Monitoring of the trial of A. Melnik, A. Kryzhanovskiy, I. Pasichny, I. Kunik (session 04.07.18)

On July 4, a regular court session was held in the Gadyatsky district court on the case of Aleksandr Melnik, the head of the “Vizit” television company, one of the four accused (together with A. Kryzhanovsky, I. Pasichnyi, I.Kunik) in the case of the murder of A. Babayev, the mayor of Kremenchug and the judge of the Kremenchug court A.Lobodenko.

At this session, the question of indictment was considered.  According to A. Melnik directly to the representative of the ISHR, the defense decided not to request the prosecutors to return the indictment (to the fact that they have many objections and grounds for return) for the reason that they do not believe in the objectivity of the prosecutor and believe that he just uses it to delay time. Also, A. Melnik pointed out that they had to abandon the jury trial, since the formation of the jury last time (when the case was heard in another court) took too much time and it was not possible to form it.

At the same time, the defense applied for an opportunity to express its position on the indictment, guided by Article 20 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which provides for the right of the accused to testify on the charges. Prosecutors objected to this petition, pointing out that lawyers can express their opinion directly when examining evidence, which significantly complicates, in the opinion of lawyers, the defense and determination of their position. To ensure the right to defense, the court decided to hear the opinion of lawyers regarding the indictment in the manner of Article 350 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Also worth noting the position of prosecutors when determining the procedure for examining evidence. As an optimal option, they suggested first hearing the witnesses, and after that to study documents and materials of examinations, which necessarily entailed a chaotic process: many witnesses would be questioned about examinations or material evidence that the court is not familiar with, and when reviewing documents in the event of questions, it would be necessary to call witnesses again. In addition, one of the prosecutors pointed out that the prosecution may generally file evidence at its discretion. This proposal angered lawyers who drew the attention of the judges to the fact that the process itself is already anomalous, taking into account the multiple transfer of the case from court to court (Gadyatsky district court the fifth under the account the court considering this case). The length of the trial, given that the accused are in custody, may be sufficient grounds, to consider the suggestions  of the defense and to determine the procedure for submitting evidence, which, in the opinion of the defense party, will expedite the consideration of the case.

The defense was invited to consider first written and material evidence, the materials of the examination, and afterwards – to interrogate the witnesses. The representative of the victims also found this procedure to be optimal. There are concerns about the personal impartiality of prosecutors who were willing to accept the offer of lawyers in the event that if the court deprives the accused of the right to comment on the process and will give them a word only after considering all the evidence. The court having conferred rejected the proposal of the prosecutor as such which violates the rules of the criminal procedure and the right to defense, and also determined the order of consideration of evidence proposed by the defense and supported by the representative of the victims.

In a personal conversation with a representative of the International Society for Human Rights, the accused once again complained about the state of health, also pointing out that, given the size of the cells in the remand prison, they have to lead a sedentary lifestyle, a walk is 30-40 minutes a day, and in the days of the court sessions they are completely deprived of fresh air and the opportunity to walk. In addition, the road itself from the remand prison to and from the court in a vehicle with small cells 0.5 to 0.6 m in size on a bad road worsens the state of health and aggravates back pain.

Experts of the International Society for Human Rights will continue monitoring and clarifying the details of this litigation. The previous materials can be found here.

Expert Council