“On my mind the very reason of it (the acquittal of Arakcheev and Khudyakov by jury. - editorial) was administration of law not at Chechen republic territory where the crime had been committed and absence of Chechen inhabitants among the jury and misunderstanding of my people’s will by the jury on this case”.
The hearings on the case of Russian officers Sergey Arakcheev and Eugene Khudyakov twice acquitted by jury go on in the North Caucasus command military court in Rostov-on-Don.
On January, 15, 2003 Khudyakov and Arakcheev were leading an engineer reconnaissance group executing a special operation near the “Northern” airport in the city of Groznyy.
Sergey Arakcheev: Seven days a week every morning started with engineer reconnaissance. Our route was divided into two parts: the first towards the group of governmental buildings and the second was the highway towards Petropavlovskaya Cossack village. Every morning my soldiers and I walked up to 16 kilometres on foot. It was from day to day, from month to month. Usually our patrol consisted of nine persons. There were the squad of six persons, the armoured carrier driver, the pointer and me - the commander. And there was the covering party of 11 persons, the most qualified motorized rifle platoon as usual.
According to the prosecution statement, not far from the “Northern” airport Arakcheev and Khudiakov have stopped a “Volga” car, forced its driver to get aboard the armoured carrier, later they have stopped a KamAZ lorry and shot down three men, a building company employees who had been driving it. Then the military men laid the corpses into the lorry, poured over gasoline and set a fire. According to the indictment the “Volga” driver was brought to the unit’s lines, tortured there and then driven outside the territory and left at the road.
Arakcheev and Khudiakov deny their guilt on presented charges. The jury has twice acceded the defendants. But the Supreme Court of RF Military Collegium has twice quashed the sentence and returned the case for a new examination to the Northern Caucasus command military court.
The unit under Sergey Arakcheev’s command was engaged into road mine clearance. At the risk of his life he has personally neutralized and destroyed more than 25 explosive device. He was awarded with Suvorov’s medal, medals “For Military Virtue” and “For Army Virtue” though he did not succeed to get all his awards. But he was deprived not only of awards…
Arakcheev and Khudiakov have spent a year and two months behind the bars…
Sergey Arakcheev: “I was thinking a lot why it were we who found ourselves under this press. I realized for myself that at that moment we appeared to be the most convenient victims in the game arranged then with the Chechen highest ranks. A resonant murder proved to happen. There was no chance to detect it - there was no working structure of criminal investigation. Even the FSS laid upon secret information only. But Chechens demand to find and punish the murderers. So those were seized who could be “tied” to this case by formal features. What “federals” could appear in that area? Were they sappers? Let them “squeak”! Our military base was the nearest to the place of occurrence - only three kilometers and a half far. That’s why we were assigned “guilty”.
There is almost no accusation evidence in the case file - there are the complainants’ testimonies only.
Dmitry Agranovsky, the lawyer: The forensic medical examinations of the case are obsolete by their essence: as soon as “post-mortem examination of bodies is not prescribed by Muslim customs” (a quote from the criminal indictment) there was no autopsy and internal examination of bodies compulsory for such cases but only external checkup of corpses with highly expressed saprogenic developments inside the tomb four months after the burial. By this data the specialist has found the firearm character of wounds, the subsequence of their causation, the death reasons, the caliber and kind of weapon (including in the soft tissues)! It is sufficient to look through any medical literature to assure that is impossible. Besides, the kind and caliber of weapon didn’t fall under a medical specialist’s competence, it should be found in a ballistic examination. The so-called specialist’s “conclusions” were simply adjusted to the investigation version.
Five ballistic examination conclusions of the case were read during the court session. The conclusions are unambiguous - all the shells and bullets found at the place of occurrence are neither beside the point of Khudiakov’s automatic rifle nor of Arakcheev’s one nor of any weapon of the military base No.3186 presented for examination.
To date (the proceedings are not finished yet) Arakcheev’s and Khudiakov’s alibi is affirmed by 17 interrogated at the trial witnesses who had been interrogated at previous sessions, too. Besides, 8 new witnesses affirming their alibi were interrogated at this session for the first time. Thus, the defense’s evidentiary has grown essentially compared to the last absolutory sentence.
THERE IS A BULLET IN THE COMPLAINANT YANGULBAEV’S BODY. IT IS A BULLET NEITHER FROM KHUDIAKOV’S AUTOMATIC RIFLE NOR FROM ARAKCHEEV’S. IT IS A BULLET FROM REAL MURDERER’S WEAPON. The defense insists the bullet should be recovered and compared to Arakcheev’s weapon. If it is ascertained the bullet was not from Arakcheev’s automatic rifle it would mean an unambiguous absolutory sentence. If the automatic rifle is considered “inapplicable” for comparative investigation the trial would reject the defense’s statement.
Although if the weapon is “inapplicable” for identification an irremovable doubt arises which the court should certainly interpret in the defendants’ favour according to the Article 49 of the Constitution of RF. But there is a great doubt how it is interpreted.
Sergey Arakcheev: But I am sure my compatriots, Russian people don’t leave me alone with Russian “justice” because it is time for everybody to realize that a Russian should help a Russian to avoid our people’s disappearance from off the face of the Earth.
There is neither Russian nor Chechen people’s will for waging the Chechen war, for performing this show with “war crimes”. There is RF President’s and licking his ass Kadyrovs’ will. Why? Because they launder dough!
Sergey Arakcheev: The state proves to treat fighting officers as cheap gun fodder to spend as it likes. And to throw into discard.
Not only fighting officers, Sergey. Russian mini-elite doesn’t care for anything except their personal interests. It is strange people haven’t realized it yet and behave like stupid sheep. Or nobody falls into a muse until he is personally concerned? Until the FSS blows up one more hundred of peaceful houses? And fighting officers would bring there hexogen obediently…