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Triumph of vested interests

08.07.2006    source:
Oksana Forostyna
A Lviv court has refused to suspend the building works on Market Square until the merits are considered, and it is unclear when the review will take place. The ruling is to be appealed

Yesterday the Halytsky District Court in Lviv rejected the application by claimants to Andriy Sadovy calling for enforcement of a civil suit to be guaranteed in which they were asking the court to suspend and ban all but archaeological work on Market Square (Rynok), pending the review of the merits of the case in court.

It is still not known when the review will continue. The claimants plan to challenge this ruling in the Appeal Court.

The claimants in the case against the Mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovy are: Anna Tyutunyk from Kherson, Larisa Zalyvna from Luhansk, Volodymyr Bondarenko from Kyiv, Kost Prysyazhny from Lviv and Yevhen Zakharov from Kharkiv. They are demanding that Instruction №396 from 27.04.2006 be recognized as unlawful and the Instruction of the Lviv Mayor “On continuing repair work on Market Square”. Volodymyr Bondarenko asked in the application for the force of the suit to be guaranteed, giving as grounds the unlawfulness of the work, as well as the numerous risks, including Lviv’s possible exclusion from the UNESCO  Heritage List.

The claimant, Volodymyr Bondarenko (Head of the Secretariat of the Civic Organization “Voice of the Citizens of Kyiv”) presented a detailed explanation of the grounds for the application (including letters from the State Service for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, the National Commission on UNESCO matters, submissions from the prosecutor’s office and other documents), however Judge Mariya Oleksiyenko, who is dealing with the case, interrupted him and said that Mr Bondarenko should present these arguments when the merits of the case are reviewed. Yet after the break, the judge issued a ruling rejecting the application since no proof had been provided.

The court had decided the day before that the cases of all five claimants which had been lodged in court against the Mayor of Lviv, Andriy Sadovy should be merged into one hearing.

At the same time the court allowed Volodymyr Bondarenko’s application demanding that the respondent provide project bills of quantities, permits and approvals from the central body for the protection of cultural heritage for carrying out earthworks, construction and archaeological dig, and reconstruction work on the buildings on Market Square, both at the time when Andriy Sadovy issued his instruction, and at the time the application was made.

During the hearing the defence counsel for the respondent objected to both applications. He argued  that the documentation could not be demanded on the grounds that the executive committee was a separate legal entity, that the Mayor had no relation to the executive committee, and that gaining approvals was the responsibility of completely different bodies. Andriy Sadovy’s interests were represented in court by Myroslav Havrylyak, deputy head of the law department of the Lviv City Council.

The day before, the claimants in the case who arrived in Lviv from Kyiv, Kherson and  Luhansk, met the City Mayor, Andriy Sadovy and his deputies. At a press conference held that day, that talked about this meeting. “We are speaking different languages”, human rights activist Anna Tyutunyk said. She considers that the Mayor and his deputies are incapable of thinking in such categories as to comprehend why the cobblestones must not be destroyed by a bulldozer.  Volodymyr Bondarenko’s opinion was that the city authorities say one thing, and do something entirely different. “This is not law, and not even revolutionary expediency. It is a banal village approach to running the city”, he said at the press conference. He considers the judge’s ruling in rejecting the application to have the work suspended to be illegal, since the Code of Administrative Justice allows for such measures where there are clear signs of unlawful decisions, actions or inaction by a party with state powers.

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