Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Gongadze prosecution opens possible Pandora's Box in Ukraine

By Aussiegirl

In the best analysis to date on the latest developments in the Gongadze case, Roman Kupchinsky lays out the wide-ranging implications of pursuing the case to its fullest extent and the political dilemmas facing Yushchenko as he vows to keep his election promise to pursue the case as a matter of honor.

Among some of the more interesting facts and considerations are how high up the investigations and prosecutions might eventually lead. If recordings made by Kuchma's former bodyguard are determined to be authentic, and if the bodyguard, who is presently living in the United States under refugee status agrees to return to testify at trial, then they may be used in the case.

The tapes point to the involvement of Kuchma himself, and of a number of senior people in the former administration, including Former Interior Minister Kravchenko, who has already been summoned to appear on March 4th at the Prosecutor General's office. There are unconfirmed reports that I read today that Kravchenko has surfaced in Russia. It is unclear whether he will appear for questioning.

Also possibly implicated by the tapes could be Former Security Service head Leonid Derkach and parliament speaker Yuriy Lytvyn, who at the time headed Kuchma's administration. The net also possibly might include obstruction of justice charges against two former Prosecutors-General, Mykola Potebenko and Hennadiy Vasilyev.

From the article in Radio Free Europe:

Other cases based on the recordings that would likely be opened if Melnychenko's recordings are authenticated are: unsanctioned electronic surveillance of elected officials by the Security Service and its former head Derkach; illegal arms sales; fraudulent use of state funds for Kuchma's 1999 presidential campaign; alleged conversations with then-Donetsk Governor Viktor Yanukovych about illegally removing independent judges; among others.
In all these cases, Kuchma is allegedly recorded in Melnychenko's tapes giving illegal orders to his subordinates or approving their illegal initiatives.

. . .Another important consideration is that a house cleaning on the basis of the tapes would be a serious blow to the pro-Kuchma and pro-Yanukovych forces prior to the parliamentary elections scheduled for 2006. A series of trials with their leaders in the dock accused of corruption and other crimes would cripple their chances for gaining a majority in parliament.

Also read the details released in yesterday's press conference given by Prosecutor General Piskun of the actual kidnapping, torture and murder of Gongadze:

"They had followed him and waited until [Gongadze] was alone, worked out a special operation, drove up in a car that he thought was a taxi...As soon as he took the back seat of the car, three policemen jumped into the car. They took him outside Kyiv, beating him on the way. They took him to the place [where they killed him], they tied his hands. In short, they killed him, poured gasoline on his body and set it on fire."
Former President Leonid Kuchma could not be reached for comment at the Czech resort of Karlovy Vary where he is presently vacationing.


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