war crimes in Ukraine

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Court ACQUITS Roman Landik: he attacked a young woman ’in self-defence’

Halya Coynash

Four years after Ukraine was rocked by video images of Party of the Regions deputy Roman Landik beating up a young woman in a restaurant, a Luhansk court has decided that Landik was ‘defending himself’ and totally acquitted him. 

Roman Landik is the young, privileged son of former Party of the Regions MP Volodymyr Landik and at the time of the incident in early July 2011 was himself a recently elected Luhansk City Council deputy.

Cases where the sons of deputies, prosecutor’s and others in high places escape criminal liability in Ukraine are legion, but this one case was different (or so, at least, it seemed).  Video footage hit the Internet clearly showing Landik  making advances to a young woman, being rejected, obviously angered and attacking her.

The outcry was so great that even Landik’s father and others in the Party of the Regions began making stern noises and promising that Landik would be prosecuted. 

He was detained in Russia where he fled following the publicity and was eventually extradited to Ukraine.  While officially in detention in Luhansk he was observed walking around the street by Luhansk human rights activist Kostyantin Reutsky,

There were clearly behind the scenes efforts to reach agreement with the victim, and when on Jan 19, 2012, a Luhansk court handed down a three year suspended sentence (with a two year probation period) and released Landik, the victim herself reportedly said she was satisfied.

Landik was not and his lawyers lodged first an appeal, then a cassation appeal against the conviction.  These were rejected and the sentence upheld.

Until Feb 4 this year.  Landik applied to a totally different court in the city of Sviatove, claiming that the case needed to be reconsidered due to ‘new circumstances’. 

On that occasion, Judge S.O. Yurchenko agreed that Landik had used “necessary self-defence” and acquitted him. 

It is over two months later and it is only thanks to the now reinstated Single Register of court cases and somebody’s vigilance in following them that this has come to light.  The victim, Mariya Korshunova, for example, has said that she only learned of the court case on April 20. 

Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin stated on Monday that he would look into this acquittal.   A similar response was seen at the end of September 2014 following publicity over the extremely early release of former MP Viktor Lozinsky who is serving a long sentence for murder. 

It is seriously worrying how many other cases are not picked up. 

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