There is a risk that the accused in the Bunkus murder case will counteract the investigation and the trial of the case
The murder of attorney at law Martins Bunkus in 2018 shocked the public and left many wondering how a crime of this scale could happen. The State Police has worked tirelessly to bring the perpetrators to justice, but as the case now moves towards court, there is a serious risk that those accused of the crime will use every means at their disposal to evade accountability and counteract the preliminary investigation and the upcoming trial of the case. The “Martins Bunkus Justice Foundation” calls on law enforcement authorities and the public to remain vigilant and prevent the perpetrators from evading responsibility for the crime.
In a recent interview describing the investigation into the murder of Martins Bunkus, the Chief of the State Police Armands Ruks confirmed that the State Police had not encountered this level of [murder] organisation before. The Chief of the State Police highlighted that in the context of any crime it is important to comprehend who is the adversary, who is the person commissioning the crime, how many means are available and what are the resources involved. Mr Ruks also stressed that the transfer of the case to the prosecutor’s office was not the end of the case and that it would only be possible to claim that justice and the rule of law had prevailed in the case of the murder of Martins Bukus once there had been a conviction in court.
“Such statements by the Senior Authorities of the State Police, especially as we approach the next court hearing where the review of the precautionary measure – custody – imposed on Mihails Ulmans and Aleksandrs Babenko will be decided, undoubtedly raise well-founded concerns that the commissioners and facilitators of the murder of Martins Bunkus are ready to use all means to put obstacles in the way of the case reaching the court soon and avoiding responsibility for this crime. It is therefore important for the Latvian public and state institutions to be vigilant and to closely follow further developments and proceedings,”
said Kristaps Bunkus, the Foundation’s representative.
The State Police has previously expressed concerns that Mihails Ulmans and Aleksandrs Babenko, among others, may obstruct the investigation and influence the witnesses.1 In order to mitigate the risk that the persons currently in custody could influence the investigation, the Court has on several occasions maintained the remand in custody for Mihails Ulmans and Aleksandrs Babenko.
The Foundation notes that on 8 December 2022, during a press conference, Chief Prosecutor of the Riga Court District Prosecutor’s Office Armins Meisters pointed out that the persons involved in the murder of Martins Bunkus acted as hardened criminals, not novices, whose way of life is the criminal world and its principles of operation, and who are also involved in one role or another in other murders, illegal activities with weapons, various other criminal offences that are typical in the world of organised crime.
Programme “Nekā personīga”, “The experienced policeman was in close relations with the persons arrested by the police for the murder of Bunkus”. Available at: https://zinas.tv3.lv/latvija/neka-personiga/pieredzejis-policists-bijis-ciesas-attiecibas-ar-personam-kuras-policija-apcietinajusi-par-bunkus-slepkavibu/.