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Klyuev loses immunity – Start counting the technicalities

June 4, 2015

A few days ago this entry was published regarding the possibility of stripping Sergei Klyuev of his parliamentary immunity, thus allowing for criminal proceedings against him – The whys, whats, and wherefores regarding the alleged criminality can be found in that link.

Today, a day later than anticipated, the Rada voted with 287 votes in favour of stripping that immunity.

Procedural shenanigans within the Rada Committee were not allowed to prevent the Rada vote as it had done the day before.  Whether riding roughshod over the Rada Committee procedures will be cause for an escape via a legal/procedural technicality remains to be seen.

Acknowledging the Rada managed to find the political will to strip Mr Klyuev’s immunity (despite the best efforts of two of the relevant Rada Committee members trying to prevent a vote in the Rada hall), this entry looks more at what happened next.

Mr Klyuev then tried to board a plane to Austria – Vienna to be exact.

Vienna is a natural place to go for corrupt ex-Regionaires when the sky is falling in upon them.  After all, many (Yanukovych, Azarov, Firtash, Klimov etc) all own rather splendid properties there.  Indeed, if London became Moscow-On-Thames, then Vienna became Regionaires-On-Wien.

It may be, following Austria’s decision not to extradite Mr Firtash to the USA, Mr Klyuev fancied his chances of disappearing there and not being extradited back to Ukraine citing “political persecution”.  It is after all, a Ukrainian tradition for politicians finding themselves in a dark hole, to either suddenly fall ill, go to hospital to avoid arrest and then disappear into the night, or simply flee and hide behind extradition proceedings.

It may also be, as Mr Klyuev stated when prevented from boarding the plane at Kyiv, that “he wanted to fly to Vienna to meet with his (or Mr Firtash’s expensive team?) lawyers and offer an official explanation to EU officials on the eve of their considerations regarding the extension of the sanctions imposed against him.  Those deliberations occurring on 5th June in Brussels.

The issue here is whether there was any legal grounds/authority to prevent his leaving the country?

He claims no official preventative measures have been imposed upon his movements. “This is an illegal ban on leaving the country denying me the right of protection and opportunity to convey my position to the authorities of the EU about my persecution in Ukraine.”

Were any legal preventative measures officially imposed on Mr Klyuev restricting his movements.  Has a Ukrainian court imposed any?  Certainly they didn’t prior to his immunity being stripped, for he had, until that moment, immunity (and thus impunity).  Did one do so in the hour or so between his immunity being removed and his attempt to board a plane to Vienna?  If so, was he represented at this court hearing and a defence case made not to restrict his movements?  It seems rather unlikely he would not have a lawyer (or ten) trying to prevent restrictions on his movements at any court hearing.

Thus, is the restriction of his movement by the Ukrainian Border Service illegal (even if understandable)?  Justification is not, and will never be, legitimisation.  Rule of law is rule of law – no matter how tedious and/or problematic it may be for The State to adhere to.  It is a lesson that Ukraine must learn, particularly if it wants to thoroughly and genuinely integrate with Europe.  Short cuts and expediency have legal consequence before an independent judiciary and public perception.

With all due process, and especially high profile cases with defendants that possess vast wealth for an army of top quality legal representatives, doing things by the statute book to the very letter of the law is an absolute necessity.  Technicalities matter – no matter how burdensome upon the State they may be.  It is through technicalities that many a guilty party has walked free from many a European court.

In the case of Mr Klyuev, we can perhaps already begin to count the technicalities upon which even an honest and ethical Ukrainian judge would have “issues” – and that number of technicalities is likely to snowball considering the mess that is Ukrainian legislation.

The Ukrainian State may “blow it” before Mr Klyuev even walks through a courtroom door by no more than an expedient/negligent lack of attention to due process.

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