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Prosecutor General’s Office not to challenge closure of case against Kuchma

July 05, 2012, 23:25 UTC+3

On June 27, the Higher Specialised Court upheld the rulings of Kiev’s Pechersky District Court and the Court of Appeals that declared the criminal case against Kuchma unlawful

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KIEV, July 5 (Itar-Tass) —— The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office said it would not challenge the decision to drop charges against former President Leonid Kuchma.

On June 27, the Higher Specialised Court upheld the rulings of Kiev’s Pechersky District Court and the Court of Appeals that declared the criminal case against Kuchma unlawful.

Earlier, the Prosecutor General’s Office challenged a lower-tier court's decision to drop charges against former Kuchma. However following the Higher Specialised Court’s ruling, it said it “sees no legal grounds or juridical instruments for contesting the ruling” now.

In late December 2011, the Prosecutor General's Office appealed the ruling of Kiev's Pechersky District Court to annul the resolution ordering the commencement of criminal proceedings against Kuchma in the journalist Georgy Gongadze assassination case.

Earlier in the same month, the Pechersky District Court ruled that the Prosecutor General's Office had no solid reasons for opening a criminal case against Kuchma who insists on further investigation and search for the masterminds and perpetrators of Gongadze's murder.

The Pechersky District Court has also resumed the investigation of the case of former Interior Ministry General Alexei Pukach implicated in the murder of Gongadze.

On August 30, 2011, Pukach said in court that he had killed Gongadze.

Another court in the Kiev region proclaimed as untruthful Kuchma's bodyguard Nikolai Melnichenko's assertions that parliament speaker Vladimir Litvin was allegedly involved in Gongadze's assassination.

It forbade Melnichenko to spread any incorrect information about Litvin and obligated him to organise and conduct a press conference at his own expense in order to deny his earlier accusations against Litvin.

Three former police officers have been sentenced to long terms in prison in this case. In July 2009, police detained Pukach, who had also been charged with involvement in the case.

Pukach gave exhaustive testimony, it was written down and several of its copies are kept in different places in case attempts are made to kill the suspect.

The Prosecutor General's Office charged Pukach with complicity in the murder of Gongadze.

Pukach confessed to have been involved in the assassination of Gongadze nine years ago and named the masterminds.

According to the official investigation, Pukach was the actual killer. He had ordered the journalist to be followed and controlled a group of police officers who abducted Gongadze on September 16, 2000 and took him to a field near the village of Sukholisy, Kiev region, where Pukach strangled the journalist and made the accomplices keep their mouths shut. Gongadze's body was then buried in the woods.

The general was detained in October 2003 but then released a month later against a written pledge not leave the city. He disappeared shortly after that.


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