The theory of operative and search activity (later – OSA) is full of debatable issues, and the problem of criminal-legal foundations of conducting operative and search measures (later – OSM) is not an exception.
In Ukraine, in order to combat crime, to ensure law and order, a special type of legal activity is being carried out – OSM. Such activity is carried out by specially formed state bodies, their divisions, services and authorized officials [1, p. 309]. In the Law of Ukraine «On Operative and Search Activity» (later referred to as the Law of Ukraine «On OSA») clearly stipulates exactly such bodies, that is operational units, which are entitled to carry out OSA in the territory of Ukraine. These are the specific operational units of the National Police, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Security Service of Ukraine, the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, the State Security Service, the revenue and charges bodies, the bodies and institutions of execution of penalties and detention centers of the State Criminal Enforcement Service, the intelligence agency of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, which are defined in Part 1 of Art. 5 of the Law of Ukraine «On OSA».
Conducting OSA by other divisions of these bodies, units of other ministries, departments, public, private organizations and individuals is prohibited (Part 2 of Art. 5 of the Law of Ukraine «On OSA») . Accordingly, employees of only the statutory services and departments may carry out an OSM in compliance with the necessary procedures.
In spite of fact that for the first time in the post-Soviet space, attempts have been made to legislate on this issue in Ukraine, and there is still no proper legal mechanism for their implementation. In particular, there is still no clear definition of OSM in Ukraine.
In Art. 1 of the Law of Ukraine «On OSA», among the tasks of such activity, the first one is defined «search and fixation of actual data on the illegal actions of individuals and groups, the responsibility for which is provided by the Criminal Code of Ukraine». Such fixation is carried out during the execution of the OSA on the legal grounds stipulated by Art. 6 of the Law of Ukraine «On OSA», namely in the presence of sufficient information about: «crimes being prepared; persons preparing the crime; persons hiding from pre-trial investigation bodies, investigating judge, court or evading criminal punishment; persons unknown missing; intelligence and subversive activity of special services of foreign states, organizations and individuals against Ukraine; a real threat to life, health, housing, property of court and law enforcement personnel in connection with their official activities, as well as persons involved in criminal proceedings, their families and close relatives, in order to create the necessary conditions for the proper administration of justice; intelligence officers of Ukraine in connection with the official activities of these persons, their close relatives, as well as persons who co-operate confidentially or cooperate with the intelligence agencies of Ukraine and their families with a view to the proper conduct of intelligence activities». In Art. 2 of the same law states that OSA is carried out with the help of operative and operative-technical means . That is, it is quite clear that OSM is part of the OSA. Such measures are discussed in Art. 8 of the Law of Ukraine «On OSA», which defines the rights of the units that carry out OSA, and in Art. 9, which outlines the conditions of lawfulness during the implementation of the OSM. At the same time, the law emphasizes that when using OSM, employees of operational units are obliged to take into account their compliance with the degree of public danger of criminal encroachment and threat to the interests of society and the state.
In all, the provisions of the Law of Ukraine «On OSA» show some activity with the use of OSM. However, analyzing the content of the law, we come to the conclusion that the law contains only a list of OSM and does not formulate a so-called legal rule, which would provide a rule with disclosure of the content, grounds and procedure for such measures.
It is also worth noting that this law does not have a rule (separate article) that sets out an exhaustive list of OSM.
It should be marked that the legal definition of OSM is not provided in either Law of Ukraine «On OSA» or the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, as well as there is no legislative regulation of classification of such measures. Scientists have sometimes described OSM as OSA methods. At the same time, it is worth noting that the unified approach to the comparison of OSA and OSM methods has not yet been developed in OSA theory [3, p. 230]. From the definitions of OSM it follows that the OSA usually takes a set of measures to use individual methods and techniques, techniques and methods of solving tactical problems. At the same time, due to the shortcomings mentioned above, namely the lack of a normative list and definition of OSM in Law of Ukraine «On OSA», operatives are actually deprived of the opportunity to draw up protocols about OSM without knowing what actions to consider as measures [4, p. 214].
We analyzed the positions of scientists on the classification of OSM in OSA science and concluded that in the writings of scientists the systematization of OSM in terms of criminal law was practically not carried out. Only certain criteria of differentiation are of particular scientific and practical interest .
We emphasize that the legal vagueness of the concept of OSM and the lack of its list in the law creates certain difficulties, first of all, in the law enforcement process is not only of the units authorized to carry out OSA, but also of the bodies of pre-trial investigation, prosecutor’s office and court during use during pre-trial investigation or trial criminal prosecution of OSA materials obtained in the course of the OSM, prosecutorial supervision and judicial review of the OSA, restoration of the rights of citizens violated by the illegal holding of the OSM.
We support the view that «ambiguous understanding of the concept of OSM in theory leads to the fact that legislation, departmental regulations and in practice often refer to OSM such measures that do not correspond to their content (for example, organizational activities carried out within the OSA, operative and search operations which by their epistemological and legal nature have other meaningful meaning)» [6, p. 184 – 185].
In the theory of operative and search science, the thesis has recently been extended that OSM are revealed through the prism of the composition of a legitimate act [7, p. 120–123]. This approach is promising and conducive to improving the application of the rules of law. OSM should not endanger human health and life, infringe upon their honor and dignity, violate rights and legitimate interests, and the like. However, it is quite clear that during the OSM, damage can be caused, which must be caused by the actual inability at that moment to fulfill the tasks set in another way. The Supreme Court noted that in reviewing cases of the state of necessary defense and exceeding its limits, it was «necessary to ascertain whether the protected person had a real opportunity to effectively repel a socially dangerous encroachment" by other means of causing the assailant harm necessary and sufficient in a particular setting to immediately prevent or stop the encroachment» .
Note, only entities that are specifically authorized persons identified in Art. 5 of Law of Ukraine «On OSA». Namely, harming is possible only for the intended purpose. The purpose is to prevent, suspend or disclose a criminal offense (a serious or particularly serious crime).
Currently, it is necessary to legislate the norm of forced causing of damage during the conduct in accordance with the law of Ukraine operative and search, counter-intelligence measures or unspoken investigative (search) actions by an employee of an authorized state body. To this end, it is necessary to supplement the Criminal Code of Ukraine with a provision that would provide for the exemption from criminal liability of an officer of an operational unit or a person involved in cooperation with an OSA body for committing a criminal offense during the OSM. In this regard, in the future we will make appropriate adjustments to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine and Law of Ukraine «On OSA».
Thus, a set of amendments to the legislation on criminal liability will create a criminal-legal basis for the operative and search activity of the authorized bodies.
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