The sentence for former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich due to be declared by Kiev’s Obolonsky district court on Thursday will be legally null and void, his lawyer Vitaly Serdyuk told TASS.
"Any sentence, which the court will announce tomorrow, will be legally null and void as the court has violated the basis of criminal procedures in Ukraine in a deliberate and politically motivated way," the lawyer said.
He stressed that the Yanukovich case had been heard without the former president’s participation. The court had earlier refused to consider the lawyer’s evidence, including the conclusions by the most reputable experts from the United States, Europe and Ukraine.
Besides, the sentence will be null and void as the court had refused to question the ex-president during the debates, listen to his last plea and also rudely violated the procedure to announcing the verdict. "Most importantly, President Yanukovich had not been invited for the court session on the verdict and the agenda had not been sent to us. No one had even called [the lawyer] and this information emerged in Internet news," Serdyuk said.
According to the lawyer, this is done with the goal not to allow the attorneys to take part in the court session. "The notification should have been made in line with the procedure of international legal assistance, at least three days in advance and in a written form. The court ignored even this," he stressed.
This is done at the instructions of the Ukrainian head of state in order to speed up the announcement of the sentence, Serdyuk said, noting that despite all obstacles Yanukovich’s lawyers will take part in Thursday’s session.
The lawyer also expects that the procedure of declaring the sentence is not expected to be lengthy as the authorities want this to be done as soon as possible. "This should be a not guilty sentence as the lawyers have given all evidence in the case files," he noted.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kiev’s Obolonsky district court said that on January 24 a sentence on the case would be declared. Earlier, 89 hearings on this case had been held, according to Aver Lex lawyers’ association. The prosecutors demand sentencing Yanukovich to 15 years in jail.
Yanukovich was ousted in a coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, decided to relieve him from his duties and set early presidential election. This came in violation of the constitution, which clearly defines the conditions for an early termination of the president’s powers. Yanukovich was forced to leave Kiev and later the country amid threat to his personal security.
Amid the conflict of law over Yanukovich’s status, the new authorities had been unable to launch prosecution against him. Only in October 2016, a legal procedure was completed to strip Yanukovich of his presidential title based on the Rada’s special law. A month later a criminal case was launched against the former president, who was accused of high treason, complicity in deliberate acts carried out with the goal of changing the state border and complicity in conducting an aggressive war.