war crimes in Ukraine

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Two men charged over 2012 Dnipropetrovsk bomb blasts released


In a very welcome move, a Dnipropetrovsk district court has released two men held in custody for two years in connection with the 2012 bomb blasts in the centre of Dnipropetrovsk which injured around 30 people.  As reported here, Dmitry Reva and Lev Prosvirnin were both facing highly questionable charges of being accomplices.

In court on Tuesday the prosecutor stated that there was no evidence against either man, both of whom have been in custody since May 31, 2012. 

Two men accused of organizing the blasts and planting the explosive devices – Viktor Sukachev and Vitaly Fedoryak remain in SIZO [remand prison].  Fedoryak is the only one who has fully confessed. 

Both Sukachev and Fedoryak have been adamant from the outset that the two supposed “accomplices” were totally innocent.  Sukachev appears to have given testimony on the basis of an agreement that Reva and Prosvirnin would be released, and has twice gone on hunger strike in protest at their continued detention.

The four bomb blasts on April 27, 2012 came 5 weeks before Ukraine was to co-host the Euro 2012 Soccer Championship.  The arrests of four men were announced one week before the first match with the Prosecutor General publicly informing Viktor Yanukovych that they had all evidence to convict the four.  

The flawed nature of the case has been clear for almost two years yet the court consistently refused to release Reva and Prosvirnin from custody. 

Dmytry Reva

His case was perhaps the most shocking since it was not only any evidence at all that was missing.  There were also no elements of a crime in the indictment against him. 

He was accused of 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 indictment received a damning assessment from criminal law expert Mykola Khavronyuk because he was accused of behaviour which was not criminal.  It would also have been entirely senseless.  The chemical detonators could have triggered at any time and in any order, whereas Reva had only taken a slightly longer lunch break to pay a bill and needed to return to work.  In the event he witnessed two of the four explosions. What he could have reported was always quite unclear.  

Please see: A Public Watchdog with a Difference for more information, including about the reprehensible behaviour of the state-owned TV channel UTV-1 in his case.

The charges about Prosvirnin were not so absurd, but were still very worrying.  Just two weeks ago, Prosvirnin’s lawyer gave a press conference where she reported that a crucial item, namely a black plastic bag alleged to have been used to carry an explosive device had gone missing.

The release of Prosvirnin and Reva is excellent news.  It would be appropriate now for a proper investigation to be carried out into how the charges were brought in the first place, and into the behaviour of the prosecutors and judges in the case.  That, unfortunately, seems less likely.


Halya Coynash

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