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You're reading: Damning verdict for Ukrainian justice

Over all the previous hearings, the appeal court judges had asked questions which highlighted grave procedural infringements.  These included the failure to include the changed indictment in the case file and the lack of explanation, as required by law, of the prosecutor’s motives.  When asked why he had not revealed his reasons, prosecutor Andriy Kmet claimed that the amended version had simply corrected the estimate of damage to the church building. Just how far this diverges from the truth can be checked here  The appeal court judges learned that nobody had tried to find the person from whom, according to the investigators, one of the defendants had purchased the explosive device.  The judges noted a large number of significant discrepancies and infringements which should have suggested at very least a ruling that the case had not been fully investigated (grounds for revoking the sentence).

Yet on Oct. 25 Judge Yury Boikov stood up and read out a ruling upholding the conviction of all three defendants. At present we know only that the judges “excluded” three confessions.  That admittedly still left former sacristan of the church Anton Kharytonov with three confessions, however this judicial juggling left his brother, Serhiy Dyomin, with only one confession, while the second sacristan, Yevhen Fedorchenko had his only confession “excluded.” 

It should be noted that the three young men retracted all “confessions” as soon as they got real lawyers.  The “exclusion” from the case of some of the confessions is hardly likely to be viewed with understanding at the European Court of Human Rights.  One feels that both the first instance and now the appeal courts were hoping in this way to cover up the most questionable aspects of a widely publicized trial.

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