Trial halted?

At the third attempt the appeal made by Yury DMITRIEV and his defence attorney Victor Anufriev against the September 2020 decision of Karelia’s Supreme Court (to increase his sentence to 13 years imprisonment) has been accepted by the Third Cassation Court in St Petersburg. It will now receive the case materials and the various verdicts and decisions reached in the courts of Karelia since 2018.

Before the third trial opened in Petrozavodsk last month, Memorial lawyer Marina Agaltsova explained the potential significance of this judicial event.

“The Third Cassation Court in St Petersburg has twice rejected the appeal by Dmitriev against the decision of Karelia’s Supreme Court.

“When the appeal is finally accepted – and it will most probably be accepted since there is no time limit on the submission of a Cassation Appeal – the court of first instance will be obliged to halt its proceedings and transfer all the case materials to the court in St Petersburg. This delay could take up to a couple of months.”

Perhaps, Agaltsova surmised, the Petrozavodsk City Court was hoping to examine the case more rapidly and avoid the Russian and international attention: she concluded that examination of the Cassation Appeal would halt the proceedings in Petrozavodsk. “The Cassation Court in St Petersburg could overrule the decision of Karelia’s Supreme Court and end the trial in Petrozavodsk altogether.”

It would be more logical to await the result of the Cassation Appeal, wrote Agaltsova in November, before opening proceedings in the third trial. “Or is the court of first instance confident that the cassation appeal will not reverse the [Supreme Court] decision?”

For more on the relevance of the Cassation Court in St Petersburg, see “An Outrageous Decision“, Zoya Svetova’s September interview with Victor Anufriev.