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Kremlin: Too early to predict outcome of ex-pilot trial, her possible handover to Ukraine

October 01, 2015, 13:21 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama didn't discuss the Savchenko case during their talks in New York on Monday
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A hearing into Nadezhda Savchenko's case

A hearing into Nadezhda Savchenko's case

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

MOSCOW, October 1. /TASS/. The Kremlin thinks it is too early to predict the outcome of the trial of former Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko and her possible handover to Ukraine, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

"We cannot predict how the trial will be developing, and, moreover, we cannot interfere with this trial," Peskov told reporters.

He also said that Russian and US Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama didn't discuss the Savchenko case during their talks in New York on Monday.

The Kremlin spokesman said all the discussions about the possible handover of Savchenko are "theoretic." Peskov commented on the statement of Russia’s Justice Ministry earlier on Thursday about the conditions for the possible extradition of Savchenko.

"I don’t think this was an initiative. It seems that there were some issues and some answers were given. The questions were about whether this is possible under the law and they admitted such a judicial possibility."

Russia’s Justice Ministry said that "all the issues of handing over the convicts in Russia and Ukraine are solved based on the provisions of the 1983 Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons."

A sentenced person may be handed over to a foreign state on condition that the court’s verdict enters into force. Besides, under Russia’s Criminal Code, the request on the transfer may be denied if "neither of the crime for which the person is convicted is recognized as a crime under the law of a state of which the convict is a citizen." This also concerns the cases if a court of the foreign state does not recognize the verdict of a Russian court.

"If Russia’s Justice Ministry receives a request on the handover of the convicted citizen of Ukraine for serving the sentence in jail in the home country, it will be considered in line with the Convention and the Criminal Code of Russia," the ministry stressed.

A trial of Savchenko, a Ukrainian pilot-turned-MP, began in a Donetsk court in southern Russia’s Rostov region on September 22. Savchenko, 34, is charged with complicity in the murder of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine last summer. She also stands charged with attempted murder of civilians who could suffer as a result of artillery fire and illegally crossing the Russian border.

Russian investigators say that Savchenko, the gunner of a Mi-24 helicopter, joined the notorious Aidar battalion during combat operations in the much-troubled Luhansk region of Ukraine in June 2014. Upon noting the position of a filming crew of the Russian State Broadcasting Company and other civilians, Savchenko allegedly reported the data to mortar-equipped personnel who opened fire on the crew and the civilians. As a result, correspondent Igor Kornelyuk and sound engineer Anton Voloshin were killed.

If found guilty, Savchenko faces up to 25 years in prison.

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