Prosecutor to ask for additional investigation?

Publish date: November 29, 2001

Written by: Jon Gauslaa

As the Pasko-trial resumed on November 29, prosecutor Aleksandr Kondakov declared that he needed some days to prepare a statement to the Court. This has led to speculations about what kind of trick he is up to.

Today the phonetic experts who were supposed to evaluate whether Pasko speaks on the FSB’s recordings of his telephone conversations or not, were finally able to present their conclusion. It yielded no surprises. The experts could indeed confirm what Pasko said when the trial started back in July: it is him who does the talking. They also concluded that the FSB’s transcripts of the recordings were fairly accurate.

Supreme Court ruling attached to case file

Since the experts only confirmed the obvious, Pasko’s defence did not use much energy on interrogating them. In stead Ivan Pavlov requested the Court to attach the Supreme Court’s recent ruling regarding decree 055:96, which is the normative act that the charges against Pasko is based on, to the case files. The request was granted.

Whether or not the Pacific Fleet Court will attach importance to the Supreme Court ruling, which states that decree 055:96 is an “invalid and illegal” normative act since it has not been the subject to official state registration, is however another question. Russian law has not traditionally been based on precedents. Besides, it is literally speaking thousands of miles from Moscow to Vladivostok. Thus, one has no guarantee that the Pacific Fleet Court will feel obliged to follow the legal opinion of a Supreme Court ruling.

Request for additional investigation?

The judge then asked the participants of the trial to give their views about the conclusion of the investigative part of the trial. Pasko and the defence were ready to present their views on the spot, but first the prosecutor had to give his opinion.

This led to some fierce arguing between the defence and the prosecutor, which ended with Kondakov asking for time until Monday to make up his mind regarding the written statements he wants to deliver to the court related to the said issue. The Court fulfilled his wish, and declared that the next court session will be held on December 3.

The fact that the prosecutor, who has been very passive throughout the whole trial, suddenly hinted that he would deliver statements to the Court did naturally lead to some speculations about their content. – I suspect that the prosecutor might ask the Court to send the case back to the FSB for additional investigation, said Ivan Pavlov.


Journalist Grigory Pasko was arrested on November 20, 1997 on charges of espionage on behalf of the Japanese TV-channel NHK. He was acquitted in July 1999, but convicted of ‘abuse of official authority’ and freed under an amnesty. Seeking a full acquittal, Pasko appealed, but so did the prosecution, insisting he was a spy. On November 21, 2000 the Russian Military Supreme Court sent the case back for a re-trial at the Pacific Fleet Court, where the re-trial has been going on since July 11, 2001.

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