March 23, 2016 by AK
This was predictable, but still disgraceful:
Nadiya Savchenko was sentenced to 22 years in jail after being convicted of directing artillery fire which killed them in eastern Ukraine in June 2014.
Nadiya Savchenko is a hostage: her actual guilt or innocence of the charges against her is irrelevant to the Kremlin; her crime is taking up arms to defend the Ukrainian state. Her judicial persecution is obviously a circus, and here are at least four reasons why. First, her lawyers have shown that she was captured by Russian agents an hour ahead of the artillery attack that killed the Russian journalists – the fire that Savchenko was supposedly coordinating. Second, if Savchenko had been involved, no war crime would have been committed since the attack was against a legitimate war target. Third, Russian courts cannot possibly have jurisdiction over this case. Fourth, Savchenko cannot get a fair trial in a Russian court: most Russians cannot, much less opposition figures, much less Ukrainian soldiers.
There is little doubt that the verdict and sentence were decided before the trial even happened. As I have written before, the outcomes of all politically sensitive (and most other) trials are pre-determined in Russian courts: judges often cut and paste whole paragraphs from the indictment into the judgment. However, the perverse legalism of the Russian courtroom, even if it’s a grotesque triumph of pro forma over substantial due process, allows for the questioning of witnesses and discussion of evidence. The trial record becomes part of the case file and cannot be erased. Anyone who bothers to obtain a copy of the record will be able to see the glaring disconnect between the facts established during the trial and the verdict.
It could be a good idea to produce a book with summaries of the evidence, as introduced and examined in the courtroom, and the verdicts from several recent high-profile trials held in Russia.