Statement by Oleg Bakhmatyuk, the Owner of Ukrlandfarming
Yesterday, the judges of the Appeal Chamber of HACCU handed down a flagrantly improper judgement overturning the ruling of the Pechersk District Court to close the case against Oleksandr Pysaruk and myself. The decision of the Appeal Chamber of HACCU does not, however, compel the Prosecutor General to reinstate the annulled decision of the First Deputy Prosecutor General Vitaliy Kasko, as the criminal proceedings have been closed.
Leading Ukrainian lawyers, the Bar Association, the Kharkiv Human Rights Group had all warned of the danger of such a cynical disrespect for the law and human rights. The V.M. Koretsky Institute of State and Law of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine had issued a black-and-white opinion on the issue. But it happened anyway, HACCU delivered a judgement, which is beyond unlawful.
I would like to draw attention to several important facts:
- Zero Corruption, the Telegram channel of the Anticorruption Centre (AntAC), published a long post about the judgement of the Appeal Chamber of HACCU before the judge pronounced the ruling. Interestingly enough, there wasn’t anyone in the courtroom, except the parties, and the hearing was not being broadcast! Broadcasting would not have been possible, as not even participants in the hearing have the right to take photos or record video without the court’s permission and consent from the parties (that is according to Article 27 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine). AntAC claims a separate room was provided to them in the HACCU courthouse where they were allegedly watching the hearing and webcasting in on their Telegram channel.
- AntAC’s long post appeared before the defence counsels managed to send two-word texts to their clients, which proves it was written before the judges pronounced the judgement. This suggests that the text of the ruling was either ‘leaked’ before its pronouncement or third parties were given improper access to it in the courtroom. Does that sound like an independent and impartial court to you?! I hope the sound recordings and video footage from the hearing do not miraculously disappear from HACCU’s archives.
- The Appeal Chamber of HACCU dismissed a complaint filed by my lawyers with the Pechersk District Court of Kiev and closed the proceedings opened by the Pechersk Court. Pandora’s box has been opened. From now on, it is fine to disrespect any ruling by any court in Ukraine and force any court to pass biased judgements by using improper influence in the country.
- NABU’s entire case hinges on the absurd allegation that I colluded with the former deputy governor of the NBU, Oleksandr Pysaruk, whom international financial institutions have stood up for as an IMF employee. The court confirmed that he had acted strictly within his powers and in compliance with the law in effect at the time. The case collapsed. His name is no longer mentioned by either SAPO, NABU or AntAC in the context of this case. This provides further evidence that the attacks on me are politically motivated, which both the Ukrainian politically establishment and the international business community know only too well.
It is obvious that the judgement was delivered under the influence and in the interests of Artem Sytnyk who is destroying my company to exact personal vengeance. The company contributes billions in taxes and employs 27 thousand Ukrainians. Now the ball is in the court of the Prosecutor General’s Office: will the Prosecutor General yield to those people and their vested interests or will she protect the integrity of the process and act as a guarantor of the law and legality in Ukraine?
We are positively convinced that the European Court of Human Rights will find the judgement of the Appeal Chamber of HACCU to be a flagrant violation of human rights in Ukraine. We hope this outrage will be properly evaluated by the High Council of Justice. We have no intention of giving up: as a businessman I have a responsibility for tens of thousands of my employees who have been subjected to intimidation by law enforcement along with my company for the past 9 months, while all they want is to protect their jobs and livelihoods in Ukraine.