Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
The right to a fair trial

Accused in Dnipropetrovsk gas explosion case again amnestied


The Zavodsky District Court in Zaporizhya has ruled to amnesty three high-ranking officials of the gas company Dniprohaz.  The men -  the former Head of 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.

At a court hearing at the beginning of 2009 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.

The amnesty was revoked in April and the case sent to a different region for new examination.  Radio Svoboda reports that on 9 December 2010 the Zavodsky District Court simply reapplied the amnesty, seeing no grounds for re-examination of the case.

The lawyer representing victims of the explosion Dmytro Popvsky had argued that the amnesty could not be applied in this case. He alleges that there were numerous infringements in preparation for the court hearing, including failure to officially notify most of the victims.  The notification was sent to the building which was destroyed in the explosion in 2007, 

The victims reiterate that they are prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

More information can be found here: : “Dniprohaz, an amnesty and questions that could go all the way to Strasbourg”

The issue here is vital and not specifically about finding individuals to blame. 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 are great.

Information about Thursday’s hearing reported by Radio Svoboda

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