Serious doubts have been cast on the impartiality of judge Serhiy Vovk, who is presiding over the trial of former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko.
Documents have been published revealing a criminal case had been opened against Vovk in 2007 concerning the illegal appropriation of land belonging to 'UkrProfOzdorovnutsya'. The judge had allegedly intentionally altered the designation of this land, but in 2009, a Kyiv Appeal Court annulled Vovk's rulings in these matters.
Yesterday, in court, Lytsenko demanded Vovk stand-down because he could not be considered impartial, but Vovk refused to go.
Lutsenko added that the criminal case against Vovk was initiated after an audit by the Ministry of Internal Affairs audit which took place at a time when he himself headed the ministry, in other words Vovk could use the trial to settle old scores and 'get even'.
Lutsenko claimed he informed the Prosecutor's Office during the investigation of his own case that Vovk was 'dirty', but was told that no case against the judge existed.
The press service of the Prosecutor General's Office have now officially denied the existence of any criminal case against Vovk. "We have to report that a decision by a college of judges of the Chamber of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court on February 23, 2010 upheld the decision of the district court of Kyiv Holosiyivski court two years ago (16 July 2009) to rule as unlawful the decision to institute criminal proceedings against Serhiy Vovk ".
Lutsenko claimed the case against Vovk could be reopened in the event the court "makes the wrong decision..", in other words 'vlasti' have Vovk by the 'short and curlies'..
All sound very grubby...You would think that because Lutsenko's trial is being closely scrutinised and because Ukraine's judicial system has such a terrible reputation everything possible would be done to ensure everything was as clean and above board as possible, so why not change the judge? But this trial not about justice, it's about macho posturing and revenge ..
p.s. More 'dirt' on Vovk to follow?