• Topics / Politics and human rights
• Topics / The right to a fair trial
Lutsenko trial: forced concession on calling witnesses
The Pechersky District Court in Kyiv on Monday heard only one witness – the ninth so far - in the second trial of Yury Lutsenko, former Interior Minister in Yulia Tymoshenko’s government about surveillance in the investigation of Yushchenko’s poisoning.
Serhiy Batrakov, Security Service [SBU] office stated that he had not been questioned earlier in the case under examination, only regarding Yushchenko’s poisoning, and that he knew no more than what was reported in the media. Asked by the defence whose witness he was, Mr Batrakov was unable to answer. Yury Lutsenko expressed indignation that this witness had been called at all.
The prosecution then proposed that since some witnesses had been called more than once and had not appeared, that the protocol of their interrogation should simply be read out. Yury Lutsenko and his defence lawyer strongly objected, pointing out that the European Convention on Human Rights stipulates that defendants have the right to question all witnesses in a trial.
At first Judge Medushevska, even after the defence’s arguments acceded to this, however she then announced a technical break, and on returning read out two protocols – of the questioning of Oleksandr Solivnyk and Mykola Holomsha, The latter was in 2007 Deputy Head of the Prosecutor General and in around June put in charge of the investigation into the poisoning.
Following this, the Judge again stopped for a break and then announced that she was ordering the Prosecutor General’s Office to have the remaining four witnesses brought in for the next hearing on 7 July.
One of these witnesses – Halyna Klymovych, a former Prosecutor General’s Office investigator – was questioned in court on 24 January this year and then gave testimony in Yury Lutsenko’s favour.
On Tuesday 3 July the European Court of Human Rights will be announcing its judgement regarding Lutsenko’s complaint that his arrest and the decision on his detention were arbitrary and unlawful, and that he was not informed about the reasons for his arrest.
Information about the hearing from the Narodna Samooborona website