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07KYIV804, UKRAINE: PRESSURE ON PECHERSK COURT INCREASES,

April 5, 2007

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07KYIV804 2007-04-05 14:59 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO6296
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHKV #0804/01 0951459
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 051459Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1828
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 000804 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: PRESSURE ON PECHERSK COURT INCREASES, 
INCLUDING THEFT OF STAMP AND KEYS 
 
REF: A. KYIV 784 
     B. KYIV 790 
 
Classified By: DCM Sheila Gwaltney for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (SBU) Summary:  The Pechersk District Court became 
involved in the struggle over President Yushchenko's decree 
dismissing the Rada and setting new elections April 3 after 
it threw out an April 2 Rada resolution to replace the 
current Central Election Commission (CEC) with the previous 
one led by the discredited Serhiy Kivalov, now a Regions MP. 
The morning of April 5, the court's recently dismissed 
chairman Kolesnichenko physically attacked and forcibly 
seized a court stamp from a court employee while accompanied 
by an unnamed MP and a group of men.  Acting court chairwoman 
Otrash privately confirmed press accounts of the incident to 
us.  Otrash told the media she later saw Kolesnichenko 
stamping documents in his office, which he has refused to 
vacate, and that Kivalov had threatened court judges in an 
April 4 visit to the court, demanding that they rescind their 
April 3 decision.  President Yushchenko ordered General 
Prosecutor Medvedko to investigate the incident.  A court 
staffer confirmed to us later in the day that Kivalov left 
the court with the Pechersk court stamp (one of two) seized 
by Kolesnichenko, plus the keys to the safes in Otrash's 
office. 
 
2. (C) Comment:  The reported events at the Pechersk district 
court and the direct involvement of Serhiy Kivalov are 
troubling developments.  Ambassador raised the issue with PM 
adviser Kostantin Gryshchenko late April 5.  Gryshchenko 
registered our concerns and could only offer a weak response, 
noting that Kolesnichenko had been seen as sympathetic to 
Regions and that Yushchenko had dismissed him to install a 
judge sympathetic to his own views.  End Summary and Comment. 
 
 
A Court Not New to Political Controversy 
--------------------------------------- 
 
3. (SBU)  Background: the Pechersk District Court has 
territorial jurisdictions over central Kyiv to include the 
Parliament (Verkhovna Rada), Cabinet of Ministers and 
Presidential Secretariat.  It is likely Ukraine's most 
prominent district court, with a history of controversial 
political and economic rulings.  During the Kuchma era, the 
court was viewed as being partially controlled by Kuchma 
chief of Staff Viktor Medvedchuk.  The Pechersk Court became 
embroiled in the latest bureaucratic jostling between the 
coalition and opposition when, on April 3, it threw out the 
Rada April 2 resolution attempting to reinstate the 
discredited 2004 Central Election Committee headed by Serhiy 
Kivalov, now a Regions MP, Chairman of the Rada's Judicial 
Committee, and a member of the High Council of Justice. 
Pressure on the court began April 4, with Kivalov vowing to 
unseat the court judges and making a visit to the court 
threatening the judges' removal unless they rescinded their 
April 3 decision.  On the same day, 20 coalition MPs arrived 
at the CEC chair's office to pressure for current Chair 
Davydovych's removal and Kivalov's return, with one MP vowing 
to stay at the commission until May 27 to prevent it from 
implementing the pre-term elections called for by President 
Yushchenko (ref B). 
 
Former Court Chairman Forcibly Seizes Court Stamp... 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
4. (SBU) The court's acting chair, Inna Otrash, privately 
confirmed to us April 5 accounts she had provided to 
reporters earlier: while the judges were in chambers, the 
court's former chairman, Volodymr Kolesnichenko, entered the 
court accompanied by an unidentified MP and a group of 
apparent bodyguards, demanded the court stamp from Otrash's 
assistant, and when the employee refused, physically shoved 
her and forcibly seized one of the court's official stamps. 
(Note: an Interfax reporter claims to have seen Kivalov enter 
the office where the altercation occurred.)  Kolesnichenko, 
who was dismissed as the court's chairman two weeks earlier 
by President Yushchenko, had refused to accept his 
reassignment to the Uman court in Cherkasy province.  Otrash 
told reporters she subsequently saw  Kolesnichenko stamping 
documents in his former office. 
 
...President and Speaker interested... 
-------------------------------------- 
 
5. (U)   President Yushchenko, meeting Prosecutor general 
Oleksander Medvedko at the time of the incident, instructed 
Medvedko to open an investigation, according to the 
Presidential Secretariat news service.  Before the events 
unfolded, Rada Speaker Moroz had authorized the heads of the 
 
KYIV 00000804  002 OF 002 
 
 
three relevant parliamentary committees, MPs Kivalov 
(Judiciary), Dzhyha (Anti-Corruption), and Samoilenko 
(National Security and Defense), to "investigate" the 
situation at the Pechersk Court. 
 
...and Kivalov walks away with the stamp and safe keys 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
6. (SBU) A court employee confirmed to us late April 5 that 
MP Kivalov had departed the Pechersk court in po
ssession of 
the stamp which Kolesnichenko had seized in the morning, 
along with the keys from the safes in Otrash's office. 
 
7. (U) Visit Embassy Kyiv's classified website: 
www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/kiev. 
Taylor

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