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17.04.2008

“Maidan” activist wins case against Prosecutor General

   

Oleksandr Severyn, legal adviser to the “Maidan” Alliance applied to the Security Service [SBU] to initiate a criminal investigation over the blocking of the Verkhovna Rada.

As expected, SBU passed the application on the Prosecutor General’s Office, claiming that it was subordinate to the latter (the relevant letter from SBU with a reference to the article of the Criminal Procedure Code was later to be evidence in the case). The Prosecutor General’s Office avoided taking a decision on the substance of the case, claiming lack of authority to oversee observance of lawfulness by the Verkhovna Rada and referring to the Regulations of the Verkhovna Rada.

Convinced that lack of overseeing powers in no way cancels the Criminal Procedure Code which the Regulations of the Verkhovna Rada, in their turn, have no relation to (these Regulations were, incidentally, recently declared unconstitutional  by the Constitutional Court), Mr Severyn filed a suit with the District {Okruzhny) Administrative Court of Ukraine. .

On 8 April 2008, the Court allowed the claim against the Prosecutor General’s Office, ruling:

-  “To find unlawful the inaction of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine in not taking a decision according to Article 97 of the Criminal Procedure Code in response to O. Severyn’s application from 18.01.08.

-  To bind the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine to take a decision according to Article 97 of the Criminal Procedure Code in response to O. Severyn’s application from 18.01.08 regarding the obstruction by a group of Deputies during the Plenary Session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 18 January 2008 to the normal work of the Verkhovna Rada.”

The Prosecutor General’s Office must thus provide an answer to an extremely interesting and fundamental question – whether physical obstruction to the work of the legislative body is a criminal action. If it is, then it must initiate the relevant criminal investigation and deal with the Deputies blocking parliament. If it is not, then following the constitutional principle of the equality of all citizens before the law, then this “it is not” will apply to all citizens – with all the ensuring consequences.

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