Little progress in high-profile criminal cases
Although there has been limited progress in major criminal investigations, no major breakthroughs have happened since the EuroMaidan Revolution that drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power in 2014.
Only one person — a paid pro-government thug, or “titushka” — is behind bars for crimes against protesters. The other 35 people convicted for EuroMaidan crimes so far were given fines or suspended sentences.
Five Berkut riot police officers are currently on trial on charges of murdering demonstrators, and Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko promised in September to send to court the case against the organizers of EuroMaidan murders by the end of the month.
However, the case has not yet gone to trial. Sergii Gorbatuk, who oversees in absentia trials at the Prosecutor General’s Office, has argued that the cases cannot be sent to trial because the Ukrainian authorities have so far failed to bring legislation on such trials into line with international standards.
In April, four Berkut officers charged in EuroMaidan cases fled to Russia after being released by courts.
Only one top official who served ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, ex-Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych, is on trial on graft charges.
In March, a Kramatorsk court confiscated $1.5 billion in funds linked to Yanukovych associates. But critics have dismissed the confiscation hearings as a political show. Both the investigation and the trial were conducted in secrecy and over just two weeks, and the ruling has not been published.
Prosecutors also sent a high trea- son case against Yanukovych to trial in March, accusing him of urging Russia to send its troops to invade Ukraine in 2014.
State Fiscal Service Chief Roman Nasirov, an ally of President Petro Poroshenko, and ex-People’s Front lawmaker Mykola Martynenko were charged by the National AntiCorruption Bureau in graft cases in March and April, respectively. However, the cases have not been sent to trial yet.
Poroshenko’s top allies Ihor Kononenko and Oleksandr Hranovsky, who are under investigation in several graft cases, have not been officially charged yet.
Yanukovych ally Oleksandr Yefremov is now in custody and on trial on charges of separatism.
An Odesa court on Sept. 18 acquitted 20 pro-Russian activists charged with taking part in clashes with pro-Ukrainian protesters on May 2, 2014, which resulted in dozens of deaths. Five of them were released from custody, while two were re-arrested.
Court hearings on Kharkiv Mayor Gennady Kernes, charged with kidnapping, torturing and threatening to murder EuroMaidan activists, started in March 2015. However, Kernes is not even under arrest, and the trial has seen no progress.
Ex-Sloviansk Mayor Nelia Shtepa, who was arrested in 2014 on separatist charges, was released from custody and put under house arrest in September.
In August the Prosecutor General’s Office published a report blaming Russia for the massacre of hundreds of Ukrainian troops during the Battle of Ilovaisk in 2014.
However, prosecutors have been criticized for ignoring the alleged negligence and incompetence of Chief of Staff Viktor Muzhenko and then Defense Minister Valery Heletei during the battle. They have not faced any charges.
Terror attacks, ammo depots
Earlier this year Georgian-born Timur Makhauri and intelligence officers Maksym Shapoval, Yuiry Vozny and Oleksandr Kharaberiush were killed in car explosions. Russia was blamed for the murders but no charges have been filed yet. Denis Voronenkov, a former pro-Kremlin Russian lawmaker, was gunned down in central Kyiv in March. His assassin, who was fatally wounded on the spot by Voronenkov’s bodyguard, turned out to be Ukrainian, but the investigation found he had links with Russia. In September, prosecutors claimed the murder case had been solved but have not named any suspected organizers of the murder so far.
Three big ammunition depots have been destroyed by fires or explosions over the last six months. The most recent one occurred on Sept. 28 in Kalynivka in Vinnytsia Oblast. The authorities didn’t name any attackers.
No suspects have been named in the high-profile murder of Ukrainian-Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet in July 2016.
Investigators have so far failed to name the organizers of the 2000 murder of Georgy Gongadze, editor-in-chief of the Ukrainska Pravda website. Ex-police general Oleksiy Pukach was sentenced to life for this murder in 2013, but others implicated in the crime, including former President Leonid Kuchma, have never been charged.
In December the government nationalized Privatbank, putting the burden of the bank’s losses — worth $5.6 billion — on the country’s taxpayers. Central bank officials and anti-corruption watchdogs accused the bank’s former owners Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Bogolyubov of embezzlement and bank fraud. In July, the Prosecutor General’s office opened a criminal probe against the former executives of Privatbank for making the bank insolvent. But no charges have been filed so far.