Court hearing on Yanukovych high treason to continue on Jan 17 due to lawyers' business trip
Kyiv's Obolonsky District Court will continue hearing the treason case of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych at 10 a.m. on January 17; the decision was made after the defendant's lawyers did not appear in court on January 10.
Presiding Judge Vladyslav Deviatko set the date and said the court would meet at 10 a.m. on January 18, as well.
"The court was informed this morning that the defense team in the criminal proceeding went on a business trip to fulfill its duty of defending Viktor Yanukovych. Lawyer Serdiuk went to Turkey, and lawyer Fedorenko visited Poland," the judge said.
Ruslan Kravchenko, a prosecutor with the Ukrainian Main Military Prosecutor's Office, described the lawyers' conduct as contempt of court aimed at disrupting the hearing.
Lawyer Vitaliy Serdiuk said later that the defense team was working with witnesses they want to summon to the Obolonsky District Court for their client's treason trial.
"These are several rank-and-file civil servants and former law-enforcement officers, as well as high-ranking officials illegally deposed in February 2014, which had an effect on the negative events, including Ukraine's loss of Crimea," Serdiuk said on the television channel 112.Ukraine on Wednesday.
He said that the court, which was supposed to hold the next hearing on January 10, was shown tickets proving that members of Yanukovych's defense team were traveling to Turkey and Poland.
"We did show our tickets; that happened on January 7. It was our vacation, but we were recalled to ensure the principle of the supremacy of client interests and started working with witnesses. We are now staying in Russia to interact with our compatriots who are also being prosecuted by Ukraine for political reasons and cannot travel to Ukrainian territory but who wish to speak in court as witnesses and describe the circumstances which they witnessed in February 2014," Serdiuk said.
He said he had had an in-person meeting with Yanukovych. "His stance has not changed; he insists he is able to officially face the court and our compatriots, swear an oath as required by the European Convention, and answer all questions. This applies both to the case of losing Crimea and the Maidan case," Serdiuk said.
He said Yanukovych's lawyers are planning to attend the next meeting of the Obolonsky District Court on January 17.