The European Union (EU) [official website] foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton [official website] on Saturday criticized [press release,PDF] the outcome of the appeals case for former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive], announced December 23. Ashton voiced concern over Tymoshenko's prior trial, alleging that the appeals process did not address the failures of the original trial to provide a fair and independent process by international standards. Ashton further voiced regret that Tymoshenko will be prevented from participating in the parliamentary elections next year. She said that the EU stresses the need for an impartial and transparent appeals process. The EU delayed signing an agreement [Kyiv Post report] with the Ukraine on political association and free trade in order to address this issue.
On Thursday, Tymoshenko announced [JURIST report] that she will discontinue all appeals [JURIST report] and that she will solely rely on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] to intervene [ECHR case materials] in her conviction. Tymoshenko is under indefinite detention after being denied release [JURIST reports] last week. Tymoshenko's prosecution has been highly controversial [JURIST comment] and has drawn harsh criticism internationally. Last week, the European Commission [official website] expressed its concern regarding a lack of transparency of Ukrainian hearings in prison, and declared that such a process does not correspond to the jurisprudence of the ECHR. In November, the Ukrainian Parliament voted against [agenda text] hearing amendments that may have freed [JURIST report] Tymoshenko by fining her rather than sentencing her for her criminal convictions.