Public interest, interesting to the public, or telegraphing time to flee?July 29, 2015
A few weeks ago an entry appeared her that contained this paragraph:
“We could perhaps then spend an enjoyable summer speculating upon just how many, and which, MPs and Judges would fail to return to Ukrainian jurisdiction from their holidays if such immunity was lifted.”
It appears (not unsurprisingly) that this may indeed be the case.
Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin has announced that come September and the return of the Rada, the PGO intends to ask the Rada to strip several ex-Regionaires who are currently MPs of their immunity and arrest.
“As of today, the PGO is preparing a submission to the Verkhovna Rada to strip them of their parliamentary immunity and to arrest.
The investigators have identified persons who earlier belonged to the Party of Regions faction and now are incumbent MPs.”
Although it is not stated, these individuals are rumoured to have been involved in crimes within and surrounding the Ministry of Education during the Yanukovych regime. Whilst no names have yet leaked, it would be no surprise to discover one such MP will be from Odessa – although it would be quite wrong to presage any eventual announcements or name names.
All jolly good – or is it?
Such transparency from the PGO is to be welcomed isn’t it?
Whilst these suspected MPs currently enjoy immunity (and impunity), there can be absolutely no doubt whatsoever that those who are suspects in this investigation will discover they are so, long before the Rada resumes in September.
In fact, so leaky are the institutions of State, the names of the suspects will be known within days – if not hours – by the media, but not before the nefarious come to know they are in the frame and have time to make either petitions to mitigate, make deliberations to go to trial, attempt to rally enough MPs to their cause to defeat any motion to strip their immunity and allow arrest, or decisions are reached to flee.
There is nothing to prevent those suspects from leaving Ukraine today, tomorrow, or up until/if their immunity is lifted. As predicted some weeks ago, those that fear the law will eventually catch up with their (numerous and continuous) illicit activities may decide not to return to Ukraine from their legislative holidays, preferring to stay in their properties abroad (west London and Switzerland in the case of the Odessa MP who may well turn out to be a suspect – needless to say, much of his fortune also sits in these nations too).
It is time to be very, very blunt.
The Ukrainian leadership needs to start jailing senior, (in)famous people and being seen to apply the rule of law to the very highest echelons of the political and business elite.
The continued opening of numerous criminal investigations and allowing those suspected to continually flee and disappear prior to arrest in most cases, and certainly prior to trial in almost every case, cannot continue any longer.
The Ukrainian constituency will only begin to have any faith in the equal application of the rule of law when it starts to see tens of investigations (not one or two), passing through the judicial system, and arriving at sentencing and jail time for the highly corrupted elite no differently than the corrupted minions at the bottom of the institutional food chains.
Justice has to be done and seen to be done. Serious people have to start being jailed (after due process).
The question therefore arises over the need for the Prosecutor General’s statement yesterday, which has provided a good deal of due warning to those suspected, or that believe they may be suspects, prior to any Rada vote to strip their immunity.
As recent events have shown, those MPs with immunity, when it becomes clear their immunity will be stripped by the Rada, have had sufficient time even during the day of Rada voting, to flee whilst that immunity remains. (A legacy of the Rada still having not removed its own immunity en masse.)
This being so, was the Prosecutor General’s statement in the public interest, interesting to the public, or a (deliberate or otherwise) telegraphing to those that are suspects/believe they may be suspects in the case to flee, or simply not return from their holidays.
Whatever points this is supposed to score with the Ukrainian constituency psyche, when those suspects again disappear and once again fail face the rule of law and ultimately jail time, it will further underscore the perception that there is no real attempt to put the guilty elites in jail.
It will also test the patience of Ukraine’s international supporters, if once again, nobody goes to jail following high profile investigations.
The timing and therefore wisdom of this announcement is thus perhaps somewhat questionable.