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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

EU representative: It is possible to release Julia Tymoshenko

Jerzy Buzek, ex-President
of European Parliament

Ex-President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek stated in his interview for BBC Ukraine that there are at least two possible ways to release Ukrainian ex-Prime Minister Julia Tymoshenko. She could be released either as a result of amnesty or according to the decision of the European Court.

Almost one year ago the trial against Ukrainian ex-Prime Minister and prominent oppositional leader Julia Tymoshenko has been started. She was accused of exceeding the limits of authority while signing the gas deals with Russia in January 2009 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

But the representatives of EU consider the trial of Julia Tymoshenko and the trials of other Ukrainian oppositional figures as well being not fair and politically motivated, and the issue of release of Mrs. Tymoshenko and other accused figures is one of the tensest in the relationships between Ukrainian authorities and EU. This issue is also one of the obstacles for Ukrainian European integration and signing the Association Agreement and the agreement of the Free Trade Zone with EU. EU politicians do not accept not the sentence itself but rather the trial and the judicial process which led to the issuing of such a sentence.

Jerzy Buzek stated that the Tymoshenko’s case was referred to the regular Court which is dealing with the regular criminal cases. That’s why the process of investigations and of the trial cannot satisfy European politicians, as it doesn’t correspond to the international and also European judicial principles. The European parliamentarian stressed that the judicial process and the trial precisely cannot be accepted by the EU, not even the sentence. European politicians consider the judicial process being not fair, not transparent and wrong, and Ukraine is also accused of absence of independent judiciary. So the sentence which came as a result of such and illegal judicial process cannot be legal. That’s why Ukraine needs to make some changes in this law and to generally reform the entire judicial system in the country if it’s willing to continue its path to the European integration, added Jerzy Buzek.

But Ex-President of European Parliament also said that those changes and reforms needed for the Ukrainian judiciary are not the only one possible way to review Mrs. Tymoshenko’s case and to release her.

There is such a way as amnesty, reminded Mr. Buzek. The issue of Julia Tymoshenko could be considered at the European Court for Human Rights if the lawsuit will be filed. In this case the decision of the Court could be received very fast, maybe even within a few months, thinks the politician.

Jerzy Buzek also stated that the relations between European Union and Ukraine are not so optimistic and promising at the current stage comparing to the period of time right after Orange Revolution, in 2004-2005. But there were some mistakes made both by Ukraine and by EU.

Julia Tymoshenko, Ukrainian ex-PM
“The mistake of EU was that the gates for Ukraine weren’t opened wide enough, and EU didn’t make its position regarding Ukraine and its European future completely clear”, - stated Mr. Buzek. It was very obvious in the case of the average Ukrainian citizens, stressed the politician.
From another hand, the deeper and more serious reforms have been expected from the Ukrainian side, added Jerzy Buzek. The reform of judicial system, the fight with corruption, administrative reforms and some changes in the system of the state’s and local authorities as well were among those expectations, but Ukraine didn’t realize them, despite the promises of the authorities and of the current President Victor Yanukovich.

Jerzy Buzek also added that the future relations and the possible European integration for Ukraine will depend a lot on the process of conducting the parliamentary election and of its results. Herewith not only the results and the winners will be important in this case, but also the transparency and fairness of the process and the way in which the election will be held. In case of violation the international norms and not fair and transparent election and the elections campaigns as well the sanctions could be imposed on Ukraine, said the politician. But those sanctions will be directed against the officials and not against the average Ukrainian citizens, stressed Mr. Buzek.

The parliamentary election is expected to be held on 28 October 2012 and will be the real test for Ukrainian authorities and democracy in Ukraine.