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Ukraine: Judge Orders Kuchma Investigation

Kyiv, 15 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A judge in Kyiv has ordered an investigation into wide-ranging opposition allegations of wrongdoing by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. Appeals court judge Yuriy Vasilenko ordered the Prosecutor-General's Office begin investigating accusations that Kuchma violated 11 articles of the Criminal Code.

These include claims that Kuchma approved the sale of an advanced Kolchuha radar system to Iraq in violation of United Nations sanctions, and that he was involved in the murder of investigative journalist Heorhiy Gongadze. Kuchma has denied the charges.

They also include allegations of bribe taking, media harassment, and anti-Semitism.

Vasilenko's announcement comes days after a crowd of more than 10,000 demonstrated in Kyiv against Kuchma, the latest in a series of such protests.

It also comes as U.S. and British arms experts are investigating U.S. accusations that Kuchma approved the Kolchuha sale to Iraq.