Victims of Dnipropetrovsk gas explosion outraged over amnesty
Victims and relatives of victims of the gas explosion on 13 October 2007 in an apartment block in Dnipropetrovsk have written an appeal to the President, Prime Minister and Prosecutor General asking them to intervene. They are furious over the ruling passed by the Zhovtnevy Court in Dnipropetrovsk amnestying three former managers of the joint stock company “Dniprohaz”.
According to the law on amnesty which came into force on 12 December, less serious crimes, including professional negligence, automatically fall under the amnesty, and whether people have underage children (all three men do) is taken into consideration. The three men – the former director, his deputy and the chief engineer of Dniprohaz who were facing charges of professional negligence were thus released without judicial examination
The appeal reads: “One has the impression that it was all planned in advance and aimed at making sure that people didnt understand the causes of the gas explosion, and that the culprits escaped punishment.”
The victims are also planning to lodge an application with the European Court of Human Rights. They consider that the use of amnesty in this case is a violation of the victims right to life and justice.
The three defendants were freed, the criminal investigation terminated, and the application for compensation for moral damages from the victims left without consideration. The court also ordered that the freeze on the Dniprohaz accounts be lifted.
Around 180 victims of the explosion were present at the court hearing, with the absolute majority against the use of the law on amnesty. However the victims lawyers were unable to give legal grounds for objecting to the application.
As a result of the explosion in the apartment block 23 people died.
Based on information at: http://human-rights.unian.net/ukr/detail/189361
If the law on amnesty does indeed cover this case, then there may be no chance of overturning the ruling on appeal. The men were charged under Article 267 § 2, dealing with professional negligence with serious consequences and this is punishable by imprisonment for a period of from two to five years, being stripped of the right to hold certain positions for up to 3 years and a reasonably substantial fine. Crimes of medium seriousness are regarded as those with sentences no higher than five years. The men were all granted bail in November 2007, and still occupy their positions. (translator )