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Prosecutor Renat Kuzmin's letter to US President Barack Obama

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Dec. 10, 2012, 1:43 p.m. | Op-ed — by Renat Kuzmin

Renat Kuzmin
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Renat Kuzmin

Editor's Note: This is the official translation of a letter sent by First Deputy Prosecutor General to U.S. President Barack Obama on Dec. 3. The translation was posted here on the general prosecutor's office website on Dec. 10.

December 3, 2012

                                                                                                                                                               Mr. Barack Obama
                                                                                                                                                               The President of the United States

                                                                                                                                                               The White House
                                                                                                                                                              1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
                                                                                                                                                               Washington, D.C. 20500
                                                                                                                                                               USA

     Dear Mr. President:

     Please accept my congratulations on your victory. I wish you and your family health, happiness and prosperity.

     The United States of America undoubtedly hold leadership as the standard-bearer of human rights and the stronghold of democracy. We highly appreciate the efforts of the USA that are directed to developing bilateral dialogue between our countries. We also value your aid in the formation of Ukraine as a constitutional state. We are certain that the United States is a strategic partner for Ukraine in the fight against organized crime and corruption.

     By way of this letter, I would like to direct your attention to one of the burning issues that has complicated relations between Ukraine and the USA. This issue concerns the continuous interference of American lobby group in the taking of depositions of witnesses in the murder case of Eugene Scherban, the slain Ukrainian Member of Parliament. The matter is about Pavel Lazarenko, Peter Kirichenko and Nikolai Melnichenko, who now live in the USA and publicly claim their consent to give evidence in the case. The Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine has requested about 30 times that the U.S. Department of Justice assist us in organizing the interrogations of the aforementioned witnesses. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of Justice continues to ignore these requests for depositions from Ukrainian.

     By way of background, I should remind you that the Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Eugene Scherban, together with his wife and two colleagues, were shot in Donetsk airport in November 1996. After the shootings, only Mr. Scherban's son survived. The actual perpetrators of the crime were found and they sustained punishment. The Prosecutor's Office is vigorously pursuing those who ordered this murder.

     The witnesses in this case, that reside in Ukraine, have given evidence to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office, that in 2005 they, in  accordance with the U.S. established procedure, provided documents upon the matter of Eugene Scherban's murder and other related crimes to the U.S. Department of Justice. The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office requested copies of this documentary evidence from the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as from the U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Ukraine, John Tefft. Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office received no response to these requests for copies of this documentation from the U.S. Department of Justice. We had to resort to direct public appeals to American authorities with the request to receive assistance in investigating relevant cases. In response, American Ambassador to Ukraine, John Tefft, claimed, that he had no information concerning availability of the aforementioned documentation requested by Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office. The U.S. Department of Justice has remained silent. Consequently, there is an impression, forming in Ukraine, that some American officials are concealing information, which could aid in the search for those, who ordered Eugene Scherban's murder.

     In addition, there is another very hazardous situation that has caused me to address this letter to you, dear Mr. President. There is an elaborated plan by the U.S. Department of Justice, initiated by some American and Ukrainian politicians, to counteract and eliminate the case of Eugene Scherban's murder. One of the objectives of this plan is contravene the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office indictment of Julia Tymoshenko and Pavel Lazarenko within the confines of the case. A former employee of President Leonid Kuchma's security staff, Nikolai Melnichenko, who has recently returned to Ukraine from the USA, gave evidence about this plan to Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office investigators. One of the goals of this plan is not only to discredit the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office investigative group, but to discredit me personally as well. Initiators of the plan presumed to provoke my arrest in the territory of the USA, based upon specially fabricated indictments. Nikolai Melnichenko was to become a participant in this international provocation. The goal of my arrest was the discredit of my person before American authorities and thus corroborate that my actions' were illegal in the USA. I was to be incriminated by alleging that I coerced a witness, Nikolai Melnichenko, in a murder case to give evidence to Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office investigators. Thus, the initiators of the plan intended to force termination not only of this murder investigation by Ukrainian authorities, but also other crimes, of which Mrs. Tymoshenko is accused.

     During the interrogation process in Ukraine, Nikolai Melnichenko named all of the Ukrainian and American citizens involved in this unlawful plan. According to him, they were the representatives of lobbying firm Wiley Rein, LLP, Joe Williamson and Ralph Caccia, who were hired by Tymoshenko's husband, Alexander, for creating her positive image in the USA and to discredit Ukrainian investigators. Also among those mentioned was former U.S. Congressman Jim Slattery, who lobbied Tymoshenko's interests in the U.S. Congress and before the State Department, using personal relationships with the head of the U.S. State Department, Mrs. Hillary Clinton. There was also the lawyer Steve Bunnell, who assisted present Assistant Attorney General of the USA.

     Nikolai Melnichenko warned me beforehand about the provocation being prepared, was the only reason my illegal arrest in the USA was prevented.

     I would like to emphasize, dear Mr. President, that the aforementioned persons, using their contacts, lobbied for the adoption of Resolution № 466 by the U.S. Senate in 2012, with the aim of intimidating Ukrainian authorities and forcing Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office to terminate its investigation of the murder case, in which Julia Tymoshenko is involved.

     At the end of September of this year, I addressed to the U.S. Congress as well as to the Vice President of the USA, Joseph Biden, an open letter. Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Viktor Pshonka, conveyed this letter to the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, John Tefft. In the open letter I expounded my position and offered to organize my speech upon the case of Eugene Scherban's murder in front of the U.S. Congress and American media representatives. I received no response to this letter, but on October 19, 2012, Mr. Tefft informed me about the cancellation of my 5 - year multiple entry visitor's visa to the USA without providing any further explanations.

     From my point of view, these actions contravene the international cooperation regulations between our two countries and undermine the authority of the United States. The officials from the State Department and the Department of Justice of the USA do not recognize international legal regulations and, in fact, show the example of the office abuse. They delude the President of the USA, Congress and American nation concerning Eugene Scherban's murder and Julia Tymoshenko's actual role in different crimes.

Ukraine cherishes great hopes for establishing the truth in this case of Eugene Scherban's murder and instituting criminal proceedings against those who ordered this serious crime.

Dear Mr. President, I ask for your assistance in establishing the truth. I ask for your assistance in helping us obtain the sworn testimony of Peter Kirichenko and Pavel Lazarenko, residing in the USA, the witnesses in the case of Eugene Scherban's murder. I ask for your unbiased appraisal of American officials' actions, involved in organizing provocation against my person. I ask you to use the powers of your office to encourage the U.S. Senate to reconsider its recently adopted Resolution № 466 in order to make an informed decision concerning Ukraine that is based upon facts.

I would like to express my gratitude to you for your attention, as well as hope for continuing both working and human relations between our countries.

Respectfully yours,

Renat Kuzmin
First Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine

 

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