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Defense attorneys for ex-Ukrainian President Yanukovich appeal to global community

December 07, 2018, 15:39 UTC+3 KIEV

Defense attorneys for ex-Ukrainian President Yanukovich applied to leaders of major European countries and international institutions demanding action be taken to protect human rights in Ukraine

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Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovich and his lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk

Ukraine's former president Viktor Yanukovich and his lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

KIEV, December 7. /TASS/. A team of defense attorneys representing interests of ex-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich applied to leaders of major European countries and key international institutions, including the UN, with a request to undertake action with the purpose of "protecting basic human rights in Ukraine, restoring democracy and supremacy of law," according to the statement made by Aver Lex association, which represents interests of the ex-head of the Ukrainian state.

"This trial initially had nothing to do with fairness and legality. In fact we have witnessed a clumsy effort of political revenge of the government against its political opponent and millions of his supporters," the statement says.

Numerous amendments were made in the Criminal Process Code of Ukraine in 2014 - 2015, sanctioning decisions on trials in absentia for the first time in the history of Ukraine, the Association noted. A year later the Ukrainian legislature passed a special law making it possible for an individual without a law degree to hold the office of the country’s Prosecutor-General.

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine refused to take evidence from Yanukovich, although it had been informed about the latter’s place of residence in Rostov-on-Don, Aver Lex noted.

"Neither notice of suspicion or indictment were handed in to President Yanukovich, as required by the Ukrainian law," the statement says. He was "illegally and unfairly denied his right to participate and provide evidence of his defense not only throughout the whole trial, but also at the pre-trial stage - the stage of investigation," according to the document.

"Main witnesses for defense were unfairly denied their right to provide their witness testimony," the Association says. "Expert opinions, provided by independent experts from the USA, UK, Switzerland and Ukraine were unfairly rejected by the court," it notes.

Yanukovich was illegally denied the right to deliver closing arguments, Aver Lex says. "It is apparent that this trial is a result and a vivid example of complete destruction of the principles of supremacy of law in Ukraine," the Association adds.

The document was sent to the Chancellor of Germany, the President of Poland, the UN Secretary General and other officials and public institutions

Yanukovich case

Yanukovich was ousted in a coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, decided to relieve him from his duties and hold early presidential elections. This came in violation of the constitution, which clearly defines the conditions for an early termination of the president’s powers. Yanukovich was forced to leave Kiev and later the country amid threats to his personal security.

Amid the conflict of law over Yanukovich’s status, the new authorities had been unable to launch prosecution against him. Only in October 2016, a legal procedure was completed to strip Yanukovich of his presidential title based on the Rada’s special law. A month later, a criminal case was launched against the former president, who was accused of high treason, complicity in deliberate acts carried out with the goal of changing the state border and complicity in conducting an aggressive war.

The Obolon district court denied the right of closing arguments for Yanukovich in the case, thereby breaching all the process norms. The court is to make the final decision in the case. The sentence pronouncement date is not yet known.

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