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Roma teenager’s case: "I hope this trial was the last"
Mykola Burlutskiy and Roman Lykhachov Photo: Facebook.
Mykola Burlutskiy and Roman Lykhachov

Another trial that united criminal proceedings on charges against the Roma teenager was held on 23 June 2016. As a result, the teenager was placed under the parental supervision. Human rights activists hope that this session was the last and finally completed the chain of accusations against the minor, which, in their opinion, had evidence of double discrimination.

Since January 2016 Legal Space watched developments of the proceedings against the Roma teenager Bohdan Kanus. Finally, the results of the next trial of the guy’s action was re-evaluated by the court from part 2 of article 296 of the CC of Ukraine ("Hooliganism") on part 1 of the same article that provides for less strict punishment, and Bogdan was placed under the parental supervision.

This was announced by the staff of LCC at NGO “Chachimo”. The head of the organization Mykola Burlutskiy defended Bohdan together with the lawyer, the head of Chuhuiv human rights group Roman Lyhachov and lawyer Maksym Kornienko.

Stages of litigation

According to human rights activists, the acts against Bohdan Kanus were in the jurisdiction of Dvurechansky district court of Kharkiv region in 2015-2016.

Thus, according to the illegal sentence dated 03.07.2015 Bohdan was recognized as guilty of a criminal offense under part 2 St. 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment with release from its serving with a probation period of 1 year.
The following unlawful and unwarranted sentence dated 16.12.2015, which was later cancelled, the minor was sentenced to 2 years and 1 month of imprisonment.

“One by one, the court made unreasonable decisions. However, no one (judges – ed.) did not want to thoroughly understand the situation”, told the coordinator of the NGO "Chachimo" Natalia Burlutska. “Because of the situation found out very late we had only one day to appeal - and we did it”.

The defenders had serious arguments against the teenager’s being held in custody – this measure is applied to minors only in cases of committing a grave crime, and hooliganism does not fall under the conditions of the article.

The lawyer who not only challenged the illegality and invalidity of the sentences in both proceedings, but also facilitated rapid appeal complaint brought attention of the community to this event. In particular, the details of the case were first considered on 14 January in Kharkiv during round table on Roma issues, which was held with the support of International Renaissance Foundation.

Freedom but with consequences for the teenager's consciousness

On 22 February 2016 Bohdan was released in the court room.

“However, the error of the court cost the young man 2 months in jail that left a negative imprint, it struck the guy’s mind”, Natalia Burlutska said and added: “In each case the minors were accused of committing crimes of medium gravity - bullying. The guy pleaded guilty only to the infliction of light bodily injuries, and that was true. However, the court decided it inappropriate to hold a judicial investigation in full and did not want to spend time figuring out the actual circumstances and the reasons which prompted the young man to such illegal steps, conducted the trial in a shortened order. At the same time the court did not pay attention to the fact that the accused (a minor) did not speak Ukrainian and denied his guilt in the incriminated body of a pretrial investigation”.

Bohdan won 2 appeals in criminal cases against prosecutors of Dvurechansky district. Two sentences against him were canceled in connection with significant violations of the judicial process. On 3 June this was reported about by the lawyer Roman Lykhachov.

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Bohdan Kanus (second from left) after court session in June 2016 - his mother, friend and human rights defenders. Photo: Roman Lykhachov’s Facebook.

The opinion of the International Renaissance Foundation cannot coincide with the point of view of authors of publication.

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