war crimes in Ukraine

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Yevhen Korniychuk amnestied

The prosecution of Yevhen Korniychuk was criticized by human rights organizations within Ukraine and abroad and was one of four cases analyzed and Danish Helsinki Committee’s Second Legal Monitoring Report

The Pechersky District Court in Kyiv has amnestied former First Deputy Minister of Justice in Tymoshenko’s Government, Yevhen Korniychuk.  The application for amnesty came from Mr Korniychuk and his lawyers.

The court’s ruling states that the defendant is charged with a medium seriousness or minor offence, has three underage children and no criminal record. Therefore, despite the fact that the defendant does not admit guilt, the court must apply the law on amnesties. It also refused to consider the claim against Mr Korniychuk as compensation for alleged damages caused by the latter.

Yevhen Korniychuk was arrested on 22 December 2010.  He had gone at the first summons to the Prosecutor General’s investigators directly from the maternity ward where his wife that day had given birth to the couple’s third child. 

On 24 December the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv rejected the Prosecutor General’s application for Korniychuk’s remand in custody for 2 months and only extended the term from three to ten days. However on 30 December the same court remanded him for two months.

On 10 January Serhiy Konkov, President of the Association of Lawyers of Ukraine, issued a statement demonstrating the lack of grounds for remand in custody and offering to stand as guarantor of Korniychuk’s appearance whenever required by the investigator or court.

On 31 January the Prosecutor General’s Office announced that it had completed its investigation into the charge against Korniychuk of exceeding his official powers.

Mr Korniychuk was released in February on a signed undertaking not to leave Kyiv.  The release came after a meeting between the President and Vasyl Onopenko, then Head of the Supreme Court and Korniychuk’s father-in-law.  At the same time, a rather strange criminal investigation initiated against Onopenko’s elder daughter was terminated. 

The detention and prosecution in general of Yevhen Korniychuk was criticized by human rights organizations within Ukraine and abroad.  It was one of four cases analyzed and perceived as of concern in the Danish Helsinki Committee’s Second Legal Monitoring Report., together with the prosecutions of Yulia Tymoshenko, Yury Lutsenko and former Acting Defence Minister, Valery Ivashchenko. 

The other three are all still in detention.

Information about Mr Korniychuk and the battle with his father-in-law can be found in Supreme Orchestration.   The election of a new head of the Supreme Court is now very late and will come after public statements from the Deputy Prosecutor about checks of alleged criminal offences and / or breach of oath by a number of judges.  These have been rejected by the Supreme Court and criticized as unacceptable pressure by, among others, human rights groups. 

The court ruling on Friday amnestying Yevhen Korniychuk comes a day after the District Administrative Court in Kyiv revoked its own ban imposed in September on holding the election for new Head of the Supreme Court.

Information about the amnesty from a report at UNIAN and the new ruling on election of Supreme Court head at Kommersant Ukraine

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