war crimes in Ukraine

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Criminal case of Vladimir Boyko (Donetsk)


On 7 November the consideration was carried out in the Voroshilovskiy district court of Donetsk of the suit of Vladimir Boyko against the prosecutor’s office of the Donetsk oblast, State Tax Administration of Donetsk and the Donetsk city militia directorate. The claimant demanded to recompense him the damage inflicted by the illegal detention in the office of the newspaper and holding in custody during 10 days under the inhumane conditions.

The oblast prosecutor’s office recognized that, since V. Boyko had not commit any crimes, the criminal case instituted against him by the prosecutor’s office was closed because of the absence of corpus delicti. In August 2002 the Appeal Court of the Donetsk oblast acknowledged the detention of Boyko to be illegal. Yet, the tax service (which is, by the way, headed by Oleksandr Vasylyev, a younger brother of G. Vasylyev, the first vice-speaker of the Supreme Rada) did not agree with this. The Donetsk oblast STA sent to the trial its representative I. Dziuba, who declared that the tax administration did not recognize the suit and reckoned that it was correct that Mr. Boyko had spent 10 days in the preliminary prison. When the surprised judge reminded that the court acknowledged the detention to be illegal, the tax officer answered: “Any court decisions mean nothing to us”.

We want to remind that on 25 June 2002 V. Boyko was detained at his workplace in the office of the newspaper “Salon”. The prosecutor’s office instituted the criminal case against the journalist after the publication of his article “General-purpose prosecutors” in the Internet edition “Ukraina kriminalna” ( In this article the journalist told about the criminal business of Gennadiy Vasylyev’s close circle. Officers of the General Prosecutor’s office were immediately sent to the Donetsk oblast for the check of the facts stated in the publication. The facts appeared to be true. Yet, instead of punishing the uniformed criminals, the workers of the oblast prosecutor’s office began to threaten V. Boyko with prison. This information was also made public by “Ukraina kriminalna” ( The threat was realized quite soon: the prosecutor of the Kuybyshevskiy district of Donetsk, by the order from the oblast prosecutor’s office, instituted the criminal case against Boyko for dodging from paying taxes and misuse of power. The prosecutor directed the case to the investigation department of the Donetsk STA, but they did not inform the journalist about the case during six weeks. Probably, they hoped to close this case secretly, since they understood that the case could raise a great scandal.

However, when Boyko wrote an article about the corruption in tax services (adducing as the example the activities of a son of the then head of the oblast STA), the measures were taken: the article was withdrawn from the page-proof, and, on the next day, Boyko was detained. Later the court acknowledged the detention to be illegal, and the case was closed in accordance with Article 6 item 2.

The public indignation about the detention of the journalist was so active that even Leonid Kuchma gave his assessment of the activities of tax militia and prosecutor’s office. On 6 July 2002 he denounced these actions. Yet, the Vasylyevs have different viewpoint. Apparently, the head of the Donetsk oblast STA, inspired by the hope that his younger brother will become the General Prosecutor soon, decided to demonstrate the attitude of his family to laws, common sense, image of the country and court decisions that had come into force.

(«Maydan», 10 November 2003,


Vladimir Boyko, Donetsk:

In the evening of 7 November a stranger phoned me and stated: “You have already been in prison, and now we will to beat your brains out”. For two days I could not understand, with which publication these threats were connected. Yet, the last week my acquaintance from Kyiv told me that Vasylyev had ordered to V. Pshonka, the prosecutor of the Donetsk oblast, to take the immediate measures towards me and those persons, who had given the interviews for my article. Everybody knows that the Donetsk oblast prosecutor’s office is, in fact, headed by G. Vasylyev. V. Pshonka is a nominal figure neglected even by district prosecutors, and the heads of great subunits, for example, Donetsk city prosecutor A. Olmezov, get the orders directly from G. Vasylyev, omitting the oblast prosecutor’s office. Vasylyev ordered to arrest the former officers of militia and USS, who had told me about the commercial-criminal activities of the first vice-speaker of the Supreme Rada, and to seize the documents and other proofs (for instance, audio records) that compromised him.



Mykola Tomenko, the head of the Supreme Rada Committee in charge of the freedom of speech and information, sent the letter to S. Vinokurov, the first deputy of the General Prosecutor of Ukraine. The letter reads that the Committee in charge of the freedom of speech and information continues to receive complaints about the facts of impediment to the legal professional activities of journalists.

For example, on 7 November 2003 a stranger phoned to Donetsk independent journalist Vladimir Boyko and threatened him with physical violence. According to the information of mass media, there are no doubts that the threats were connected with the professional activities of the journalist. That happened after the publication in several mass media of a series of critical materials by V. Boyko about the events in Donetsk on 31 October 2003.

M. Tomenko points out in his letter that Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine envisages the responsibility for impediment to the legal professional activities of journalists. Besides, the Criminal Code envisages the responsibility for threatening with murder (Article 129) or physical violence of an official or a citizen, who fulfills the civil duty (Article 350).

According to the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine, the pre-trial investigation of the cases connected with Articles 171 and 350 of the Criminal Code must be carried out by the organs of prosecution. So, Mykola Tomenko asks the first deputy of the General Prosecutor to conduct the urgent check of the information adduced in the complaint and to take the appropriate measures.

When the Donetsk newspaper “Ostrov” started to publish the article of V. Boyko about the criminal business of G. Vasylyev, somebody began to threaten the journalist by phone. Besides, some strangers tried to get to Boyko’s flat, where the documents were stored that proved the participation of the workers of the Donetsk prosecutor’s office in the creation of the criminal group under the direction of the first vice-speaker. The editorial board of “Ostrov” had to change the place of its work.

On 11 November the editorial board got the phone call from the publishing house “Donetchina”, where the weekly was printed. Representative of the publishing house informed that the newspaper would not be printed, if it would contain the end of V. Boyko’s article about the criminal activities of G. Vasylyev and his assistant R. Kuzmin. The head of the technological department of the publishing house said that the workers of the editorial board had to show her the typographical films, that she would check the films and only then would give the permission to print the issue. Evhen Talyshev, the editor-in-chief of “Ostrov”, refused from the censorship.

On the next day, 12 November, at 9:40 a.m., tough young men came to the building, where the editorial board had been located several days before. Their car has the state registration number 512-38 ЕВ. When the uninvited guests learned that the editorial board had moved, they drove away.

Two hours later Volodymir Diatlovskiy, the main technologist of the publishing house “Donetchina”, informed the editorial board that Vasyl Kovaliov, the head of the board of this joint-stock company, ordered to stop the printing of the newspaper. At that the publishing house was ready to give back the money paid for printing and to pay the forfeit envisaged by the contract. However, the editorial board managed to print the newspaper in another printing shop. Yet, the newspaper was got by none of 900 post-offices of the oblast, which had to distribute the education according to the contract with the Donetsk branch of “Ukrposhta”: at night R. Kuzmin bought all the run.

Now the editorial board of the newspaper tries to solve the question about printing of the additional run of the issue with V. Boyko’s article. The full text of this article is published on the Internet site:

(13 November 2003, )

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