«Jewish Observer»
May 2002
5762 Sivan

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A recent meeting of the Kiev city court of appeals on the lawsuit of "Authors of the book "Anti - Semitism against Ukraine" against the "Vecherny Kiev" newspaper" ("VK") and its encounter suit lasted nearly an hour. Over this time three judges solved the problem the Shevchenko district court of Kiev had spend two years on. They were to find out whether the facts set forth in the article "To the court for protection against anti - Semites" (Renaissance - 91) correspond to reality. The article accused some "VK" publications of anti-Semitism. Notwithstanding the fact this characteristic was supported by many documents, the court obliged me as an article author to pay six thousand hryvnas to "VK". Some facts in that district court's decision were distorted, some were fabricated and others were simply "neglected" by a woman-judge.

We submitted to the court of appeals tens of anti-Semitic "VK" articles with the request to get an expert opinion whether they are anti-Semitic. The judge paid no ear to our request and even refused to invite witnesses able to given an authoritative conclusion regarding "VK" publications. Applying to the city court we also submitted documents by the Verkhovna Rada and Cabinet of Ministers in which "VK" publications were called anti-Semitic. We also handed over to the court a written assurance by a new "VK" founder the newspaper does not insist on its claims with regard to the article "To the court for protection against anti-Semites". In their decision the judges confirmed the article "To the court for protection against anti-Semites" contains data which do "not correspond to reality", discredit a "VK" business reputation. Correspondingly, the court again, not trying to go carefully into the matter, passed the decision anti-Semites have a right for compensation because their publications are called anti-Semitic. The compensation amount went down to 1000 hryvnas having lost a reference to Article 440-1 of the Civil Code of Ukraine. This article envisages a compensation for moral detriment. The court decision, though, contains a reference to Article 7, which also gives right for compensation due to moral detriment. But after our opponents from "VK" had to leave its staff, this newspaper already demands no compensation. It is quite obvious such claim was caused exclusively by ambitions of the former "VK" editor V.Karpenko. It is strange the court decided to satisfy claims the plaintiff had already refused from. The judges, obviously, were unaware their institution is a government one and its support of anti-Semitic publications may give grounds for drawing the conclusion about state ant- Semitism existing in Ukraine.

Court hearings held in Kiev and Lvov testify to judges' ignoring demands to conduct ethnic political examination of publications rousing interethnic discord. Unfortunately, either through own incompetence in ethnic problems or out of political considerations, they are sooner inclined to reject a chauvinistic character of openly Nazi publications than ready to pass an adequate assessment.

The Anti- Defamation League of Ukraine has already submitted a corresponding appeal to Ministry of Justice and Supreme Court of Ukraine. Meanwhile, we shall insist on reconsidering the decision by the court of appeals, since we think it illegal and immoral to pay compensations for calling anti-Semitic publications anti-Semitic ones.


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