Thursday, November 23, 2006

'Bandits to jail' - 0/10

One of the demands of the Orange Revolution, which began exactly two years ago today, was 'Bandits to Jail!' For these demands to be met, reliable and uncorruptible law enforcement agencies and prosecutors would have to be in appointed. Sadly, this has just not happened.

Today's 'Ostrov' site runs a detailed piece on Renat Kuzmin, who on 5th September was appointed deputy Prosecutor-General. It reveals how little, if any, progress has been made - to use an old cliche, he seems to be as suitable for this position as King Herrod was for running a children's hospital.

Since being appointed, he has been the public driving force behind corruption charges that have been levelled, primarily for political reasons, against Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko. [More on this here]. Volodymyr Shcherban has returned from a Miami prison cell to Ukraine and is now doing the rounds of TV stations and media interviews.

But more sinister, Kuzmin was behind the recent release, after the briefest of detentions, of Alexander Melnyk, a Crimean parliament deputy and alleged big-time 'kriminalnyi avtorytet' who has repeatedly been accused of leading the most powerful organized crime syndicate in Crimea - the "Salem" gang. According to Interior Minister Lutsenko, they are responsible for more than 50 murders, including those of policemen.

Melnyk had been apprehended by law enforcement officials and brought to Kyiv, but despite a large amount of evidence presented, the new deputy P-G failed to put the case before a court of law, and Melnyk was released.

Some Ukrainian journalists call Kuzmin 'Akhmetov's man in the P-G's Office'.

Melnyk has long been considered the "king of Donbass's overseer" in the Crimean Autonomous Republic.

A dubious parliamentary commission has been set up to investigate corruption in the Min. of Internal Affairs, led by Voldymyr Sivkovych - who lead a similar commission investigating Yushchenko's poisoning two years ago. [Their conclusion - Yush was suffering from herpes..]

An article in today's 'Grani Plyus' entitled, 'Two Prosecutors', concludes: "In our country we have two prosecutor's offices working in parallel. One actively interacts with the Ministry of Int. Affairs and investigates serious crimes, including those within the law-enforcement agencies themselves. While the other ignores the results of the work of its own lower tiers, and institutes proceedings on political orders."

The bandits can sleep easy.

ps Male life expectancy in Donbass is now an appallingly low 56,3 years, I thought that fighting corruption was problem #1 for Ukraine, I'm not so sure now. Maintaining the health and effective working lifespan of the workforce must be at least as important.

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