Claim of Mirgorod mayor O. Pautov against the newspaper “Mirgorodska Pravda” and the editor of the newspaper
V. Kozoriz, “Mirgorodska Pravda”:
The enemies of “Mirgorodska Pravda” began to celebrate their victory too early. I want to remind that on 23 June 2003 the Okhtyrka town court partly satisfied the claim of Mirgorod mayor Oleksandr Pautov against the opposition newspaper “Mirgorodska Pravda” and Viktor Kozoriz, the editor of the newspaper. The court obliged the defendants to refute the information that had been published in the newspaper and to pay 2100 hryvnas of moral compensation. Yet, since the decision was issued with numerous brutal violations of the norms of material and procedural right, I turned to the appeal court of the Sumy oblast, and the decision has not come into force until now.
However, the court decision on this case was rather predictable, because our court system is subordinated to the executive power and religiously fulfills all orders of state authorities. At that the judges, in order to please the officials, resort not only to open violations of laws, but also to manipulations with facts. For instance, I handed to the Okhtyrka town court more than twenty documents confirming the incompetence of town mayor O. Pautov and the authoritarian style of his work. Yet, the court ignored these proofs. The court referred in its decision only to the proofs, which were favorable for the plaintiff (such as diplomas obtained from the President and oblast administration). Besides, the court wittingly did not separate the facts and evaluative judgments, which were expressed in my article, thus violating not only the Ukrainian Constitution and Ukrainian laws, but also the norms of the international right, which guarantee the freedom of expression to every person. The court saw the malicious intent in the publication of the truth about the activities of town mayor. This malicious intent, in the opinion of judge Galina Koroliova, consisted in the fact that the newspaper with the mentioned article had been published on the eve of the Day of local self-rule, the professional holiday of O. Pautov, thus inflicting terrible moral sufferings to him. Yet, the newspaper was issued ten days after this holiday, and the article was not connected with that day. So, the judge had to have very forcible reasons for coming to the opposite conclusion. I even suppose that she was intimidated or bribed. The competent lawyers, who analyzed the decision of the Okhtyrka town court notices that the decision word for word quoted the arguments of V. Pedorich, a representative of O. Pautov, and, maybe, was even written by him. Moreover, for some reasons, the judge issued the decision only four days after the consideration of the case, which is also a brutal violation of the CPC of Ukraine.
So, such is the real face of the modern Ukrainian Themis.
(«The Poltava oblast media club», No. 40, 7 August 2003)