Lawyers Demand the Release of Former Ukrainian Justice Minister, Claiming Charges Against Him are Unfounded
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KYIV, Ukraine, September 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/
Ukrainian NGO "Ukrainian Rule of Law Institute" demands the Ukrainian authorities follow the rule of law and respect human rights in case of the former Minister of Justice of Ukraine Oleksandr Lavrynovych.
Oleksandr Lavrynovych was detained on September 15 by Kyiv Pechersk District Court of Ukraine. The Prosecutors have accused him of forcible seizure of government, while the Court had ordered his arrest for "an illegal change of the constitutional order".
The charge refers to the events of 2010, when the Constitutional Court of Ukraine restored the Constitution of 1996, which increased the powers of the President Viktor Yanukovych.
Lavrynovych's attorneys have called his charges unfounded. He is accused of publishing the decision of the Constitutional Court in the official press and further implementing it, together with all other Ministries and public authorities. One of the grounds for immediate arrest by the state prosecutor was the possibility of Lavrynovych influencing general public by providing false information to mass-media.
Oleksandr Lavrynovych is currently detained in a remand centre waiting to appeal his detention on September 27. In case they cannot find a solution in the Ukrainian courts, attorneys plan to apply to the European Court of Human Rights. Notably, ECHR has a history of dismissing the necessity of detention of people who were not involved in violent crimes and do not pose any threats to the society.
Lavrynovych claims the prosecutors offered him freedom in exchange for perjury against himself, the judges of the Constitutional Court and the former President.
Ukraine's constitutional order has gone through an important transformation since 1996. Originally established as a presidential republic, in 2004 Ukraine was transformed into a parliamentary-presidential republic as a result of the Orange Revolution. The powers of the then President Viktor Yushchenko were significantly reduced and redistributed between the Government and the Parliament. However, in 2010 the Constitutional Court overruled the amendments of 2004.
Oleksandr Lavrynovych is a well-known Ukrainian lawyer and academic. He was one of the activists for the Ukrainian Independence in 1991 and a co-author of the first Ukrainian Constitution in 1996. He served as a Minister of Justice for several Ukrainian governments, as well as previously serving as the First Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Parliament.