Head of internal Lutsenko investigation: Lutsenko stupidly set up
The latest witness in the separate trial of Yury Lutsenko, former Interior Minister, has effectively negated the grounds for criminal prosecution. Mykailo Vershnyak, who was in charge of the internal investigation over Lutsenko, told the court on Saturday that the extension of the surveillance of driver Valentin Davydenko had initially been unlawful, but was legitimized by the Minister’s signature. He said that he believed that Lutsenko “had been stupidly set up in this case”. He also stressed that the Minister’s signature was not needed to extend the surveillance, and that according to the instruction, it was the person in charge of the investigative operation who bore responsibility, not the Minister.
Lutsenko’s defence lawyers pointed out that it was the Vershnyak investigation that formed the basis of the charges against Lutsenko and said that the prosecution is therefore without foundation. The Prosecutor retorted that the witness had confirmed the circumstances of the case and that his assessment played no role.
During questioning by the defence, Vershnyak said that in extending the period of surveillance, Lutsenko could not have known that the case had been terminated by Deputy Minister Kolyada. He called the assertion that the case had been under the Minister’s personal control likes.
Lutsenko’s defence also called for the withdrawal of presiding judge Hanna Medushevska citing as grounds the European Court of Human Rights judgement released on 3 July. As reported, the Court unanimously found violations of Articles 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security); 5 § 2 (right to be informed of the reasons for one’s arrest); 5 § 3 (right to be brought promptly before a judge)-trial detention; 5 § 4 (right to challenge the lawfulness of one’s detention) with respect to the initial detention of former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko.
Defence lawyer Oleksy Bahanets stated that since Judge Medyshevska had been in the panel of judges – together with Serhiy Vovk and O. Tsarevych - during the previous trial, she could not be objective in this trial. The Prosecutor Viktor Klymenko objected to this, and was upheld by Judge Medushevska who rejected the application for her withdrawal.
Yury Lutsenko was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment in February over the first two charges brought against him. The third charge was unexpectedly separated into a different trial late last year. His conviction and the new trial have been widely condemned as politically motivated.
Lutsenko is accused of having organized the unlawful surveillance on Valentin Davydenko, driver of the former Deputy Head of the SBU [Security Service] Volodymyr Satsyuk. Yushchenko had been taken ill in 2004 after dining with SBU people at the dacha of the SBU Deputy Head.
New information from the account of the hearing at: