Legal Case of the Week: Nadia Savchenko

posted 27 Mar 2016, 12:43 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 27 Mar 2016, 16:42 ]
On 22 March 2016 Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko was convicted on all charges and sentenced to 22 years in prison and fined 30,000 roubles. On 21 March 2016 Judge Leonid Stepanenko had begun delivering the verdict at the trial  of Savchenko, who was charged with complicity in the killing of two Russian journalists. As RFE/RL reported, Judge Stepanenko said Savchenko, driven by ‘political hatred,’ was part of a ‘criminal group’ and had aimed to kill an ‘unlimited number of people.’ The BBC, summarizing the case, reported: 'Ms Savchenko is accused of directing the artillery fire in eastern Ukraine in which the two journalists died. [...] The two Russian state TV journalists, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, were killed in mortar fire in June 2014, at the height of fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels. On the same day, Ms Savchenko, 34, says she was captured by rebels and illegally taken to Russia. Russian prosecutors say she tried to cross the border posing as a refugee.' The prosecution had called for Nadia Savchenko be sent to prison for 23 years. After the verdict, the Prosecutor-General's Office issued a statement to say it was satisfied with the court's ruling.

The conviction of Nadia Savchenko brought wide international condemnation. Human Rights Watch in a statement called the trial unfair and said that the judgment should not be allowed to stand, stating 'the accumulative effect of the court’s rulings [...] renders the conviction unsafe and should lead to the conviction being set aside. Amnesty International said the trial was 'marred by fair trial violations and failed to deliver justice for Nadiya Savchenko or for the journalists, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, who were killed in eastern Ukraine.'

'Ukrainian Pilot Savchenko "Does Not Acknowledge Verdict",' RFE/RL, 21 March 2016
'Savchenko trial: Russian court gives verdict on Ukraine pilot,' BBC, 21 March 2016
'Savchenko Sentenced To 22 Years In Prison,' RFE/RL, 22 March 2016
'Russia: Ukrainian Pilot Convicted. Justice Marred by Unfair Trial,' Human Rights Watch, 22 March 2016
'Russia: Savchenko found guilty following flawed trial,' Amnesty International, 22 March 2016