Thursday, May 4, 2017

Kyiv court allows Yanukovych to stand high treason trial by means of videoconference, recesses until May 18

May 4, 2017 (Interfax) - Kyiv's Obolonskyi District Court judge Vladislav Devyatko has allowed the defense of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to partake in the trial by means of videoconference. "The judges put their heads together and decided to partially grant the defense's request... for enabling Yanukovych's involvement in the proceeding by means of videoconference," Devyatko said at a court hearing on Thursday. The judge said that Yanukovych was summoned to the preparatory hearing consistent with norms of the law. Yet, considering Article 6 of the Human Rights Convention and the European Court of Human Rights's practice, the court deemed it necessary to allow the defense to engage the defendant in the preparatory hearing by videoconferencing means.
"The court made the decision and partially granted the defense's request. The defense will have an opportunity to arrange a videoconference between defendant Yanukovych and Kyiv's Obolonskyi District Court. The decision was made to ensure the right of the sides, including the defendant, to attend the court hearing, as that is required by the European Court of Human Rights," the judge said. Devyatko then announced that the court, holding the preliminary hearing on Yanukovych's trial for high treason, would recess until May 18.
Yanukovych's lawyer Vitali Serdyuk told reporters after the hearing that the videoconference should be arranged by means of international legal assistance mechanisms. "I believe that the court, which has made this decision, should refer to relevant Russian agencies for its fulfillment; they should provide a videoconferencing channel, like we had with Kyiv's Svyatoshynskyi District Court," the lawyer said. Yanukovych cannot appear in the courtroom, as he is being prosecuted for political reasons and the Ukrainian authorities are unable to guarantee his security, he said.