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Lawyers call charges against deposed Ukrainian president 'legally invalid'

November 29, 2016, 8:37 UTC+3 KIEV

A lawyer in Maidan case says accusations against former President Viktor Yanukovich are 'element of the show'

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Viktor Yanukovich

Viktor Yanukovich

© ITAR-TASS/Valery Matitsin

KIEV, November 29. /TASS/. A statement on issuing charge with high treason and other crimes to the former President Viktor Yanukovich that Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko made on Monday in a district court in Kiev can be viewed as a legally invalid one, a number of Ukrainian lawyers said.

"Under the provisions for notification on suspicions, a written notification is to be handed exactly to a person under suspicion," lawyer Andrei Smirnov told the Strana publication. As for the Yanukovich case, nothing was handed to him on Monday.

Lutsenko’s announcement on forwarding the notification to Yanukovich by post was senseless, too, Smirnov said. "If it isn’t handed personally and an individual’s whereabouts are unknown, then it is sent by post," he said.

"However, the investigators are well aware of where Yanukovich is living and that’s why the forwarding of the notification on suspicions is groundless," he said.

The presentation of a copy of this document to a suspect’s lawyer "doesn’t mean delivery of a notification (to the suspected individual -TASS)," Smirnov said.

Element of show

 Vitaly Titych, lawyer of relatives of those who were killed during clashes in central Kiev in 2014, says that accusations against Yanukovich were made without observation of norms and became an element of the show.

"It is obvious that some person was told on TV that he is accused of something. This is obviously not the right procedure, in my personal opinion. It should be handed in person. Accusations are handed exclusively in the written form, where all details are explained. Such procedure is envisaged by the code," Titych told 112. Ukraina TV channel.

"It is absolutely not clear for me why it needed to be done now, expect for the sake of an additional element of the show," the lawyer said.

Prosecutor General fails to study the Rules of Criminal Procedure

Lawyer Yuri Ivashchenko, a former deputy minister of justice, said Lutsenko had failed to study the Rules of Criminal Procedure that spells out the actions in these cases.

"Yanukovich didn’t turn in a suspect just because Lutsenko had read the notification out, as it wasn’t delivered to him in a manner envisioned by legislation," Ivashchenko said.

On Monday, a video conference linked up Svyatoshino district court in Kiev and the regional court in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don to enable Ukrainian prosecutors to ask questions to former President Viktor Yanukovich who is currently living in Russia.

Yanukovich was questioned as a witness for defense in the case over the violent disturbances on Kiev’s Independence Square (aka the Maidan). During an interval in the session, Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko issued charges to Yanukovich citing a range of offenses, including high treason.

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