Presidium of Supreme Court to hear Pichugin case on 23 October

posted 20 Oct 2013, 13:27 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Oct 2013, 13:29 ]
15 October 2013

Vera Vasileva 

The lawyer of former Yukos employee Aleksei Pichugin, Kseniya Kostromina, was informed by the court’s registry that the Presidium of the Supreme Court will conduct a hearing on 23 October 2013 at which they will consider quashing her client’s sentence handed down at his first trial. The chair of the Supreme Court, Vyacheslav Lebedev, brought the issue before the highest court in Russia back in August.

The issue arose as a result of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Pichugin v. Russia, delivered on 23 October 2012, exactly a year before the date set for the forthcoming hearing. According to this ruling, the former Yukos employee had not had a fair trial (enshrined in Art. 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) and "the most appropriate compensation would, in principle, be a new trial or the resumption of proceedings".

Pichugin’s first criminal trial resulted in his being sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment on 30 March 2005. A jury at Moscow City Court, presided over by Judge Natalya Olikhver, found Pichugin guilty of arranging the murder of Tambov businessmen Olga and Sergei Gorny, as well as an assassination attempt on the head of the public relations department of the Moscow mayor's office, Olga Kostin, and the robbery and attempted assassination of the business manager of the Rosprom company, Victor Kolesov.

However, the European Court ruled that Natalya Olikhver had unlawfully conducted the trial behind closed doors. Without good cause she permitted the chief witness for the prosecution, serial murderer and rapist Igor Korovnikov, not to answer some of the questions posed by Pichugin's defence. The presiding judge had sought to conceal important aspects of Igor Korovnikov’s life from the jury.

Earlier the Supreme Court had fixed a hearing by the Presidium in the case of Pichugin for 2 October, but it was postponed without explanation.

Hearings of the Presidium of the Russian Supreme Court are open to the public. Members of the public are required to have their passports with them.

Address of the Supreme Court: 15 Povarskaya Street, Moscow (Arbatskaya Metro station on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya or Filevskaya Lines). Third entrance, Hall No. 2063. Visitors need to collect a pass at the pass office.

The hearing starts at 09:30.