12 December, 2019
On December 5, the Department of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court (Senate) upheld the judgment of the Riga Regional Court, which found the accused guilty and convicted for participating in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine by training young soldiers. The Senate acknowledged that the appellate court has examined the evidence obtained in the case, assessed its relevance, admissibility, and reliability in accordance with the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Law. The appellate court based its findings on regulatory enactments and evidence evaluated in detail, including the finding that the accused "as a member of an armed military unit, using firearms, trained new participants in the armed conflict on the construction and use of a firearm, is to be assessed as active and unlawful participation in an armed conflict directed against the territorial integrity of another state".
In the decision, the Senate indicates that it has no legal basis to question the lawfulness of the judgment of the appellate court in the part regarding the acquittal of the accused under Section 891, Paragraph two of the Criminal Law, namely for leading a criminal organization or participating in war crimes committed by such an organization. The appellate court, examining the evidence obtained and verified in the case, agreed with the first-instance court's opinion and rejected the prosecutor's opinion, which was repeated in the cassation protest, recognizing that no competent international institution had established and recognized legally binding that any the groups involved in the conflict are considered to be criminal groups. The decision of the Senate is not subject to appeal.
By the judgment of the Riga Regional Court of February 11, 2019, the accused was sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment and 2 years' probation supervision. In accordance with Section 52, Paragraph five of the Criminal Law, the time spent in detention from February 3, 2016 to August 4, 2017 has been included in the term of the sentence.
Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court
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