Tuesday, 19 December ‘23

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 19 December ‘23

This week’s overview of key events and links to essential reading.

Tuesday, 19 December, 2023
IWPR

IWPR

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Extradition Refusal

The office of the prosecutor general of Ukraine vowed to pursue Finland’s refusal to extradite 36-year-old Russian Voyislav Torden, also known as Yan Petrovsky, who is suspected of participating in a terrorist organisation. According to the Ukrainian investigation, in 2014 Petrovsky fought as part of the so-called Rusych Sabotage and Assault Intelligence Group in Luhansk. 

The Supreme Court of Finland has ruled that it could not agree to the extradition of Petrovsky due to conditions in Ukrainian prisons.

"We continue to look for ways to detain and extradite this suspect to Ukraine. According to our legislation, he remains a suspect," said Andrii Gulkevich, deputy head of the International Legal Assistance Department of the prosecutor general's office.

Gulkevich said that his office had sent 125 extradition requests to foreign countries in 2023 of which 20 were granted and 15 rejected. The rest remain under consideration.  He said that among the most common reasons for rejecting extradition requests were the ongoing hostilities on the territory of Ukraine, and the opinion that the country would not be able to provide adequate conditions for the detention of those accused persons.

Saved by a Drone: Commander Convicted

On December 6, judges of the Krasnograd district court of the Kharkiv region sentenced 26-year-old Klym Kerzhaev, a Russian senior lieutenant and company commander, to 15 years imprisonment in absentia. He was found guilty of violating the laws and customs of war with a completed attempted murder by a group of persons (Part 2 of Article 15, Part 2 of Article 28, Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code). His conviction concerned the shooting on a civilian car in June 2022 during the occupation of the Izyum district in the Kharkiv region in which a man was seriously injured. His wife was saved by the Ukrainian military thanks to a drone bearing the message, Follow Me.

The court also satisfied the civil suit of the victims and decided to charge the convict more than 30 million hryvnias in material and moral damages ( 800,000 US dollars). The verdict can be appealed within 30 days.

Kidnapping and Torture in Kherson

Investigators from the Kherson police reported in absentia the suspicion of violating the laws and customs of war (part 2 of article 28, part 1 of article 438 of the criminal code) to 32-year-old Russian national guard Rustam Shankin and 32-year-old Ukrainian citizen Oleksandr Tereshchenko. They are suspected of kidnapping and torturing a 40-year-old Kherson resident  in June 2022. A bag was put on the man's head and he was brought to the police station where he was detained for three days. He was denied food and water, beaten and threatened with.

Earlier this year, in July, Tereshchenko was also informed in absentia about the suspicion of collaboration when he voluntarily took a post with the occupation authorities in Oleshki, a town nine kilometres from Kherson.

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