09.12.2000 | E. Zakharov, Kharkiv

Two members of the International Union of human rights protection are tried for slander


This story somewhat differs from the typical ones – persecution of mass media or journalists – yet, it is instructive. Anatoliy Luniachenko, the chairman of the Odessa oblast court, turned to court requesting to start a libel case against Nikolay Rozovaykin and Leonid Sapa according to Article 125 Part 1 of the CC of Ukraine. The plaintiff complained that Rozovaykin and Sapa in their applications to the President of Ukraine, to the USS, to the Supreme Council of Justice and to the Supreme Rada distributed false information asserting that Luniachenko tramples the Constitution, the laws of Ukraine and human rights, misuses his post, participates in machinations of selling ships for damping prices. The Zavodskoy district court of the city of Nikolaev considered the claim and found it grounded. As to N. Rozovaykin and L. Sapa, they had to sign the promise of not leaving the town. As a response to the start of the criminal case N. Rozovaykin and L. Sapa published in the first issue of the bulletin ‘Selfdefense’ of the Dnepropetrovsk center of human rights protection an open letter addressed to the President of Ukraine and titled ‘The state flag over the court brothel’. The open letter (as well as other appeals and applications) the authors signed as ‘representatives of the international union of human rights protection in Ukraine’. In this lengthy and emotional text the authors put together their numerous accusations to the address of Luniachenko. In particular, the authors state that under the guidance of A. Luniachenko his nephew Vladimir Luniachenko, a judge of the Primorskiy district court of Odessa, ‘sold at a very low price of $2,200,000 the national property of Ukraine – a passenger liner ‘Taras Shevchenko’, whereas its real price is $12 million’. Further the authors state that a criminal case according to Articles 165 Part 2 and 80 Part 1 of the CC of Ukraine has been started, that the investigation is carried out and that a court combination with the direct participation of Luniachenko has been finished with another ship of the Agarov plant. Further Rozovaykin and Sapa inform that the productive commercial company ‘Monolit-Invest’ is busy in a confidence trick: the swindlers gathered money of some inhabitants of Odessa for building a block of flats and after having built the house they sold the flats to other people. District courts defended the victims of this trick, but Luniachenko canceled the decision of the district courts and openly defended ‘Monolit-Invest’ since this organization ‘built one of the villas of Luniachenko and the building of the oblast court. On the 9th floor of this building Luniachenko ordered to erect a sauna and high-quality apartments, thus giving finishing touches to the building, which in the direct and figurative meaning is the brothel for judges. And now a state flag of Ukraine is waving over the brothel’. Further in the article authors quote a collective letter of the Beliavskiy district court of Odessa to the President of Ukraine and the Supreme Rada. The judges of the court write that the chairman of the oblast court A. D. Bobuek ‘openly collects money for himself and for the chairman of the oblast court A. Luniachenko’ and quotes numerous examples; in particular, that after passing the appointed sums of money by the accused they get conditional verdicts independently of the gravity of their crimes. The authors do not say whether these facts were ever checked. N. Rozovaykin and L. Sapa write only that ‘neither the chairman of the Supreme Rada nor the Minister of Justice, nor the chairman of the Supreme Court of Ukraine responded to the complaints of the victims and MPs. The corruption at the top of juridical power enabled A. Luniachenko and company to become especially dangerous criminals in Ukraine’. In the same article Rozovaykin and Sapa accuse Luniachenko and his accomplices of high treason. The authors qualify the crimes as a violation of Article 56 of the CC of Ukraine. The crime was the verdict in a civil case on pollution of the Odessa port from the Maltese tanker ‘Athenian Face’. Considering this case, ‘A Luniachenko with the aid of the former deputy of the prosecutor of Ukraine Olga Kolyshko, chairman of the Pecherskiy district court of Kyiv Nikolay Zamkovenko and a judge of the Odessa oblast court G. Pogorelova robbed Ukraine for 16 million USD in favor of Malta (hence, in their own favor). So they substantially harmed the ecological, economic and social-political power of Ukraine’. N. Rozovaykin and L. Sapa also analyzed the origin of Luniachenko’s property. ‘A. Luniachenko during a few years purchased luxurious apartments at 7 Varnenskaya St. and at 4 Zhukovskiy St. costing about $100,000, as well as a country house at the Belgorod-Dniester Bay ($200,000), a villa registered to another person in 4 Otradnaya St. ($300,000), a villa in the Tsarskoye Selo at 19 Abrikosovaya St. costing $1,500,000. Besides, he purchased expensive foreign cars costing, according to specialists’ calculations, about 3 millions USD’. The authors finish their article with a request ‘to use the presidential power and make the USS chairman start a criminal case against Luniachenko and his accomplices according to Article 56 of the CC of Ukraine. And if he does not risk to defend the legal interests of the motherland, then we ask the USS chairman to start the criminal case, according to Article 125 Part 3 of the CC of Ukraine, against us, human rights protectors – we shall publicly defend our motherland from its corrupted traitors!’ Their dreams came true, and they were summoned to court to be tried for slander Further the events developed in the following way. On 9 March N. Rozovaykin and L. Sapa handed the application to the General Prosecutor, in which they described two armed attempts on Sapa’s life and ‘the well-planned attempts at extermination of N. Rozovaykin in Odessa, for which the criminals in power took as hostages two Rozovaykin’s sons’ (quoted from the article of A. Ben in the newspaper ‘Golos Ukrainy’, No. 110 of 22 June). N. Rozovaykin and L. Sapa did not come to the court three times: on 3 March, on 30 March and on 12 April, and the court changed the signa-ture on not leaving the town for the detention in the preliminary prison of the Nikolaev oblast. On 14 April N. Rozovaykin was detained and L. Sapa was writing complaints on the illegal arrest to all instances during two days. Then he packed his suitcase and went to the railway station in order to go to Nikolaev, as his wife asserted, to save his comrade-at-arms. Instead he disappeared without any trace. The court did not wait until he was found and separated the case of N. Rozovaykin and L. Sapa. Rozovaykin was tried in June, got his term for slander and very soon got under the consecutive amnesty. Rozovaykin did not plead guilty and appealed to higher instances. Sapa appeared in public only in July. He told that he was kidnapped by unknown men in civil clothing and was kept more than three months in some basement. Now it is Sapa who has to be tried for slander. Until now, with some difficulty, I abstained from commentaries about this conflict. It would be interesting to hear the opinion of colleagues, but now I will tell my own opinion. In my opinion the style of all N. Rozovaykin and L. Sapa’s writings resembles that of denunciations ‘enemies of the people’ in the worst Stalin’s times. The arguments of the fighters for motherland do not seem convincible and the facts do not seem genuine. Instead of exact details and arguments we come across with emotions, unproved assertions and the wish to humiliate and insult the opponent. Some passages are disgusting. For example, the following one: ‘A. Luniachenko (alias Faydula) in his time defended the bolshevik regime, got a juridical education, wormed his way into judges and now… He mocks at the tatar people that suffered under Stalin’s regime and thus sows the interethnic enmity rousing the hate to the power, to which he must serve’. Such examples may be multiplied. On the other hand, the authors dare to call themselves ‘human rights protectors known throughout the world’, which is an obvious lie. N. Rozovaykin and L. Sapa call themselves ‘representatives of International Union of human rights protection in Ukraine’, although no one ever gave them such authority. By their actions and publications they generate negative attitude to this respected organization. Still there remains the most important question: are the facts described in the abominable style true or not? As law-obedient citizens, after the court verdict that N. Rozovaykin is a slanderer, we must acknowledge that out truthseekers write in inadmissible manner and write falsehoods. Since they plan to fight the court decision in higher instances, then, theoretically, it may appear that Luniachenko and his accomplices are criminals. Then it will remain that Rozovaykin and Sapa are just quarrelsome people with very bad style of writing. But in every case I should insist that their style is inadmissible.

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