war crimes in Ukraine

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Kuchma: Criminal investigation resumed

08.12.2011    source:

The Prosecutor General’s Office has resumed the criminal investigation initiated against former President Leonid Kuchma over alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze. This became clear on Wednesday during a court hearing at the Pechersky District Court  in Kyiv examining the appeal by Kuchma’s lawyer against the decision to initiate criminal proceedings against his client.

The presiding judge Halyna Suprun stated that the case had been resumed on 21 November this year, and therefore there were grounds for examining the appeal.

Dmytro Basov, spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office, was asked by Valentina Telychenko, the lawyer representing Myroslava Gongadze, whether the pre-trial investigation had in fact been completed. He answered yes, but then added that as far has he was aware the proceedings had been resumed.

However, despite numerous requests from both Ms Telychenko, and the lawyers representing former Presidential guard Mykola Melnychenko, neither the Prosecutor’s representative nor the judge were able to provide documentary confirmation that it had been resumed.

Nor were they any more forthcoming as to how the court had begun examining the appeal since an explanation from the Supreme Court on 4 June 2010 clearly states that an appeal against a decision to initiate a criminal investigation may only be examined up to the moment when the accused is officially told that the pre-trial investigation is completed and given the material to read, with this confirmed through the relevant protocol.  Judge Suprun ignored these arguments, and said that she saw no grounds for adjourning examination of the appeal so that, as Ms Telychenko noted, Kuchma’s lawyers could at least formally after the resumption of the investigation into the case in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code lodge another appeal. 

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