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Fate of the Сriminal Сase against Viktor Yanukovych


Roman Marchenko, Attorney at Law, Senior Partner at Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm
Source: Korrespondent

Roman Marchenko, Senior Partner at Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm, answered a number of questions regarding criminal case initiated against Mr. Yanukovych

1. Why has the decision about the trial of Mr. Yanukovych in his absentia been made only now – one year and a half following events at the Euromaidan?

Investigation of such level is a very laborious task. It probably happens because all the evidence which allow commencing such process has been gathered only now. Investigation cannot be based only on the allegations of a People’s Deputy “It is all his [Yanukovych’s] fault”. Prosecution cannot also go to court with a weak “evidentiary basis” running the risk of “hitting upon” a not-guilty verdict. Thus, actions of the Prosecutor’s Service are not very popular among the voters, but they are totally justifiable. It is a normal practice for the European countries where such processes last for years. So, I do not believe that all this is somebody’s malicious intent.

2. What is the framework of such investigation?

 The only difference of investigation in absentia from an ordinary investigation is that the accused person is not present at the trial in person. All other procedures are carried out under the standard procedure including interrogation of witnesses, of defense, and of the accused person himself. The procedure offered by Mr. Yanukovych, who expressed his wish to work with the prosecution through videoconference, is absolutely appropriate and lawful. Such procedure is stipulated by the Criminal Code of Ukraine which, by the way, was adopted within the term of his presidency.

3. What will happen to assets of the suspects in Ukraine, should location of such assets be established?

If the court establishes the guilt of the suspects their assets, both in Ukraine and abroad, may be confiscated (if the provisions of the Criminal Code stipulate this) in profit of the state or collected for the benefit of the suffered parties in the course of sustaining a civil claim.

4. What punishment are Mr. Yanukovych and his companions facing?

 As I heard the Vice-president and his entourage are charged with serious crimes [high treason and  abuse of power].  In addition to the mentioned confiscation of assets and property the court may award imprisonment for the period of over 12 years. If the accused persons are not in Ukraine the country will file an extradition request. In general Ukraine has signed Extradition Treaties with many countries. If the guilt is established the signatory countries must abide the terms of corresponding treaties.

5. And in practice? Will everybody be punished?

Here Ukraine may bump into problems through no fault of its own but through the fault of other countries. There are countries which never extradite anyone to Ukraine, Great Britain, for example. I believe that investigation authorities will do their best to prove the guilt of former politicians. But the Russian Federation has already made a declaration that all the crimes of which Mr. Yanukovych is incriminated are of political nature. In such case the Russian Federation, governed by its own national legislation, will refuse to extradite the vice-president to Ukraine.

Dubious question is whether all the guilty parties will be punished. First of all it needs to be proven that these persons are really guilty of crimes. That is why it is difficult to expressly state that all people who worked with Mr. Yanukovych are guilty of Maidan shooting. If investigation manages to prove their guilt we will be able to discuss the matter further. The fact that currently several names have been mentioned means that there is substantial evidence against them. The Prosecutor’s Office and its professional investigations has taken new course. Let’s wait for the final results.

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