Traitor number one

March 1, 2014 the representative of Russia to the UN Vitaly Churkin at the meeting of the security Council of the United Nations read out a message from the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, who fled on the eve of Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin to use Russian armed forces to “restore law” in Ukraine. Simply put, the fugitive ex-head of state became one of the first bearers of Ukrainian passports whose name sounded a public call, who then became, in a bad sense, a cruise, “Putin, enter armies”.

Frankly, for the Ukrainian public is a performance Churkin “in the name and on behalf of” the former head of the garage and the lover of strange hats became such a sensation: after the shooting of the Heavenly Hundred, which became the apogee of three years of the usurpation of power and looting of the country, another convulsion of the Kremlin’s puppet, done in a ghostly hope to regain power in Ukraine, in order to then set up his tortured ass last prison on gold toilets Mezhyhirya, looked somewhat expected. For this reason, the majority of Ukrainians about this episode was rusty, and in the discourse about the investigation of the crimes of Yanukovych often use accusations of outrageous corruption, widespread theft of budget funds and lawlessness.

However, this episode is not forgotten Yuriy Lutsenko.

Recently the Prosecutor General of Ukraine opened a new criminal case against Ukrainian fugitive No. 1 – treason. According to investigators of the GPU, even before their direct appeals to the army chief of another country to carry out aggression against the homeland, Viktor Yanukovych, even in pre-Maidan period, keeping ostriches in Mezhyhirya, often acted in the interests of Russia.

“At the conclusion of the investigators, the activities of Viktor Yanukovych as President of Ukraine was subordinated to the interests of the Russian Federation in matters relating to national security, as evidenced by a signed Executive orders, appointments to key positions of persons with Russian citizenship, and the like. Accordingly, the activities of Viktor Yanukovych qualifies under article 255 (“a criminal organisation”) and article 111 (“high treason”) Criminal procedural code of Ukraine”, – is told in the message of the GPU.

Now the Prosecutor’s office investigated the actions of Viktor Yanukovych in the following areas: intentional acts to the detriment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability, defense, state, economic or informational security of Ukraine. According to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine Yury Lutsenko, in this case the investigators examined more than 3.6 thousands of documents and identified key factors that have led to deaths, temporary occupation of the Crimea, of Sevastopol, of individual regions of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The first and foremost of these factors, according to Lutsenko, the state change of official number one in Ukraine – President. And, as a result, other supporters of Yanukovych – from the leadership of the Ministry of internal Affairs to the generals, leadership of the armed forces of the country.

“The Prosecutor General’s office continues to investigate this part of the case, and in the General case of ex-President Yanukovych, we plan to direct her in the part of treason in the court during the current year”, – said the Prosecutor General.

In the footsteps of Musharraf and Mursi

Despite the fact that for Ukraine the prosecution of top officials in treason is new, in world history such examples are many. “It is Peru’s President Fujimori, the President of Indonesia, Suharto, the President, and then Emperor of the Central African Republic Bokassa. French Marshal Petain and Prime Minister Laval signed a Pact with Hitler and after the war sentenced to death – executed Laval and Pétain as the hero of the First world war, de Gaulle replaced the sentence to life,” reminded the Professor of comparative politics at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, scientific Director of Fund “Democratic initiatives” Oleksiy Haran.

There is a similar situation fresher. For example, the case against the former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, who was accused of treason in 2013. Today Musharraf is under investigation, but in March of this year left Pakistan and treated in Dubai. Such stories can be attributed to the case against the Vice-President of the Maldives, Ahmed ADIB, who was arrested on charges of terrorism, and this summer was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of conspiracy to kill the President of the Republic.

Can not forget the case against former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. In 2015, the year the criminal court of Cairo sentenced him and 12 other leaders of the “Muslim Brothers” to 20 years in prison (in the case of the tragic events at the presidential Palace “al-Ittihad” in the Egyptian capital in late 2012). “In other criminal cases, of treason and spying for a foreign state, and the mass escape of the leaders of the “Muslim Brothers” from prison during the overthrow of President Mubarak in 2011 – in may of last year, Morsi was the death penalty, and in the summer of this year to life imprisonment,” – said Haran.

“Company” Yanukovych – as the selection. Another question, can the GPU do to bring him to justice. “Obviously, he is in hiding in Russia, it will be impossible, – the Professor of political science. – This applies to many members of his team who also fled to Russia”.

However, this refers to a real prison term. Here, for example, to confiscate the property of Yanukovych, if cheating is proven in court (for treason the law makes it possible to judge in absentia).

By the way, Oleksiy Haran recalls that a lot of people who have committed crimes against the state and violating the Constitution of Ukraine, are still in Ukraine. “I mean two attempts of anti-constitutional rebellion is the constitutional reform of 2004 (we are talking about the abolition of the reform in 2010, which allowed Yanukovych to regain the powers of Leonid Kuchma – the UNIAN), and vote for laws “January 16″. Of course, it is unconstitutional rebellion. And we can attract people involved in them to justice. Unfortunately, this is not done,” he said.

The political scientist, the head of the Center for applied political studies “Penta” Volodymyr Fesenko said that the elements of treason can be seen in the number of actions of Viktor Yanukovych. Especially at the end of 2013 when he went on a secret agreement with Vladimir Putin (evidence of such arrangements can be considered a notorious $ 3 billion credit granted to the government of Ukraine by the Russian Federation). However, Fesenko reminds that when the influence of Russia on the top of the Ukrainian government in late 2013 has significantly increased, it was not only through Yanukovych: “There are suspicions in respect of some heads of power structures of the time of Yanukovych that they were agents of Russia or worked more for the Russian than Ukrainian interests. There were questions and suspicions about the former defense Minister, former head of the SBU… there is something to investigate, find the evidence…”.

Boards of political asylum and of the parliamentary mandate

With these pillars of the regime of Yanukovych no less than by the maintainer of ostriches. Even if to prove the facts of high treason by them, to bring them to real responsibility for it is just as difficult. “This is a question for the GPU, as they will do it. Although now at least something is done. Because we remember Makhnitskiy, Yarema, Shokin, when the hope that these cases will move out of place proved futile. Now is a definite political will, but it concerns individual persons, and not all the perpetrators,” says the strategist, the head of the analytical center “Third sector” Andrei Zolotarev.

The first problem for the GPU in this matter, in his opinion, is the quality of evidence for treason: “They should certainly be very compelling. As they concern such issues as the detention of the defendants in the other countries and their extradition. On “parole” in such matters is not going away, we need irrefutable evidence of guilt.”

The lack of conclusive evidence may be cause for refusal to extradite and arrest foreign property and overseas funds or other officials of times of Yanukovych. “We have already seen such a situation Kolobov, (ex-Finance Minister Yuri Kolobov, – the UNIAN). Spain Ukraine refused to extradite him”, – said Zolotarev.

Recall that Kolobov has made removing yourself from search by the Interpol through the court and live in Spain with residence permit in this country. According to information of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine former Ukrainian official has received a political asylum.

In addition, a second problem for the GPU can be itself the formulation of these criminal cases. The fact that the charges on the facts of treason (not typical of domestic officials – the abuse of power or embezzlement of public funds) allow the accused to ask for political asylum: the international human rights organizations such stories are often interpreted as “politically motivated”.

And while the former Ukrainian high-ranking officials who escaped after Yanukovych, expect a possible new charges, a threat to the country bear his remaining in Ukraine colleagues. According to Vladimir Fesenko, “from politicians who for the sake of a return to power or any other purpose willing to go to destabilize the government, threats are now much greater than that of the former officials of times Yanukovych, who are hiding abroad.”

However, according to Andrey Zolotarev, the fact that these policies of the GPU is still not tightly engaged, makes you think about the existence of certain arrangements of the current government with the representatives of the previous government. “There are scapegoats, and there are some figures, which no one says anything,” he says.

Do not forget that almost all high-ranking Yanukovych supporters left in the country today – elected Ukrainian deputies in Parliament. That is, have parliamentary immunity. And every time, when Parliament is faced with the need to deprive someone of the MPs that privilege, it turns into not only the backstage battles in the Parliament, but, due to lengthy procedures, allows the offender with the mandate to escape from the country. “All MPs – as patriots, as representatives of the Kremlin in Ukraine – are covered by immunity. And, I emphasize, even in the hostile relations between factions and groups, will never pass each other. So, for example, Levochkin (ex-head of presidential Administration of Yanukovych – UNIAN) invulnerable – he enters the caste of untouchables,” says political scientist, Director of the sociological service “Ukrainian barometer” Victor Nebozhenko.

The case of special purpose

Be that as it may, to the Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko the opportunity to bring this high-profile case to its logical conclusion – a conviction and subsequent confiscation of property and submission to the Interpol request to search a convicted criminal by the name of Yanukovych is not only a challenge, but a brilliant chance.

First, the chance to meet the enormous public demand for punishment and the Yanukovych and members of his regime. To demonstrate to society the fight against elite corruption, show that the country is changing, not all remained the same.

Second, the chance to return, at least in part, the credibility of the Prosecutor’s office as the law enforcement authority.

Thirdly, the chance beautifully and with full public approval to retaliate. After all, Yanukovych was imprisoned Lutsenko in prison.

And, fourth, the chance to make history. After all, not every Prosecutor has the opportunity to declare a state traitor to the former President. And to ensure a conviction.

Tatiana Urban, Irina Shevchenko