Ivan Skorobogatov: Investigative Committee Rejects Court Ruling; Intends to Continue Craver and Possibly Other Prosecutions

The Russian Investigative Committee (IC), undetered by yesterday’s decision by Moscow’s Basmanny Court and the Russian General Prosecutor, to dismiss IC’s petition to extradite  Michael and Nanette Craver, has declared its intent to continue its prosecution of the couple even if the prosecution has  been ruled “illegal..”(see blog directly below this for details)

According to RIA Novisti,  Vladimir Markin, spokesperson for the IC said the investigation in to the Cravers will continue no matter what the court rules:

“The refusal of a Russian court to arrest the Cravers in absentia will not hinder further investigation of the criminal case in Russia, as well as the international efforts to find the suspects, detain and extradite them,” 

He said that though international laws prohibit a second sentence for the same crime, it applies only to legal procedures in one state, within the national jurisdiction.

I have no idea what this second paragraph means.  It appears to be a deliberate misreading of US and international law, and the Basammy and General Prosecutor’s office’s interpretation of both..  There is simply no way for the Cravers to be retried here. Unless there was  unique jurisdaictional stipulation in the adoption agreement  that gave  Russian authorities some kind of authority in legal matters concerning Vanya and his twin sister Dasha, which is I  highly doubt, they can’t be tried by Russian courts in absentia or in person. 

The IC is also taking up Dasha’s status:

RIC chief Alexander Bastrykin sent letters to Russian presidential human rights council head Mikhail Fedotov and human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin to initiate proceedings to strip the Cravers of parental rights with respect to Ivan’s sister, Dasha.

It is important to ensure Dasha’s early return to Russia, Bastrykin wrote.

Again, it’s unclear what the IC thinks it can accomplish, if indeed it wants to accomplish anything. (see last section).  Here are some of the hard fact whether people like them or not:

Dasha came to the US  in 2003 at the age of 18 months. She has no parents in Russia to return to, only an understaffed, ill-equipped and abusive orphan system.. By Russian standards she is damaged  from her American experience and  unadoptable . The adoption was finalized years ago and Dasha holds dual citizenship until she is 18.

Dasha is currently in foster care.  (The New York Times says she’s living with an adoptive aunt). York County prosecutors asked the judge in the Craver trial to order  the couple to have no contact with Dasha until she is 18, but the judge said he would leave the decision up to child welfare officials.  Earlier reports suggest  that Children’s Services  has no enthusiasm for returning her to the Cravers custody, though there is no indication at this time it will seek to terminate their rights, either.  The only contact Dasha has had with the Cravers since their arrest in February 2010 has been  through supervised correspondence
.If rights were terminated here–which I think they should be–Dasha would probably remain with the aunt in a foster or adoptive situation or be re-homed in a second stranger adoption. If she is returned (she won’t be), she’ll most likely  in a few years end up in the sex trade or sweatshop where huge numbers of orphanage girls end up. 


Without getting too Russian…

Clearly something else is going on here.  I’ll suggest that Vanya, Dasha, the Cravers and we are being bumbled through the fetid labyrinth that passes for Russian politics.

 The Investigation Committee is the main federal investigating authority in the Russian Federation.  It was formed in January 2011 an an “independent” body  to replace the Investigation Committee of the Prosecutor of the Russian Federation which like its predecessors,the KGB and NKVD,  investigated and prosecuted cases in whatever way it pleased. In  theory, then, the IC was set up to streamline criminal justice by separating  investigation from prosecution and to dilute the immense authority the Prosecutor General’s office had accumulated.  It has been compared to the FBI, but it’s not.

I ‘d like a better source, but for now I’ll let Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty  pick it up from there to show you the mess::

The prosecutor-general, meanwhile, has been stripped of his authority to direct investigations, seize property, and initiate criminal cases.  [Prosecutor General Yuriy} Chaika,  for example, cannot launch criminal proceedings against Bastrykin — although Bastrykin can launch proceedings against him. 

Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of the Moscow-based Panorama think tank told RFE.RL:

Formally this organization (IC) is part of the Prosecutor-General’s Office, but in fact, if you look at the amount of power he has, [IC Director Aleksandr Ivanovich] Bastrykin,  is in fact another prosecutor-general,” Pribylovsky said. “And his role can get even stronger. If [the Investigative Committee] takes over all the other investigative agencies and creates a truly unified Investigative Committee, then it will have enormous power,” Pribylovsky added. 

I’ve been puzzled by the interest the IC has taken in the Craver case, and this layout of the IC clears up some of my puzzlement..  Not that the case isn’t worthy of scrutiny, but by US and  international law standards the attempt to haul the Cravers off to Moscow (or just try them in absentia) is headline inducing, but pointless unless the IC  plans to make an international incident and kidnap  the couple. The likelihood, of that happening, of course, is nil, since the IC falls under the direct authority of the President of Russia, which in a few more months will again be (as if he isn’t now in all but name) Vladimir Putin.who just happens to be IC Director Bastrykin old law school classmate.

I think two things (and probably more) are going on here.

(1) The IC is acting in response to pressure from State Duma members, nationalists, and probably some IC bigwigs, who desperately want to ban cross-country adoption–or at least adoption to the US. The Ministry of Education and Pavel  Astakhov have made it clear, however, that they do not want US adoption shut down–just tightened to Russia’s advantage. Squeezing every drop they can out of the Cravers can’t hurt. They deserve it.

(2)  The Craver prosecution is just  another cog in the power struggle between the IC and the Prosecutor General.’s office.  Although in theory the IC and the Prosecutor General work side-by-side, they are at opposite ends in the Craver case  (and mostly likely a lot of other cases) with the Prosecutor telling the IC to take a hike and the IC standing its ground.. I don’t see this changing the near future.  Too much power is a stake.

As if to make my point, the IC  announced today that it plans to investigate more cases of Russian adoptee abuse in the United States:

 The Russian Investigation Committee (IC) is going to institute criminal proceedings on several more facts of the encroachment on the life of Russian children, adopted by American nationals,

Specificaly cited was Michael Grismor, accused of raping his 15-year old stepdaughter Kseneia., a case I haven’t written about, but need to. And I have to wonder why there is not a peep about the Dykstra verdict. Sure that is a heinous as the Craver walk-away.

Vanya, Dasha, Ksenia, and other Russian orphans killed and abused  by their Forever Families are a sympathetic front for inside- the- ring-power players..  That doesn’t mean that those involved are cold-hearted creeps,  though they might be, only that these kids are a cat’s paw for something bigger.

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