Sa, 2.12.2023

Ukraine to charge Yanukovych by default in leading criminal group

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In near future, Ukrainian prosecutor’s office is charging former President Viktor Yanukovych by default in organising a criminal group, Ukraine’s prosecutor general Viktor Shokin tells Postimees in interview.

«It has been proven by evidences that he created and led an organised criminal group featuring a specific division of tasks and wherein everyone fulfilled a definite role – both in financial matters and murders at Maidan, and apprehending and torturing of people. These (charges – J.P.) also relate to usurpation of power, how he rose to power,» said Mr Shokin. «Billions and billions of hryvnias were stolen from Ukraine, which include takeovers of large state enterprises, bank affairs etc. The total damage is yet to be summed up.»

The criminal case concerns the entire tenure of Mr Yanukovych as President starting 2010 till his toppling in February 2014 as the result of a popular uprising.

In addition to Mr Yanukovych,  numerous close co-labourers of his will be charged by default in belonging to the organised criminal group, such as fled with him via Crimea to Russia in February last year.    

The presentation of the charges by default is visibly linked to two years soon to have passed since the initial meetings started in central Kiev, later to evolve in a popular revolution. The first mass meeting on Maidan Square, Kiev took place on November 24th, 2013.   

To judge by default the leadership which mainly fled to Russia, and the people who are in cooperation with separatists in Eastern Ukraine, Ukraine has passed a special law. Thereby, prosecution is possible regarding people charged in acts against national security, in acts of terror, in corruption and intentional killings.

If Mr Yanukovych and his close circle will be judged guilty by default, said the prosecutor Mr Shokin, Ukraine will be entitled to «have recourse to European bodies and be returned our stolen assets.»

«Secondly, we could apply for the punishment to be executed in the state where they are hiding,» said the prosecutor. «For us, this is very important! This will be a difficult and slow procedure, but in needs to be done. Regrettably, Russia will not help us of course.»