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• Topics / The right to a fair trial
Lutsenko “trial” hurtles on, unhampered by PACE or the right to fair court proceedings
The morning after a devastating Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which directly called for the release of former government officials and dropping of highly dubious prosecutions, it was business as usual in the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv. This may not be surprising, after all presiding judge Serhiy Volk has been aware for many months of the serious infringement of the right to liberty he is guilty of in rejecting all applications to release former Internal Affairs Minister Yury Lutsenko from detention. No less can he and the other two judges fail to understand the very serious violations of procedure in the case. The latest has just ended with the protocols of a large number of witnesses being read out in court despite vehement protest from the defence and Yury Lutsenko himself. As reported here on a number of occasions, many witnesses when questioned in court have stated clearly that there was nothing unusual or wrong in the actions Lutsenko is charged with and / or have accused the investigators of having twisted their words.
On 26 January the court decided to separate off one of the criminal charges against Lutsenko over wiretapping over the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko. Two of the defendants were absent and are undergoing long-term medical treatment.
Judge Vovk also read out the protocols of 24 witnesses who were supposedly unable to be physically present in court.
On 27 January it transpired that the first witness due to be called had died.
The 47th witness gave testimony about the ceremonies to make Police Day. As reported already, Lutsenko is charged with having used public funding inappropriately by having Police Day events 2 years running in the Ukraina Palace. A number of witnesses have denied anything lavish in the events, some indeed feeling aggrieved that there were no festivities. Some have referred not just to the fact that festivities were customary, but that there were Presidential decrees regarding the holding of the events which only Lutsenko stands charged with.
Vovk then read out the names of 9 witnesses now in the other case (regarding the poisoning).
Following the incredible pace taken over the last week or so, the court effectively “got through” all 148 witnesses, with the testimony of 50 simply being read out.
The court has thus ended the questioning stage and moved onto examining the evidence.
During Friday’s hearing, Lutsenko also asserted that the MIA had carried out illegal operational checks of his relatives and friends. He cited a document with a signature from the Internal Security Service of the MIA which indicated that information had been gathered and insisted that the said Service had no right to carry out any such information-gathering operations.
The next hearing is scheduled for 30 January.
New information from