As reported by Censor.NET, this was said by lawyer Vitalii Pohosian at a press conference on May 16.
Relatives of the deceased troopers and crew members insist that the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) headquarters created by Muzhenko is not legitimate since the ATO must be conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and be run by chief of the SBU regional directorate under the law.
"What is the current status of the ATO head? We have a law on combating terrorism, which clearly states that the ATO must be run by the person in charge of the SBU in the region. So how did the Armed Forces of Ukraine take over the authority to conduct the anti-terrorist operation?" the lawyer said.
Therefore, according to Pohosian, neither Muzhenko nor his subordinates had the right to order to involve military units without the introduction of martial law or declaration of war.
"In 2014, they were giving orders to the military who eventually fulfilled them. However, they said in court that there was no law allowing them to give such orders.... They said in court that we had no adversary then. But listen to what they say on television: Muzhenko says that he had a plan that he was not allowed to implement, but if he had implemented it, the war would have ended. So did we have an adversary or not after all? Do we have a war or an ATO?... If there were no discrepancies between the testimonies in court and statements for the media, this lawsuit (against Muzhenko - Ed.) would be never filed," Pohosian said.
He believes that the case of the downed Il-76 can be solved in two possible ways, namely, by holding the suspects accountable either for negligence or abuse of power.
"If both General Muzhenko and General Nazarov said during the court hearing that there was no corresponding legislation, but we have ongoing ATO without military adversary, it turns out that they abused power when gave orders. But if we were at war and had an enemy, this would mean negligence in Nazarov's actions. That is, there are two ways out of this situation: we seek a sentence under one of two articles of the Criminal Code," he said.
Sister of a killed trooper Iliana Haiduk said that the relatives of the deceased were asked to file this lawsuit in order to figure out who was responsible for this tragedy: "Accused General Nazarov says that our country is at war when it suits him. When it suits him to say that we have ATO, he says that he acted within the framework of the anti-terrorist operation.
"We urge our state to decide whether we have a war or an ATO, and under which articles the generals acted, because neither Muzhenko nor Nazarov want to take responsibility for that flight. We even heard statements that when the plane has taken off, some people bear responsibility for it, and when it has landed, the others are in charge of it, while no one at all is responsible for it en-route. All of this worries and frustrates us because they are just dodging the responsibility," Haiduk said.
Related materials: Sentence on Nazarov