On 8 July 2020, the Pecherskyi district court of Kyiv held its third hearing in one of the many criminal cases against past Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko. In this particular case, Poroshenko was accused of alleged abuse of power when appointing the deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine. The accusation had no clear grounds since such an appointment is under the direct purview of the president according to the law.
As in the previous hearings, thousands of Poroshenko’s supporters came to the court. The court ruled in favor of Poroshenko; moreover, the prosecutors themselves decided to step back during the hearings and withdrew their demands to apply the restrictive measures. At the same time, the investigator in yet another case against Poroshenko closed the case and said he faced political pressure to find a corpus delicti when there was none.
Earlier, the court failed to apply preliminary measures to Poroshenko during its first session on 19 June, when the judge decided to take a pause. The second court hearing happened on 1 July, also without any specific result. Both days, thousands of Poroshenko’s supporters came to the court, demanding to stop political persecution.
On 8 July 2020, during the third session, the court finally made a decision and rejected any demands to apply restrictive measures to Poroshenko, prosecutors withdrew their demands for restrictive measures, and the judge closed court hearings. The investigation is now finished, and Poroshenko’s defense will now deal with the materials of the case.
In his address after the court hearings, Poroshenko thanked his supporters, saying that the decision of the “infamous” Pecherskyi court was possible “thanks to the concerned citizens who came to the court for the third time and stood for many hours, in the heat and rain,” by which “democracy and the European choice are defended” and “veterans, volunteers, the military, journalists are protected from political persecution.”
The last statement is a reference to the resonant ongoing cases of Odesa activist Sternenko and presumed killers of Pavlo Sheremet, both of which are widely seen as political persecution and which also regularly draw crowds of supporters. Just the other day, on 7 July, the Kyiv city council adopted an appeal to President Zelenskyy calling to stop the political repressions against Poroshenko, civic activists, volunteers, and servicemen.
Poroshenko’s attorneys have also reported about constant inconsistencies and violations both by investigators and prosecutors during the court hearings. Therefore, they stated these violations should be properly investigated by law enforcement agencies. Poroshenko himself announced intentions to create a special Temporary investigatory commission in the Parliament to investigate the actions of current Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova.
Another case against Poroshenko closed; investigator tells about political pressure
While the crowd rallied for Poroshenko in the city center, another criminal case against Ukraine’s past president was closed in the absence of corpus delicti: the one accusing Poroshenko of selling his factory “Kuznia” to another businessman with violations.
The case was closed by Oleh Koretskyi, head of the investigation team at the State Bureau of Investigation (DBR), who spoke of his desire “to act according to the law.”
Koretskyi reported political pressure against him during the investigation of the case and promised to reveal all details during the press conference. In a short video he stated:
“I’m ready [to tell details in a short press-realease later], because I support publicity. When you first investigate everything normally, according to the law, and then these people come, some ‘Kharkiv people’ and start giving incomprehensible instructions. You tell them: ‘there is no corpus delicti. No! Let’s make legal decisions.’ And they say [you will be fired] ‘because there is no place for you.’ Because you don’t satisfy them… Of course, I’m ready to go to the press. I made that decision.”
By “Kharkiv people” he likely hints at current Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, who was born in Kharkiv and worked there at a university from 2005 to 2019.
Regarding Koretskyi’s decision to close the case as well as the prosecutors’ decision to withdraw their claims during the court session, Poroshenko commented that
“today we have achieved another important result. We have not just won. They began to fear us… since their workers refused to perform maleficent instructions.”
Poroshenko thanked his “famous team” and “all Porokhobots” – a sarcastic moniker applied to Poroshenko’s supporters during the 2019 elections.
Poroshenko coming to the court:
When you first investigate everything normally, according to the law, and then these people come, some ‘Kharkiv people’ and start giving incomprehensible instructions. You tell them: ‘there is no corpus delicti. No! Let’s make legal decisions.’ And they say [you will be fired] ‘because there is no place for you.’
These ‘Kharkiv people’ need to be in the dock, not Poroshenko, and the people who hired them. It’s blatant persecution, from people who wouldn’t know the meaning of a Ukrainian patriot. I see support for Poroshenko growing, and let’s hope he gets the chance to fumigate the swamp.