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You're reading: Ukraine’s new judicial genre

The close
cooperation between Ukraine’s leaders, enforcement bodies and UTV-1
has long been apparent, most noticeably
during the trials of former Prime Minister
Yulia Tymoshenko. But if some modicum of distance was at least
officially maintained by the courts, this was abandoned on June 4
when UTV-1 – in a novel appearance as a defender of freedom of
speech – effectively received judicial backing for its role as a
criminal investigator, prosecutor and judge.

On June 4
the Kyiv Appellate Court revoked an earlier ruling which ordered the
retraction of false information disseminated about Dmitry Reva, one
of four men charged in connection with four bomb blasts in
Dnipropetrovsk in April 2012, in the film Adov Ad (Hades Hell). The
film, shown twice on UTV-1, not only falsifies evidence, but also
consistently pushes the idea that a person not convicted of any crime
can be labelled a terrorist. One can only conclude that the court
found no problem with contempt for the constitutionally guaranteed
principle of presumption of innocence.

Reva and his lawyers expressed outrage and filed a defamation suit.
UTV-1 and the company which produced the film, VTV, initially
just referred to freedom of speech, but in the appeal claimed
that they had never referred to Reva as being involved in the
bombing. It is, however, his photo that accompanies musing on how
intellectuals can become “ordinary bombers,” and how “we are
dealing with a new breed of terrorist.”

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