war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

The last word of Grigoriy Pasko at his trial

(Pronounced during the court session on 16 July)

The present criminal case is not about the high treason — during the court session this aspect was hardly touched. All about which the sides argued, including all witnesses, concerned my professional activities as a journalist.

Nowadays in our country the freedom of speech is guaranteed by the law. That is a pity that the freedom of speakers is not guaranteed and completely depends on the will of rascals. I am convinced in it by my own experience.

They say that history is repeated twice: first time as a tragedy, and second time as a farce. Yet a farce also may become tragic on a little, individual scale. The spy-catching hysteria of the 30s was a tragedy for all our people. Today successors of the NKVD hangmen continue the farce, which however can result in condemnation of a few innocent. Only court — an independent, unbiased and just court — may put the end to this tragic farce. But do we have such court?

Aleksandr II said to A.F.Koni, the chairman of St. Petersburg court, concerning the trial of Vera Zasulich, who assassinated general Trepov, the mayor of the city: ‘The government has the right to expect from the court and from you some special favor’. Koni answered to the char: ‘The court rules sentences, not makes favors’.

I ask the court to rule a sentence because the federal security service and a prosecutor’s office of the Pacific Navy have made enough favors.

In my last word I shall permit to turn the attention of the court to those circumstances, which shall not be ignored, even if someone wishes very much to ignore them.

In the Russian doctrine of the penal right the basic is the opinion that a crime must be considered committed if it led to some consequences. From the material of this case, legally started against me, it is clearly seen that my professional relations with Japanese journalists did not bring about the tiniest damage to Russia and they could not bring about anything of the sort because, first, I did nothing contrary to law and, secondly, the ecological angle of journalist investigations is not related to secrets by the law of Russian federation. Moreover, if the investigation were carried out objectively, it could collect enough proofs that my publications and films stimulated Japan to pay 25 million dollars for the building of floating plant for purification of liquid radioactive waste.

In the prosecutor’s accusation the term ‘state secrets’ is used so frequently that it lost its initial meaning. The law of Russia ‘On state secrets’ treats these secrets as state-protected information in the sphere of military, political, economic and other activities, whose distribution may bring about damage to the security of Russia. If one applies the given definition to the materials which were seized in my flat, then it will appear that all the information contained in them was not state-protected, since it was not classified. Secondly, the information in the confiscated documents does not refer to any kind of activities listed in the definition of state secrets. Thirdly, there is not a single fact that my activities brought about any damage to the security of Russia. There are even no indications that this information has been ever distributed or passed to any side.

During the court session we could see that both investigation officers and the prosecutor’s office of the Pacific Navy trampled a number of articles of the Constitution of Russian Federation. In particular, it was personal immunity (Article 12), presumption of innocence and equal rights of the both sides in court (Article 12), the right of the suspect not to prove his innocence, benefit of the doubt (Article 49), inaccessibility of proofs obtained by illegal methods (Article 50), immunity of witnesses (Article 51) and others.

More than two hundred documents in my criminal case are obtained by illegal methods, and there are proofs that they are obtained so. Such are the documents confiscated at the custom house and found during the search in my flat. If the mentioned documents were excluded at the proper time, then there would be no criminal case. But the law-enforcing officers continued to promote the case with maniacal insistence. They illegally started the criminal case, they incarcerated an innocent, they falsified the documents. For all this they certainly must bear criminal responsibility.

Yet even the faked documents do not contain a single fact proving my guilt. Article 49 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation implies that non-proved guilt is legally equivalent to proved innocence.

Officers of the security service pressed upon me physically and morally at the stage of the preliminary investigation — they wanted very much to hear from me a confession of my guilt. Now, in my last word, I may satisfy the prosecution. Yes, I am guilty. I am guilty in honest execution of my duty as a journalist. I am guilty of patriotism and of my attempts to attract foreign investments for solving ecological problems. I am guilty because I have not noticed how glasnost has terminated in our country, how the buds of democracy withered. I am guilty that I undervalued cynicism and meanness of the present KGB, I am guilty that fulfilling my duty of a journalist, I stood in the way of real enemies of the people who wasted away the riches of our country. I am guilty that I have survived the investigation.

I beg the court to pay attention to absurdity of the accusations. All this pompous and loud nonsense is needed to camouflage the juridical insignificance and criminal essence of the prosecution arguments.

Behind numerous violations of law on the side of security service and prosecutor’s office one can distinctly see cynical tricks of people who are sure of their impunity just because they belong to so-called law-enforcing bodies. They were one hundred percent sure that some insignificant pressman would be frightened and would confess anything. They have their grounds for such attitude because a typical Soviet man has a fear before law-enforcing bodies in his genes.

This trial will come to the history of Russian court practice as an attempt to restore in Russia censorship, fear and Gestapo methods. If I am found guilty in any form, this will confirm existence of lawlessness in our state. On the contrary, if I am found innocent, this will bring names of the judges to the textbooks as an example of those who created a precedent opposing the pressure of lawlessness, as an example of those who showed wisdom and courage in fulfilling their professional duty and defending their honor.

I appeal to the court to defend me from such security which abuses Russian and international laws, tramples human rights and discredits our country.
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