Vitaliy Kasko: The case against me is willful persecution for my views on corruption at Prosecutor General’s Office

Kyiv, April 11, 2016. Late at night on Sunday April 10, in Kyiv next to Ivan Franko theatre, there was an attempt to serve the former deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine, lawyer Vitaliy Kasko, with ‘summons of suspicion’. The people refused to present their identification documents and said their names only when it was required by the operational investigative group which arrived to the site. The unknown people also damaged Kaskiv’s vehicle. There were young people wearing sports suits who were recording the events using their mobile phones. “This was a textbook example of violation of provisions of the criminal procedural code every step of the way. Presumably, there was a notification of suspicion, though in fact there was no notification. These were people who are not authorized by the law to notify a lawyer of any suspicions. Some paint was spilled onto my car and they caught me late at night. I received no summons to the Prosecutor General’s Office before,” said Kasko at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Kasko reminded that during his resignation he informed of his plans to continue his practice of law and the General Prosecutor’s office was aware of that. “I was being watched despite the fact of having no procedural status in any criminal proceedings. It is a blunt violation of the constitutional rights of a person and lawyer,” said the former deputy prosecutor general.

According to Yevhen Hrushovets, Kaskiv’s lawyer, the unknown were “shouting that Kasko was to appear for interrogation at 11 p.m. on Monday. They left some papers – the corresponding ‘documents’ on the windshield. He also presumes there might be a search conducted in apartment of Kasko or his family. He believes this pressure is intended to have Kasko lose footing and make a mistake. Kasko emphasized that information in the documents that a group of unidentified people attempted to present him is incorrect. There is also information that it is planned to make these documents public, which is illegal. “The only aim is discrediting and willful prosecution for my views I expressed regarding reform of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the situation with corruption there as well as certain people holding high positions in our country,” stated Kasko.  “I believe people who are in charge at Prosecutor General’s Office now are fierce followers of the policy of the former Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka, the same people who supported Viktor Shokin not long ago. They are afraid of only one thing – change at the Prosecutor General’s Office and that they would lose their positions in this authority.  They think I am dangerous because I always express my opinion aloud,” he added.

Oleksandr Banchuk from the Centre for Political and Legal Reforms believes this case is a politically motivated prosecution as Kasko mentioned the names of President Petro Poroshenko and his ally Igor Kononenko. He said they must get ready for the situation when they would have to bail Kasko. “They want to destroy any initiative in the sphere of law enforcement reform. [They want to show that] anyone introducing changes without approval of the top officials, criticizing them, will suffer the same consequences,” emphasized Banchuk.