war crimes in Ukraine

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New General Prosecutor Gennadiy Vasylyev ordered to institute the criminal case against journalist Volodymir Boyko


For the third time during last 18 months the Donetsk journalist became the accused in the criminal case, which had been closed more than once because of the absence of corpus delicti.

The criminal case against Boyko was instituted by V. Boychuk, the prosecutor of the Kujbyshevskiy district of Donetsk, on 10 May 2002 after the publication in the Internet edition “Ukraina kriminalna” of Boyko’s article, in which the author told about the morbid interest of MP G. Vasylyev to other’s property. The order to punish the journalist was given to tax inspection. The officers of tax militia detained Boyko in the office of the Donetsk newspaper “Salon” and sent him to custody for 10 days on suspicion of dodging from paying taxes. Yet, on 9 August the law-enforcers had to close the case because of the absence of corpus delicti in the actions of V. Boyko. A week later the Appeal court of the Donetsk oblast recognized that the detainment of journalist was illegal, and after several more days Boyko got the certificate from tax inspection about the absence of the criminal event.

Two months after these events Boyko made the series of reportages from Lugansk, in which reportages he elucidated the course of “Feldman’s case” fabricated by Piskun. The General Prosecutor’s office, headed by the main “personage” of these publications, reversed the decision about the closure of the case and passed it for investigation to tax militia of the Lugansk (!) oblast. In spite of the tremendous efforts of the investigating officer, in March 2003 the case was closed again. And again because of the absence of corpus delicti.

Yet, the journalist did not draw the proper conclusions and published in “Ukraina kriminalna” and in the Donetsk newspaper “Ostrov” the article about the illegal business of Gennadiy Vasylyev. At once after the publication of the article, on 7 November a stranger phoned to Boyko and promised “to beat his brains out” for his professional activities. On 10 November several tough young men came to the building, which had been rented by the editorial board of “Ostov” several days before, and asked about the new address of the edition. On the next day the head of the technological department of the publishing house “Donetchina, which printed the newspaper, informed the editor-in-chief that the next issue of the newspaper would be printed only after the deletion of Boyko’s article from it. The editor refused from the censorship. On 12 November the publishing house refused to print the edition. The issue was printed in other printing shop, but at night the part of the run, which had to be distributed through post offices of the Donetsk oblast, was bought by strangers.

The militia did not inform V. Boyko on the results of consideration of his complaint about the threats, and MP Yu. Lutsenko had to interfere in the situation. After this interference, 20 days after the threats, the law-enforcers refused to start the criminal case. Yu. Lyshenko, the head of the Kyivskiy district militia precinct of Donetsk, informed the journalist that there was no corpus delicti in the actions of the stranger, since the threats “to beat the brains out” were connected with journalist’s professional activities, and Article 129 of the Criminal Code (threatening with murder) did not envisage any responsibility for this.

However, G. Vasylyev resolved to complete the case of V. Boyko. At first his elder brother, the head of the tax administration in the Donetsk oblast, declared, through his representative, that he did not acknowledge the court decision about the illegality of Boyko’s detention and reckoned that the prosecutor’s office and tax militia were absolutely right holding the journalist in the prison. On 27 November 2003 it became known that the General Prosecutor’s office for the umpteenth time cancelled the resolution about the closure of the criminal case started 18 months ago against V. Boyko. This means that the journalist became an accused again, and can be sent to custody at any moment. By the way, he was not even informed about the repeated opening of the case.

It is noteworthy that, as early as in February 2003, Boyko appealed to court against the resolution about the institution of the criminal case, but the decision on this appeal is not issued until now, although such cases must be considered immediately. The journalist complained to the council of judges, to O. Kondratyev, the head of the Appeal court of the Donetsk oblast, and to the General Prosecutor’s office. Yet, V. Boyko gets the answers that the court cannot consider his complaint and to solve the question about the illegality of institution of the criminal case because the prosecutor’s office refuses to present the materials of the case.

("Svoboda", No. 47, 2-8 December 2003)

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