On February 11, Ukraine was shocked by shooting death of Alexander Lobodenko, a 34-year-old district court judge, Kremenchug, Poltava region.
According to MVD of Ukraine, two killers fired several shots from shotguns in his back, when he returned home. Lobodenko died of wounds at a local hospital on the night of February 12.
The metropolitan authorities could not ignore such an egregious case. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych ordered to amend the legislation to ensure the safety of judges and their families.
Alongside with this, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka demanded from law enforcement agencies a full and comprehensive investigation into Lobodenko's killing, with a maximum level of publicity and public awareness. In this case Pshonka noted that criminal proceedings will be conducted under the article ‘the killing of a judge in connection with his activities related to the administration of justice’ and under the article ‘intended killing committed on preliminary arrangement by group of persons’.
To investigate, a team of officials of the General Prosecutor's Office and MVD headed by Deputy Attorney General Grigoriy Sereda and Head of the Department of Criminal Investigation Vasiliy Pascal arrived in Kremenchug.
Investigators’ basic working version – the murder in connection with professional activities of the victim. The fact is that the judge has recently made a decision on a measure of restraint for several radicals who participated in the capture of the city council building this January. Lobodenko placed under house arrest the activists of the Batkivshchyna opposition party Sergei Pilipenko and Vladimir Polyukhovich. The decision on initiation of proceedings was made according to the results of study of materials obtained during the search of the party office in Kiev, when several servers were seized. Among the data made available for the investigation, was discovered information about plans of a violent seizure of the building.
Closer examination of the issue reveals that cases of pressure on judges by the opposition are not rare in Ukraine latterly.
Two weeks earlier, in Kiev a car of a judge of Shevchenko district court was set on fire – he had decided to arrest the opposition leader Dmitry Bulatov involved in organizing riots. In this case, on suspicion of arson a 28-year-old citizen of Georgia was arrested. As noted by law enforcement officials, he arrived in Ukraine about three months ago, during inspection two plastic firebombs, rags and a lighter were deforced from him. The detained himself said that he and his associates were given a list with addresses and number plates of cars that were to be set on fire in exchange for a cash consideration.
On February 12, in the Ukrainian media there was information that more than 38 judges on ‘good reasons’ filed a resignation. One judge filed resignation in connection with reaching the age of 65, another - because of the inability to exercise his powers for health. Totally, there were six resignations from the courts of Dnepropetrovsk region, four from Kirovograd region, three from Odessa region, two from each Kharkov, Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk, Cherkassy, Donetsk, Chernovtsy, Vinnitsa, Khmelnitsky regions and Kiev. Most probably, masters of justice after the recent murder of Lobodenko began to fear for their own lives and safety of their people.
Not only government supporters began to be subjects of threats and attacks by ‘unknown’ as Ukrainian media call them with tolerance. Forces interested in a coup d'etat in Ukraine began to exert physical and psychological pressure on the judges in whose hands are fates of many prominent oppositionists. And if this action is a success, the streets of Kiev and other cities will be overrun by criminals who will not allow establishing peace and tranquility so much needed to people of Ukraine.
Recall that as of February 13, already 60 people who participated in the riots on the Hrushevsky street were released and are now under house arrest. Let's hope that this decision was made consciously and not as a result of pressure exerted by the unknown.