Friday, August 02, 2013

Ukraine much closer to CU than EU

Mr Bruce Rickerson in this article entitled "Tymoshenko, Ukraine and the EU" is correct in his assertion that signing of the the EU/Ukraine Association Agreement is in the balance.

But the 'crime' for which former PM Yulia Tymoshenko was charged and sentenced did not involve personal corruption. She was charged under part 3. 365 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code - abuse of power and exceeding official authority, not "corruption and embezzlement" as is stated in this UPI article. In most democratic countries her cabinet's management of the 2008/2009 gas crisis would in no way be considered a crime.

The European Court of Human Rights have already ruled she was unjustly arrested on the order of trial judge, Rodion Kireyev, prior to her trial. The impartiality of the judge, and the entire trial procedure therefore, can be considered compromised. The ECHU are now determining whether her human rights were abused and the trial itself unjust. It is highly probable in months to come they will declare Tymoshenko was and is the victim of politically motivated persecution.

Evidence produced in preliminary hearings in case against the former prime minister for the 1996 killing of Member of Parliament Yevhen Shcherban, his wife, and two other people, has been risible. There is no case to answer - the case would have been thrown out of any reputable West European court.

Since  president Yanukovych  come to power in 2010, instead of making progress in bringing his country closer to European democratic standards, he has single-mindedly taken measures to seize ever more power and money for himself and his Donetsk cronies.

The point of no return on the country's road to authoritarian may well have already been passed.

Mistrust by Ukrainians by its citizens of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, degraded  since 2010, has greatly increased and is now almost total.

Any Association Agreement should be postponed until such time Ukraine shows itself to be a country where democratic standards are at least comparable to those in the rest of Europe.

As one commentator said, Ukraine already resembles more strongly a Customs Union country than an EU country...apart from what it pays for gas.

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