Yesterday, activist Roman Ratushny announced that an appeal against his precautionary measure
would be considered by a panel of judges of the Kyiv Court of Appeal consisting of Tetyana Frych (court reporter), Olha Yurdyha and Yuriy Slyva. Earlier, the same judges released Volodymyr Tsemakh, a key witness in the downing of MH17 over Donbas.
However, this is not the only thing this panel of judges is famous for. The DEJURE Foundation gives a spotlight on how judges Frych, Yurdyha and Slyva helped the terrorist escape, played into the hands of Yanukovych and the Sheremet case investigation, and persecuted Maidan protesters.
The release of Tsemakh
In June 2019, the Security Service of Ukraine conducted a special operation on the territory of the so-called “Donetsk People's Republic” and detained the terrorist Volodymyr Tsemakh, former "air defense commander" of Snizhne town. The Shevchenkivskyi District Court of Kyiv arrested him for two months. In September 2019, judges Frych, Yurdyha and Slyva overturned this decision and released Tsemakh from custody on personal bail.
During the removal of the restrictive measures, the court must check whether there is a risk that the suspect will abscond from the investigation and the court, the evidence will be destroyed, the witnesses will be put under strain or another criminal offense will be committed. It is obvious that all these risks were justified, because he was still hiding from the investigation.
Experts and journalists also said that Tsemakh planned to be extradited to Russia as part of an exchange of prisoners of war, thus he would not appear at further meetings. At the same time, investigators from the Netherlands also asked not to extradite him, because they wanted to interrogate him as a witness at the hearing in Hague in the case of the downing of the Malaysian Boeing flight MH17. Tsemakh was exchanged and soon returned home to the temporarily occupied Snizhne.
The Sheremet Case
The same panel of judges left the military nurse Yana Duhar under house arrest, and in January 2020, the musician Andriy Antonenko was remanded in custody by its decision.
Judges Tetyana Frych and Yuriy Slyva, as part of another panel, remanded the doctor Yulia Kuzmenko in custody in December 2019, and in August 2020 remanded musician Andriy Antonenko under arrest, although the day before they released Yulia Kuzmenko from custody and used house arrest as a restrictive measure.
Human rights activists and the civic society activists have repeatedly stated that the investigation into the Sheremet case was biased, falsified, and politically motivated.
Playing into the hands of Yanukovych
In 2020, a panel of judges consisting of Frych, Yurdyha and Slyva overturned the decision to arrest Viktor Yanukovych in absentia in the case of the dispersal of Revolution of Dignity activists.
A year earlier, in 2019, judges Yurdyha and Slyva, as part of another panel, overturned the arrest of the Parkovy Congress and Exhibition Center, which is called Yanukovych's helipad.
Persecution of Maidan activists
In February 2014, judge Yuriy Slyva upheld the ruling of the Irpin City Court of Kyiv Region, which deprived a Automaidan participant of his driver's license. He allegedly did not stop at the request of the traffic police inspector during a trip to Yanukovych's residence in Mezhyhirya in December 2013.
Even the Disciplinary Chamber of the High Council of Justice later found that the judge had violated procedural law during the proceedings, but had not brought him to disciplinary responsibility due to the expiry of the statute of limitations.
The case of Yulia Tymoshenko
In 2011, a panel of judges, which included judges Frych and Yurdyha, upheld the verdict of Kyiv’s Pechersk District Court, which sentenced former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in prison.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe pointed out the shortcomings of the lawsuits against former members of the government, including Tymoshenko. The European Parliament said in a resolution that Tymoshenko's imprisonment was a manifestation of selective justice.
In April 2013, the ECHR ruled in Tymoshenko v. Ukraine. The Court stated that the criminal case was the result of politically motivated persecution of an opposition leader, and found a violation of Tymoshenko's right to liberty and security of person. In April 2014, the Supreme Court of Ukraine overturned the verdict of the court of first instance and the decision of the appellate court.
“It is advantageous for the political authorities and the High Council of Justice to keep judges of low integrity. By threatening dismissal or criminal prosecution for previous "achievements", the government can enforce the decisions it needs, even the illegal ones.
The fact that the cases of activists that call on the judicial reform will be considered by judges who have been loyal servants of the system for years is a testament to the bias and political motivation to persecute activists and the urgent need for judicial reform. ”
– says Mykhailo Zhernakov, Chair of the Board at the DEJURE Foundation
Earlier we wrote that judge Kristina Konstantinova, who sent Roman Ratushny and Serhiy Filimonov under house arrest, had previously allowed searches of the Automaidan activists.