Monitoring the case of Streletsky and others (session on March 16, 2020)

On March 16, 2020, in the Zaporizhzhya district court of the Zaporizhzhya region, an open court session was held by videoconference with the State Institution “Bakhmutsk Penitentiary Institution No. 6” on the application of Alexander Pavlovich Streletsky on reconsideration of the verdict of the Zaporizhzhya district court of the Zaporizhzhya region on April 16, 2015, convicted under Article 27 p.3; Article 115 p.2; Clause 6,9, 12,13 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine; Article 190 p. 3; Article 357 p. 3; Article 358 p. 2, 3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Recall that on April 16, 2015, the panel of judges of the Zaporizhzhya District Court of the Zaporizhzhya Region passed a sentence in a lengthy lawsuit with significant public impact.

Alexander Streletsky, whom the court recognized as the executor of the murders of three residents of Nikopol, was sentenced to life imprisonment, Albert Rokhkin, as a client of the killer, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Artem Chernysh, whom the court recognized as an accomplice in the killings, was sentenced to 6 years in prison, of which he had already served 2 years, Julia Kishinskaya was sentenced to probation, but spent two years in prison.

After the verdict was announced, the defense considered that the court had neglected a number of facts and expert examinations. Lawyers appealed to various human rights organizations, thanks to which an alternative investigation was carried out, which uncovered a number of new crimes. According to the results of this investigation the case was fabricated by the police. In one episode of the murder of a resident of Nikopol, Andrei Mikitenko, it turned out that the scam with the apartment and the disappearance of Andrei Mikitenko had been planned exactly two years before. The former relative received fake documents, on the basis of which she managed to take possession of the apartment of Andrei Mikitenko allegedly killed in 2008. The corpse itself, found on July 17, 2008 near Kirillovka, is in fact not identified either by fingerprints or by DNA. The whole accusation was based on the sincere testimonies of Alexander Streletsky and Artem Chernysh. By the way, A. Chernysh repeatedly changed the testimony and in February 2016 completely abandoned the previous testimony.

The victim, who had given false evidence in court for 6 years, disappeared. The defendants accused a prosecutor of “protecting” fraudsters and police officers who were convicted of other crimes. At the last session, the prosecutor demanded the maximum term for the defendant Albert Rokhkin, after the main witness did not identify in the photographs his brother Andrei Mikitenko, who was being killed in the case.

The course of the hearing. At this hearing, Streletsky’s statements and the petition of the defense were considered, convicts Alexander Streletsky and Albert Rohkin, prosecutor Uzun V.K. and lawyer Pletskaya Yu.V., panel of judges and jurors were present.

Convict Streletsky read out a statement asking to investigate the facts cited in the statement and admit that Svetlana Mikitenko could not be recognized as a victim and asked to establish her witness status.

The court did not satisfy this statement, explaining to the convict that in the sentence, which had gained legal force, Mikitenko was recognized as a victim, and in this proceeding, when considering the application for review of the sentence due to newly identified circumstances, the issues of changing the statuses of the parties are not considered. Court also recommended, in the event of the annulment of the verdict and consideration of the case again, to re-submit this application.

Streletsky’s lawyer filed a request for a posthumous forensic molecular genetic examination, arguing that during the sentencing and at the moment there is no appropriate and permissible evidence that the body of the person who was killed belongs to Andrei Mikitenko, as well as in the case file information that confirms the inconsistency and contradictions of information whose exact corpse was found in the village Limanskoe.

The defense drew attention to the inconsistency in the two expert opinions of the information on the hight and size of the feet of the corpse, moreover, in one of the examinations the name of the other person was indicated – A.M. Mykolenko, and also there is no information about the presence of a scar on the body. In addition, the ex-wife did not confirm that it was her husband in the photographs of the deceased, since she believed that her husband had a leaner body, the man consumed alcohol and that he had a different tattoo design. The lawyer drew attention to the fact that the case file contains black and white photographs that make it impossible to determine the color of the victim’s hair and the matching color of the tattoo. A great emphasis was placed on the court that in one of the identification protocols it was described that the corpse was badly burned. Thus, it is not clear how two fingerprints appeared in the case materials from burnt limbs.

In addition, the lawyer provided information that the credit history of the injured Mikitenko Andrey is located in the Privatbank branch, and strangely enough after his death another loan was taken from the words of the bank’s security service, but the lawyer’s request was refused by the bank referring to the client’s personal data. Thus, she believes that either Mikitenko Andrey took a loan or someone used fake documents. In this connection, she wants to submit a request for temporary access to the documents of the loan file of the victim.

She also drew the attention of the court that in the case file there are two act records of death with different dates, one of an unknown person and one Mikitenko Andrey, the question arises: why in the case file there is information about two act records of death.

The lawyer stated that in the materials of this case there is a massive falsification of documents, and the consequence is a life sentence of two people and, according to the lawyer, these facts are doubtful, not related to each other and illiterate falsified by the investigation and that the fact of the death of Andrei Mikitenko was not proved, in general it is not known whose body is buried.

Moreover, Andrei Mikitenko’s wife still does not have information on where her husband’s corpse was buried and did not give any explanations before. The case file does not contain the original protocol for identifying a corpse, medical certificate and death certificate of Andrey Mikitenko.

Summing up, the lawyer filed a petition for an examination and stated the questions that need to be put to the experts about the existence of family ties with the corpse, which was buried in the cemetery near the village of Kirilovka, allegedly belonging to Andrei Mikitenko and his uncle, Puzikov. She emphasized that the latter gave goodwill and consent to such an examination. She requested an examination to determine family ties with the daughter of the injured Mikitenko Svetlana, but she emphasized the court, to conduct an examination only with the consent of the parties and requested that the corpse be exhumed. Convicted Streletsky A.P. supported the motion.

The prosecutor objected to this petition, arguing that this question had already been raised by experts during the trial in the trial court and it had already been established that the skull belonged to Mikitenko, and in expert conclusion No. 105 it had already been established that a technical error had been made in the initials. In addition, the defense cannot clearly indicate the burial place of this person, and that it is impossible each time to dig all graves and conduct an examination.

Convict Albert Rokhkin drew attention to the fact that the case has been dragging on for 12 years and that the defense is paying attention to the fact that the corpse’s skull was compared with photographs, and that the photographs were not of Andrei Mikitenko, and that the investigators concealed information about the presence of Andrei Mikitenko’s sibling, wife and child, whose presence they learned only through journalistic investigations.

After meeting in the deliberation room, the court decided to refuse the application for an examination in accordance with the requirements of chapter 34 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, since the court was not empowered to collect evidence during the proceedings due to newly discovered circumstances. The collection of evidence may take place during a new review of criminal proceedings in the event of a cancellation of a sentence due to newly discovered circumstances.

Convict Streletsky Alexander told the court that the case file contained a number of audio and video recordings that were not to be considered in the court of first instance, but the verdict indicated that the evidence was assessed as admissible and appropriate. He also filed a motion to establish by the court the fact that there is no technical record of the fixation of some court hearings. The court explained to the convict that the request would be considered in the deliberation room upon the adoption of the main decision.

After that the court invited the parties to proceed to the debate. There were no objections to the parties. Providing participants in the trial with the opportunity to prepare for the debate, the court announced a break until April 21, 2020.

In order to respect the right to a fair trial, experts from the International Society for Human Rights will continue to monitor this trial.