How the idea of protecting forests from illegal logging turns into abuse by law enforcement

How to turn a decent idea into a reason for another disappointment in the approaches that still prevail in the law enforcement system?

After the recent visit of the President of Ukraine to the Kharkiv region, law enforcement officers were set a tough task to stop the illegal deforestation of the Kharkiv region, to bring all liable persons to justice.

How was the task implemented?

One of the successful cases clearly demonstrates the “demonstration of work” of law enforcement officers.

Our client’s car, which was transporting timber, was detained by police at a stationary checkpoint.
Despite the presence of all required by law and properly executed shipping documents, as well as marking of all wood with appropriate tags, the investigative team inspected the car, seized and parked in one of the police stations of Kharkiv.

Further, to strengthen the effect of the absurdity of the situation, criminal proceedings were instituted on the grounds of a criminal offense under Part 1 of Article 246 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for up to three (!) years.

With the help of coordinated and timely actions of the team of attorneys the property, unjustifiably confiscated by the police, was returned to the owner.

However, it is worrying that the practice of such arrests of vehicles, which is completely unmotivated and illegal, continues to exist and develop.

We hope that any interference with the rights of entrepreneurs will be carried out only on the grounds and within the law.

Ivan Kucher
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