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DECEMBER 2020

Democracy In Action: Ukrainian Murdered Released In Italy, As Zelensky Threatens Constitutional Court Judges

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Democracy In Action: Ukrainian Murdered Released In Italy, As Zelensky Threatens Constitutional Court Judges

Click to see full-size image

On November 3rd, the Milan Court of Appeal released from custody Vitalii Markiv, the former Ukrainian deputy commander of the General Serhiy Kulchytsky Battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine.

He was convicted by an Italian court to 24 years of imprisonment for allegedly directing a mortar fire that killed Russian journalist Andrei Mironov and Italian photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli near the city of Sloviansk.

His conviction was overturned, and he was exonerated.

Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko said that by the decision of the Milan Court of Appeal, Markiv was acquitted of all charges.

“Markiv is free and returns to Ukraine,” the official wrote.

This information was also confirmed by the authorized representative of the Verkhovna Rada for human rights Lyudmila Denisova.

“The Milan Court of Appeal issued an acquittal in the case of our hero, fully acquitting him,” the Ombudsman wrote.

Initially, Markiv was detained in Italy on June 30, 2017 on suspicion of the murder of Italian photojournalist Andy Rocchelli near Slavyansk in May 2014.

On May 17, 2019, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov arrived in Italy to participate in the trial in the case of a serviceman. However, this did not help Markiv, and the court sentenced him to 24 years in prison. It is worth noting that the National Guard has dual citizenship – Italian and Ukrainian, so Italy may not extradite a convicted Ukrainian.

Nevertheless, at the beginning of this year, the Ukrainian Parliament issued a statement in which it condemned the Italian side for an unfair trial against Markiv.

The Italian court was supposed to consider the appeal of Ukraine in the case of the National Guard in the spring of 2020, however, due to the coronavirus and quarantine, the process was actually blocked.

Below are photographs from Markiv’s telephone, it shows a person being prepared to be burned alive.

Democracy In Action: Ukrainian Murdered Released In Italy, As Zelensky Threatens Constitutional Court Judges

Click to see full-size image. IMAGE: https://t.me/ASupersharij

And another photo of an individual, clearly being taken on a little tourist trip.

Democracy In Action: Ukrainian Murdered Released In Italy, As Zelensky Threatens Constitutional Court Judges

Click to see full-size image. IMAGE: https://t.me/ASupersharij

Another example of ‘fond memories’ kept by Markiv in his photographs:

Democracy In Action: Ukrainian Murdered Released In Italy, As Zelensky Threatens Constitutional Court Judges

IMAGE: https://t.me/ASupersharij

The very same ‘patriots of Ukraine’ attack members and supporters of opposition parties, independent journalists and participate in the government-backed campaign against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). All of these crimes are blatantly ‘justified’ by their ‘patriotism’ and the need to ‘defend Ukraine’ from enemies.

Meanwhile, to show how things are run in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is threatening judges of the constitutional court and try to manipulate the court itself.

The President himself confirmed this on air at Ukraine’s ICTV TV channel. He said that he threatened Alexander Tupitsky, the head of the constitutional court, and even his family.

On November 3rd, the Constitutional Court will continue to consider one of the most scandalous issues in recent years – regarding the constitutionality of a number of provisions of the law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language”, better known as the law on total Ukrainianization.

The announcement of the closed session appeared on the website of the Constitutional Court in the midst of the constitutional crisis – after the Constitutional Court recently declared illegal the provisions of the law on the declarations of officials, a special operation was launched in the President’s Office to dismiss the judges of the Constitutional Court.

Actually, the appearance of this issue on the agenda led to serious battles between supporters of two opposite versions of the relative future decision of the Constitutional Court on this law.

Some believed that the Constitutional Court recognized the law as inconsistent with the Constitution, thereby provoking new unrest in society. Others, on the contrary, believed that the judges of the Constitutional Court would find the law fully consistent with the Constitution in order to win over the right-wing radical wing of the Ukrainian political community to their side and to protect themselves from personnel reshuffles in the Constitutional Court.

Finally, still others said that the question would be postponed until quieter times. Moreover, yesterday the Constitutional Court has already postponed consideration of another “explosive” issue – on the ground.

As a result, the supporters of the third point of view turned out to be right – the press service of the Constitutional Court reported on Tuesday that the court considered the issue of the language, but did not make a decision.

There were also rumors that the Office of the President, which is unable to collect votes for the resignation of the KSU, is trying to force them to write letters of resignation in an amicable way or in a bad way. The option of revoking the decrees on the appointment of judges is also being considered, as well as the adoption of a law to increase the quota for making decisions to 17 people, which will completely block the work of the court (now there are 15 people in it and three vacancies are not filled).

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy introduced draft law No. 4288 to the Verkhovna Rada, which proposes to deprive judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine of their powers and restore the law on declaration that they had canceled.

As reported on the parliament’s website, the presidential draft “law on restoring public confidence in constitutional proceedings” was registered in the parliament as urgent on October 29.

There is also the text of the document and an explanatory note to it. The legislative initiative of the president is designed to ensure “observance of the constitutional order in Ukraine” and to prevent “usurpation of power by the judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.”

In addition, the bill provides for the termination of the powers of all acting judges of the Constitutional Court. He also proposes to declare null and void the recent court decision on the recognition of some provisions of the law “On the prevention of corruption” unconstitutional.

“When making the decision of the Constitutional Court… no proper justification was given for the said decision. In addition, such a decision significantly goes beyond the constitutional submission, according to which the relevant provisions were declared unconstitutional,” the explanatory note reads.

What’s notable here is this: in violation of the Constitution, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy submitted to the Rada a bill on the dismissal of all judges of the Constitutional Court by a decision of the parliament, which is not included in his constitutional powers.

Zelensky even personally came to a meeting of the Servant of the People faction – that which holds the majority in Parliament. But, regardless, it still lacked votes.

Last week, the judges of the Constitutional Court made an extremely resonant decision – they recognized a number of provisions of the law on the prevention of corruption as inconsistent with the Constitution.

“Strana” analyzed in detail that this decision in practice means the collapse of the system of total control of politicians and officials, which the West built after the Maidan with the help of electronic declaration of income and expenses. Anyone who submitted a declaration could turn out to be a potential criminal in the eyes of the anti-corruption vertical. After all, it was always possible to find violations in e-declarations and initiate a case by hanging officials on a hook.

Having recognized the provisions of the relevant law as unconstitutional, the judges of the Constitutional Court broke this external control lever.

This was immediately followed by a reaction from the entire ‘anti-corruption lobby’ (that in fact works to exploit corruiption for own interests), sponsored by Western embassies and various grant organizations.

In short, the Constitutional Court denounced a part of provisions/laws accepted after the 2014 coup as non-constitutional (no surprise) and now the presidential administration is, once again, violating the constitution to pressure the court. This is yet another example of the young European democracy, and how practices that are typical for some “backward” countries are frequently applied, with impunity.

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