Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko on Nov. 6 lambasted members of parliament and civil society who criticized the law enforcement’s weak efforts in investigating the Nov. 4 murder of whistleblower Kateryna Gandziuk. Lutsenko accused them of trying to steal the investigation and conduct it “through television screens” and of using the Gandziuk case for “blood-stained publicity stunts.” In fact, Lutsenko was speaking about himself. Over the week that followed these imperious statements, he has been parading his impotence and incompetence on television. Lutsenko proved he is the one with a knack for blood-stained publicity.
He furiously slammed those who leaked information about Ihor Pavlovsky, who is suspected of organizing Gandziuk’s murder – and who is an assistant to President Poroshenko Bloc lawmaker Mykola Palamarchuk.
The angry rant emphasized the hypocrisy of those in power: they lament leaks about pro-government politicians and at the same time leak information about their political foes. A Ukrainian news site on Nov. 9 published a leaked phone conversation in which Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy accused Gandziuk of corruption. Lutsenko later confirmed that the audio was originally obtained by the Security Service of Ukraine and shared with his office, but no criminal case had been opened yet. The legal grounds for this are unclear.
Lutsenko’s colleague, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, has been notably silent about the Gandziuk case. His silence is ominous, given that Avakov’s allies were one of the targets of Gandziuk’s criticism.
The LB.ua online newspaper on Nov. 13 removed an incriminating op-ed on Gandziuk’s murder, which the journalists and activists saw as a sign of possible censorship by authorities. The newspaper put the op-ed back online, saying the lawyers needed to check it. But in the latest version, some mentions of Avakov and his notorious ex-aide Ilya Kiva were cut. The LB.ua trademark is owned by an ex-board member at Ferdico, a firm that owns Avakov’s Italian villa. The newspaper denied links to Avakov, as well as any censorship.
We are tired of repeating that Lutsenko and Avakov must be fired. They should quit to avoid repeating ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s fate.