Contempt of (European) Court


 Photo from UNIAN

The Kyiv Regional Court of Appeal has effectively upheld the refusal to bring proceedings against those responsible for the unlawful arrest and detention of former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko.  This is despite the damning European Court of Human Rights Judgment from 3 July 2012 which found unanimously that the arrest and detention had been arbitrary and unwarranted.  The Court in Strasbourg also found violation of Article 18 in conjunction with Article 5, this meaning that his right to liberty had been restricted for other reasons than those permissible under Article 5.”

The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling from 1 July this year by the Svyatoshynsky District Court of the Kyiv oblast which refused to reinstate criminal proceedings against First Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin, the Prosecutor General’s Office investigator Serhiy Voichenko and the judges of the Pechersky District Court and Kyiv Court of Appeal judges who initiated Lutsenko’s detention and remand in custody. The word reinstate here is only formally correct.  A criminal investigation was theoretically initiated in late December 2012, however it was terminated on 4 January.

The first instance court’s ruling claimed that the European Court of Human Rights judgment had not referred to specific officials, and only to Ukraine as the respondent. It further stated that the ECHR judgment was based on value categories and that it was the State that was ordered to implement it, not specific individuals. As if this were not enough, it claimed that the infringements cited in Lutsenko’s application were not significant.

A year earlier the European Court “held unanimously, that there had been: two violations of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of Mr Lutsenko’s arrest and ensuing detention; a violation of Article 5 § 2 (right to be informed of the reasons for one’s arrest); two violations of Article 5 § 3 (right to be brought promptly before a judge) on account of both his arrest and his pre-trial detention; a violation of Article 5 § 4 (right to challenge the lawfulness of one’s detention); and a violation of Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights) in conjunction with Article 5”

The Court held in particular: that Mr Lutsenko’s arrest had been arbitrary; that no valid reasons had been given for his detention; that he had not been duly informed of the reasons for his detention; and, that the lawfulness of his arrest and detention had not been properly reviewed.

The Court also found that, given that the prosecutors had referred to Mr Lutsenko’s communication with the media as one of the reasons for his arrest, his right to liberty had been restricted for other reasons than those permissible under Article 5.”

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