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

Lutsenko Trial: Without Journalists or Lutsenko


On Thursday the court began reading Yury Lutsenko the indictment. However before this journalists were removed from the courtroom, and then Lutsenko himself, supposedly for infringing public order. Such actions by the judges examining the cases against members of the opposition are already being appealed both in Ukraine and in the European Court of Human Rights. However  the Ministry of Internal Affairs and High Council of Justice deny any infringements by members of the judiciary.

On Thursday the hearing in the case against former Minister of Internal Affairs Yury Lutsenko who is accused of exceeding official powers and unlawful incentives for his driver unexpectedly changed from preliminary examination to examination of the case on its merits. Lutsenko’s lawyer, Oleksy Bahanets asserts that Judge Vovk did not warn them and the defence was simply deprived of the opportunity of issuing all the necessary submissions.

As reported earlier, only some journalists were admitted at all. Then the six television channels who were allowed in were forced to stop broadcasting on the court’s ruling.

“Video recordings and television broadcasts of the court hearing are banned until the ruling is passed – in order to avoid pressure on witnesses and impediments to studying evidence in the case”, Judge Vovk’s decision read.

In response Yury Lutsenko stated that the broadcast had been interrupted so as not to spoil Viktor Yanukovych’s holiday in the Crimea. He demanded that the trial remain open. 

“At the beginning of the trial you declared it open. There is no need to raise for the first time the question of not allowing television broadcast. After all the trial is open. You are using norms from 1960. at present even without a video camera anyone can record the hearing on a Dictaphone and let witnesses hear it. Therefore the ban on live broadcast is idiocy!”, Lutsenko concluded.

The Prosecutor’s representative began reading out the indictment and Lutsenko at the same time – his submissions. At first the Judge tried to stop him and then simply ordered him removed. The lawyers’ objection that you can’t read out the indictment without the accused went unanswered. An opposition MP present said that the indictment over 300 pages is likely to take all of next week.

At 3.30 the electricity suddenly went off disrupting the court hearing which has now been adjourned until Monday.

An application has already been made to the European Court of Human Rights which is considering without awaiting its turn in the queue.

The Ukrainian Government has already been sent a list of questions regarding how Lutsenko was arrested and charged, as well as other questions. 

The journalists who, together with National Deputies, were removed by force from the trials of both Yulia Tymoshenko and Yury Lutsenko have demanded an explanation from the MIA. Minister Mohylyov states that the court and the police acted lawfully. The Head of the High Council of Justice, Volodymyr Kolesnichenko asserts that there have been no complaints about Judge Vovk’s behaviour.

From the report at

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