Court rejects request by Yanukovych's defense team to recuse panel of judges
Kyiv's Obolonsky District Court has rejected a petition filed by the defense team of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to recuse a panel of judges in the Yanukovych treason case and stated that allegations of pressure on the court, in particular, from the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine, are ungrounded.
"This petition cannot be granted, since the court session does not establish the circumstances that give rise to justified doubts about the impartiality of the panel of judges," reads the ruling taken by the court at a session on Wednesday on the petition lodged by lawyer Vitaliy Serdiuk on July 5, 2017 to recuse the panel of judges, which was considered after his return to the trial.
Presiding Judge Vladyslav Deviatko noted that the defense team had previously stated that the court was under pressure and that the deadline was set for the consideration of the treason case first before August 24, 2017 and then before the New Year.
"You can now conclude that instructions from the prosecutor general do not matter for the court, or we do not follow them," he said.
The judge stated that there were no such instructions from the prosecutor general and that the court would consider this case as long as it is necessary to clarify all the circumstances.
Deviatko also recalled that Yanukovych had repeatedly been given the opportunity to participate in this trial via a videoconference.
As reported, on June 29, 2017, Kyiv's Obolonsky District Court decided to consider criminal proceedings on charges against Yanukovych of high treason and a number of other crimes against the statehood of Ukraine under a special (absentee) procedure.
In the high treason trial, Yanukovych is accused of committing crimes under Part 5, Article 27 (an accomplice in a crime), Part 3, Article 110 (encroachment on the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine, which led to loss of life or other grave consequences; it envisages imprisonment for a period of 7 to 12 years), Part 1, Article 111 (high treason; it envisages imprisonment for a period of 10 to 15 years), Part 2, Article 437 (conducting aggressive war or aggressive military operations; it envisages imprisonment for a term of 10 to 15 years) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.