Politics 2021-07-15T06:34:28+03:00
Ukrainian news
ECHR Obliges Ukraine To Pay EUR 7,500 To Chinese National Convicted For Murder Of Ukrainian Citizen In Kharkiv

ECHR Obliges Ukraine To Pay EUR 7,500 To Chinese National Convicted For Murder Of Ukrainian Citizen In Kharkiv For Violation Of Right To Fair Trial

murder, ECHR, compensation

The European Court of Human Rights has obliged Ukraine to pay EUR 7,500 to a Chinese national convicted for murder of a Ukrainian citizen in Kharkiv in 2009.

This is said in a decision of the ECHR of November 13, Ukrainian News Agency reports.

According to a press release, the applicant, Yu Zhang, is a Chinese national who was born in 1983 and lives in Tianchang (China).

On May 1, 2009, a fight broke out in Kharkiv between four Ukrainians and a group of Chinese students, including the applicant, while the students were having a picnic. During the fight, one of the Ukrainian men was stabbed. He died from his injuries in hospital three days later. Zhang was arrested and charged with his murder the same day.

A new Code of Criminal Procedure came into force in Ukraine in November 2012, introducing major changes. By that time the proceedings against the applicant had been going on for three and a half years, with several rounds of pre-trial investigation aimed at rectifying numerous flaws and deficiencies.

Meanwhile all the applicant’s fellow Chinese students, who had made witness statements favorable to the defense, had left the country. Relying on the new Code of Criminal Procedure, the courts refused to admit the statements as evidence as they had not been made directly in court.

In July 2013, the Kharkiv Court sentenced the applicant to 12 years’ imprisonment. An ordinary appeal by Zhang and an appeal on points of law were unsuccessful.

According to the press release, his conviction was largely based on the testimony of two of the Ukrainian men involved in the fight, Sa. and Su. However, Su. had reportedly been too drunk to talk to the police on the day of the incident, while Sa. had offered contradictory accounts of events on at least three occasions, at one point conceding that his identification of Zhang as the culprit had been driven by emotion.

The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights in January 2015.

Zhang was released in 2016 and returned to China.

The European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ECHR found in particular that the applicant had been convicted on the basis of contradictory and inconsistent prosecution witness testimony, a reason the case had earlier been remitted several times for further investigation. The courts had in the end accepted that evidence, at the same time refusing to admit testimony in favor of the applicant.

The courts had cited new procedural rules introduced in 2012 for their decision against admitting the evidence in favor of Zhang, rules which had been introduced to strengthen an accused person’s rights. However, the courts’ interpretation and application of the provisions had been incompatible with the State’s obligations under the Convention and had led to the exclusion of all the defense witness evidence from the file.

None of the courts had addressed the applicant’s arguments about the flaws in the evidence against him or the unfairness and arbitrariness of excluding evidence in his favor. The trial as a whole had thus led to a violation of his rights.

The ECHR held that Ukraine was to pay the applicant EUR 7,500 in respect of non-pecuniary damage. He did not make a claim for costs and expenses.

As Ukrainian News Agency earlier reported, Ukraine has paid citizens UAH 96 million of UAH 388 million compensations under the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) since the beginning of the year.

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