The Human rights Ombudsman explains the norms of the current legislation enshrining the legal status of things, money and other property seized from citizens by law enforcement agencies during a search, seizure.
In accordance with Clause 1 of Article 201 of the DPR Criminal Procedure Code during a search or seizure, only items and documents that are relevant to the case, as well as values or property of an accused or suspect, can be seized in order to secure a civil claim or possible confiscation of property. Items and documents withdrawn from circulation by law are subject to seizure regardless of their attitude to the case (narcotic substances, weapons owned by paramilitary institutions, medicines made not by a factory (handicraft) method, etc.).
In accordance with Clauses 1-5 of Part 1 of Article 88 of the CPC of the DPR, the issue of material evidence is decided by a judgment, decision or order of a court or by a decision of a body of inquiry, investigator, prosecutor to cease the case, wherein:
1) murder weapons belonging to an accused are subject to seizure;
2) items withdrawn from circulation are transferred to the relevant institutions or destroyed;
3) items that have no value and cannot be used are destroyed, and in cases where interested parties ask for it, they can be transferred to them;
4) money, valuables and other items obtained by criminal means are seized into State property;
5) money, valuables and other items that were the object of criminal actions are returned to their legal owners, and if they are not established, then these money, valuables and items become State property.
However, Clause 2 of Article 88 of the CPC of the DPR established that the dispute about the ownership of items to be returned is resolved in civil proceedings.
Thus, the decision to return the previously seized property is made by a court of the Donetsk People’s Republic, or by a body of inquiry, an investigator, a prosecutor, depending on the stage of a criminal process, as well as the circumstances of the criminal case itself.