Sunday, June 02, 2013

Credibility of court of last resort destroyed

Last week Ukraine's Constitutional Court ruled that the elections for Kyiv Mayor and Council can now be postponed until October 2015.

Yanukovych and Party of Regions' are totally aware that if already-postponed elections were to take place any time in the near future they would be 'hammered' in the capital, and vast corruption schemes would pass into the hands of others. Defeat in Kyiv would be a watershed event and Yanukovych's chance of re-election in 2015 would be much diminished.

In April 2010, just after Yanukovych became president,  the Constitutional Court controversially fiddled the rules, specifically concerning so-called 'Imperative Mandate provisions', on how parliamentary majorities were to be formed. This allowed the orange parliamentary coalition to be dumped and Yulia Tymoshenko to be dismissed as PM. The ruling was at odds with Courts previous ruling and the wording of Ukraine's Constitution itself.

In October 2010, the Ukrainian Constitutional Court repealed a December 2004 law which introduced a constitutional amendment changing the system of government from a presidential-parliamentary to a parliamentary-presidential one.  President Yanukovych's authority was greatly enhanced.

Last week's ruling, perhaps the most controversial of all, yet again proves the Constitutional Court has become a puppet court controlled by Yanukovych and his cronies.

As Vitaliy Pornikov points out in his blog:

"In our country, no-one has any confidence in the Constitutional Court, and cannot have, because we all understand this is not a Constitutional Court, but just another department in the presidential administration.

 This department is vitally important -  Viktor Yanukovych owes his powers to it, Mykola Azarov his premiership, and Alexander Popov [the current acting mayor] - his control of an unelected administration in Kyiv. It was the Constitutional Court, not the voters, and not even members of parliament who gave them this power.

The Court makes crucial  decisions for the country, but does not possess any credibility with its citizens - and that's frightening. Frightening because, even in a society so degraded from the point of view of the law, the Constitutional Court should be a credible Court of the Last Resort.

p.s. Opinion is hardening in the EU that without a solution to the Tymoshenko problem there can be no signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in November.

One noted analyst claims: 'For most countries of the EU the groundless imprisonment of Tymoshenko is a red line which they will not cross..'

There are significant behind-the-scenes negotiations going on. According to the Polish 'Gazeta Wyborcza' a compromise could be struck if Tymoshenko were to be dispatched from her hospital ward/prison cell to Germany for medical treatment, but the former PM rules out such a possibility unless all criminal charges against her are dropped and the criminal conviction against her for exceeding her powers is nullified.

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