokurakino later on that same day for further transfer to representatives of the so-called Lugansk People's Republic.   The court found the accused person guilty of committing a criminal offence under part 2 of article 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and imposed a punishment in the form of 5-year imprisonment. Pursuant to article 75 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the accused person was relieved from serving punishment and placed on probation for a period of 3 years. Coercive intervention in activity of members of election commissions in Donetsk and Lugansk regions during the extraordinary elections of President of Ukraine  Judgment of Prymorskiy district court in Mariupol’ city, Donetsk region as of   19.06.2015  [ http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/45298174] On the 21st of May, 2014, the accused person together with unidentified persons forced the members of the election commissions to leave the premises of several polling stations, depriving them of work premises, thus hindering activities of the election commissions by depriving them of premises where polling stations were located, and created conditions that contributed to criminal activity of Donetsk People's Republic criminal organization, the aim of which was aimed to stop activities of territorial election commissions in preparation for the election of the President of Ukraine on 05.25.2014. The court found the accused person guilty of committing a criminal offence. Pursuant to part 1 of article 70 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine on the strength of evidence of conviction of aggregate of crimes, the court imposed a punishment in the form of 3-year imprisonment through absorption of less severe punishment by more severe one. Pursuant to article 75 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the accused person was relieved from serving imposed punishment and placed on probation for a period of 2 years on condition that he did not commit a new criminal offence during probation period and discharged all obligations imposed on him. 

  OPORA's activists at two polling stations have noticed that voters took pictures of their ballots. In the first incident, reported from the polling station #740998 (school #9, sports hall, 21 Oleksandra Molodchoho St.), a young man escorted a voter to booth, waited till he's out, and took a picture of his ballot paper near the box. When observers started to ascertain circumstances, the young man left polling station. Some time later, they both were noticed getting into a car. Law-enforcement bodies were informed about the incident.

 

Investigation of more than 75% criminal proceedings related to electoral rights violations committed during the 2014 Early Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine have failed to bring any result. Only 4.5% of criminal proceedings (13 of 291) were sent to trial. OPORA calls on MPs to improve electoral legislation and the Criminal Code of Ukraine and the public to secure efficient monitoring of 55 proceedings which are still being under pre-trial investigation.

 

Results of monitoring of activity of law enforcement and judicial institutions in Ukraine, conducted during February-June 2015 by Civic Network OPORA in partnership with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), indicate that over 75% of criminal proceedings started during early parliamentary elections in Ukraine in 2014 were ineffective. 222 out of 291 criminal proceedings for offenses against citizens' electoral rights have already been closed as of June 2015. Only 4.5% of all criminal proceedings (13 out of 291 proceedings) have come to trial. More detail are in interim report. 

 

On 29 and 30 November, OPORA's activists together with political analysts, journalists, media managers and experts of the election law discussed the course and results of 2014 parliamentary election campaign, as well as challenges and threats that can emerge in current social and political situation.

 

Taking into consideration that elections were not held in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation, and illegal armed formations and terrorist groups interfered into the election process in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the voter turnout in early elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine was quite high – 52.42%. Similarly to the Presidential election in May, activeness of the voters was changing throughout the day from the center to the west of the country.

 

Despite the results of early parliamentary elections have already been announced, some interesting facts regarding activities of the votes and high support given to the parties which would be impossible yet four years ago. For example, the fact that Petro Poroshenko received the highest number of votes not in the western Ukraine, but in two districts of Donetsk oblast. At the same time, the Opposition Block has also received the highest number of votes in Donetsk oblast, but in district #57, located in the city of Mariupol. However, the most surprising fact was that the Samopomich Union received the second largest number of votes in district #212 (Darnytskyi district of Kyiv city). 

 

In the city of Tiatchiv in Zakarpattia oblast (single-member district #72), citizens have found a small package with counterfoils of ballot papers right on a street.

 

Civil Network OPORA conducted the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) of election results for the sixth time, was the first who announced the party list results of 2014 parliamentary elections on the very next day, 27 October.

 
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