British lawyer Jason McCue has started a trial in the London Supreme Court
British lawyer Jason McCue has started a trial in the London Supreme Court against Yevgeny Prigozhin and PIK Wagner.
We are talking about the confiscation of the assets of that gang with the subsequent payment of reparations to Ukrainians who suffered from the crimes of terrorism. Why this is an important precedent for Ukraine:
The goal of the process is to collect not formal, but tangible reparations for Ukrainians who suffered from Russian aggression. Even citizens who are forced to change their place of residence, fleeing from the invaders, are considered victims.
McKue’s thing is creativity. He is going to file an incredible number of lawsuits in different jurisdictions, which will be selected according to specific cases.
Another of the tasks is to prove that the Russian military machine uses terrorism as its tool, Putin pays for those services. “Bunker” is one of the targets of this prosecution. Later, court cases will be considered by the national parliaments of different countries for the recognition of Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
McCue’s initiative is important because it will not depend on the political situation, the will of the national governments of the EU and the US and their secret negotiations with the Russian Federation.
McCue will succeed, because he has already won cases against Prigozhin in favor of Bellingcat. Also, on behalf of the victims of the IRA, he sued and won the process against the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, pursued Lukashenka, releasing political prisoners from Belarusian prisons. Now he has come to Kyiv to collect evidence about the terrorist activities of Wagner and Prigozhin personally. In general, the Briton has many successful cases.
Orest Sohar, Editor-in-Chief of Obozrevatel, had a rather interesting conversation with Jason. He really pleasantly surprises with creativity and the ability to respond to challenges in a non-standard way. For example, Orest asked how he would get Prigozhin’s assets in the Russian Federation, Africa and the Emirates, the Briton immediately shared the algorithm. It’s interesting, read it yourself.
Jason McCue: Putin pays for the services of terrorists. We will prove it in court.
Interview Orest Sohar
On November 1, in the Supreme Court of London, a lawsuit was initiated against Yevgeny Prigozhin and PMC “Wagner” on the confiscation of assets with the subsequent payment of reparations to Ukrainians who suffered from crimes of terror (terrorism). This process is handled by Jason McCue, head of the British law firm McCue Jury & Partners.https://www.mccue-law.com/
McKue is known for his involvement in many high-profile cases. For example, Bellingcat against Prigozhin, he also, on behalf of the victims of the “Irish Republican Army”, sued the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who supplied the IRA with explosive materials for use in terrorist attacks in which relatives of the victims suffered. This case was won in the USA and the relatives of the victims received compensation of up to 10 million dollars. McCue also pursued Hamas, Al-Nusra, and sued Facebook, and now he has come to Kyiv to collect evidence of the terrorist activities of Wagner and Prigozhin personally.
– Jason, there is very little information about your London lawsuit against Prigogine. Please tell me about the details.
“It’s a good thing that information is limited, because the enemy will know our tactics before we act. We want to trace the assets of the enemy as part of this case, and this is a kind of cat and mouse game in a sense. In general, regarding this company, the first of the cases has already begun in the UK, but there will be a number of others, and all of them are aimed against the Russian military machine. That is, these are persons and institutions helping the “Wagnerites” to circumvent sanctions. It could be Russian oligarchs, it could be institutions hired to do this kind of work, all those who work for this war machine. Private military companies, arms dealers, companies that help circumvent sanctions in terms of supplying gold, provide any banking and other services provided to this military machine can be in the field of view.
In this process, I have several goals. The first is to maximize the volume of reparations for the victims in Ukraine, that is, to receive reparations from those responsible for the damage, and not from donors. I think that Ukrainians should receive not symbolic compensation, but real and substantial.
The second is to influence the operation of the Russian military machine in such a way that its owners are forced to think about court cases around the world and focus on these court cases – instead of focusing on waging war.
The third one will give the people of Ukraine an instrument of justice that will not be blurred by any political agreements or negotiations. These will be court cases in which not the state will sue, but the people – against specific defendants.
The fourth goal is that we will prove that the Russian military machine uses terrorism as its tool; in Russia it is terrorism for hire, Putin pays for those services and all this will be proven in court.
Last but not least, the processes should be a pain in the ass for the Russians. This is our idea.
– The key interests and key corrupt capitals of Prigozhin and Wagner are either in Russia, or in the Emirates, or in Africa. Africa for him is generally a great criminal empire for mining, supplying drugs. How can you get to all this? Are these restricted areas?
“They are not closed to judgments rendered in courts in Britain or the United States. We work closely in this regard with Bellingcat, as well as with private intelligence companies around the world that provide us with information. The relevant authorities of Ukraine help with the necessary information.
The only thing I won’t tell you is what targets we’re after. I won’t tell before it happens.
– Today Prigozhin privatized part of the state. He received the right to pardon prisoners, access to federal budgets, in fact, he creates a shadow state. Not even a shadow economy, but a shadow state, which is impossible without Putin’s support. Can this investigation end with the persecution of the President of the Russian Federation? Will Putin appear as an object of persecution in this case? We really want to see him in the ranks of the defendants.
– As soon as we get all the necessary base, then we can start using different jurisdictions. Because in different jurisdictions it’s easier to prove certain things, and we can break this case into elements and in this way we can achieve our goals. The skill – within this concept of a court company – is to know in which court and in which country to pursue a particular person or company or institution and this is the complexity of the game.
How timed is your campaign?
– I believe that this campaign can continue until the moment when all the affected Ukrainians receive well-deserved reparations from their offenders. On average, this takes one to three years. If it lasts 10 years, it’s okay, we will do it as much as necessary, if it happens in 3 months, it’s great. These time frames are very dependent on the particular case, court and legal system in the state in which the trial takes place. Because, for example, a case can last one year, three years, depending on how they defend themselves, how they react to it.
I think that now Ukraine is doing the right thing when it talks about international tribunals to punish criminals. The issue is that such judicial formats depend on political factors, therefore they force you to limit your expectations for the future. I think that within the framework of such tribunals, these reparations will be symbolic. Therefore, I want to start this second parallel line of justice for Ukrainians, which is independent of political factors.
It is important that now we intend to move along this second, parallel line of justice, we have not done this before, but we have now started this business, and it is very important that we received the support of your government and the Office of the President in this direction.
– The office of the president is the main customer?
– No, in fact, these are individual people, heroes who suffered from this war, and this is their collective cause and their collective claim. As a private lawyer, I help them achieve this, but all this requires a great degree of coordination, and without the proper assistance of the government of Ukraine and the Office of the President, this would not be possible, and the positive story is that this support is there. It is also international, there are many people around the world who are on the side of justice.
– That is, someone physically turned to you with statements and who else can apply?
– Yes, within each lawsuit, in every other country there are a number of people who can become victims in this case. If we are talking about a case that started in Britain, we started with a small number of people in order to start the process. But some 180,000 people who have been affected and come to the UK as refugees are potential plaintiffs in this case. I will add that behind each case there will be different groups of plaintiffs from the Ukrainian side.
– How can Ukrainians from Bucha, Irpin or Mariupol join this initiative?
“This will all be explained shortly. Now it should be understood that in the framework of these cases, we declare that Russia uses the instruments of terrorism against Ukraine and Ukrainians. Terrorism affects people in different ways. That is, not only those who were shot, who were tortured or raped suffered. Through terrorism, people had to be evacuated, that is, this is also a manifestation of terrorism. In the countries where the Ukrainians fled from this horror, they have the right to sue in the courts in these cases. It’s a smart idea, do you think it makes sense?
– Oh sure.
“Legally, this is a very good idea. We are also considering the issue of providing assistance to Ukrainian companies in order to launch such legal actions in different jurisdictions.
– At the beginning of the war, most Western countries perceived Putin as a political partner, with whom you need to sit down and talk. Do you think it is possible to get him recognized as a terrorist?
– There is a need to balance between justice and real politics. This is a big game. But I am not a politician, my field of activity is the law, and in my field of activity I know how to show everyone that Russia is a pariah, it should be banned by everyone. Therefore, it is very important that within the framework of this case we will prove that Russia is a terrorist and an exile. Look at what they have come to – they sent a sledgehammer to the European Parliament … After that, there is no way back, it can no longer be rewound. These are my opinions on this matter.
– How many billions of dollars can be received as a reparation?
– Lots of. But in the framework of the first case, the most important task is to achieve recognition that the “Wagnerites” are terrorists, hired terrorists, they are hired by Putin. This is important to me and I focus on it.
Wagner should be recognized as a terrorist organization internationally. It is for this reason that the UK National Parliament, as part of their Parliamentary Inquiry, asked me to provide evidence that Wagner is a terrorist organization – the evidence and my comments. Because in fact I have been doing this business for about 30 years, and I have experience. If my opinion, which I have already voiced to the British Parliament, is supported by a court decision, the Parliament will recognize them.
6 months ago, when we were just starting this business, planning the work, I sent the corresponding letters to to the head of the US State Department, as well as to our Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Interior, where he said: the recognition of Wagner as a terrorist organization is the first step in the fight against them. All those institutions knew that this case would be pursued, and that in itself is a very big incentive to grant “terrorist” status to this organization. Because they know that when we start a business, citizens start asking the government: “Why is this recognition not happening?” Thus, there is political pressure on their own government.
– You defended Bellingcat in the process with Prigogine. What was the essence?
– Then the case was against the management of Bellingcat: Prigozhin filed a lawsuit that he was not the head of Wagner. He then, by the way, gave up, and we won. 1:0. Let’s now get to the score 5:0
– There was also a case in Belarus. You had a lawsuit against Lukashenka. How did it end?
“Then we were hired by political prisoners from Belarus, and then the task was to put pressure on the Lukashenka government to release them. Therefore, we said that we would use legal cases around the world against private individuals, such as Mr. Lukashenko’s ministers, and whenever his minister attends an international event, a personal case will be initiated against him in that country. This then frightened them very much: for example, when a particular minister visited some kind of security exhibition in France, on the same day the French law enforcement agencies opened a case and the minister had to run very quickly. We actually achieved our goals, these prisoners were released. This is our approach and the fun moment of such law firms. You don’t always have to open cases, sometimes you can just threaten a case to get things done.
Now imagine how fun all this can be in the trials against the Russians. If our friends here in Ukraine give us the proper legal arms, we can have a very fun process.
[Writer Irina Mirochnik is the President at IMMER Group & Doctor of Philosophy in Law(PhD)]
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