Nikitin documented open sources

Publish date: October 28, 1998

Written by: Siri Engesæth

ST. PETERSBURG (Bellona Web): The court was adjourned at 16:00 GMT+3 today, after a second open session on public sources to the alleged secret information within the Northern Fleet report. Aleksandr Nikitin had to provide sources to the report on a point to point basis, as the indictment seemed to fall to pieces in front of a silent and subdued prosecutor.

There is a serious and quiet atmosphere in the court, only a few whispers from translators. There are approximately 50 people in the room in addition to the prosecutor, the accused and his defence team and the Judges, about half of the onlookers are journalists.

All the open sources are laid out on the table in front of Aleksandr Nikitin and the defence team. The Judge says; "I will not have time for all the open sources today, but what about for instance K-131?"

Aleksandr Nikitin brings the documentation, a news-clipping, forward. The Judge looks through it and says it does not cover exactly, but it is OK. Nikitin brings forward another source, a brochure from 1993, to support the previous one. The Judge reads it and finds relevant information on construction deficiencies.

Guilty until proven otherwise
Apparently, the procedure is such that Aleksandr Nikitin has to prove his innocence on all points instead of the prosecutor proving guilt. One by one the points from the indictment are brought up, Nikitin providing reference sources until the Judge is satisfied. As the prosecution and the various expert committees that have evaluated the alleged secrecy within Nikitin’s writings never checked with the sources provided, this cumbersome procedure may well be the judge’s only means of getting to the core of the matter. The prosecutor is taking notes.

After having been through the sources to chapter 8, the Judge asks if there are more sources on chapter 2.3. besides the ones he went through in the morning session. Nikitin brings more sources forward and comments on their relevance. The lay jurors do not look at the material at all, or rather one of them peeks over to the Judge, but she can hardly read anything from there.

The Judge seems pleased, and Nikitin also brings forward information to show comparable information on Western nuclear objects. The Judge comments that in one book containing information on Western installations, there is also information on construction details on installations very similar to those in the Northern Fleet report.

Nikitin brings forth a compendium he has made from open sources after the charges where made against him, with extracts from open sources used in the report. He also gives the Judge a book by Bourov on secrecy and steam generators, as well as the definition of the difference between the different generations of nuclear installations.

Aleksandr Nikitin also provides documentation on information deemed secret by various expert commissions, although these points are not included in the Indictment.

The Prosecutor has had the chance to familiarise himself with the material for 3 years, but apparently never bothered to do it.