Archive for January 2nd, 2018

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Coincidence or conspiracy – The Nozdrovska murder

January 2, 2018

The murder of lawyer and activist Irena Nozdrovska is yet another high profile death that has captured headlines in Ukraine.

Thus far the usual suspects that are  publicly bellicose with high profile cases – Anton Gerashchenko and Yuri Lutsenko –  normally followed by silence when no progress occurs, appear subdued.

A hopeful sign of increased professionalism in 2018?  Alas hope is normally the last human emotion to leave, and an emotion that can take a severe and repeated battering despite no change in circumstance.  No doubt the usual less than circumspect or objective commentary will soon be gushing forth from both men once again.

What has resonated within Ukrainian society is that Ms Nozdrovska’s murder follows threats made against her while seeking justice for her sister – killed by the nephew of a Judge who was head of the Vyshhorod District Court from 2007 to 2010, and then Acting Head from 2015-16.

The circumstances surrounding that case and the threats made to Ms Nozdrovska are summarised in English by KHPG.

Two days after her latest court appearance seeking justice for her sister – Ms Nozdrovska disappeared and was later found murdered.

Naturally a reader may assume that the court ruling of 27th, together with numerous threats made against her by the defendant, as well as friends and family of the defendant, would suggest some conspiracy to murder Ms Nozdrovska a few days later.

Well perhaps.  That is hardly a theory that can or should be ignored.

But to “assume” can bring about an “ass – u – me” outcome.

There will be numerous other individuals to rule “in” or “rule out”.  Individuals that fall outside any professional advocacy Ms Nozdrovska was involved in.

Thus investigations take time – even flawed investigations.

Further, and cynically, due to the blood ties of the defendant to the Ukrainian judiciary, relating to the death of Ms Nozdrovska’s sister, many will also presume that “impunity by bloodline” even if not offered, will be sought and will have been expected by the defendant.  Thus far that “impunity” and/or “professional favour” does not appear to have manifest on his behalf – yet.

(Having previously “categorised” the types of judges active in the Ukrainian judicial system, there is that rare breed – the honest Ukrainian judge.   Honest judges are oft mentioned, but seldom named – so, just for precedent, the blog will name one that prima facie appears to be that rarest of creatures – Judge Irina Puchkova in Odessa.  This lady, it is known, does not entertain prosecutors or defence lawyers outside the courtroom – ergo no illicit deals can be easily struck.  It is also undoubtedly why she has never received a case that would “resonate” with the public, or a case that would require “specific outcomes” for political expediency or “vested interest” benefit.)

Nevertheless, based on assumptions or presumptions, and no doubt a cynicism well founded upon historical and recurring judicial and investigative negligence and/or shenanigans, several hundred people demonstrated outside the Ministry of Interior in Kyiv demanding a thorough, integrity based investigation into the murder of Ms Nozdrovska – as is their right.

Unusually for a high profile murder in Ukraine, there appears to be numerous possible suspects where normally there appear to be few (if any).  The pressure to successfully prosecute a suspect will be great.  Society must allow the investigation to progress unhindered.  The investigation will equally have to be seen to be done with the utmost integrity.

A case to watch not only for the way the investigation is conducted but for the way it is communicated.  A murder of coincidental timing – or a conspiracy to murder?

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