war crimes in Ukraine

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Reva Trial: Dodgier by the Day

Halya Coynash
Not only has the case against Dmytro Reva involved fabricated evidence and a defamatory film on State-controlled television, but it now transpires that vital evidence in the Dnipropetrovsk bomb trial has “disappeared”

It has become clear in the ongoing trial of four men facing charges in connection with the bomb blasts in Dnipropetrovsk on 27 April 2012 that at least one important piece of evidence has vanished from the case.

S. Plakhontiy, a criminalist giving evidence on 13 August explained that the police found another bomb near the first explosion and had time to film it before it detonated. He says that he handed the film to the police but it has vanished from the file material.

Why such a crucial piece of evidence should have been “mislaid” is unclear, however the number of worrying aspects to this trial is rapidly gaining attention. 30 MPs have already written to the Prosecutor General’s Office asking for a check to be carried out into the case against one defendant, Dmytro Reva, and, in particular, into the grounds for Dmytro Reva’s continuing detention. Reva has now been in SIZO [remand prison] since the end of May 2012 although the purported evidence cited as reason for his detention was proven to have been falsified. Although the name is known of the SBU officer who attempted to fabricate evidence by dialling another defendant’s mobile from Reva’s, and the attempt proven and documented, the Prosecutor is refusing to instigate criminal charges, claiming that no harm was caused. Yet since then the court has rejected over 10 applications to release Reva from custody pending the verdict in the case. Among those willing to take personal responsibility for Reva’s appearances in court were well-known human rights, religious and civic figures. “Why is Reva in detention without a scrap of proof of involvement in the crime, and those who fabricated evidence against him receive orders, medals, continue work and their photos are put on the honour board as the best employees?”, one of Reva’s lawyers, Vitaly Pogosyan asks.

The Prosecutor General’s Office is refusing to take the situation in hand and is simply sending the MPs’ letters to the Regional Prosecutor and to the court.

As reported, Reva has been charged with being an accomplice, with this being seen in his having gone to the centre of Dnipropetrovsk on the day of the blasts in order to “observe the reaction of the police and public to the explosions, and if necessary pass on information to Sukachev and Fedoryak, so that the latter could coordinate their further actions”.

The charges are, first, absurd. The bombs had been planted at least an hour before Reva set off for the centre and what he could have observed to make “further actions” necessary and what such actions could have been is entirely unfathomable. Explosives experts have confirmed that the chemical detonators could have triggered at any time and in any order making it entirely unforeseeable how many – if any – explosions he would witness (in fact, he was in the vicinity of two of the four).

Even were the charges not so bafflingly senseless, the key problem would still remain. The charges contain no elements of a crime. This has been confirmed by a leading criminal law expert.

Nor is there any other evidence against Dmytro Reva. There s only an exchange of text messages with one of the other defendants, with whom he studied at university and with whom he later worked as part-time consultants for an opposition MP.

During a press conference on 15 August, Oksana Tomchuk, Reva’s lawyer (and sister) expressed surprise that among those MPs who have addressed letters to the Prosecutor General’s Office, there have been so few members of the opposition. Throughout this case there have been disturbing attempts to throw in political motives.

This was seen most brazenly in a film shown twice on the state-owned and service UTV-1 TV channel, a week before the parliamentary elections. Among the numerous defamatory elements of the film was a long diatribe claiming a large-scale terrorist plot with obvious links to the opposition. An appeal court recently decided that the film “Hades Hell” was not in fact defamatory. More details in A Public Watchdog with a Difference”.

Three applications on Dmytro Reva’s behalf have been lodged with the European Court of Human Rights. Information about the case has been sent to EU representatives, foreign embassies and others.

Reva’s lawyers are currently planning to approach members of the European Parliament.

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