On 7 December, the collegium of judges of Kyiv Appellate Economic Court conducted the hearing of the court case regarding protection of Bychok tract. Plaintiffs in the case are the administration of Holosiyiv National Nature Park and Kyiv Prosecutor’s Office. International charitable organization “Environment-People-Law” and the Ministry of Environment of Ukraine joined the lawsuit as third parties. Defenders in the case are Kyiv city council and “Avesta-Bud” Ltd that by means of court decision concluded the agreement for land lot rent in Bychok tract located in the national park. The developer has neither permits and appropriate documents from Kyiv city council nor any other legal grounds to conduct construction works in the territory of the National Nature Park. However, in 2016 the developer destructed about 0,4 ha of old growth forest in Bychok tract. Since that time, the conflict between the administration of the national park and CSOs on the one hand and leadership of the city and the developer on the other side has been deepening.
On 27 October 2017, the judge Pryvalov of the Economic Court of Kyiv found lawful the conclusion of the agreement for land lot rent by “Avesta-Bud” Ltd according to which Bychok tract in Holosiyiv National Nature Park was allocated for construction of a petrol station.1. The adoption of this decision was accompanied by massive actions of so called “titushkas” (street hooligans) who interfered into the court hearing, caused civil disorders and attacked protectors of the national park2 (full video recording of the court hearing of 27 October – https://www.facebook.com/vova.sidorko/videos/1510544009024851/). “Ecozahin” NGO released results of the thorough investigation of titushkas’ origin (part.1.https://goo.gl/VHGppd , part 2. https://goo.gl/dK4TSp).
One of the key aspects of the court hearing on 27 October was the fact that by his separate decision the judge Pryvalov cancelled the previous court decision on imposing court injunction on any works in the territory of Bychok tract before final decision of the court is adopted. Thus, for over a month and a half the tract had been without any protection.
On 7 December 2017, Kyiv Appellate Economic Court renewed the court injunction. Video recording of the announcement of the court decision can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/golosuha/videos/419471935135615/ .
At this court hearing, the court for the first time recognized that territories of the national park are all the lands that were included into the park by the Presidential Decree and the project of the park creation (article 7 of the Law of Ukraine «On Protected Areas of Ukraine»), which judges had repeatedly refused to recognize at numerous court hearing over the last year.
The next court hearing was appointed for 16 January 2018. Therefore, Holosiyiv National Nature Park will celebrate Christmas under court protection.
EPL’s review of the situation in Bychok tract can be found here: http://epl.org.ua/law-posts/zahyst-npp-golosiyivskyj/
Oleksiy Vasyliuk, EPL environmental scientist
Sophia Shutiak, EPL senior lawyer