The lawyers of the Anticorruption Action Center blame the investigators and the prosecutors of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine in abusing the office and forging a criminal case.
The lawyers made the said claim at the today’s press conference.
According to Olena Shcherban, lawyer at the Anticorruption Action Center, the Prosecutor General’s Office is the only law enforcement establishment where the AntAC can file a motion: “We lack legal mechanisms to protect the organization – and that is exactly what the Prosecutor General’s Office planned. We do not have a legal status in this case, which limits our rights and instruments of defense. From the legal point of view, we are trapped – we have to file a motion against the malpractice to the agency guilty of this malpractice.”
The activists say that criminal procedure, in the course of which the Prosecutor General’s Office has gained access to all the financial documents of the Anticorruption Action Center, along with the right to take them out, is forged.
“We consider this criminal procedure as a personal revenge of Stoliarchuk: we have recently filed a complaint against him to Shokin with a demand to bring him to responsibility, that is to dismiss Stoliarchuk on the grounds of complete professional impropriety and ‘surrender’ of Ivaniushchenko case,” explains Vitaliy Shabunin, chairman of the Board of the Anticorruption Action Center.
“The investigators have requested temporary access so fast, that it means that they have not even tried to get these documents in other way: to ask us or the US Government projects. It looks like they are fulfilling specific orders of their bosses instead of adhering to the Criminal Code,” thinks the lawyer Shcherban.
Thus, the Anticorruption Action Center points out a number of actually willful violations of the Criminal Code by both the investigators and the judges. In particular, the court resolution of March 22 does not describe the components of the crime. In other words, the investigators did not have a reasonable suspicion that a specific crime has been committed, and, thus, did not have a right to demand that the court provides temporary access to the accounts and all financial and accounting documents of the non-governmental organization.
Should the Prosecutor General’s Office refuse to investigate the crimes of its officials, the activists will turn to court.
“Institution of such criminal proceedings is a comeback to the times under Yanukovych’s presidency, when the law enforcement bodies were used as puppet institutes for pressure and settlement of political issues. A rough and ready case without any components of crime, only with ‘document checking’ is a personal revenge of the leaders of the Prosecutor General’s Office – Shokin, Servuk, and Stoliarchuk.”
The activists consider it as pressure on the organization that has severely criticized not only the Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, but also his deputies Yuriy Sevruk and Yuriy Stoliarchuk, one of whom will, most probably, be lobbied for the post of the Prosecutor General. “Understanding that Shokin will sooner or later be dismissed, the President and the prosecution have already started to look for a person to replace him, – adds Vitaliy Shabunin. – There are several candidates, all from Shokin’s team: Sevruk and Stoliarchuk were always doing all the dirty jobs.”
At the same time, the activists have denied that the organization has been given a grant for the reform of the prosecution and have provided the documents confirming it. “We do not believe in the reanimation of the Prosecutor General’s Office and would not take up this task. We have focused instead on the establishment of new law enforcement bodies – the Anticorruption Bureau and the specialized anti-corruption prosecution, – says Daryna Kaleniuk, executive director of the Anticorruption Action Center. – Therefore, all these fantasies concerning the American money are invented by the prosecutors and are considered by them as a reason to intervene and block our work.” Kaleniuk did not rule out the possibility that the investigators were also allowed to conduct undercover investigation regarding team members of the Anticorruption Action Center.
According to Roman Maselko, the AntAC’s attorney, there is a certain similarity in the actions of judges who persecute the activists on the basis of the forged cases: “A total lack of argumentative and descriptive parts in the court decisions, which would prove the possibility that the crime has been committed, confirms that the case is forged. In the past people had their driving licenses suspended only because they went to Mezhyhiria (Yanukovych residence), while today they are deprived of their rights because they openly criticize the actions of the prosecution, even if there was no crime in their acts.”
As it is known, on March 25 it was reported that the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine instituted criminal proceedings, and the prosecutors received a decision of Pechersk District Court of Kyiv that allowed them to seize the documents of the Anticorruption Action Center and provided access to all the bank information of the NGO.
However, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine has, as usually, denied this.
- The Anticorruption Action Center has openly criticized Yuriy Stoliarchuk, head of the main investigating department of the Prosecutor General’s Office, since he, as a supervisor of pre-trial proceedings in the case of Yuriy Ivaniushchenko (close associate of Yanukovych, sanctioned by the EU), has not taken a single action to investigate this case. As a result, the court forced the Prosecutor General’s Office to terminate the criminal proceedings.
- Similarly, under the supervision of Stoliarchuk, the case of Olena Lukash, ex-minister of justice, was ‘surrendered’ – she has been released.
- Another Deputy Prosecutor General – Yuriy Sevruk – during the Maidan used to be a deputy head of the department of supervision over observance of laws by the internal affairs bodies at the Main Department of supervision over the observance of laws in criminal proceedings of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine. Actually, it was he who supervised over observance of laws by the militia during the Revolution of Dignity.