May 4, 2017 a trial in absentia over former President Viktor Yanukovych on charges of high treason began. Obolonsky District Court of Kyiv held the first preparatory meeting on the case of the encroachment of Viktor Yanukovych on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Criminal Code provides a punishment of deprivation of liberty for a period of 10 years or life imprisonment. One of the main evidence in the case is the fact that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych asked Russia to send troops across the border to protect civilians (March 1, 2014).
The case against the former president of Ukraine was transferred to the court on March 14, 2017.
February 22, 2014, Verkhovna Rada dismissed Yanukovych from his post, and soon he fled to Russia. Just in a few days, March 4, 2014, at a meeting of the UN Security Council, the then Russian Ambassador Vladimir Churkin showed and read Yanukovych’s letter. At the same time, he noted that it was the president of Russia who received this appeal. Subsequently, the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine received an official notification from the UN with a photocopy of a Yanukovych’s letter. March 1, 2014, the Federation Council of Russia supported Vladimir Putin's request for permission to deploy troops to Ukraine.
However, already in 2017, administration of President Putin and the Federation Council said that they did not receive any letter from Viktor Yanukovych about the use of Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine. March 16, 2017, Press Secretary for the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov noted that the presidential administration did not receive any official letter from Yanukovych.
Yanukovych himself refuses to come to Ukraine because of fears about his own security and distrust of Ukrainian justice. Since the spring of 2014, he resides in Russia.
April 28, Ukraine’s state Oschadbank transferred Yanukovych's $ 1.5 billion to state budget.
May 29, a session in absentia over ousted ex-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych was held in Obolonsky District Court in Kyiv. During the meeting, Yanukovych's defense declared that the law enforcement officials conduct pressure on the judiciary. "The prosecution side chose the path of intimidation and discrediting the representatives of the judiciary," Yanukovych's lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk claimed. Lawyers in particular referred to the speech of the Prosecutor General Lutsenko in the Verkhovna Rada, where he called the transfer of the case materials against Yanukovych to the court his main achievement. Lawyers also cited Lutsenko's post on Facebook: “You do it once again – I mean a “merciful” judicial decision, - and I will fear for the fire protection of the courthouse.” In addition, as evidence, Yanukovych's defense quoted critical remarks against judges from Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov, one of his friends and deputies Ilya Kyva, and Major General of Security Service of Ukraine Anatoly Matios. "We see a massive attack on the courts, these are direct threats to the massacre," Serdyuk said. In turn, Judge Devyatko agreed with Yanukovych’s plea. "The court agrees that such statements are inadmissible, the court will forward these materials to the Supreme Council of Justice," the judge said.
June 16, trial over ex-president continued. Viktor Yanukovych's lawyers asked to recognize the former president as a victim, and prosecutor of the prosecution side Ruslan Kravchenko assured that the Prosecution General guarantees Yanukovych’s security in the event of his arrival in Ukraine. After such a statement, the defense gave the court 4 volumes of explanations, demanded the court to question the guards of the ex-president. As early as 11:05, the judges retired to the advisory room and decided to start hearing the case of Yanukovych on June 26. Yanukovych claimed he wanted to talk to Turchynov.
June, 26. The defenders of former President Viktor Yanukovych insisted on ensuring his participation and participation of Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko in the Supreme Council of Justice's examination of the allegations of pressure on the court. The day before the defense insisted that the Supreme Council of Justice consider the complaint involving Lutsenko. As early as 10:57 am, the court postponed the consideration of the case of Yanukovych's state treasury to June 29. But, the prosecution side stated that there are grounds for an absentee conviction. In turn, Yanukovych's defense will insist on the interrogation of Turchynov and Yatsenyuk.
June 29, the panel's advocate said that Yanukovych would not come to court. It was decided that the case of the state treasury would be considered in absentia. The court voiced the charges of state treason and complicity in the war against Ukraine (a criminal conspiracy with the Russian authorities). Also, lawyers told their version of what Yanukovych had asked Putin for. As a result, the trial determined the procedure for studying the materials.
On the eve of the next trial, the runaway ex-president Viktor Yanukovych recorded a video message to the Ukrainian side. Yanukovych refused to participate in the court on the case of the state treason; he said that he hoped that occupied Crimea would "return" to Ukraine. July 6, the trial continued. General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine accused him of high treason. But already at 10:35 it was decided to reschedule the court on the case of the state treasury on July 12. Because that day the court was going to discuss the issue of appointing state lawyer for Yanukovych. And as of 11:41 after the discussion in the advisory chamber, the judges agreed for free protection of Yanukovych. Defense appealed to the Prosecution General with a request to initiate a case of "coup d’etat."
July, 12. The interests of the suspect were represented by the state defender Victor Meshechek. But, as early as 10:29 the court adjourned the hearing on Yanukovych's case on August 3, so that Yanukovych's new lawyer could get familiar with the case materials. Meshechek said that the suspect should take part in the court by videoconference. The lawyer said he did not get in touch with his client and his previous defenders.
"I have not seen my client, but the line of defense is clear to me, and I support it," Meshechek stressed.
August 3, the Obolonsky District Court of Kyiv has once again began a meeting on the treason of the former President of Ukraine Yanukovych. However, the trial did not last long, because at the request of a lawyer, the hearing was postponed. The next hearing was rescheduled on August 10. Advocates of the ex-president appealed to the court with a request for additional time to familiarize themselves with the case file. A new witness appeared in the case.
August 15, the court interrogated Yuriy Sergeyev, who by 2015 was the permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations. The witness did not refuse to testify. Ex-Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations said that the Russian Federation granted Yanukovych's appeal for the entry of troops the status of a UN document, and Sergeyev also confirmed the authenticity of Yanukovych's signature at the letter to the leader of the Russian Federation.
August, 17. The trial started at 10:11, but just 10 minutes later Yanukovych's state lawyer Vitaly Meshechek refused to participate in the meeting, saying that he "simply cannot exercise high-quality defense of the defendant, because the case is complicated." In turn, prosecutors from Prosecutor General’s office are sure that the state defender of the ex-president thus tries to deliberately impede the process. They came out against the fact of Meshechek’s self-disqualification. As of 11:22 the court accepted the rejection of the state administration and rescheduled the meeting on September 6.
The court asked to appoint a more qualified lawyer in the case of the former president Yanukovych. Maskym Gerasko became Yanukovych’s new lawyer. Gerasko was a defender of former official from Ministry of Internal Affairs Oleksiy Pukach, sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze
September, 6. The new lawyer of Yanukovych, the defendant in the treason case, Maskym Gerasko did not use any given day to get acquainted with the case materials. For all the time he even never came to court to get acquainted with the materials of criminal proceedings. According to the prosecutor, the lawyer intended to delay the court's consideration of this criminal proceeding.
September 21. The court refused to declare disqualification to the secretary of the session on Yanukovych’s case at the request of the defense, it was reported that the defense stated about the alleged bias of the judge. It is reported that the court denied to remove the presiding judge; refused to exclude copies of documents and video from the evidence in Yanukovych’s case.
September 27. Yanukovych's lawyer Gerasko asked the court to finance his trip to Rostov-on-Don at the expense of the state to meet with his client. He complained that the prosecutor's office did not even provide him with the phone number or e-mail address of Yanukovych, so he could not agree with him on the position of protection. However, the judge did not respond to the request of the defense. At 10:55 am, the court postponed the hearing on Yanukovych's case on September 28.
September 28. Lawyer Gerasko once again complained that he had not seen his client. In particular, Gerasko filed a lawsuit with the head of the Center for the provision of free legal assistance regarding a business trip to meet with the ex-president. In turn, the court only attached this statement to the case materials. At the same time, prosecutors showed a certificate of the former president's unconvicted criminal record. Yanukovych has no criminal records, is not registered with a psychiatrist or a narcologist. Gerasko claimed that the court proceeded to study the evidence illegally, because it did not have time to get acquainted with the entire volume of case materials. During the court session, the court showed videos from Ukrainian TV news and amateur videos of citizens of Crimea, which show how Russian military equipment entered the territory of Ukraine in March 2014. The trial was postponed until October 5.
October, 5. The meeting lasted for only 10 minutes, as the defense lawyer Gerasko went to his defendant in Russia, giving the court tickets to Moscow (via Minsk). The court rescheduled the meeting on October 11.
October, 11. The meeting was postponed again, as the Maksym Gerasko sent a message to the court that he was on a business trip in Russia and would return to Ukraine on October 13. In this regard, the lawyer asked the court to postpone the case. The court postponed the consideration of the case on October, 19.
October 19, the 15th trial was held in the case of state treason and complicity in the conduct of the war. Yanukovych, who is charged with three articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: Part 5 of Art. 27 (high treason), Part 2 of Art. 437 (aiding in an aggressive war); Part 3 of Art. 110 (aiding in encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine, which resulted in the death of people and other grave consequences).
The meeting with Yanukovych did not take place due to the fact that Maksym Gerasko’s visit was not approved by the defendant. However, the lawyer continues to insist on the need to meet with the ex-president.
“Unfortunately, I understand that my arrival was unexpected because I did not have an opportunity to inform Yanukovych by the phone in advance, the work of the system of postal offices is also not clear, so I did not find Yanukovych at his place. However, I found out where he lives... I have made a number of lawyer inquiries in the territory of the Russian Federation, I spoke with the guards (of Yanukovych’s house – Ed.), they informed that he was really living there. I think that the meeting should take place, I hope that it will happen in the future. I left my coordinates and I hope that my client will contact me as soon as possible," he said. Gerasko added that he had come to Yanukovych's residence twice.
Ukrainian journalist Serhiy Rudenko notes: “Yuriy Lutsenko is the fourth attorney general after Euromaidan. The actions or omissions of his predecessors and subordinates probably require a separate investigation.” He also believes that the trial of Yanukovych looks like “a triumph of the Poroshenko-Lutsenko tandem. Of course, one of the main roles will be played by the Attorney General. Yuriy Lutsenko has long said that he intends to personally present the charge against the former president in court. Of course, all the central television channels will broadcast this process, perhaps will go down in history books. However, bringing the "key case" to its logical conclusion, given the serious legal support of Yanukovych, would not be easy.
Deputy Prosecutor-General of Ukraine and Major General of Security Service Anatoliy Matios has claimed that "Yanukovych and his entourage stole an amount equal to the annual budget at the rate of UAH 8/USD." He also added that long years are needed to investigate this corruption.
According to the Ministry of Justice, funds that belong to Yanukovych and his entourage were blocked on the territory of 8 EU countries. It is about 22 persons. According to the estimates of the Ukrainian authorities and the expert environment, we are talking about several tens of billions of dollars, which were withdrawn during the period 2010-2015.