war crimes in Ukraine

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Prosecutor implicated in scandalous release of ex-MP murderer arrested


An employee of the prosecutor’s office has been arrested on suspicion of abetting, through his failure to act, the release of former MP Viktor Lozinsky from imprisonment.  Vitaly Yarema, Prosecutor General announced at a press conference on Tuesday that the military prosecutor has announced that the head of a section for overseeing the prosecutor’s office’s observance of the law when implementing court rulings is under suspicion.  Yarema said that the official “though his inaction abetted the passing by a judge of a knowingly wrongful ruling on freeing Lozinsky”.  The official has been remanded in custody.

There was outcry in early June when it was learned that Viktor Lozinsky, the former MP sentenced only 3 years ago to [originally] 15 years for murder had been released early.  The following day, Interior Minister, Artem Avakov announced that Lozinsky had been detained again. Avakov then appeared to be blaming the prison administration for his release, although the latter had acted on the basis of a court order.

As reported, the killing of 55-year-old Valery Oliynyk in 2009 and eventual trial of Lozinsky were very widely publicized.  So too was the news in June 2014 that Lozinsky was now a free man. He had supposedly been released on health grounds, but after a court hearing where the State Penitentiary Service had not supported his early release.  

Oleksiy Honcharenko reported on Ukrainska Pravda that he had tracked down the court ruling issued on June 3 with 7 days allowed for an appeal.  The public learned of Lozinsky’s release on June 11, i.e. when that period had elapsed.  The presiding judge was Serhiy Voznyuk who was one of the judges at the beginning of 2014 who stripped drivers of their licences effectively for their involvement in the AutoMaidan protests [part of EuroMaidan].  One of the most exotic aspects of his court ruling is that the application for Lozinsky’s early release was purportedly made both by Lozynsky’s lawyer and by an unnamed person with victim status in the case.

Valery Oliynyk was killed on June 16, 2009 after an encounter with Lozinsky, the former prosecutor of the Holovanivsk district, Yevhen Horbenko, and the former chief of the district police department, Mykhailo Kovalsky who were out hunting together. 

The public outrage after details were released led to the Verkhovna Rada stripping Lozinsky of his parliamentary immunity.  He was placed on the wanted list and was arrested on March 1, 2010. 

He was sentenced to 15 years in April 2011, with this first being reduced to 14 years in spring 2012, and then to 10 years in March 2013.  By June 11 2014 he had served 4 years and three months.  

[Halya Coynash] 

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