war crimes in Ukraine

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The Blocking of the Gongadze Case fits into the scheme of things of the present regime

17.09.2012    source:

   On the eve of the twelfth anniversary of Georgy Gongadze’s disappearance, the Institute for Mass Information spoke with Valentina Telychenko, the lawyer representing Myroslava Gongadze.  They asked her to comment on the situation and its impact on the development of Ukrainian society.

Valentina Telychenko:  From a human point of view I understand that you can’t discuss the Gongadze case for 12 years solidly. There really are a lot of other issues in Ukraine. However if we talk about whether the Gongadze Case is being investigated, you can criticize endlessly.

For example, the case against Pukach was passed to the Pechersky District Court.  It was investigated by a Prosecutor General’s Office department under Renat Kuzmin (Deputy Prosecutor General – translator)  It was he who signed the indictment.  They didn’t call a single witness who could say anything about the motives and about who commissioned the killing.  The Public Prosecutor gave a very meagre list of witnesses. So sparse that it not only doesn’t make it possible to establish the motives of the killing and get to those who ordered it, but doesn’t even allow all the circumstances of the crime to be proved.

In the actual text  of the indictment there are nonetheless references to the Melnychenko tapes and to the testimony of Leonid Kuchma, Viktor Medvedchuk, Viacheslav Pichowshek and many others. At the last hearing I lodged a first application to question additional witnesses. The court has still not decided on this. After the first application there’ll be others – there’s a pretty long list of additional witnesses whom I consider it necessary to question. It obviously includes all the former influential people. However I’m not at all certain that the court will give a positive response. The signal about unwillingness to establish who ordered the killing given in the termination of the investigation against Leonid Kuchma was clear and it’s not likely that the court will ignore it.

Almost a year ago this same court returned to the Prosecutor General’s Chief Investigation Department material with which the public prosecutor based the claim that Yury Kravchenko was one of those who commissioned the killing. In breach of the law, this material has remained in the investigation department. It’s clear that it’s not so much the deceased Interior Minister who is being protected from liability, as much as those who ordered the killing, who are alive and in power now.

- A very telling moment was the cancellation of the resolution initiating a criminal investigation against Kuchma after the pre-trial investigation into this case had already been completed. The unlawfulness of such a cancellation is apparent. It’s not only that it’s unlawful, but that it’s inexplicable from the point of view of commonsense.

The investigation had ended; there was no resolution to terminate the criminal investigation due to the lack of elements of a crime or on some other rehabilitating grounds, instead the court cancelled the resolution initiating the criminal investigation.

The government hopes that Pukach will be the final level of punishment for the killing, and will allow them to not establish those who ordered the killing, while they continue to use the tragedy for their own ends, to blackmail those who remain in power.

A few years ago the most striking illustration of the problems of Ukraine’s justice system was the Gongadze case however now there are a lot of other cases which also demonstrate a power elite controlling the justice system and the law enforcement agencies. The Gongadze case, although it’s less heard about because of the cases against opposition politicians is an indicator of the situation with democracy in Ukraine. Including in negotiations over the prospects for European integration.

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