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Gorky Park: Judge not amused by multiplying City Council original documents

The Prosecutor is to be asked to check the City Council’s documents, to find out why two copies of the same “original” City Council decision have different content

On 14 July members of Zeleny Front [Green Front], who are defending Gorky Park against the unlawful actions of the city authorities in felling trees to make way for a road through Kharkiv’s central park could celebrate a small victory. The Prosecutor is to be asked to check the City Council’s documents, to find out why two copies of the same  “original” City Council  decision have different content. .

During the court hearing on the suit lodged by Kharkiv resident Yulia Yudyna against the city authorities claiming the unlawfulness of their destruction of a part of the park, the Decision of the Executive Committee of the Kharkiv City Council No. 156 from 19 May 2010, in accordance with which the tree felling took place, changed. The document presented to the court during the first days was subsequently changed for another document but under the same number and name. The authorities thus provided two notarised copies of the decision, but with differences in the text.

In the first document the decision to fell the trees was taken on the basis of a decision by the 19th session of the City Council from 27 February 2008 No. 25/08 (, which was revoked back in 2008. In the second document the decision was based on a decision of the 25th session of the City Council from 10 September 2008 (which was not revoked) ).  On 14 July representatives of the City Council presented the court with an “original” which referred to the latter date.

Both Yevgeny Solovyov and Yury Kalchenko, representing the claimant, and the Judge expressed doubts as to the authenticity of the documents. The first page of the document which refers to the decision of the session can easily be changed since it is not fixed into a book of documents.  The stamp which contains the date is only on the second page.

Other procedural infringements came to light during the hearing, including the failure to indicate not only the number of trees felled, but the number remaining. The activists believe that this has enabled the authorities to cut down at least 2,000 trees, against the 503 in the document from 19 May (regardless which “original” is taken as the original – translator).

The hearing dragged on into the evening and has now been adjourned until 23 August.

The report also states that electricity company representatives were called to the felling site. It was discovered that a huge power cable had already been inadvertently scratched by the excavator. Had the activists not insisted earlier this month that work there stop after the discovery of human remains, there would have almost certainly been a terrible accident with likely loss of life. The author of the report says that workmen told him that this occurred because there is no planning material which would have done all the preliminary investigations of the land.

From a report by Oleh Perehon

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