Trial of journalist Ruslan Kotsaba April 29 2015
The trial of Ruslan Kotsaba, April 29 2015
Below is the translation from the post by Tetiana Montian in Russian :
All the links, photos and videos are in the original post. This translation is intended to give Western readers, journalists, the sense of what's going on at this secret trial. Not secret of course, but absolutely off radar of compliant mainstream media. Feel free to use the translation any way you need. No credit necessary - but appreciated nevertheless :)
Following the "tradition" Ruslan was led into a court room by armed guards with a dog.
This was the first actual trial proceeding with examination of 6 witnesses: Messirs Revedzhuk, Moroz, Demyaniv, Pavlyshyn, Andrejchuk, Gavanyuk.
First, Revedzhuk was called to testify.
This journalist told the court that he met Kotsaba personally in Donetsk, while the territory was already under the control of Donetsk People's Republic. Kotsaba arrived not alone but with yet another journalist, from Channel 112.
The examination resembled surrealism: Revedzhuk stated that the situation in Ukraine is by no means black-and-white but Kotsaba went too far saying that there are no Russian troops in Donbass. "One must be held responsible for his or her words. I suggest Kotsaba submits to a polygraph test".
Judge interrupted the witness, explaining that witness' function is to testify, not to give advices to the court.
But Revedzhuk was unstoppable. He started shouting that "Montian [ human rights lawyer who represents Kotsaba pro bono] is here for publicity purposes, she travels to Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic... and the court should either release Kotsaba or jail his lawyer Tetiana Montian too." I assured the witness that I am ready to sit beside Kotsaba and was always forthcoming about it.
By the way, Illya Ovcharenko is not being harassed by Secret Services yet - though he has published his second appeal in support of Kotsaba, already AFTER the case was opened against him and after being called for an interrogation.
The prosecutor asked if they saw Russian soldiers.
Revedzhuk answered that he saw Chechen and Ossetian fighters and went further to allege that Kotsaba must have seen them too. To which Kotsaba, from his cage, reminded that he always maintained that there are ALMOST none of Russian soldiers, not NONE.
I asked if the witness is familiar with following documents :
1. Agreement between Ukraine and Russia about Military Cooperation, the law 10.01.2002# 2936-III, status - valid.
2. Agreement about Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Russia and Ukraine, signed into law 31 of May, 1997, status - valid.
The witness replied that he had recently became aware of the second law only - just 10 days ago. He even wrote an appeal to the president to repeal this agreement but hasn't heard from Mr.Poroshenko.
I tried to ask the witness if by chance the Russian soldiers he saw in Donetsk could in theory be there in the framework of the agreement regarding military cooperation. But the judge disallowed the question.
Kotsaba asked if his video appeal [ regarding draft evasion ] made an impact on at least one person known to the witness. The witness said "No".
Generally, from Revedzhuk testimony it's clear to me that Security Services hold him where it hurts, forcing him to work against Kotsaba and to discredit me. No doubt, whenever the next change of regime comes, all the details of these shameful actions will become known.
The next witness: Mr. Moroz, temporary military commander in charge of ideology of Ivano-Frankivsk military district.
Previously during the preliminary investigation he stated that in verbal communication with the draftees and their families regarding the Anti-Terrorist Campaign [code name for UA forces military campaign in Eastern Ukraine ] the residents of Ivano-Frankivsk district quite often used specific words like "brother against brother ", "civil war", "wrong kind of war" etc, but he was not aware of the video appeal of Mr. Kotsaba before the interrogation.
This didn't preclude him from stating at later interrogation that the video appeal of Kotsaba "tangibly influenced the fighting spirit, morale and the level of patriotism among the recruits....in a very negative way, as evidenced by low compliance among Ivano-Frankivsk district residents, and the recruitment campaign shortcomings in general ".
During the cross examination Mr Kotsaba asked witness Moroz about the refusal of four military commanders, originally from Karpaty region [ where Ivano-Frankivsk is located ] to transfer to Anti-Terrorist Campaign zone. Mr Kotsaba stressed that the refusal of four senior commanders, no doubt, had more negative influence on recruiting campaign than an allegedly criminal anti-draft video posted online.
Kotsaba asked: "Please confirm or deny that while at the helm of military district, you removed from duty four commanders as a punishment for their refusal to relocate to Anti-Terrorist Campaign zone according to President's decree? "
Mr. Moroz replied that he personally didn't demote them but they were not allowed to continue their duty in his district.
Kotsaba asked: "In your opinion, what influenced the mobilization failure more - my public appeal or a refusal of four top commanders to serve as ordered ? "
The reply: "I would not draw parallels between the two. From those commanders who initially refused, two were relieved of their duties, one went to Anti-Terrorist Campaign zone previously and another one is there currently. "
When interrogated by the prosecution regarding the influence the appeal of citizen Kotsaba had on the refusals of draft among the local population , the witness replied that he is not aware of any facts that would support this assumption.
Prosecution question: "How did the appeal to Ukrainians to refuse draft, made by Mr Kotsaba, influenced the mobilization?
Witness' answer: "No draftees claimed refusal to serve citing Mr Kotsaba appeal ".
Afterwards Mr.Kotsaba asked the witness if he, the witness, knows of any persons who were influenced by his video appeal to a degree of refusing to be enlisted. The commander once more clearly stated in response: no, he can't credit the video appeal of the journalist with influencing the draft campaign.
Generally, the prohibition by court to refer to witness' testimony in preliminary investigation - the reason why this or that witness ended up being such for the trial, is absurd. It drives me nuts and makes me remember "by non-angry quiet words" [ euphemism, quote from well known Ukrainian poem - denoting unprintable cursing ] the authors of new Criminal Code. I hope, Andrey Portnov is having hiccups non-stop...
Next on the witness stand: the accuser himself, Mr. Demyaniv, who wrote the denunciation of Ruslan to authorities.
He said that when he saw the video appeal he went to law enforcement asking them to evaluate this video from the legal point. Because of the war, an attack by an aggressor, - he said - the appeal was a surprise to him.
I demanded to know why the witness didn't enlist to go to Anti-Terrorist Campaign himself. I further quipped that maybe the appeal influenced the witness not to go to such a degree that we have not a witness but a sole VICTIM of the aforementioned video. Ruslan added: " And you don't take off your [fake] military fatigues for a year already...."
Some crazed audience members started shouting something like "What are you blabbing here, Ms. Montian, Do you mean to imply that it's Ukraine being an aggressor? "
The pathologically stubborn characters can't comprehend that those inbreds to whom they handed the power on Maidan, who are now forcing them into the slaughterhouse, didn't even think of denouncing the "Agreement of Military Cooperation with Russia", at least for appearances sake!"
Oh, these people don't want to hear anything. No surprise they have no qualms about killing dozens of thousands in various "cauldrons". And to capture and prosecute those who figured out what's going on - for draft evasion, and those saying the truth, like Ruslan - for "treason", betrayal of Ukraine.
That's how we live.
Next witness - Andriy Pavlyshyn, lieutenant commander of city of Ivano-Frankivsk. That same Pavlyshyn who sends draft summons to killed volunteers [ link to a story when the family of a volunteer killed in East, received a draft notice on his behalf ]
[the story follows ]
"As reported by Right Sector Natalya Medvid :
This is the so-called "document" the aunt of Dmytro Lomey, volunteer fighter who was killed two months ago, has brought to me. What planet are the commanders in Ivano-Frankivsk draft committee living at? If Major Pavlyshyn doesn't watch news or use the internet, maybe he should ask his subordinates to make a list of volunteers killed? Fortunately, not so many yet. When you come to arrest him [the killed volunteer ] for draft evasion, take along a candle! " [ end of the story]
At the witness' stand Pavlyshyn started by saying that some part of draftees could see Kotsaba video and influenced by it. He, Pavlyshyn, thinks that the appeal of Kotsaba had negative influence on the mobilization efforts by claiming that the mobilization is illegal. Asked for the names of persons who specifically claimed they refuse draft because of Kotsaba, he couldn't reply.
Naturally, Pavlyshyn saw Kotsaba's appeal first time only at Security Service interrogation. The paragraph from the interrogation transcript starting with "residents of Ivano-Frankivsk often used such world combinations as "brother against brother ", "civil war ", "wrong kind of war " - is identical, including the quotation marks and other orthography, to the testimony of the witness Moroz. It shows that the transcripts of interrogations
were made by our Ukrainian prosecution old and proven traditional "copy-paste" method.
Another key witness for the prosecution , oh yeah....
The next, Andrejchuk, was the most theatrical.
He informed the court that he is a professional activist and took part in all three Maidans - free of charge, naturally.
Unlike Kotsaba, who, according to the witness, "used his participation in revolutionary events purely for personal enrichment " and "didn't participate during dangerous turns of events and overall was only concerned with self-promotion".
Witness has also told the court that Kotsaba is not a journalist at all but an impostor. Moreover, he is not a military journalist, since he has never been to a war zone, never reported from there, preferring to interview the terrorists instead and organizing "dialog" with traitors and murderers of Ukrainians.
He qualified Kotsaba actions as " high treason towards Ukrainian state", "a knife strike in a back of Ukrainian army ", and the real reason behind his actions was "to achieve the status of dissident, at the bequest of Russian Federation" aimed at discrediting the leadership of our country, and creating an illusion of absence of freedom of speech and journalistic freedom".
Th witness further implied that Kotsaba has planned to use the publicity gained from this trial and his "martyr" status to further promote his subversive ideas regarding "fratricide" nature of the war in East, and for shielding the foreign Russian military meddling into internal affairs of our country.
I tried to find out from the witness what he does for living, other than participating in Maidans, but the judge disallowed this question.
This witness, like all others, had no idea about the valid agreement with Russia regarding military cooperation. He was unable to answer me how many "aggressors", "terrorists" and "separatists" he personally destroyed in East and how could he tell them apart from regular citizens of Ukraine. The judge actively interfered with my cross examination of the witness, while the "stubborn ones" in the audience shouted obscenities at me. It's a pity that I didn't find the video of this part of the trial yet.
During the cross examination I asked the witness why in his opinion, I, who expressed much stronger than my client my opposition to the draft, remain free.
The last witness, Mr.Gavanyuk happens to be a real participant in military campaign. He said he was busy in Donetsk Airport with killing and capturing Russian military and for this reason could not watch Mr. Kotsaba appeal. When he saw it, he was very critical of it - because the active duty soldiers are waiting for the rotation and a vacation, and if there is no mobilization they are forced to keep fighting without a relief.
He said that he was transferring captured Russians to Security Services and he has no idea what happened to them later on. He also has no clue why the "real Russians were never shown to the general public ". He couldn't answer if he ever pondered why in Motorola brigade there is only one Russian, Motorola himself, but the rest are Ukrainian citizens.
The judge decided to have some fun and asked the witness the origins of Motorola name. The judge looked very self-satisfied with his own jokes.
I asked the witness if the real reason behind refusals to enlist lays in clueless and cowardly military leadership, sending people as canon fodder into four "cauldrons" and two "lost" airports, if that's - not Kotsaba video - is the reason?
The judge intervened again, asking me what are those "cauldrons" I am talking about.
I recalled Lutugino, Izvarino, Illovaisk and Debaltseve [ cauldrons, where big detachments of Ukraine Army have perished ] and explained to the judge that those are the places where our soldiers were surrounded and died by being caught in a deliberate and planned annihilation
perpetrated by our "geniuses" in high command.
The judge wad visibly upset with himself for asking and abruptly brought the day of the trial to the end.
The unemotional summary :
None of the six witnesses could answer the simple question - if they know a person or persons who refused draft because of Kotsaba video or influenced by him.
Ruslan Kotsaba asked each witness to name names of those who followed on his appeal. No names were given.
Ruslan has commented: "Every time I ask, every time I don't understand why am I incarcerated".
Next court date is May 14 2015 at 3PM.
Kotsaba's wife, Ulyana, has finally agreed to provide her account for fundraising. She understood now that the story is a long one but her children must eat now.
The other day someone stole her daughter's bicycle. But kindly journalists bought her a new one.
Allow me to remind that all family life savings were taken by Security Services - confiscated as " material evidence".