SBU draws up indictment against ex-Kuchma guard Melnychenko
The Central Investigation Department of the Security Service informs that it has concluded its pre-trial investigation into the case against Mykola Melnychenko. The indictment has been sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office to be confirmed then sent to the court. Melnychenko, it says, was informed on 6 December that he is suspected of divulging State secrets and exceeding official powers leading to grave consequences, that is, in committing the crimes set out in Articles 328 § 2 and 365 § 3 of the Criminal Code.
The information comes as the trial of former police colonel Oleksy Pukach for the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze in 2000 draws – finally – to a close.
The charges against Mykola Melnychenko stem from his job as Presidential guard for Leonid Kuchma and tapes he made of conversations, apparently between Kuchma, Volodymyr Lytvyn and others.
The tapes seem to implicate the former President in Gongadze’s murder making the SBU indictment for divulging state secrets particularly grotesque.
As reported here, much was made in early 2011 when criminal proceedings were initiated against Leonid Kuchma over the Gongadze case. Optimism that progress would finally be made on identifying those who ordered the journalist’s killing soon fizzled. In October the Constitutional Court obligingly ruled that evidence could not be used that had not been legitimately obtained by an investigative body. Melnychenko illicitly taped conversations in the President’s room.
While appeals against the closure of the criminal case against Kuchma were still continuing, the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv exactly a year ago decided that the decision by the Prosecutor General’s Office back in 2001 to initiate criminal proceedings against former Presidential guard Mykola Melnychenko had been lawful. In so doing it rejected an appeal from Mr Melnychenko’s lawyer, Mykola Nedilko.
From 2001 to 2004 criminal investigations were initiated against Melnychenko on charges of exceeding his authority, divulging state secrets, as well as of creating artificial evidence for the prosecution. In March 2005 the investigations were terminated by Prosecutor General Piskun. In June 2011 Kuchma’s lawyers appealed to the Pechersky District Court against the termination of the criminal investigation. That appeal was allowed, and the criminal investigation against Melnychenko reinstated.
Melnychenko was declared on the wanted list by the SBU [Ukrainian Security Service] in September 2011. He somewhat inexplicably returned to Ukraine just before the elections and was arrested, but then released on a signed undertaking.
See Selective Evidence for information about a rather strange twist to this ongoing saga which has seriously blotted Ukraine’s reputation.