Fugitive Ukraine’s President Yanukovych recalls his lawyers from treason trial, files motion over “coup d’état”

ousted president yanukovych

Viktor Yanukovych reading his address. Published on July 5, 2017. Screenshot of a video on 1tv.ru 

News, Russia, Ukraine

On July 5, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych who stands charged with high treason in Ukraine said he will not participate in the in-absentia treason trial.  The hearing was scheduled to resume in Kyiv on June 6 while the former president has been at large in Russia since 2014.

“I don’t want to participate in the alleged adversary trial, the outcome of which was determined in advance,” Yanukovych said in a statement, adding that his lawyers are “powerless” to argue his case “in the country of obliterated justice.”

The video address by the ousted president was published by the Russian state-owned Channel 1 on 5 July under the title “Former Ukraine’s president spoke to the journalists.” However, the video shows no journalists while former President Yanukovych speaks. There is nothing but a short anchor’s lead, and one and a half minute Yanukovych’s speech he reads from a teleprompter as judged by his repeated left-to-right and back eye movement.

Yanukovych accuses personally President Petro Poroshenko in adopting the law on trial in absentia “in the shortest time possible” to sentence Viktor Yanukovych who absconds in Russia. Runaway President Yanukovych says that the law violates the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Moreover, Yanukovych was refused to allow him to participate in the trial by video conference.

Viktor Yanukovych said prosecutors are “accusing me of all past, present, and future woes of Ukraine” and called the trial “a sham.”

On the next day, June 6, one of Yanukovych’s lawyers, Vitaliy Serdiuk said that Viktor Yanukovych has filed a motion over alleged coup d’état in 2014 with Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office.

Serdiuk stated, “We are talking about deliberate and organized acts aimed at doing Ukraine harm. These include using force to seize power in our state. Namely, these actions led to […] negative events in Crimea and the loss of territorial integrity.”

This is the Russian narrative actively pushed in 2014 to justify the annexation of Crimea. Then Russia’s ambassador in the UN Vitaly Churkin had even displayed a letter by “legitimate President of Ukraine Yanukovych” at a meeting of the UN Security Council in March 2014 alleging that Viktor Yanukovych urged the Russian President Putin “to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to re-establish the rule of law, peace, order, stability and to protect the people of Ukraine.” However, in 2017 the Kremlin denied the existence of Yanukovych’s “invasion letter.”

Yanukovych’s lawyer Serdiuk said that the statement to the PGO on the coup was in the process of being registered according to the established procedure as of 6 July.

The trial hearings opened at 10 a.m. on July 6 but lasted for less than 30 minutes, as neither the defendant nor his defense team were present in the courtroom. Now a public defense lawyer will be appointed by the state for Yanukovych.

Judges postponed the hearing until July 12.

  • Then President Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014.
  • In November 2016, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko read charges against disgraced president Yanukovych in a court through video conference link accusing Yanukovych of violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
  • In January 2017, the Pechersky district court in Kyiv issued arrest warrants for ex-president Viktor Yanukovych and ex-PM Mykola Azarov. Both top officials have been absconding in Russia since 2014.
  • Ex-president Yanukovych is accused of using firearms against protesters in Kyiv in late 2013 and early 2014.
  • Viktor Yanukovych is accused of:
    • being an accomplice as one of the categories of willful participation in a crime;
    • encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine which led to the death of people or other grave consequences;
    • high treason;
    • conducting an aggressive war or aggressive military actions.
  • At the request of the Military Prosecutor’s Office, Kyiv Obolonsky District Court will consider the case of high treason by Yanukovych under the special procedure: trial in absentia. This decision was made by the panel of judges at a meeting on June 29.
  • When testifying about the February 2014 events in Kyiv, Yanukovych stated that he did not give order to law enforcers to use firearms against Euromaidan protesters.
  • On June 6, 2016, Russia declined to extradite Viktor Yanukovych.

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  • Dirk Smith

    Once karma catches up to this reptile, I’m thinking a pay-per-view public hanging from the Instytutska Street bridge. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/555fe23104a86251e6aad9779eba3ed22fbe070afb80923c9141bdc01b8d4896.jpg

  • veth

    The United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed the former US Permanent Representative to NATO Kurt Volker to be the Special Envoy to Ukraine as Reuters reported.

    ‘Volker will coordinate all efforts of the United States Department of State for the settlement of the conflict that occurred after the invasion of Russia to Crimea and Eastern Ukraine’, the spokesperson of the United States Department of State Robert Hammond claimed this.

    Kurt Volker is the carrier diplomat and specialist on Europe. He also worked at the White House and was the Permanent Representative to NATO. At the moment he is the expert on the foreign policy and national security at the McCain Institute for International Leadership in Arizona State University.

    Earlier, Tillerson confirmed to Poroshenko the readiness of the USA to assist in the issue of Donbas. The politicians coordinated the position on the stop of the Russian aggression in Donbas and return of Crimea.

  • Tony

    Oh this thief and traitor again, customary explainer video:

  • veth

    07.07.17 11:18 If Gazprom fails to abide by Stockholm Arbitration ruling, it will lose foreign assets, – Naftohaz
    газпромRussian gas monopolist Gazprom will be forced to abide by the Stockholm Arbitration ruling, otherwise it will lose its foreign assets, including gas delivered to Europe.
    This was announced by commercial director of Naftohaz Ukraine Yurii Vitrenko on air of Espresso.TV, Censor.NET reports.

    “We see no ways for Gazprom not to abide by the ruling of the Stockholm arbitration. The situation differs from that of Yukos, because here we do should not speak of Russia, but of Gazprom. This is a corporation, a legal entity, with foreign assets and no sovereign immunity. Gazprom will be forced to abide by the ruling,” Vitrenko said.

    He said the Arbitration has not yet made a final verdict, but Ukraine should not expect any unpleasant rulings.

    Read more: Stockholm arbitration court said Russia’s gas price for Ukraine was not “brotherly,” – Naftohaz head Koboliev

    As reported, on May 31 Stockholm arbitration court made a ruling in a litigation between Ukraine’s Naftohaz and Russia’s Gazprom on the contract of 2009 for gas deliveries from Russia to Ukraine.

  • Ihor Dawydiak

    The evidence that will be provided by the prosecution in Viktor Yanukovych’s trial for high treason, abetting murders during the Maidan uprising and many other charges should be more than overwhelming not just in the Ukrainian court overseeing this trial but it would be equally overwhelming in any international court of justice. Furthermore, Yanukovych’s flimsy excuses in collaboration with the Kremlin that there was a coup d’etat that ousted him from the Presidency and that he would not receive a fair trial have been nothing less than total fantasy. In the first case, Yanukovych abandoned his post as President by fleeing Ukraine via Crimea to his sanctuary in Russia with the approval of Vladimir Putin. Hence, he could not claim that he was overthrown. In the second case, Yanukovych could not claim that he would not receive a fair trial given the facts that; a) He had at his disposal the right to choose any lawyer or lawyers to defend him in the specified Ukrainian court of law, b) He was even given the opportunity to provide testimony and to answer questions via an audio/video link from his hideout in Russia, c) This would be an open trial where anyone in Ukraine as well as the international community could judge if any irregularities occurred, and d) Any decisions made by the judges of this court would have to be justified by the evidence provided. Given these facts, it would be up to Yanukovych to accept or decline in his participation. However, since Yanukovych has declined to participate and fired his defense counsel an attorney will be assigned by the court to defend him during the upcoming trial. Finally, Yanukovych’s decision on non-participation in the proceedings will be viewed by the vast majority of the international community as an admission of guilt and his attempt to evade justice by trying to hide in Russia will only underline international opinions of his guilt. As in the words of the former Ukrainian dissident, Valentyn Moroz, “Truth has long arms”.