Friday, October 18, 2013

Solution to Tymoshenko problem in VR is fraught with risks [update]

Everyone, including Yanukovych is I'm sure now aware that the EU will not co-sign any agreement in Vilnius in late November unless Tymoshenko is freed and allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment..

Kwas/Cox have publicly submitted a request to Yanukovych to pardon former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, and release her for medical treatment. They, like most Europeans consider Tymoshenko to be the victim of politically motivated judicial persecution, but no-one is openly willing to point the finger at the instigator and perpetrator of this injustice that is responsible for the mess, and its unforseen consequences.

In order to save face Yanukovych on Thursday proposed parliament passes a law enabling the country's prisoners, under certain circumstances, to travel abroad for medical treatment, and promised to sign such a law promptly. Tymoshenko would then, presumably, have to apply to a court for permission to travel abroad for her spinal medical procedure if she truly wants this, a Ukrainian medical commission declare that such treatment is necessary, and a judge grant permission for this to take place, according to the new law. All in less than a month and a half..

[Ukrainian doctors treating Tymoshenko have quite reasonably maintained that facilities and expertise needed to cure her medical ailment already exist in Ukraine..they will have some explaining to do, adding another layer of absurdity to this charade, no?]

The chances of success of solving the Tymoshenko conundrum in the Verkhovna Rada are not great, because many potential barriers lie on this path. Counter proposals may be forthcoming from the Communist Party. Many PoR deputies who have been throwing dirt at Tymoshenko, calling her all the names under the sun, will find it difficult to support any such motion. The embittered opposition parties may say:  "All our proposals have been ignored for months, so why should we co-operate just to save Yanukovych's face?

Tymoshenko could refuse to co-operate if the conditions enabling her trip to Germany are in anyway considered by her to be humiliating. She is well aware of her political super-star status.The Germans could refuse to co-operate if, for example, Ukrainian security officials insist on controlling and overseeing Tymoshenko's every move in their country.

The opposition could refuse and stall in order to force Yanukovych to pardon her himself at one minute to midnight at a stroke of his pen.

The Verkhovna Rada is a notoriously undisciplined place, deputies who have frequently physically attacked one another and physically denied one another access to parliamentary sessions, will find it difficult to come to a concensus. And ultimately everyone knows that passing this law is merely for the sake of expediency...for the benefit of one person. It is a farce..

Yanukovych assures everyone he has no doubt that success will ultimately be achieved in Vilnius and the EU/Ukraine agreements signed. He knows, that if he indeed wants to take the Euro-route, he can, in extremis, at the the last moment, pardon Tymoshenko or release her for treatment by signing an ukaz. It will then be 'job done'.

But if this is all merely a bluff, parliament fails to deliver, and he intends to cosy up to Putin again, [not a pleasant vision]  the blame can be laid at the doors of the Verkhovna Rada.

In the days to come I think more and more Europeans, just like this former Polish foreign minister, will question Yanukovych's avowed intent pursue a westward vector...[The normally pro-PoR 'Segodnya' also cover this story..]

Most Ukrainian commentators consider failure in Vilnius would be too much for Europeans to bear, they have invested too much into the Eastern Partership project and will not allow it to happen...hence the Ukraine authorities' cavalier attitude. They are wrong on this. The EU faces many big problems on many fronts, but decades of successes means confidence in its structures are unshakeable, with or without Ukraine.

As we witness the inevitable sight of the easily avoidable, pathetic squabbling between Ukraine's politicians in the month to come, I think politicians in Europe will ever more be thinking; Do we really need all this? Is Ukraine ever going to change for the better? Yanukovych, in common with almost all CIS leaders, will always systematically force a showdown on all subjects when dealing with the west.

The country's chances in Europe may already be receding..

And another thing....The Council of the European Union  on 10 December 2012 said:

"[it] reiterates its strong concern regarding the politically motivated convictions of members of the former Government after trials which did not respect international standards as regards fair, transparent and independent legal process and regrets that, as a consequence, opposition leaders were prevented from standing in the parliamentary elections...The Council expects the [Ukrainian] authorities to address the cases of politically motivated convictions without delay as well as to take further steps to reform the judiciary to prevent any recurrence," 

If the necessary legal stuff is done, if Tymoshenko requests such a step, if medical commission and a judge approve, and Tymoshenko is allowed to go to Germany for medical procedures but Ukrainian authorities insist that during her stay she remains 'incommunicado'; and immediately after these procedures are completed according to the proposed new law she must return to complete the remainder of her sentence in jail, will the CoE conditions be considered to have been satisfied? Well? Maybe this is why Kwas/Cox have officially requested Tymoshenko be pardoned..nothing else will do.

 The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE]  recently urged..the authorities of Ukraine.."to use legal means to release Yulia Tymoshenko given that the judicial procedure leading to her conviction has raised heavy criticism"....

p.s. Excellent analysis from Vadym Karasyov on this topic, in this video [in Ukrainian] here

Politicians of opposing political parties in the USA have in recent days resolved a major crisis and averted possible financial melt-down...can we assume Ukrainian politicians have the intelligence and wisdom to do the same in their own country, as Karasyov suggests? I wish I could be optimistic..

p.p.s. Despite all of the bullshit whether Yanuk can or cannot pardon Tymoshenko, Ukraine's Constitution is crystal clear:

Article 106 states: The president shall: .....23) grant pardons;
There are no exceptions, no qualifying phrases...nothing...

Kwas/Cox, in their letter to Yanukovych several days ago: laid out matters very clearly too: They,

"Request, with a view to fulfilling the above-mentioned conditions, that Yulia Tymoshenko be released for medical treatment on health and humanitarian grounds by way of a pardon*."

Is the pres. is too lazy to read his correspondence?

*Dictionary definition: Exemption a convicted person from the penalties of an offence or crime by the power of the executor of the laws.

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