[JURIST] On Thursday, former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] announced [press release] 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. In her statement, Tymoshenko lambasted the Ukrainian judiciary, and stated that nothing will change while current Ukrainian president and long-time political rival Viktor Yanukovych [official website] is in charge.
This is not 1937. This is their second year in power, and they have pushed our country beyond the boundaries of our era, an era of basic humanity and decency. This is the age of cave dwellers in its worst forms. In this situation, I see no reason or necessity to continue to support the farce in the Ukrainian courts. I will not seek the truth in them, because it’s not there. Let them play their games of crooked justice, if they want, demonstrating to the world their immorality and insidiousness. I believe the European Court of Human Rights will assess the absurdity and crime that the Ukrainian government calls court. At the same time I would like to note that despite all the torture and humiliation, they haven’t broken me and never will. I continue my fight, because even here behind bars, I feel freer than all the Yanukovychs behind the government fences.
Yanukovych said on Thursday that he is not opposed to Tymoshenko’s release [Interfax report] under certain conditions. This is likely in reaction to the ECHR “fast tracking” [press release, PDF] Tymoshenko’s case, which it announced earlier this 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 [Kyiv Post report] regarding a lack of transparency of Ukrainian hearings in prison, and declared that such a process does not correspond to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website]. 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. The EU has consistently condemned [JURIST report] the former prime minister’s conviction as politically-motivated, and has indicated that the prosecution could harm Ukraine’s bid for EU accession. Tymoshenko herself has also made efforts to demonstrate that the charges are motivated by her adversaries, but to no avail. In August, the Kiev Appeals Court refused an appeal of her detention for contempt charges for a lack of legal grounds to contest the arrest [JURIST reports]. Also, in June, Tymoshenko filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the ECHR alleging various violations of the European Convention of Human Rights [text, PDF] and arguing that her charges were politically engineered by Yanukovych. Yanukovych narrowly defeated Tymoshenko in the presidential election in March 2010, but Tymoshenko has claimed that widespread voter fraud contributed to the outcome.