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Head of Supreme Court complains of pressure

09.02.2011    source:
Vasyl Onopenko says that he has no intention of resigning, but believes the criminal investigation lodged against his daughter to be unlawful and aimed at putting pressure on him

Vasyl Onopenko has said in the last few days on Ukrainian television that he has no grounds for resigning since the Constitution clearly envisages when he can tender his resignation.  He said that the situation was difficult for him due to psychological pressure.  “The Venice Commission directly stated … and the PACE Resolution that the powers of the Supreme Court should be reinstated. Clearly those who are afraid of the renewal of the Supreme Court’s powers are frightened of this provision in the future”.

Mr Onopenko said that he cannot accept that the criminal investigation initiated against his daughter is lawful.

“How could I find that the criminal case had been initiated lawfully? Over the fact that she borrowed 252 thousand UAH two years ago in connection with her business, and did not return it, although she should have returned this debt. I did not know that. On 31 January a law suit appeared from the interested party against my daughter. I learned of that and with my wife was ready to return the money”, he said.  “However, on 1 February a criminal investigation was initiated and a search undertaken.”

The Prosecutor General’s Office has stated that the Head of the Supreme Court is not a suspect, nor is he the accused in any of the criminal investigations. This statement was prompted by the numerous publications in the press about what was described as pressure from the regime on the impetus of the Party of the Regions.

The leader of the Batkivshchyna Party, Yulia Tymoshenko, has asserted that the purpose of the pressure is to remove Vasyl Onopenko from his position and to appoint a person from President Yanukovych’s team.

Vasyl Onopenko said in an interview to the newspaper Komersant – Ukraine that he believes the case against his son-in-law, Yevhen Korniychuk may be linked with his bad relations with high-ranking public officials.  He was asked about conflict between Korniychuk while the latter was First Deputy Minister of Justice and the current First Deputy to the Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin and Deputy Head of the President’s Administration, Andriy Portnov. He acknowledges that a lot was written about the difficult relations between his son-in-law and Kuzmin and Portnov and notes that the Prosecutor General’s Office, when Kuzmin was in charge of the investigation unit, initiated criminal charges and carried out searches back in 2009. “I can assume that to a large degree the reason for Korniychuk’s problems lies in his personal relations with certain public officials who have, in view of everything, decided to establish their relations with the help of the power given them”, he said. .

Slightly abridged from the original at the BBC Ukrainian Service

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