For almost a week already, the petition in support of Dmytro and Serhii Pavlichenko, convicted for the murder of a Kyivan judge, has been active on the White House website. Den already covered this ambiguous and con-tradictory case on November 27, 2012. Should the petition reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days, the American administration will be obliged to give an official response to it.
The petition “To Free the Pavlychenkos, Wrongfully Sentenced to Life Imprisonment, and Extend the Scope of the Magnitsky Bill to Include Ukraine” was registered on January 26. As much as 2,085 people have signed it already by January 29.
The document asks the administration to deny entry to the USA to persons who, in the authors’ opinion, have been involved in “fabricating the case against the Pavlychenkos, violating rights and freedoms, fabricating other criminal cases, and employing torture.” As noted in the petition, these persons include “the former Minister of Internal Affairs Anatolii Mohyliov, Judge Bondarenko, Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA)’ Department of Public Safety Oleksii Krykun, Head of the MIA’ Main Investigative Directorate Vasyl Farynnyk, investigator Rybka, and others...” who refused to accept “the evidence of innocence and sentenced the Pavlychenkos to life imprisonment.” In addition, the petition calls for “freezing these persons’ accounts in US banks” as well as launching an investigation concerning a Dutch company’s involvement in bribing the prosecutors, judges and law-enforcement officers who have been active in the case.
By the way, the threshold forcing the American government to respond to a petition was lower in the past, requiring it to reach just 25,000 signatures. The threshold, now standing at 100,000, was raised a few weeks ago to avoid answering unreasonable petitions. However, this change has not affected another petition, urging the White House to extend the Magnitsky Act to the Russian legislators who voted for the Dima Yakovlev Bill which prohibits adoption of orphaned Russian children by American citizens.
The Pavlychenkos’ attorney Tetiana Shevchenko has learned about the petition only recently. “It is hard to say whether it will be effective,” Shevchenko confided to The Day. “I do not pin much hope on it. After all, if the process is not transparent, it will do nothing to resolve my clients’ case.”
The international lawyer Volodymyr Vasylenko is skeptical about the petition, too. In his opinion, it will have no effect and the US government will not expand the Magnitsky List to include Ukrainian officials. According to him, “an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights would have a greater impact.”
“The Ukrainians are hoping, for some unknown reason, that some foreign entity will help them. Thus, they seek help abroad instead of staging systemic protests here to put pressure on those officials who are involved in human rights abuses. This indicates that we have a consumer mentality, waiting that someone will do something for us,” Vasylenko opines.