Vitaly Meshechek, a public defender of the former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, applied to the court to recuse himself from the case. He announced that at the beginning of the next court hearing of the treason case against fugitive president in Obolon District Court in Kyiv on Thursday, August 17.
“I have an application I’d like you to consider. This application contains my refusal to fulfill obligations as a public defender. The criminal case is extremely difficult, which is shown by the materials of the criminal proceeding. In this very criminal proceeding provides further summons and interrogations for the witnesses by the defense team, the majority of them are on the territory of the Russian Federation, evidence gathering and sending attorneys’ requests. I am doing individual lawyer activity and I do not belong to the law union. I do not have any assistants. According to the Ukrainian legislation on legal aid, no more than one public defender can be involved into the criminal proceeding. Taking into account the complexity of the case, I believe that I can’t take part in further court proceedings for Yanukovych to get more qualified legal assistance. I request to accept my refusal to participate in the criminal proceeding,” Vitaly Meshechek reported.
The Prosecutors made a stand against the lawyer’s self-disqualification.
“The only lawful ground for the lawyer’s self-disqualification is recognition of his own incompetency. After the he familiarized himself with materials, the defender reported that he was ready for the defense. He has already participated in examination of evidence and interrogation of witnesses. I believe the request by the defender is an attempt to stall the process. The law obliges him to provide legal assistance to the accused defendant. I appeal to dismiss a petition,” the prosecutor Maksym Krym announced.
However the court satisfied a motion and the public defender left the court session room.
The court ordered the Kyiv Regional Center for legal aid providing to appoint the new public defender for accused defendant Victor Yanukovych and ensure his presence on September 6, 2017, at 10 a.m.
Yanukovych is suspected of four crimes: state treason, aiding in deliberate acts aimed at territorial changing of state borders of Ukraine, financing of territorial changes, aiding in aggressive war.
Viktor Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president has been residing in Russia since March 2014, when his regime was toppled by activists of Euromaidan movement.
As the conflict between unarmed protesters and law enforcers reached the bloody climax, Yanukovych and his sidekicks fled the country.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office charges Yanukovych with state treason, supporting Russian officials responsible for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as waging aggressive war.
Earlier, the one of the previous hearings was adjourned on June 26, since Yanukovych did not join the session in the video conference mode from Rostov, Russia. Later on August 3 the progress in Euromaidan case was reported during the next court hearing.