war crimes in Ukraine

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Myroslava Gongadze: They’ve taken away my right to know the motives of Pukach’s crime

18.08.2011    source:
Among the numerous infringements in the trial of Pukach are the classifying of the entire indictment as “State secret” and refusal to investigate the role of the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Kravchenko


Myroslava Gongadze, widow of the murdered journalist, has accused the Pechersky District Court  in Kyiv of unlawful decisions and says that she plans to defend her right to fair legal proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights. She also asserts that she was not invited to the court hearings in the trial of former Police Colonel Oleksy Pukach. The relevant application was submitted by her lawyer, Valentina Telychenko.

“.Valentina Telychenko had no other option but to demand my presence at the court hearings since at present we consider that this trial is nothing other than a total violation of our rights*.  Pressure is being placed on the court.

The court has issued a number of rulings which are in our view unlawful. I can name some of them.  We don’t agree with them but have to continue taking part in these proceedings. We will decide what to do later, but at present there are a very large number of infringements in the proceedings”.

Your representatives asked the court to get an expert assessment clearly indicating which fragments of the indictment are State secrets. They suggested this so that the secrets could be removed enabling you to read the rest of the text. Did the court agree to carry out such an assessment? Will you be able to read the indictment?

Of course the court refused to do that. To take part in the proceedings you need to have access to State secrets which I personally don’t have. But that’s just one of the infringements.

First of all the judge quite unlawfully refused us the right to open court proceedings and classified the case as secret. By classifying the indictment they have virtually deprived me of the right to know what Pukach is actually accused of, to find out what his motives were, what role the investigators believe Kuchma and Kravchenko had in this case.

The Prosecutor and court have also refused to carry out an investigation with regard to Kravchenko, thus depriving us of the possibility of determining the guilt of all those implicated in the crime.

The court has also totally ignored the fact that the Prosecutor has not initiated criminal proceedings against a number of people named in the indictment as having committed a crime.

I consider that the only just sentence for Pukach will be life imprisonment. However the question at present is not whether they will find Pukach guilty and punish him, but in whether they establish the motives of the murder and whether they identify and prosecute the real commissioners of the murder.”

She says that her lawyer has access and is taking part in the court proceedings and that the main thing is that lawful and fair rulings are passed. If the situation does not change, she warns, she will be forced yet again to turn to the European Court of Human Rights.

Such systematic violations of the right to a fair trial, enshrined in the Constitution, both of those who suffered as a result of a crime, and the accused in other cases (whether Yulia Tymoshenko or Yury Lutsenko) in the Pechersky District Court needs urgent intervention, including from the President.

By declaring that he doesn’t want to interfere in court procedure, when the violations of the law by the court are of a systemic nature, can only indicate that Viktor Yanukovych is virtually refusing to fulfil his duties as President and Guarantor of the Constitution.

The lawyer representing Georgy’s mother, Lesya Gongadze, Andriy Fedur stated that the indictment totally classified even the name of the murdered journalist. What is the reason, would you say, for such secrecy?

There can really be only one explanation: the court, possibly under pressure, perhaps from the Prosecutor General, is trying to conceal all the loose ends which the investigators left and there are an extremely large number. Additional investigation is needed. The court is simply trying to conceal what has been left unfinished”.

“  Myroslava Gongadze talks about the rights of the poterpili – those who suffered as a result of the crime. As well as the family of Georgy Gongadze, the journalist and civic activist Oleksandr Podolsky is recognized as poterpily in the case [translator]

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