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Ukrainian prosecutors transfer Yanukovich’s high treason case to court

March 14, 18:30 UTC+3 KIEV
The prosecutor explained that after the indictment was handed over, the court would start hearing the case.
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Viktor Yanukovich

Viktor Yanukovich

© Valery Matytsin/TASS

KIEV, March 14. /TASS/. Ukrainian Military Prosecutor Ruslan Kravchenko said in an interview with the TV Channel 112 Ukraine on Tuesday he was transferring the high treason case against ex-President Viktor Yanukovich to a court of law.

"I’ll now go to the court to transfer the indictment against Yanukovich. The pre-trial investigation has gathered enough objective proofs that give us an ample possibility to prove Yanukovich’s guilt in the court," he said.

The prosecutor explained that after the indictment was handed over, the court would start hearing the case.

As Kravchenko said, Yanukovich’s lawyers refused in the presence of the attesting witnesses to accept the copies of the indictment, which was recorded in the presence of the attesting witnesses.

"Our duty is to hand over the indictment but this is their right to refuse to receive the copies. They can get them during a court hearing," the prosecutor said.

Lawyer for the ex-Ukrainian president Vitaly Serdyuk said earlier on Tuesday that the investigation in absentia against Yanukovich had been terminated automatically pursuant to the Ukrainian legislation. That is why, a further pre-trial probe was being conducted in accordance with the standard procedure.

As the counsel for the defense said, after the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office received from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office an official confirmation of the ex-president’s living address and a consent of assistance in performing all necessary procedural acts, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office "has no grounds for applying the procedures of special (absentee) pre-trial investigation against Yanukovich."

Thus, pursuant to part 1, article 297-4 of the Ukrainian Criminal Procedure Code, the basic reason for commencing a special pre-trial probe (in absentia) is the provision of obvious proofs by the accusing party that "the suspect is hiding from investigative bodies and the court for the purpose of evading criminal liability and has been put on the international wanted list."

Meanwhile, pursuant to part 5, article 294-5 of the Ukrainian Criminal Procedure Code, in cases when "the grounds for a special pre-trial investigation (in absentia) cease to exist, a further pre-trial inquiry is conducted in compliance with the general rules."

The lawyer also said that the counsel for the defense had refused to receive on March 14 the indictment of high treason against Yanukovich as the prosecutor’s office tried to hand over the document by an illegitimate method as part of a special pre-trial probe that was now terminated.

Meanwhile, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office Larisa Sargan rejected the information on the termination of the investigation in absentia. In her opinion, the sole ground for terminating such investigation is "the voluntary arrival of suspect Yanukovich at the preliminary investigation authority on the territory of Ukraine.".

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