Late start on day seven

Publish date: December 1, 1999

Written by: Runar Forseth

While many are waiting with anticipation for the testimony of Bellona Foundation's Thomas Nilsen, this seventh day in Court came to a late start.

At 11:25 local time the Court was set, though being scheduled to start at 11:00. Nowhere to be seen were the two witnesses scheduled to appear before Nilsen. As yesterday, spectators were ‘trapped’ inside the courtroom because of prisoner transportation outside, but were let out shortly.

Nilsen to refute prosecution’s assumptions

Thomas Nilsen is expected to present the background for Bellona’s work in Russia in general, and the reasons for writing the Northern Fleet report in particular.

His testimony is clearly needed, as it should refute the assumptions of the prosecution that the environmental foundation has had other incentives for its work than pure ecological ones.

There has been lot of bad press here in Russia lately too, Russian journalists to a large degree seeming to team up behind their secret service. Speculative newspaper articles and TV ‘documentaries’ abound, most of them based on very poor research indeed, and with a clear intent of damaging the reputation of Bellona.

Delayed witnesses

The two rather uninteresting witnesses the Court waited for – and may still be waiting for, are:

Valeri F. Bezverkhi, dean of department 33 of the Kuznetsov Naval academy. He can confirm that Alexander Nikitin called the academy and that he put him over to Artemenkov, who in turn allowed Aleksandr Nikitin to check that his information was correct. Artemenkov can not testify since he died December 23 in 1997. He would have been the best witness as he was present and therefore knew that Nikitin did not do anything illegal.

Vladislav P. Ibadulayev, dean of department 25 of the Kuznetsov Naval academy. Ibadulayev showed Alexander Nikitin how to calculate activity levels of radioactive isotopes.

As always, we’ll be back later in the day with the low-down on today’s proceedings.