July 28, 2021
The Kyiv Post reported, “Gyunduz Mamedov, a deputy prosecutor general backed by civil society, has resigned due to pressure from Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, Miller, the law firm that represents Mamedov, said on July 26.
Mamedov was responsible for prosecuting war crimes committed in the Russian-occupied Crimea and Donbas from 2016 until June 2021, when Venediktova took the cases away from him. The Prosecutor General’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.
‘The leadership of the Prosecutor General’s Office has created difficult conditions for his work and is blocking Mamedov, whose interests Miller represents, from fulfilling his functions, constantly pressuring him and destroying the main principles of prosecutorial independence,’ Miller said.‘Gyunduz Mamedov is one of the prosecutors who have no corrupt background in their career, and his effectiveness, principled stance and independence stipulated by the law are the real grounds for the pressure and his resignation.’
In June Venediktova transferred the war crimes department from Mamedov to Maksym Yakubovsky, another deputy of Venediktova and a former lawyer for pro-Kremlin lawmaker Viktor Medvedchuk. Given that oversight over Russian war crimes was entrusted to an associate of a pro-Kremlin politician, the move prompted an immediate backlash from civil society. After the uproar, Venediktova transferred the department from Yakubovsky to her own oversight.
Several human rights groups lambasted the decision to take the cases away from Mamedov. They said the transfer would disrupt the investigation of war crimes. Mamedov’s unit has been praised by civic activists and human rights groups for effective coordination of all war crimes cases, creating a coherent strategy for such investigations and reanimating ‘dead’ cases.
‘The elimination of the war crimes department can be advantageous only for one party – the Russian Federation,’ they said in a joint statement. ‘…The department has come into the epicenter of political games of unknown origin, which jeopardizes the achievements of its employees and may destroy the progress made in the latest months in the investigation of war crimes.’
At the same time, Mamedov was stripped of the right to access classified information.
On July 7, the Prosecutor General’s Office also opened a forgery investigation against Mamedov for allegedly failing to indicate that he has a university job – something that human rights groups believe to be part of a political vendetta against Mamedov.
There has been speculation in Ukrainian media that the crackdown on Mamedov was due to him being suspected of leaking information on the President’s Office allegedly foiling a security service operation to arrest Russian mercenaries in 2020. The Kyiv Post could not independently confirm the allegations against Mamedov.”