Cry For Justice

KIEV, Ukraine -- In between this summer’s coalition-building soap opera and lawmakers’ annual vacation, which followed in the wake of political apathy, the recent comments by top cop Yuriy Lutsenko, that a Donetsk-based MP with banking interests had ordered the murder of a crime fighter, brought a typical reaction from the ruling Party of Regions.

Yuriy Lutsenko

Lutsenko said Aug. 23 that all the key figures had been arrested and that Roman Yerokhin had been killed because he was close to uncovering a huge money laundering scam. Seven MPs fit the bill.

A dead man’s blood is crying out for justice. Yet, Party of Regions MP Anna Herman complained that Lutsenko is always accusing someone without proof.

As constrained as he is, Lutsenko is doing his best. Lutsenko and Yerokhin had close professional ties, and the case is still very murky.

We do know that the deceased, a senior officer who investigated illegal money conversion in Donetsk Region, was good at his job and had recently moved to Kyiv for his own safety.

Herman is in the wrong, as Lutsenko did not even hint at the identity of whoever ordered the crime or the banks involved. He feels that if the key figure is caught, there will be huge political implications. And he is correct.

This tragedy could be as big as the Georgy Gongadze case. It could destroy the face of the country’s ruling party.

The killing also raises the old issue of immunity for MPs and whether it should be removed, at least for certain crimes. Justice does not exist for senior officials, and business and politics are still tightly intertwined.

Pavlo Lazarenko is the only senior Ukrainian official to have been tried and sentenced, albeit abroad.

He is also the only MP to have been stripped of immunity. The Yerokhin case will only be solved if another MP loses his immunity.

In this unlikely event it would set a precedent and could open the floodgates to many prosecutions.

The crux will be the reaction of Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko. However, his track record in the Donetsk Region’s prosecutor’s office was patchy.

If his office brings charges, parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz should hold a mandatory vote on sanctioning the arrest of the MP in question.

In any other event, justice will not be done or it may be done in a foreign court.

Yet, it is time for Moroz, who has made a career of positioning himself as a rare breed in Ukrainian politics – an honest politician – to stand up and prove he is as honest as he says.

That way bandits and thieves would no longer hide behind immunity.

It would also mean MPs come to work primarily as lawmakers and not lobbyists.

Now that would be democracy.

Source: Kyiv Post