Second Court Session on Orlov’s Case. The Parties’ Motions and Questioning of the Witness from the Prosecution’s Side

On September 27, 2010 the second court session on the criminal case initiated against the Chairman of the Board of Human Rights Center Memorial, Oleg Orlov, as stipulated by part 3 of Article 129 (libel) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation took place in the court department No. 363 of Khamovniki district of Moscow.

Instead of the former public prosecutor a new one, Popova Tatyana Viktorovna, the assistant of the Central Administrative District of Moscow (CAO) prosecutor general, appeared in the court session.

The second session boiled down to reviewing of the two motions and questioning of a witness from the prosecution's side.

At the beginning of the session lawyer Henry Reznik addressed the judge, Karinna Morozova, with a motion to attach a few documents to the criminal case materials. Reznik told that on September 15,  the representative of the injured, Andrey Krasnenkov, gave an extensive interview to Russkaya sluzhba novostei (Russian News Service), in which he accused Orlov of having had breached the measure of restraint that had been chosen in his regard, specifically, a recognizance not to leave, and consequently he had to be put in investigation isolation ward. Reznik also told that no restraint measure had been chosen in respect of Orlov and any restraint measure, except for remanding him in custody, can only be applied upon the agreement of the accused.

As evidence Reznik represented his correspondence with Y. Khatchenkova’s, an investigator, authorities, who had been compearing Orlov’s criminal case. The response received by Reznik was characterized by him as apologies for the unlawful actions of the subordinate (Reznik’s letter: http://www.memo.ru/2010/07/23/pr.pdf; the response of the head of the second investigatory division of the investigatory department at UVD on CAO, T.V. Volkova: http://www.memo.ru/2010/09/07/pgr.jpg). Reznik submitted a motion that these documents should be attached to the criminal case materials.

The lawyer also considered it to be worth adding: "By submitting the motion that these documents should be attached to the case, I would like to draw attention of each professional participant of the proceeding. I address you [the Judge], the prosecutor, and myself. A non-professional is participating in the proceeding along with us, therefore we should be tolerant towards him, just like the adults treat the underage, like the educated treat the ignorant, like the mentally stable people treat an odd person, for example, but at the same time we should make it clear that Mr. Krasnenkov’s tricks would provoke reaction, at least from the defense side."

The public prosecution and the victim’s representative objected against the motion, in response to which Reznik answered: "If the prosecutor now states that Orlov is currently under the written recognizance not to leave, I will challenge her. If the representative of the public prosecution, the prosecutor general’s office, does not consider it necessary for a prosecutor to follow international legislative norms and regulations, which form a part of the Russian legislative system, then in such case we will have a person present at the proceedings who will not obey the law, and who has a certain interest in accusing no matter what”.

The judge granted Reznik’s motion in full.

After that the witness from the prosecution side was questioned – Tamara Akhmedovna Kagirova, the head of regional civic organization Search for the missing (transcript of the questioning will be soon published on HRC Memorial's website).

After adjournment the victim’s representative, A. Krasnenkov, submitted a motion that a new linguistic examination of the text of HRC Memorial’s statement On the murder of Natasha Estemirova (http://www.memo.ru/eng/news/2009/07/17/1707091.htm) should be made: "The expert report of the specialists of expert and forensic center at GUVD of Moscow as of December 7, 2009 is included in the case materials. I am requesting that another linguistic examination of Human Rights Center Memorial’s statement on the murder of Natalya Estemirova should be made. What is my motivation? I believe that not all of the sentences were looked into by the experts, and that the report itself is incomplete and flawed… It seems that it had been conducted not by expert linguists from the expert and forensic center at GUVD, but by philologists from an average Moscow school. I am satisfied with the questions raised there. As for the expert agency, I am not against it, either, whatsoever. I have no grounds to have no trust for this center.”

Those who were present there had an impression that the public prosecutor was perplexed by such a motion. She requested time to discuss the question and defining the prosecution’s position in respect of the motion.

Lawyer Reznik said that it was obvious that no examination was needed in the case. According to the lawyer, the prosecution does not realize a very simple fact: if an examination is set for a case, then any opportunity to accuse Orlov of the crime that is being incriminated to him, will be eliminated. It means that people with degrees, who have flawless command of Russian, are not able to sort out what, in fact, had been said by the accused, without expert assistance. How the accusation could even happen then?" – Reznik said.

The examination that had been carried out, in the lawyer’s opinion, is of neutral character. It is possible that the prosecution is not content with it in some respects, but the defense will keep insisting that the court should ignore it altogether. Accordingly, there is no need in secondary examination of any sort.

Since the public prosecutor could not define her position regarding the motion of the victim’s representative during the session, the court postponed delivery of the decision on the motion until October 14 (the hearing will take place at the same court division at 11 a.m.)

The issue of default of prosecution witness, Ombudsman in the Chechen Republic, N. Nukhazhiev, was also reviewed during the session. The victim’s representative, Krasnenkov, told that, due to the circumstances beyond his control, he could not arrange the presence of that witness at the session and asked the court to forward a summons to the witness by post.  

HRC Memorial on the first court session: http://www.memo.ru/eng/news/2010/09/16/1609101.htm.

The full transcript (in Russian) of the first court session: http://www.memo.ru/2010/09/24/2409101.htm.

Criminal case materials (both in Russian and in English) can be found at HRC Memorial's web-site in Sud (Court) section: XXX

September 28, 2010