Review of court decisions on newly discovered circumstances

Extracts for legal literacy News

The Human Rights Ombudsman explains the norms of criminal procedural legislation of the Donetsk People’s Republic, which regulate the review of court decisions on newly discovered circumstances in order of exceptional proceedings.

Clauses 1, 2, 3 of Part 1 of Article 421 of the DPR CPC establish that newly discovered circumstances are:

 1) falsification of evidence, incorrect translation, as well as testimony of a witness, victim, accused, defendant, conclusion and explanations of a forensic expert on which the judgment is based;

2) abuse of a prosecutor, inquirer, investigator or judges during the proceedings;

3) all other circumstances that were not known to the court when the court decision was made and which, by themselves or together with previously identified circumstances, prove the incorrectness of the conviction or acquittal of a defendant.

However, the norms of Part 2 of Art. 421 of the CPC DPR stipulates that falsification of evidence, knowingly incorrect translation, knowingly false testimony of a witness, victim, knowingly incorrect conclusion and explanations of a forensic expert, abuse of prosecutors, interrogators, investigators and judges are grounds for reviewing court decisions that have entered into legal force, in order of exceptional proceedings only if they are established by a verdict that has entered into legal force, and if it is impossible to issue a verdict – by the materials of the investigation.

It should be noted that in accordance with Part 5 of Art. 422 of the CPC DPR, if there is evidence confirming the innocence of a convicted person or the commission of a less serious crime, the renewal of proceedings on newly discovered circumstances is not limited in duration.

According to Art. 424 of the CPC DPR, interested persons, legal entities and officials submit an application for the reconsideration of the case to the prosecutor. In order to verify the application, the prosecutor has the right to demand the case from the court. After completing the investigation on newly discovered circumstances, the prosecutor, if there are grounds for the renewal of proceedings, sends it along with the materials of the investigation or the judgment that entered into force, and prosecutor’s opinion to the Prosecutor General or his deputy, who decides whether to send the submission to the court of cassation.

Cases in which the verdict was issued by the court of appeal, the prosecutor files to the Prosecutor General of the Donetsk People’s Republic, who decides the issue of sending the submission to the court of cassation.

If the prosecutor does not see grounds for retrial, he refuses to do so with his reasoned decision, and notifies the persons who submitted the applications. This decision of the prosecutor may be appealed against to a higher prosecutor.

Thus, if the above legal grounds arise, it is possible to apply with a corresponding statement to the prosecutor to review the court decision on newly discovered circumstances.