Friday

24th Feb 2017

EU 'regrets' Ukraine court decision on Tymoshenko

  • Ukraine's Supreme Court rejected the appeal by former prime minister Tymoshenko on abuse of power charges (Photo: byut.com.ua)

Ukraine’s high court decision to toss out an appeal by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko may place an additional strain on EU relations with the country, EU foreign affairs spokesperson Michael Mann told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (29 August).

“We want to work well with the Ukraine, have good relations with the Ukraine and these judicial problems are not helping that,” said Mann.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The court had earlier in the day rejected Tymoshenko’s appeal against her conviction of abuse of power over gas contracts with Russia for which she is currently serving a 7-year prison sentence. Her sentence, issued on 11 October 2011, also bans her from serving public office for three years.

Her defence lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, told reporters following the court’s decision that “the findings have no relation to justice”, reported Reuters. Vlasenko claims the court’s ruling is politically motivated and driven by Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovich’s desire to prevent her from running for office.

Judge Oleksandr Elfimov, one of three judges who presided the case, said Tymoshenko’s appeal was without basis and that her prison sentence was proportionate “to the gravity of the crime.”

Mann said the EU regrets the high court’s decision and is “deeply disappointed with the consequences of the current situation” which prevents leaders of the opposition from standing in the parliamentary elections.

He noted the trials have failed to respect international standards and have not demonstrated “fair, transparent and independent legal processes”.

The 51-year old former prime minister is also the leader of the main opposition party, the United Opposition Batkivshchyna. Ukraine’s Central Election Commission barred her earlier this month from registering in the upcoming elections in October.

The election commission claimed she could not run for office while in prison.

Another Tymoshenko ally, Yuri Lutsenko, currently serving a term in prison on charges of embezzlement, was also not allowed to run for the same reason.

Tymokshenko’s lawyers are appealing her case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) claiming her detention is politically motivated and that there has been no judicial review of the lawfulness of her detention.

She launched a 20-day hunger strike in April to protest the detention and the alleged abuse by prison guards.

The Strasbourg-based court held a public hearing on her case on Tuesday but will not deliver a decision for the next few weeks or months, their spokesperson told this website. Her lawyers had told the court that her pre-trial detention was unlawful.

Tymokshenko’s detention is a possible stumbling block on on-going free trade negotiations between Ukraine and the European Commission.

The European Commission in April warned Ukrainian authorities to respect the rule of law and democratic values.

“We expect Ukraine to address the issues of politically motivated trials, independence of judiciary and selective use of law,” said EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule in May.

Media crackdown ahead of EU-Ukraine summit

Alleged sabotage of a news agency, the axing of a top TV show - days ahead of an EU-Ukraine summit, diplomats fear a new media crackdown in Kiev.

News in Brief

  1. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  2. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  3. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions
  4. Irish PM expected to quit amid police scandal
  5. After Brexit vote, 100,000 UK firms registered in Ireland
  6. Bayrou to support Macron in French presidential election
  7. British by-election tests Ukip strength after Brexit
  8. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  2. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  3. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  4. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  5. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  6. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  7. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  8. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  10. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  11. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  12. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year

Latest News

  1. Don't blame Trump for Europe's insecurity
  2. EU rules out post-Brexit 'hard border' with Northern Ireland
  3. Fewer EU pupils being taught two foreign languages
  4. Women and child refugees face abuse in French camp
  5. Russian military creates 'information force'
  6. Spain MPs to probe €60bn bank bailouts
  7. Crowded race to win EU medicines agency
  8. Fighting environmental injustice in Europe