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09.01.2013

Prosecutor General quashes indictment against Melnychenko

   

Not unexpectedly, the Prosecutor General’s Office has intervened and revoked the indictment for alleged divulgence of state secrets in the criminal case against former Kuchma Guard Mykola Melnychenko and sent it for further examination.

The Prosecutor General’s Office did not give any reasons for this move announced on Tuesday. 

As reported here, the fact that Melmychenko returned to Ukraine just before the parliamentary elections and has since been cited in many of the allegations made by Deputy Prosecutor General Kuzmin against Yulia Tymoshenko could not fail to arouse speculation (see Selective Evidence)

The SBU [Security Service] announced at the end of 2012 that it had completed its investigation into the case against Mykola Melnychenko and that the indictment had been sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office to be confirmed and then sent to the court.  The charges were of divulging State secrets and exceeding official powers leading to grave consequences.  It is the indictment linked with state secrets which has been sent for further examination.

The new move comes a couple of weeks before the verdict is due of former police colonel Oleksy Pukach who is charged over the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze in 2000.  

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. He had been on the international wanted list since September 2011.  

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