The initiative group of civic organizations filed appeals regarding the inclusion of the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov into the Global Magnitsky Act. The inclusion into the act foresees the introduction of personal sanctions in the United States.
The Global Magnitsky Act is the US law that allows to block assets and impose visa ban on to the United States on people who have committed human rights offenses or are involved in corruption schemes.
20 civil society organizations* believe that Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko and Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov should be included into the act due to gross violations of human rights, sabotage of reforms, corruption and obstruction of justice.
In addition to sanctions in the West, activists demand to dismiss Lutsenko and Avakov, as well as to prohibit them to hold such positions in future.
These politicians became toxic due to their activities, and, thus, they should be dismissed from the office and bear responsibility.
Today, activists came to the building of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs precisely with such demands. They put tapes around buildings where Lutsenko and Avakov work and installed signs “Beware. Toxic” and “Danger. Toxic”.
Lutsenko and Avakov in office are dangerous for Ukraine. This situation has already done a lot of harm. Because of this, both should be punished by dismissal and designating them to the sanction list.
WHY LUTSENKO AND AVAKOV SHOULD LEAVE OFFICE AND BE SANCTIONED?
Sabotage of reforms
Prosecutor General Lutsenko andMinister of Internal Affairs Avakov are politically responsible for the failure of the prosecution and police reforms.
Lutsenko and Avakov monopolized the power of law enforcement agencies and took control over the old corrupt system while hiding behind “reforms.”
Police and prosecution have been at the forefront of corruption instead of fighting it. And instead of arresting criminal authorities, they became their best friends.
Attacks and murders of activists and journalists
The only ones who oppose organized crime and corruption are activists and journalists. As the result, they become targets for persecution and attacks.
Since 2017, more than 55 attacks on activists and journalists have been committed in Ukraine. Four of them are murders of Kateryna Handziuk, Iryna Nozdrovska, Mykola Bychko and Vitalii Oleshko.
The investigation of these murders and attacks is sabotaged by the Prosecutor’s Office and the police in every possible way. Instigators have not been punished in a single case. Part of cases were closed due to the expiration of terms of the investigation.
At the end of April 2019, the Prosecutor General’s Office softened the article of indictment to Vladyslav Manger, who is now prosecuted not for the contract murder, but for the organization of causing severe bodily injuries to Kateryna Handziuk. As a reminder, Katia had one liter (!) of sulfuric acid thrown in her face.
At the same time, the National Police initially sabotaged the investigation in the case of Handziuk. They tried to pin everything on an innocent person with a strong alibi and to let the society make peace with this lie. If it were not for journalists’ work, he would still be in prison for a crime he never committed.
Yurii Lutsenko and Arsen Avakov are politically responsible for attacks and silent cover-up of instigators.
Corruption and obstruction of justice
Moreover, the son of Arsen Avakov Oleksandr and his deputy Serhii Chebotar organized the corruption scheme in which UAH 14 million UAHwas stolen in procurement of backpacks for the needs of the Anti-Terrorist Operation in the East of Ukraine. No one bore real responsibility in the “backpack case.”
Today, Avakov is fabricating the criminal proceeding against expert Nadiya Buhrova and pressuring her regarding her professional activities through his department and in conspiracy with prosecutors. Buhrova conducted forensic expertise and confirmed losses in the amount of UAH 14 million in the “backpack case.”
Prosecutor General Lutsenko, in his turn, covers his deputy, head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office Nazar Kholodnytskyi, who masterminded the decision to close the aforementioned case.
The PGO did not see any violations in closure of the proceeding regarding Kholodnytskyi himself in the “aquarium case” by the investigator of the Main Department of the SBU, where evidence of interference into the investigation into the NABU’s cases by Nazar Kholodnytskyi was found.
Dumping the cases of Yanukovych and his associates
Yuriy Lutsenko has also helped former President Viktor Yanukovych and his associates to come out with clean hands. It was the Prosecutor General’s Office that helped them to save their assets and avoid the responsibility.
Andrii and Serhii Kliuiev, Yurii Ivaniushchenko, Olena Lukash were excluded from the EU sanction list during Lutsenko’s term of office.
Neither Yanukovych nor his associates have yet been prosecuted for the corruption-related crimes, although Yurii Lutsenko took the position of the Prosecutor General with the promise to punish perpetrators.
In the fall of 2016, Yurii Lutsenko closed the criminal proceeding against Mykola Zlochevskyi, who was suspected of illicit enrichment and money laundering.
The widely publicized special confiscation of the case, which was investigated by the notorious prosecutor Kostyantyn Kulyk, was made on the ground of very dubious secrecy decision. It is very likely that these funds will subsequently have to be refunded on the ground of the decision of the European Court.
There is no investigation in Maidan cases
During the entire period of his leadership, Yurii Lutsenko did not facilitate but instead sabotaged the investigation of Maidan cases.
The Department of Special Investigations, which is investigating these cases, families of the Heavenly Hundred and their attorneys have reported interferences of the Prosecutor General multiple times.
Cases in which Lutsenko had a vested interest were simply taken away from “uncontrollable” prosecutors and closed. In particular, this regards cases of Klymenko, Ivaniushchenko, Zlochevskyi, Kaletnik, Tabachnyk, cases concerning the appropriation of Mezhyhiria, Sukholuchia and Boiko’s Towers.
Olena Lukash ended up completely free of responsibility thanks to Lutsenko. The case regarding the son of former Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka Artem was almost closed.
Lutsenko personally took care of closing the criminal proceeding against the head of the Court of Appeal of Cherkasy oblast Volodymyr Babenko, involved in the issuance of dozens of illegal decisions against Maidan participants.
THE LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS WHICH SUPPORTED APPEALS TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY REGARDING THE IMPOSITION OF PERSONAL SANCTIONS ON LUTSENKO AND AVAKOV
- Who ordered [the attack on] Katia Handziuk civic initiative. “Хто Замовив Катерину Гандзюк” громадська ініціатива
- Human rights centre ZMINA. Центр прав людини ZMINA
- Media initiative for human rights. Медійна ініціатива за права людини. https://www.facebook.com/MediaInitiativeForHumanRights
- Anticorruption Action Centre. Центр Протидії Корупції
- Automaidan. Автомайдан
- NGO OPIR.ORG. ГО “ВГО “ОПІРОРГ”
- NGO Material Evidence. НГО Речовий Доказ
- All-Ukrainian NGO “Foundation of Regional Initiatives”. Всеукраїнська НГО “Фундація Регіональних Ініціатив”
- Public organization “CrimeaSOS”. КримСОС
- Transparency International Ukraine. Трансперенсі Інтернешнл
- NGO Kharkiv Anti-Corruption Center. Харківський антикорупційний центр
- NGO Civil Control Platform. Громадський контроль
- DeJure Foundation. Фундація DEJURE
- Truth Hounds NGO
- Center for Public Monitoring and Research. Центр громадського моніторингу та досліджень
- Declarations Under Control civil watchdog. Декларації під контролем
- Diya Human Rights Centre. Правозахисний центр “Дія”
- Institute of Legislative Ideas. Інститут законодавчих ідей