Lutsenko trial: hearing postponed due to lack of officially aggrieved party


The trial in the second prosecution of former Minister of the Interior and opposition leader, Yury Lutsenko was due to begin on Friday 3 August.  However the defence immediately registered their objection to the non-appearance of Valentin Davydenko, the person whom the Prosecutor General’s Office investigators call the aggrieved party in the case. They pointed out that the law demands his presence at the trial and demanded that he be brought by force to the court. Judge Medushevska, they said, was in breach of Article 277 of the Criminal Procedure Code by not ensuring Davydenko’s attendance. “It is not clear to us whether he supports the charges laid against Lutsenko, Tarasenko and Pavlyenov.”

Judge Medushevska postponed the hearing until 10 August, however there is no mention of any order to have Davydenko brought to the court.

As reported, Lutsenko is charged with “negligence” over the allegedly unlawful surveillance on Valentin Davydenko, driver of the former Deputy Head of the SBU [Security Service] Volodymyr Satsyuk. Yushchenko had been taken ill in 2004 after dining with SBU people at the dacha of the SBU Deputy Head.

The charge was reduced about a month ago from abuse of power (under Article 384 § 2 of the Criminal Code).  The milder indictment – which also avoids the articles of the Criminal Code that have been roundly condemned by the international community – would obviously carry a milder sentence.  The Prosecutor asserts that this is because in the course of the trial it has been established that Lutsenko had no intention to violate Davydenko’s rights, however as Minister he should have known that the investigation had been closed.

The case has already been, shall we say, complicated by the fact that effectively all the witnesses called by the prosecution have said that they believe the surveillance of Davydenko was lawful.

Then in mid July, Judge Medushevska read out a telegram from Valentin Davydenko who stated that he did not consider himself to be a victim in this case and asked the court to not disturb him any more.

Yury Lutsenko was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment in February over the first two charges brought against him.  The third charge was unexpectedly separated into a different trial late last year.  His conviction and the new trial have been widely condemned as politically motivated.

On 3 July the European Court of Human Rights announced its judgement in the case of Lutsenko v. Ukraine with respect to the initial detention. It unanimously found violations of Articles 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security); 5 § 2 (right to be informed of the reasons for one’s arrest); 5 § 3 (right to be brought promptly before a judge)-trial detention; 5 § 4 (right to challenge the lawfulness of one’s detention) with respect to the initial detention of former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko.

Infromation about Friday’s (brief!) hearing from Narodna samooborona

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