No miracle has happened. Tymoshenko will stay in prison. “The sentence should be left unchanged,” the judge of the Higher Specialized Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases Oleksandr Yelfimov read the ruling on August 29. The sentence of the Pechersk Court and the ruling of the Court of Appeals on the “gas case” remain in force: seven years for single-handed signing the gas agreement with Russia. Now she can appeal against the decision of Ukrainian courts only to the European Court on Human Rights. Justice Yelfimov left without satisfaction the petition of Tymoshenko’s lawyer Mykola Siry on changing the punishment for the ex-premier.
“This is a totally indecent decision,” MP Andrii SENCHENKO from BYuT-Batkivshchyna commented on the situation. “It completes the whole picture, which proves that the judicial system in our country is totally ruined. I have listened to the court decision for almost three hours. It is full of absolutely silly examples. For example, it says that ‘witnesses confirm that gas is still in gas deposits.’ For you to understand, gas deposits are, in a sense, natural hollows in the ground, which remain after the gas is extracted. What witnesses can confirm the presence of gas underground? Only documents. In a word, everything is obvious. In my opinion, the ruling was not written down in the court building, rather in the same place where the sentence of Pechersk Court and the Court of Appeal was – in Bankova Street.”
he European community immediately reacted to the decision of the Ukrainian court. “We are deeply disappointed with the consequences of the current situation, when two important opposition leaders cannot stand in the upcoming parliamentary elections, [and] when the court disrespects international standards for fair and transparent processes,” a representative of the European Commission, Michael Mann, said in Brussels on Wednesday. The British officials expressed their disappointment too. According to the Minister for Europe David Lidington, it will be hard to reach progress in the context of Ukraine-EU agreement on association without clear proof that Ukraine is committed to democracy and rule of law.
It should be admitted that the decision of the Ukrainian court coincided in time with the consideration of Tymoshenko’s case in European Court. It will be recalled that under consideration are violations of four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights in Yulia Tymoshenko’s case. The question is about Article 3, degrading treatment, Article 5, unlawful arrest and detention. This article will be considered along with Article 18, persecution for political motives, and Article 8, interference in private and family life. After the decision is approved by the cassation instance on the “gas case” in Ukraine, Tymoshenko’s defense will be able to go to the European court with an appeal against the illegal sentence in ex-premier’s case. At this stage of consideration of the “gas case” in the European Court, Tymoshenko will be ordered to pay compensation, says Tymoshenko’s defense. The decision may be approved in one about two months.
“The thing is not only about Tymoshenko’s case, this is a public recognition that there is no justice for any citizen in our country,” Andrii Senchenko went on. “In any process, be it a civil, criminal, or administrative case. Whether it is a politician or an ordinary citizen, no one is able to defend his/her legal rights. And no European courts will improve this situation, because cardinal changes are needed. And cardinal changes mean the change of power in the country and reestablishing of power of the Constitution, the laws, the parliament, etc. What the current power is doing to Tymoshenko is terrible. And this is not about the motives of revenge anymore. Yanukovych and his milieu understand that one can deceive the people for a month or two, a year, but three years are too much. The power does not understand that the situation can blow out any minute.”
The verdict of the cassation instance concerning Tymoshenko also indicates that she will no way be able to take part in the elections. “They won’t allow Tymoshenko to elections, and after the elections the president will be facing a choice: either to form an authoritarian dictatorship of Lukashenko type or get down to the reforms,” political scientist Viktor Nebozhenko says.