Former Ukrainian President Yanukovych refuses to participate in high treason trial

Former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych refuses to participate in the trial for high treason, withdrawing his defenders from. He made that statement on the air during the Time program on the Russian First Channel on Wednesday.

“I do not want to take part in an allegedly adversarial process, whose outcome is predetermined. I decided to withdraw my defenders from the process. There are no doubts about their qualifications but lawyers are powerless in a country where justice has been destroyed,” he stated.

Yanukovych stressed that he “had no illusions about the goals and tasks put before the court by the current authorities and knew that they would strive to reach them whatever it takes."

The court’s goal was “to convict and accuse me of all past, present and future troubles of Ukraine,” the ex-president of Ukraine explained. According to him, “it is not a judgment, but profanation, pure and simple.”

“For my conviction in the shortest possible time, under the pressure of the citizen Poroshenko personally, special laws were passed on conviction in absentia. This is a direct violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In addition, they refused my statements about the requirement to give me the opportunity to participate in the trial via videoconferencing,” Yanukovych said.

According to the lawyer of ex-president Vitaly Serdyuk, after the decision made by Yanukovych to refuse to participate in the trial of treason and to withdraw his lawyers, any decisions taken by the Kyiv Obolonsky District Court on this proceeding would be legally useless.
“I confirm that our client has made such a decision. It upends the high treason case. Legitimacy in this case was attributed only to the desire of Viktor Yanukovich to participate in the process, to give evidence, to question witnesses, to establish the truth on the case. Now any decisions that will be made by the court on the basis of the consideration of this case will be void,” he said.

Serdyuk noted that at the last session the court had made judgments “under political pressure from the leaders of the state” that made it impossible for Yanukovych to participate in the process. “A process cannot exist without a person,” he stressed.

The lawyer also pointed out that the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Yuriy Lutsenko made a statement in an interview on Channel 5 Ukraine held on July 3. Understanding and knowing that he would be summoned to appear before the court by the defense of the former president, he said that Yanukovych getting involved in the process via videoconference was out of the question.

At the request of the Military Prosecutor's Office, Kyiv Obolonsky District Court will consider the case of high treason by Yanukovych under the special procedure: trial in absentia. This decision was made by the panel of judges at a meeting on June 29.

Yanukovych is accused of committing crimes under Part 5 of Article 27 of the criminal code, being an accomplice as one of the categories of willful participation in a crime, Part 3 of Article 110, encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine which led to the death of people or other grave consequences (which carries a penalty of imprisonment for 7 to 12 years), Part 1 of Article 111, high treason, which is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 10 to 15 years, and Part 2 of Article 437, conducting an aggressive war or aggressive military actions, punishable by imprisonment for a period of 10 to 15 years.

  Yanukovich, high treason, trial