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The future of criminal justice in the context of digitalization

The future of criminal justice in the context of digitalization

Associate Professor, Higher School of Law, RANEPA, Member of the General Council of Business Russia, Head of the Expert Center for Criminal Law Policy and Enforcement of Judicial Acts, ambassador “business officer” Ekaterina Avdeeva took part in the international scientific and practical conference "Information Technology Security in Law Enforcement", organized by St. Petersburg University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. In her speech, she spoke about digitalization of criminal justice for the effective implementation of criminal law goals and objectives.

“Today, the issue of introducing digital technologies into criminal proceedings is extremely relevant and in line with the general trends in the digitalization of state bodies”, - Ekaterina Avdeeva believes.

According to her, a consensus is being formed among theorists and practitioners on delegating operational functions in the field of judiciary to digital technologies. Digitalization includes the introduction of electronic document management, formation of an electronic criminal case, creation of digital platforms for audio storage- and video protocols of legal proceedings and court hearings.

“In the realities of today's scientific and technical capabilities, the urgent need to transfer criminal proceedings, as in the pre-trial stage, as well as the stages of the trial, to new levels, ensuring the transition to a digital format of many processes and the translation of documents into such a format, as well as more active use of telecommunications”, – said Ekaterina Avdeeva.

The current model is not only obsolete, but also extremely resource-intensive and inefficient, expert believes. In addition, there is a possibility of losing the carriers themselves or their parts, both in the process of interdepartmental interaction, and when moving among many similar folders in offices, archives, office.

Digital transformation will have a huge impact on the acceleration of all processes. It's about, mainly, on the reduction of the terms of criminal proceedings for a fair punishment of the guilty, rehabilitation of persons in case of initiation of criminal proceedings prematurely, restoration of legal rights and interests of victims.

“The timing of the preliminary investigation is a big problem for the modern criminal process due to, one side, workload of investigators and often difficulties in collecting evidence, on the other hand, time spent on sending documents, from a third party, for the delivery of subpoenas to persons, interrogation of which is important for the criminal case, and at the stage of pre-investigation verification, an operational survey is of critical importance ", - Ekaterina Avdeeva argued.

Herewith, for example, reduction of statute of limitations for tax crimes, which happened due to amendments to Art.. Art. 199-199-199, 199 Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on the basis of the draft law, prepared in accordance with the President of the Russian Federation V. In. Putin from 26.04.2022 No. Pr-740, formed as a result of the meeting of the head of state with the activists of "Business Russia" at the forum 03.02.2022 y, involves a reduction in the duration of the investigation in order to, so that persons cannot count on the indulgence of criminal punishment only on the basis of the expiration of the statute of limitations due to the length of the preliminary investigation.

At the same time, it is worth developing the possibilities of using videoconferencing., provide for the participation of a much larger number of persons when considering, for example, petitions for choosing a preventive measure in the form of detention, which can thereby ensure a more attentive approach of judges when resolving the issue of granting such a petition, since in criminal cases against entrepreneurs there continues to be a problem of ignoring the requirements of h. 1.1 Art. 108 Code of Criminal Procedure.

As an example, Ekaterina Avdeeva cited the positive experience of foreign countries: Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Georgia, where the transition to the electronic format of the criminal case took place in 2009 and 2011 year respectively. The result of the implementation of the digital experiment in Brazil was a reduction in 70% the time of the procedural actions, increase in performance of judges 50%, speeding up the processing of new cases 87%.

It is important to emphasize, that government digitalization strategies should take into account the need to ensure the security of sensitive personal data, sufficient verification of persons. Besides, law enforcement officers need to be trained, and it is also desirable to properly inform the population about the possibilities and prospects of digital justice.

“We need such a national program, which would be completely worked out, took into account all aspects and ensured through the regulations its implementation in criminal proceedings, and at all stages, from the registration of a crime to the execution of a sentence. Today is to be expected, that in the framework of criminal proceedings, the process of the final transition to an electronic format will already be a matter of the near future”, — concluded Ekaterina Avdeeva.

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