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Ukraine opposition suing president for crimes against Ukrainian people

A Ukrainian opposition group filed a lawsuit on Monday that seeks to charge President Viktor Yanukovych [official website, in Ukrainian; JURIST news archive] with crimes against the Ukrainian people. The lawsuit was filed by Batkivshchyna [party website, in Ukrainian], the political party of ex-Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive]. The lawsuit specifically alleges [RFE/RL report] that Yanukovych has illegally passed a law making Russian the official language of Ukraine [JURIST report], unlawfully appointed members of his cabinet and has pressured judges of the Ukraine Constitutional Court [official website, in Ukrainian]. Yanukovych has not yet responded to the lawsuit. It is not clear when Ukraine's Supreme Administrative Court will rule on the lawsuit.

Ukraine [JURIST news archive] has been a hotbed of political controversy recently. On Saturday a court in Ukraine sentenced Yuriy Lutshenko, a former cabinet member of Tymoshenko, to two years in prison for authorizing an illegal extension of surveillance [JURIST report]. Last week Ukraine's Supreme Administrative Court declined to overturn a lower court decision prohibiting Lutsenko and Tymoshenko from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections [JURIST report], confirming the August 11 decision of the Kyiv Administrative Appeal Court upholding the Central Electoral Commission's resolution No. 216 of August 8 in which it refused to register Tymoshenko and Lutsenko as parliamentary candidates. Last month a Ukrainian appeals court postponed [JURIST report] the appeal hearing challenging Tymoshenko's corruption conviction and seven-year sentence, marking the third postponement in that case. Her tax evasion trial began [JURIST report] in April but has also been postponed several times. In May the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ended an investigation [JURIST report] into the health care conditions of Tymoshenko, finding that the Ukrainian government provided her with adequate care. She previously alleged that prison guards were beating her and she refused to be treated [JURIST report] by prison doctors for back problems, believing they were under the direction of Yanukovych.

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