In the hope of reciprocity: will Russia Ukraine Oleg Sentsov


On 8 April, the Russian Ministry of justice has instructed the Federal service of execution of punishments to prepare the documents for resolving the issue of the transfer of Ukraine the four convicts. We are talking about Oleg Sentsov, Alexander Kolchenko, Gennady Afanasievo, and Yuri Soloshenko, Instruction was given in connection with the appeal of the Ukrainian Ministry of justice from March 10, said the Russian Ministry.

Who asks you to give Ukraine?

Three of the defendants to the possible transfer had been convicted in the so-called case of “Crimean terrorists”: the Director Oleg Sentsov was sentenced to 20 years in strict regime and transferred to Yakutia, activists Alexander Kolchenko, and Gennady Afanasiev received 10 and 7 years imprisonment respectively.

Not accepted the Russian citizenship Sentsov, Kolchenko and Afanasyev was accused in April of 2014 (after the accession of Crimea to Russia) set fire to the offices of the organizations “Russian community of Crimea” and the local branch of “United Russia”, and were planning explosions on the night of may 9 at the Eternal flame and the monument to Lenin in Simferopol. The prosecution qualified, and the court confirmed that their actions were terrorist. The FSB insisted that all the detainees are members of the banned in Russia organization “Right sector”.

Sentsov case immediately came to be regarded in the Ukraine as a political, but in his defense spoke not only human rights activists, and filmmakers: Directors Aki Kaurismaki, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, WIM Wenders and Nikita Mikhalkov. The Russian human rights centre “memorial” declared him and the other defendants in this case political prisoners.

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said about Sentsov and other detained in Russia, including Nadezhda Savchenko, during most of the meetings with international partners and from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly. The European Parliament after the verdict called for the establishment of sanctions “list Sentsov”. This year Sentsov is the winner of the National prize of Ukraine named after Taras Shevchenko, and together with Kolchenko was awarded the national Organa Courage of the first degree.

The detention, the arrest and trials of Sentsov, Kolchenko and other Ukrainian began a cause and civil blockade of the Crimea, organized by Crimean Tatar activists in September last year and is ongoing. They are urged to return them to Ukraine, proposing this requirement as a condition to end the embargo.

Another person, whose extradition is asked Ukraine is a former Director of the Ukrainian defense plant “Banner” Yuri Soloshenko was convicted for espionage in favor of Ukraine and sentenced by Moscow city court to six years in a penal colony.

Will Russia agree to issue?

After receiving the instructions of the justice Ministry, the penitentiary service must verify the presence or absence of grounds preventing from release of Ukrainian prisoners. According to the Criminal procedure code to prevent the issuance of, for example, can be the fact that in the homeland of the convicted will be pursued on additional items not specified in the request.

Extradition of prisoners decided under the Convention on the transfer of sentenced persons of 1983 and the criminal procedure code of Russia, said the Ministry of justice in response to the request . Russia and Ukraine need to exchange documents, which provide that a decision of a Russian court will be recognized by Kiev, and the sentence is executed. If Ukraine declare their intention to free the prisoners, then in accordance with the criminal procedure code it will be grounds for refusal of extradition (article 471 of the CPC).

After the Russian FSIN will examine all bases, it sends the view on the transfer of the convict to the court. The final decision on extradition will be taken by the Russian courts, said on Friday the representative of the Ministry of justice.

Why Ukraine does not ask to return Nadiya Savchenko?

In Friday’s “list of justice” is not one of the most famous Russian court convicted the citizen of Ukraine: pilots Hope Savchenko, who was sentenced in March to 23 years in prison on charges of involvement in the death of Russian journalists. After making her sentence Poroshenko said he was ready to exchange it, but the media repeatedly reported about allegedly begun negotiations about the return Savchenko home. The head of the presidential administration Sergei Ivanov said that the transfer of Savchenko to the Ukrainian side it is theoretically possible, but the final decision is for the President of Russia.

The extradition request may be sent only after the entry into force of the judgment. For four people, which Ukraine has included a request of 10 March, it has already happened, explained the head of the Ukrainian center for the exchange of prisoners “Officer corps” Vladimir Ruban. The verdict on Savchenko entered into force only on 5 April, he says.

Ruban believes that the Ukrainian side has appealed to the Russian justice Ministry with a request to give Savchenko. The employee of the press service of the Ministry of justice of Ukraine was unable to say whether this is so. On 7 April the Minister of justice of Ukraine Pavlo Petrenko informed that the Ministry of justice is not yet involved in negotiations about the release of Savchenko, they are “on the diplomatic and political level”.

Could this be the beginning of the exchange?

Ukrainian politicians are always talking about the possibility of returning to the homeland of Ukrainians detained in Russia, according to the exchange procedure.

The Ukrainian side insists that it is prescribed by the Minsk agreements, in which there is a paragraph about the exchange of “all for all”. This support Kiev and some Western partners. U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry during the March visit to Moscow also urged to hand over Ukraine Savchenko in connection with the obligations of the Moscow Minsk agreements.

But Moscow does not consider itself party to the conflict, and therefore considers the requirement for the exchange of baseless. Press Secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov repeatedly stated that the liberation Savchenko has no relation to the Minsk agreements.

Perhaps, formally, the Ukrainians returning to their homeland will be issued as the issuance, but in fact will be carried out their exchange, for example, Russians Alexander and Evgeny Alexandrov Erofeeva, admits the Deputy Director of the Institute of CIS countries Vladimir Zharikhin. In Kiev, they are called “fighters of the GRU”. Such development of events from the start of the trial did not exclude the advocates of Russians.

The head of the presidential Council on human rights (HRC) Mikhail Fedotov said on Friday that the request for the transfer of four convicts Ukraine can be satisfied. But then, in his opinion, I need to return home and Alexandrov and Erofeev. “I believe that this question is not so much legal as political, said on Friday Fedotov. And, of course, it should be a two-way street. I think that the success of the negotiation process in the framework of the Minsk agreements as times can lead to the fact that such requests will be satisfied and will come back home not only Ukrainians, but also our compatriots, in particular, Alexandrov and Erofeev. I wish it happened” (quoted by RIA Novosti).

According to the security Service of Ukraine published on Friday, since the beginning of the Ukrainian anti-terrorist operation in the Southeast were referred to the courts indictments against 32 Russian citizens in connection with the events in Donbass, the Russians eight already convicted. In March, the press service of the Russian justice Ministry told TASS that agencies of the two countries are considering reference of the 13 Russian citizens convicted by the courts of Ukraine.

The representative of the Ministry of justice stated that the exchange of citizens is not within the competence of the office. Remained without answer and the question was whether Moscow sent a request for extradition of any Russian citizens who are now in detention in Ukraine.