Monday, July 15, 2013

European Court looks into the criminal proceedings against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Tymoshenko

European Court looks into the criminal proceedings against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Tymoshenko [Source]

The European Court of Human Rights has communicated to the Ukrainian Government the application Tymoshenko v. Ukraine no. 2 (no. 65656/12) and requested it to submit its observations on the complaints.

The case is the second application brought by the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko. It mainly concerns the criminal proceedings brought against her relating to contracts for the supply of gas.

Yuliya Tymoshenko, born in 1960, is the leader of Batkivshchyna, one of the strongest opposition parties in Ukraine, and of Yuliya Tymoshenko’s Bloc. She was the Prime Minister of Ukraine in 2005 and between December 2007 and March 2010. In April 2011, criminal proceedings were brought against her for allegedly making an illegal order for the signing of a contract concerning gas imports. On 11 October 2011, she was convicted on all charges, including that of exceeding authority or official powers, and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and a three-year ban on holding public office.

On 29 August 2012, the conviction and sentence were upheld in a final judgment. Ms Tymoshenko’s first application before the European Court of Human Rights (no. 49872/11) concerned complaints related to her detention.

In its Chamber judgment of 30 April 2013, which is not final, the Court held in particular: that Ms Tymoshenko’s pre-trial detention had been arbitrary; that the lawfulness of her detention had not been properly reviewed; and, that she had had no possibility to seek compensation for her unlawful deprivation of liberty, in violation of Article 5 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Court also found that, in breach of Article 18 of the Convention (limitation on use of restrictions on rights), her right to liberty had been restricted for reasons other than those permitted under Article 5.

The second application, brought on 10 August 2011, concerns the fairness of the criminal proceedings. In particular, relying on Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (b) and (c) (right to a fair trial), Ms Tymoshenko complains of difficulties in defending her case before the national courts and questions their independence and impartiality. She also questions the quality of the provisions of the Criminal Code which were applied in her case, alleging a breach of Article 7 (no punishment without law).

She further claims that the criminal case against her was politically inspired and constituted an abuse of the criminal system of justice, relying on Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights). Ms Tymoshenko makes a number of complaints under Articles 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) and/or Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life): she alleges that a video tape recorded in the hospital where she has been treated since 9 May 2012, showing her in her room and during medical procedures, was published on the Internet and was also broadcast on the majority of regional TV channels. She further complains that at least three other video recordings ware available on the official website of the State Penitentiary Service, and that an audio recording of a telephone conversation between Ms Tymoshenko and her husband was published on the Internet.

She also alleges that she faces difficulties in making any telephone calls from the hospital. Finally, she complains that she has been deprived of any possibility of communicating with the media and the outside world since 5 August 2011, which has had a negative impact on her political life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It needs to be stated that the Court of Human Rights only partially upheld an earlier appeal by Tymoshenko and readers are advised to read the judgement in full. The judgement of the European court of Human Rights concerned the decision of the trial judge to hold Tymoshenko in custody under a contempt and its impact on the conduct of the trial that resulted in Tymoshenko's imprisonment

Admittedly the earlier judgment was not the substantive appeal and that the appeal now before the court is more significant as it will hopefully address the charges and process of the trial procedures.

Tymsohenko was jailed as result of vexatious allegations laid agiants her by former President Victor Yushchenko back in 2009, Yushenko was seeking to extract revenge for his own demise and had her charged with exceeding her authority as leader of the government in signing a contract with Russia for the supply of gas to Ukraine. Ukraine at the time was in the midst of a crisis which resulted in gas supply being cut to Ukraine and Europe. The deal stuck had teh support of the European community but was not to the liking of Yushchenko. Yushchenko's actions in laying these charges should have been dismissed.

There is no doubt, as close watchers of Ukrainian politics will confirm, the actions that followed in 2011 were politically motivated and without justification or merit. Tymoshenko is also facing a second charge related to specious allegations of her involvement in a conspiracy of murder and political assignation. Even if the European Court on Human Rights finds in Tymoshenko's favor she may still be incarcerated pending the outcome of these new charges.

The politically motivated prosecution of not just Yumoshenko but other leaders of the opposition has not served Yanukovych or Ukraine well.

The wheels of justice turn slowly, and hopefully when the Court does rule on Tysmoehsnko's appeal before the court the European community will make it clear that Ukraine must must and abide by the judgement of the court and act accordingly, Any failure to do so must have serious consequence in terms of Ukraine's association agreement and trade with Europe