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You're reading: Rubber-stamp courts

Within hours of a bloody attack on a VIP branch of PrivatBank in Donetsk on Dec. 29, during which five members of the staff were killed, President Viktor Yanukovych had issued an instruction demanding maximum efforts to catch the criminals and setting a date for reporting on progress.

Within a day, two men had been arrested. Then, on Dec. 31 and Jan. 3, Interior Minister Vitaliy Vitaliy Zakharchenko gave briefings stating categorically that the case was solved and the perpetrators in custody.

Such police confidence did not negate the need for a court trial, with judges there to provide objective examination of all evidence. That, at least, is the theory. It is difficult to imagine what objectivity could be expected when the police had stated that all was solved, and headlines could be found in media outlets like: “The men who fatally shot PrivatBank employees have been charged.”

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