Criminal Law 101 for Press Office of the President of Ukraine

Official Telegram channel of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy informs that the head of state cut short his holiday in Oman and ordered the Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka to act in response to the aviation accident involving Boeing 737-800 plane (state and registration plate UR-PSR) operated by Ukraine International Airlines, which on January 8, 2020 crashed during takeoff from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran:

“Instructed the Prosecutor General to open a criminal proceeding regarding the UIA plane crash in Tehran. An investigative commission has to be established involving representatives of law enforcement and relevant bodies responsible for civil aviation. We have to develop all the leads. Regardless of conclusions about the causes of the crash in Iran, the whole civil air fleet will be tested for airworthiness.”

In this regard, editorial board of the website would like to bring it to president’s spokesperson Iuliia Mendel’s attention that the Prosecutor General is not subordinate to the President of Ukraine, and that the President of Ukraine—as well as any other state body—cannot issue any instructions to the Prosecutor General. According to Decision 8-рп/2001 of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine of June 14, 2001 (case of instructions to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine):

“Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine constitutes a unified system headed by the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. He is appointed upon Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine’s approval and is fired by the President of Ukraine. Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine can pass a motion of no confidence against the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, which entails his resignation from his position (Paragraph 25 of Part 1 of Article 85, Paragraph 11 of Part 1 of Article 106, Part 1 of Article 122 of Constitution of Ukraine). However, such a way of appointing the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to and removing him from this position doesn’t entail relations of subordination of the prosecutor’s office to other state bodies, in particular, those ones that exercise their power regarding appointing and firing the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.”

Of course, it is common knowledge that Ruslan Riaboshapka is merely a small clerk in the Office of the President pushed around by deputies of Andriy Bohdan. However, it is absolutely unnecessary to announce that in the official Telegram channel of the President of Ukraine.

Secondly, as of November 20, 2012, criminal proceedings in Ukraine are not opened but rather registered in the Unified Register of Pre-trial Investigations.

Thirdly, no “investigative commission involving representatives of law enforcement and relevant bodies responsible for civil aviation” can be established, even if such a renowned expert in civil aviation as Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to head it. The only body that investigates aviation accidents involving aircrafts registered in Ukraine or the ones that happened in Ukraine is the National Bureau of Air Accidents Investigation of Ukraine. Establishing any other investigative commissions is a blatant violation of the Air Code of Ukraine, and conclusions drawn by such commissions are null and void.



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