Closing arguments on Il-76 aircraft tragedy delayed as head of the court takes sick leave – lawyer

Київ, January 10, 2017.

The investigation of the disaster has been on for a year, there’ve been numerous hearings and just when everyone expected a court’s decision, head of the court takes a sick leave.  

Closing arguments on Il-76 aircraft crash are delayed for indefinite period because of the sick leave of the head of the court, said lawyer Sergiy Pogosyan at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. It should have taken place on January 11, 2017. This is a final stage, afterwards court will make decision.

The investigation started a year ago. There are many versions of what was the main reason of the catastrophe. “The leading one is neglect of duty by the Chief of the Anti-Terrorist Operation Staff, General Nazarov. Over 30 court hearings have already taken place, 62 witnesses and the accused have been questioned. The сourt did everything possible to identify the circumstances. The next step shall be closing arguments, afterwards the court will make its decision,” said Mr. Pogosyan.

Il-76, a military transport aircraft of the 25th military air transport brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, was shot down by Russia-backed militants from a man-portable anti-aircraft missile system “Igla” on June 14, 2014 when landing in the Luhansk airport. All people on board, 40 paratroopers and nine crew members, died in the crash. “The actions of the accused Victor Nazarov should be treated as a crime according to Part 3, Art. 425 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – neglecting the duty,” noted Sergiy Pogosyan.

“The Commander had to ensure coordination between the units. However, no one had task to take care of safety for the paratroopers,” he added. Mr. Pogosyan reminded that before that day five Ukrainian helicopters had already been shot down by Russia-backed militants. It was evidently dangerous for planes and helicopters to land in the Luhansk airport.