Leonid Kuchma   Letter 20   20-Jun-2001   Be nice to Mykola Zamkovenko!
"About 60 police broke down the door of Zamkovenko’s office in the Pechersk District Court and seized his computer after he refused to willingly give it up to representatives of the Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office." — Olga Kryzhanovska

      20 June 2001

Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankivska 11
Kyiv, 252005

Leonid Kuchma:

When you are indicted for the crimes that you have committed against the Ukrainian people, Mykola Zamkovenko could be one of the judges who preside over your trial — so it might pay for you to be nice to him now.

Lubomyr Prytulak

The original of the article below can be found on the Kyiv Post web site at www.kyivpost.com/main/8752.

External link to kpnews.com

Police storm Pechersk court

By Olga Kryzhanovska, Kyiv Post Staff Writer

One of Ukraine’s best-known judges, Mykola Zamkovenko, says he’s under pressure from authorities because of his independent judgments in a number of high-profile cases.

The pressure came to a head on May 29, when about 60 police broke down the door of Zamkovenko’s office in the Pechersk District Court and seized his computer after he refused to willingly give it up to representatives of the Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office.  Later that night police searched Zamkovenko’s apartment and took his home computer.

On May 30, Zamkovenko was hospitalized after complaining about heart trouble, according to the judge’s attorney Andry Fedur.

“Significant violations of legislation occurred during the searches of the judge’s office and home.  I call it legal vandalism,” Fedur said May 30.

According to Zamkovenko, he refused to hand over his computers to prosecutors because their search warrant was signed not by Prosecutor General Mykhailo Potebenko — as the law on the status of judges requires — but by Acting Prosecutor General Viktor Kudryavtsev.

The criminal case against Zamkovenko was opened by Kyiv Prosecutor Yury Haisinsky on May 29.  At a press conference the previous day, he said that Zamkovenko had failed to submit materials on four cases to responsible bodies that requested them, including the prosecutor’s office, in violation of the right of citizens to appeal.

“The things that go on in the Pechersk District Court are outrageous.  They need to be sorted out,” Haisinsky said.

Zamkovenko admitted at the May 30 press conference that it sometimes takes longer to prepare case documents than it should, but he blamed this on the backlog of work at the court.

Pechersk District Court is responsible for considering lawsuits and appeals brought against the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office, the Cabinet of Ministers and other official institutions that are located in the Pechersk district of the capital.

Among Zamkovenko’s recent judgments was the decision to uphold Lesya Gongadze’s appeal against the General Prosecutor’s Office.  The GOP had refused to grant her the status of a victim in the case of her son’s disappearance.  He also gave the ruling that released opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko from jail on March 27.

“I read in the media that Zamkovenko is the latest victim in the Gongadze case.  I can’t deny that, even though there are many explanations.  I also ordered the release of demonstrators arrested after the events of March 9 and made other decisions that might not have pleased some people,” Zamkovenko said on May 30.

The Pechersk court is due to rule shortly on an appeal by opposition groups attempting to organize a referendum on ousting President Kuchma against the Central Election Commission’s refusal to register their referendum.

On the morning of May 30, Zamkovenko was interrogated in the Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office as a suspect.  He refused to answer questions, however, insisting that he cannot comment on the cases he considers as a judge.  Zamkovenko plans to complain to the Supreme Court and the Judges Council, a professional organization for judges, about the pressure he is coming under.

Zamkovenko’s attorney, Andry Fedur, said his client is unlikely to be arrested since judges are immune from prosecution.  Under the law, such a move would require a court warrant and the approval of parliament.

“However, after witnessing what happened yesterday, I can’t exclude this possibility,” Fedur said.