11:07 09.12.2017

Court upholds legality of searches at Ukrainian Justice Ministry

Court upholds legality of searches at Ukrainian Justice Ministry

The Solomiansky district court of Kyiv upheld the legality of searches carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) at the Justice Ministry offices on Friday, NABU said on Facebook on Friday.

"The search carried out by NABU detectives on December 8, 2017, at the office of a Ukrainian Justice Ministry official with the aim to save evidence in a criminal case, was legal. This was confirmed by a ruling today by a judge at Solomiansky district court of the city of Kyiv," the statement said.

On Friday morning NABU officers broke into the ministry's offices on Horodetskoho Street in Kyiv when there was no one inside except the janitor, and spent there about an hour and a half before exiting via the back door, leaving behind a search report on the desk, Deputy Justice Minister Natalia Bernatska said earlier on Friday.

The Justice Ministry called the search illegal (there were no court order, no lawyers, no video and audio recording) and sees it as a form of pressure. The ministry complained to the G7 countries' ambassadors and the United States Department of Justice.

NABU said it carried out urgent searches after receiving a tip-off about the risk of some of the documents, which the Justice Ministry was to submit as part of a criminal investigation, being destroyed. The search confirmed this information, the remaining documents were seized.

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