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Supreme Court once again ignores a European Court of Human Rights Judgment

07.12.2009
V.Batsunov

Stanislav Lutsenko from Makiyivka was in 2003 convicted of murder, with the charges against him based on the initial testimony of his co-accused which the latter gave under duress and later retracted. Lutsenko and his lawyer lodged cassation appeals, however the Supreme Court upheld the October 2003 sentence. In 2004 Lutsenko lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights which in December last year found that there had been a violation of Article 6 § 1 and pointed out that Article 10 of Ukraine’s Law “On the enforcement of judgments and application of European Court of Human Rights case law” envisages that a court examination must be reinitiated if the European Court finds that there has been an infringement of the Convention.

It was learned on 7 December that the Supreme Court has refused to initiate a new court examination into the Lutsenko case, with the following words: “It has been established through study of the material of the criminal case that there are no grounds for making a submission to change or revoke the said court rulings as extraordinary proceedings.” Or more simply, Ukraine’s Supreme Court has again ignored a judgment of the European Court.

The conclusion is depressing: new disregard by the Supreme Court for judgments handed down by the European Court of Human Rights (the Supreme Court, as reported, in summer of this year flouted a European Court judgment and upheld the verdict in the Yaremenko case) will have highly adverse consequences for Ukraine, not to mention for the country’s image in the international arena which such acts can in no way improve.

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