“You have no right to try me!” – Nadiya Savchenko’s closing argument in court, March 2, 2016 #FreeSavchenko

By Nadiya Savchenko, posted on Facebook by her sister Vira Savchenko
Posted on 03.02.2016
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine

Editor’s note: Voices of Ukraine translated Nadiya Savchenko’s “Arguments” notes and then added to them from what she actually said in court from sources listed at the end of the article.


Over these six months of lengthy and tedious trials, we found that this court process has indeed proven some guilt:

1) The guilt of the [two] Russian journalists [Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin]. They are guilty of lying, of deceptive and distorted coverage of events in Ukraine, as well as in the world and in Russia. They are also guilty of disregarding safety rules while in the combat zone, for the sake of career fame. Had they been wearing flak jackets and helmets, and had they not gone where they weren’t supposed to, they would still be alive.

2) The guilt of Russian TV Channels, their directors and owners – who, for the sake of hot footage, ratings and profit, shamelessly send their correspondents to their deaths. Without proper training or accreditation. They didn’t give a damn about their journalists. The most guilt for the deaths of Voloshyn and Kornelyuk lies with their very management.

We saw a video where some anchor was saying that the Ukrainian media lies, and that Russian journalists Voloshyn and Kornelyuk had helmets and flak jackets. Even this court proved that they were wearing neither. Russian TV channels keep lying.

3) The guilt of pro-Russian separatists and Russian troops. They are guilty of killing Ukrainians, occupying Ukrainian lands in Russia’s undeclared, vile and insidious war against Ukraine. And no matter how some “peaceful residents of Donbas,” victims, and, indeed, separatists, squeal that they are being killed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the video furnished by Yegor Russky – incidentally, a Russian citizen! – clearly shows that it is separatists who are killing and finishing off Ukrainian soldiers.

4) This trial also proved the guilt of the Investigative Committee of Russia (SK RF), the Federal Security Bureau of Russia (FSB), and specifically, investigator Manshyn. They are guilty of kidnapping, illegal detention, of torturing people, of fabricating case materials, expert opinions and evidence, and of training lying witnesses. Proof of that can be seen in the 40 nonsensically slapped together volumes of the ludicrous case against me.

5) The guilt of Russian prosecutors and judges. They are guilty of contempt of the law, justice and international law, of their one-sided, a priori accusatory court process and the dishonest examination of the case, and also of political corruption under the rule of the Russian government. They spit on international law and human rights. They’ve received the state order from the Kremlin, and they are following it to the letter.

6) This trial proved the guilt of the Russian authorities. They are guilty of imperial-terrorist acts, political tricks and decisions directed against Ukraine, Ukrainians and the entire civilized democratic world! Their guilt is demonstrated by the occupation of Crimea, unleashing a war in Donbas, the genocide of the Ukrainian people in these regions, and their numerous military and political interference in many countries in the world. They are invading everywhere, committing genocide of indigenous populations and trying to impose a totalitarian regime under Russian domination.

This happened in Chechnya and Abkhazia, and now we’re seeing this in Ukraine, Dagestan, and Syria. Russia’s politics and state interests are placed higher than human lives – specifically, the lives of the people indigenous to the lands that correspond to those state interests.

7) The one thing not proven in this given court trial was my guilt! Because I’m an officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and I was defending my people and my homeland, as per the oath I had sworn to my people. I had the full right to do that! I was carrying out my duty! You are not trying your veterans of the Great Patriotic War for defending their Fatherland from invaders, regardless of how many people they killed. Thus, you have no right to try me!

The prosecutor’s office had the audacity to state that I have inflated self-esteem, according to their expert opinion – to that, I’d like to say: the more I encounter such effeminate men like the prosecutors and investigator Manshyn, the higher is my self-esteem as a woman, a soldier, and a human being.

I don’t know how long this whole act is going to continue, but I want to say this right away: if there’s going to be a repeat of the situation with the prosecutors, when they requested three weeks for debates, then I have an immediate defense mechanism against that. Starting tomorrow, I start a dry hunger strike. So if the court takes more than two weeks to pass the verdict, which has already been dictated from above, then you will have to announce my verdict without me, posthumously.

I don’t see the need to wait for any exchange. If you want to resolve this case politically, and get back two guilty GRU officers at the price of one innocent person – that’s too much. You should have exchanged [Oleh] Sentsov and [Olexander] Kolchenko for the GRU officers. I am not a bargaining chip! I am an innocent person, my guilt has not been and cannot be proven. So I will not wait for any exchanges, bargaining, or other plays for time.

And, most importantly. Please, just let the prosecutors have as much as they’re asking. Not a day more, not a day less. All 23 [years]. Don’t ask for more or for less, don’t give them time for some appeals and, again, more plays for time. You have already proven you are capable of nothing. You have already proven how Russia can disgrace itself – on the example of one person. You have not broken me, and will never break me. So let’s wrap all this up as quickly as possible, I won’t wait any longer.

You did not give me my life, you do not control my fate, and it is not up to you to decide it! If it takes more than two weeks, I won’t wait for your verdict. That is all.”

Nadiya in court on March 2, 2016. Photo: Nadiya Savchenko's lawyer Mark Feygin

Nadiya in court on March 2, 2016. Photo: Nadiya Savchenko’s lawyer Mark Feygin

Source: Vira Savchenko’s FB, Liga.net

Additional listening (in Russian):
Nadiya Savchenko speech in court, March2, 2016

Nadiya Savchenko delivers emotional speech in Russian court


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This translation work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. 

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