The news comes from Bucha’s mayor announcement on Facebook

Anatoliy Fedoruk says the court confirmed  ‘Bucha town council was fully entitled to manage all the lands […] before 2002, in 2006, in 2014 and in the following years. There has never existed any forested area of 890 hectares, which it was possible to ‘carve up’, ‘steal’ or ‘distribute’ without any strong and legal reason. All of that land has been a part of our town – it is for schools, kindergartens, enterprises, recreational facilities, parks, square parks, and private houses.’

The decision on the city limits and ownership rights to its lands comes as a big relief for Bucha community, said Fedoruk. 

 The backstory

In October 2014, Irpin court passed a verdict making 890 hectares withing Bucha town a state-owned land granting this area a protected forest status.

 In 2016, prosecutors raided the mayor’s office after the allegations that he appropriated lands costing millions hryvnias. The Prosecutor General’s office opened a probe in Bucha lands case to investigate alleged appropriation of 14 hectares by Ihor Kaletnyk, then deputy speaker of the Verkhovna Rada. The prosecutors pressed the charges against the mayor of Bucha and the town council secretary disregarding the state land inventory of 1991 that granted the rights to the disputed lands to the town of Bucha. Anatoliy Fedorchuk was even suspended and put under house arrest.

Kyiv Court of Appeal Decision

Commenting on the situation to #Bykvu the mayor of Bucha Anatolii Fedoruk said that on October 6, 2020 Kyiv Cort of Appeal ruled to the benefit of community on the case of ‘890 hectares of Bucha forest’.

Previously, on October 14, 2014 Irpin city court on the prosecution claim ruled to consider the most densely populated part of Bucha town covering 890 hectares to be a ‘forest of the first category’, which was to be placed in custodianship of the Ukrainian government. 

By doing so, ‘the whole territory of Bucha in its historical boundaries set in 1960s,  the court found, happened to be “outside the limits of the town” meaning that the town did not exist and almost 30 thousands of its inhabitants with their property “inhabited the forest”,’ the mayor of Bucha argues.

Later, following the verdict, the prosecution sought to transfer rights to those 890 hectares, which by then were privately owned, to the Cabinet of Ministers jurisdiction.

In addition, General Prosecutor’s Office filed criminal charges against the Bucha town council officials for allowing the locals to privatize their land.

According to Bucha’s mayor, on April 23, 2020 Irpin city court reversed the decision on Bucha town lands, reinstating the municipality’s ownership rights and dismissing the prosecution’s appeal.

‘A few days ago the court of appeal supported this decision. Of course, the prosecution has the right to file an appeal to the Supreme Court but we are ready for this, as we know we are in the right. I hope the prosecution will take back all their claims and the criminal charges will be dismissed,’ stated the Bucha mayor.