The Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine in 2012-2014, Eduard Stavitsky, asks the court in the case of Yanukovych to question him as a witness at the next meeting on November 19. Stavitsky sent the corresponding declaration to the college of judges and its chairman, Vladislav Devyatko, on November 7. Also on November 16, the ex-minister made a public video message on this issue.
“I have a lot of evidence of legal nihilism, which has manifested itself all these five years against me and my former colleagues. I want to tell the truth under oath about how everything happened, about blackmail, how I was asked to give false evidence in the Yanukovych case, and so on. I really want the world community and, above all, the people of Ukraine to know about all this”, said Stavitsky.
Eduard Stavitsky stressed that all these years he was not hiding and was available to communicate with the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, everyone knew that he lived in Israel and he provided his home address. At the same time, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine stated that the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies were actively searching for the “runaway minister” and could not find him in any way, which was the reason for submitting the request and the file of Stavitsky to Interpol for his search. At the same time, Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko himself confirmed to journalists the fact that his two first deputies, Angela Strizhevska and Yevhenii Yenin, met with Stavitsky in Israel in 2016.
“I’m surprised that Lutsenko called this meeting official. I wasn’t given any summaries or invitations for interrogation — nothing. Moreover, at that time, at the request of the General Prosecutor’s Office, I seemed to be looking by Interpol, but no one even tried to arrest me. And the most interesting — they brought documents with fictitious evidence against Yanukovych and other people and were trying to force me to sign them. I am ready to state all the details under oath in court!”, said the former minister.
According to Stavitsky, as of November 16, 2018, he did not received any response or invitation from the law enforcement and judicial authorities of Ukraine to be involved as a witness in the trial against Yanukovych. The ex-minister asks judge Vladislav Devyatko to legally respond to his declaration and schedule him a videoconference time to give testimony.
After Stavitsky’s video message, hundreds of thousands of users of social networks came up with the slogan “We ask” and insist that Devyatko interrogate an important witness in this process.
Legal experts expressed full confidence that the court is obliged to call Stavitsky for questioning, as the Law of Ukraine says. After all, his testimony may be meaningful and affect the decision of the court, namely, to issue a fair verdict. According to Article 65 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, a witness is a person who knows or may be aware of circumstances to be proved in criminal proceedings. And since Eduard Stavitsky served as minister during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych and is an eyewitness to the events of 2013-2014 and the motivations and reasons for writing appeals to Europe and Russia in February and March 2014, his interrogation may shed light on many circumstances in a criminal case and a trial that has lasted for a year and a half.
However, many believe that the prosecutor’s office will not allow and will interfere with the interrogation of Stavitsky. Everyone remembers the episode when, during a regular court session, there was a direct conference call with one of the key witnesses in the case of Yanukovich — Mykola Azarov, who also wanted to provide the court with the facts and circumstances of that time, which should have been not only interesting, but essential and important for the court, while the judge V.Devyatko suddenly stopped the interrogation of witnesses for the defense and left the courtroom. Ukrainians with regret recognize that the current government is absolutely not interested in the people knowing the truth, especially before the election of the President of Ukraine.
The logical question is — will Judge Devyatko have the courage not to become the flunky of Prosecutor General’s Office and fulfill his professional duty, to be a real and honest judge? And does he believe that he will be held criminally responsible for violations of the Law? After all, as a judge and representative of Themis, he probably realizes this very clearly. The trial of Yanukovych is not just a criminal process, this is a case that is directly related to the future of Ukraine.
Experts, journalists and the public are confident that this case is a litmus test, a test of justice in Ukraine. First and foremost, the justice of the Ukrainian judicial system, which has already become a black spot on the image of the country. In fact, the perception of Ukraine by the world community depends on the results of this test.
Tim Brooks, Brussels Reporter