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Rada unlocks in absentia probe into fugitive ex-president

A special pre-trial investigation may now be held without international search.

Rada unlocks in absentia probe into fugitive ex-president

The Verkhovna Rada on Thursday introduced a temporary amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code effective until 1 April 2017, which significantly changed Article 24-1 outlining the special features of a pre-trial investigation.

The novelty cancels the previous requirement of international arrest warrant as a mandatory prerequisite for an in absentia investigation. The legislature opens way for a court trial against Viktor Yanukovych and other former senior officials of Ukraine, whom Interpol refuses to put on the wanted list.

According to the amendments, a special pre-trial investigation procedure can be applied both to those who evade the authorities of investigation and trial and is on an international/interstate wanted list, and to those who have been hiding from authorities for more than six months outside Ukraine, in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine or in the ATO zone, but are not on the international wanted list.