"The next hearing of the case of the Il-76 transport aircraft that was brought down over the Luhansk airport was held in the Dnipropetrovsk region's appellate court today (Jan. 22 - Ed.). The aggrieved party and the prosecution expected for the judicial debate and the verdict, but it never happened. The current trial status can be called a "battle of examinations." The witnesses - the experts produced by the defense of Major-General Nazarov - complained that their testimony had been distorted and misrepresented. The prosecutors and representative of the aggrieved party Vitali Pohosian objected. The victims’ relatives also objected it in a very strong word accusing the defense of dragging out the trial and getting into influence dappling. The court agreed with the arguments and entered the appeal in the case file, but left it undecided.
"Another expert examination that will be conducted by the Kyiv-based forensic institute was ordered instead. The experts are to shed light on how the soldiers should have been brought to the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone; were there any particular plan of this mission (and who drafted it, if any); whether the mission took into account the combat situation; whether the procedure was carried out properly; who was in charge of adjusting the mission and who could have prevented the tragedy; whether Nazarov's actions corresponded to the current operational environment; at which point he had to report the threat and whether he was able / had to eliminate it," the statement reads.
According to Pohosian, the examination will take a long time, perhaps up to six months. However, the representative of the aggrieved party said: "The main thing is that all the issues concerning responsibility shall be sorted out and everything will be finally made clear." Almost the same view is shared by Nazarov's defense.
"The only ones hurt by another verdict delay are the relatives of the deceased troopers. They further succumb to despair and despondency with each passing day especially in front of the major-general’s advocacy group resorting to arguments and aggressive actions, sometimes even preventing the victims’ relatives from entering the courtroom. We expect the examination to be comprehensive and final and the trial to be fair. The date of the next hearing is so far unknown. It will be announced later," the human rights activists said.
On June 14, 2014, Ukraine's Il-76 military-transport carrier with 40 paratroopers and nine members of the crew on board was shot down while landing in Luhansk airport. Nobody survived the crash.
Dec. 17, 2015, the Pavlohrad city district court of the Dnipropetrovsk region started a trial into the Il-76 case.
The only defendant, Major General Viktor Nazarov, was the commander of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) HQ at the moment of the tragedy. He was charged under part 3 article 425 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (habitual negligence in office during war, causing grave consequences).
The commission that carried out a complex military-tactical criminalistic analysis concluded that Nazarov was the one directly obliged to take measures to suppress the air defense of terrorists and ensure a safe passage of the aircraft.
The investigators questioned 132 witnesses and conducted 112 examinations.
On March 27, 2017, the Pavlohrad city district court sentenced Nazarov to seven years in prison. He was not deprived of his military rank. The moral damage suffered by the families of the victims is to be compensated by the Ministry of Defense. However, only the closest relatives - parents and wives - will receive a compensation. The amount of compensation is 500,000 hryvnia ($18,367) for each family.