The father, Dmytro Pavlychenko, and his son, Serhiy Pavlychenko, still could appeal the tragic ruling, but given Ukraine’s dismal acquittal rates that have averaged 0.23 percent in 2005-2012 (far lower than the average 10.5 percent acquittal rate in 1935-1945 during Stalin’s totalitarian rule, according to respected journalist Mustafa Nayem’s research), the odds for exoneration are severely against them.
The initial Oct. 2, 2012 ruling sentenced Dmytro, who was in his late 40s at the time of Judge Serhiy Zubkov’s murder, to life in prison. His son, who was only 18, received 13 years. The authorities, including Anatoliy Mohyliov, the interior minister at the time, said the case was well-documented and well-investigated, and said the right people were convicted.
But yesterday’s ruling came after new evidence was presented to the court and followed the disclosure in January of confidential case file materials by an alleged whistleblower from the prosecutor’s office that suggested the Pavlychenkos were not guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”