war crimes in Ukraine

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The criminal case against journalists after “the facts” of “illegal influence on the President” was closed


Mykola Tomenko, the head of the Supreme Rada Committee in charge of the freedom of speech and information, communicates that the “absurd criminal case against journalists after “the facts of illegal influence on the President”” was closed owing to public solidarity.

The comment of Tomenko passed to the agency UNIAN reads that he received the response to his deputy’s request. The letter was sent by Viktor Shokhin, a deputy of the General Prosecutor. Shokhin informs that “no criminal deeds envisaged by the Criminal Code of Ukraine” were found in the actions of the workers of the editions from the Kherson, Dnepropetrovsk, Cherkassy, Kharkov and other oblasts, against whom the investigation activities were conducted in the framework of criminal case No. 149-1120.

The deputy’s request of Mykola Tomenko concerning this case was supported on 14 May by the Supreme Rada (172 votes “for”).

The deputy of the General Prosecutor points out in his letter that “the investigation did not found any suspected or accused in this case” and that “the criminal case was closed on 13 May 2003 on the basis of the demands of item 2 Article 6 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine”. According to this provision, “a criminal case may not be started, and the already started criminal case must be closed if corpus delicti is absent”.

M. Tomenko reminded that the present case was started “according to part 1 Article 334 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, after the facts of publications in mass media, brochures and other editions of materials directed at the illegal influence on the President of Ukraine with the purpose to impede the fulfillment by him of his service duties”.

“Thus”, the deputy stated, “at last the General Prosecutor’s office acknowledged the absurdity of this case. Interpreting the journalists’ materials as “the attempts to impede President’s activities” could result only in the increase of the disrespect of the Ukrainian society and other countries for the Ukrainian legal system, in the further discredit of prosecutor’s and other organs, which, according to the law, must control the observance of laws in Ukraine”.

M. Tomenko is sure that the solidarity of the public, politicians, mass media and journalists influenced very much on the decision to close the case. “At last”, he said, ”the power stopped to discredit itself and Ukraine as a whole”.

The Institute of mass information
30 May 2003

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