war crimes in Ukraine

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View from abroad on discrepancy between the charges against Lutsenko and the punishment

20.05.2011    source:


Oleksandr Motyl, Professor in Political Studies at Ratgers University (USA) believes that the prosecution of the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Lutsenko shows that the present Ukrainian regime is repressive and incompetent. He says that the discrepancy between the charges and the punishment hits you in the eye.

UNIAN reports him as saying that the regime should have understood that precisely Lutsenko was capable of such a radical step as a hunger strike, maybe even to death. However the Yanukovych brigade are not capable of strategic thinking. Now Lutsenko is in danger, but so is the regime, he says.

He adds that if they try to release Lutssenko, everybody may see that as weakness. At the same time, he is convinced that the lack of any humane response from the authorities to the former Minister’s hunger strike will be interpreted as the cruelty of a brutal regime.

He stressed that the mood in the country against the regime was intensifying and this could be the spark that sets it off. He believes that with Lutsenko’s arrest the regime had wanted to scare the opposition and society while avoiding too much criticism from the West which does not know Lutsenko.  This however had not worked.

While Lutsenko was held on remand and did nothing, nobody worried too much, however his hunger strike had suddenly changed everything.

Motyl is convinced that now everybody in Ukraine understands that the Lutsenko case is persecution, not simply remand in custody.

He points out that the West has now also started paying attention to Lutsenko’s whose hunger strike is clearly turning him into a martyr.

Alla Lazaryeva, a journalist based in France believes that the Ukrainian regime’s behaviour with respect to the Lutsenko case is discrediting Ukraine as a European state. She also draws attention to the incongruity of the charges with the preventive measure chosen. The charges in no way warrant remand in custody. Such actions discredit Ukraine as a European country, demonstrate that the Ukrainian justice system is more in line with Stalinist than western standards.

She says it is depressing to see how many young and not so young investigators, judges, prosecutors as well as other representatives of the enforcement structures are implicated in such dubious measures.

The text on UNIAN quotes Oleksandr Motyl and Alla Lazareva however their words are simply reported, since at least O. Motyl’s may well have been translated into Ukrainian from English (translator).

Yury Lutsenko’s arrest and continued detention has aroused concern both within Ukraine and from the international community.  After being arrested on a Sunday afternoon by 11 SBU [Security Service] Alfa Special Forces Officers back in December 2010, he has been held in custody ever since with the grounds less than convincing.

Yury Lutsenko is charged with abuse of position and causing losses to the State. He rejects the accusations and calls them politically motivated. 

He has been on hunger strike since 22 April following a Kyiv court’s ruling to keep him in custody for yet another month.

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