Court revokes amnesty for men accused over Dnipropetrovsk gas explosion


On 22 April the Dnipropetrovsk Court of Appeal revoked the court ruling on 20 January amnestying three men charged with professional negligence. The three men – the former Head of the gas company Dniprohaz, his second in command and the Chief Engineer were all facing charges of professional negligence in connection with a gas explosion on 13 October 2007 which claimed the lives of 27 residences of a Dnipropetrovsk apartment block.

The news of the court ruling was given by lawyer representing victims of the explosion Dmytro Popvsky. He said that the Court of Appeal had sent the case back for another examination, to the same court – the Zhovtnevy District Court in Dnipropetrovsk – which decided in January to apply the amnesty.

As reported at the time, the men were facing charges under Article 367 § 2 of the Criminal Code, this being for professional negligence with grave consequences. The men’s lawyers asked that the proceedings be dropped under the Law on Amnesty from 12 December 2007. On 20 January, the judge agreed that the law applied in this case and terminated the proceedings.

The victims and relatives of those who died immediately issued a letter appealing to the President, Prime Minister and Prosecutor General to intervene, and warning that they would apply to the European Court of Human Rights if they found no remedy in Ukraine.

More information about the background to this case, as well as the rather strange relict from Soviet times of an amnesty which can be applied before any sentence is handed down, here: “Dniprohaz, an amnesty and questions that could go all the way to Strasbourg”

The issue was no small matter since with nobody from the company having been found by a court to have been in any way culpable, the problems with trying to extract compensation from Dniprohaz seemed very great.

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