Lutsenko Trial: Problems mustering up those aggrieved?
In the trial of former Minister of Internal Affairs Yury Lutsenko, some of the people recognized as aggrieved parties have not appeared at the court hearings while one has refused to consider himself as an aggrieved party.
During the court hearing on Thursday Volodymyr Davidenko, Assistant to the former Deputy Head of the SBU [Security Service], stated that he no longer considered himself as an aggrieved party.
This was after it transpired that the permit for surveillance of Davidenko had been signed by one of the Prosecutor General’s deputies and only after that had the former Minister of Internal Affairs instructed the surveillance to be undertaken.
Having read the material which Lutsenko gave Davidenko, the latter asked: “If it’s all as written then how can I consider myself an aggrieved party?”
He also said that the investigator had helped him write the application requesting to be considered an aggrieved party
In addition, Valentin Davidenko admitted that he would not have written the application on his own initiative and that it had been done after being summoned to the prosecutor’s office where he had been told that his rights had been violated.
Yury Lutsenko is accused of unlawfully signing a decision to continue surveillance of some of the people involved in the case over the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko, that is, Valentin Davidenko and the Deputy Head of the SBU, Volodymyr Satsyuk.
Yury Lutsenko is also charged with embezzlement of public money on a particularly large scale, as well as exceeding his official powers and faking documents. The charges relating to the above prosecution, as well as over the surveillance in the poisoning case and inappropriate use of money to mark Day of the Police have been merged into one trial.
Yury Lutsenko also said at the hearing that the aggrieved parties had been “designated” by the Prosecutor with regard to another part of the prosecution, that alleging unlawful allocation of flats to police officers. He cited one of the supposedly aggrieved parties who has also stated that he didn’t want to be an aggrieved party but the Prosecutor put him on the list.
Lutsenko added that the aggrieved parties are not coming to the trial since they understand “that a political show is taking place”.
“On the one hand I consider it necessary for the aggrieved parties to testify before the court that the actions I committed in no way worsened their life, on the other, I can’t wait in the SIZO [remand unit] until they appear. The decision is simple – the measure of restraint needs to be changed. I’m not prepared to be imprisoned simply in order to be imprisoned”.
However the judge in the case, Serhiy Vovk decided to read out the testimony of those aggrieved parties who had not appeared.
The trial of the former Minister of Internal Affairs in Tymoshenko’s government is from 18 August taking place in a different part of the Pechersky District Court. This could be because the trials are presently taking place in the other building of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Police Colonel Pukach, the latter over the murder of Georgy Gongadze.
Judge Vovk also refused a new application to release Yury Lutsenko from remand. As reported, Yury Lutsenko was arrested in late December by 11 Special Force Alfa officers when walking his dog. The criminal investigation had been initiated in November and Lutsenko gave a signed undertaking not to leave his place of residence. He did not do so and any reasons given for his remand in custody were seriously questionable. Concern over the charges against him has also been expressed both in Ukraine and abroad, most recently in the second report by the Danish Helsinki Committee of Human Rights: