PARIS, August 29 (Itar-Tass) —— The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) regretted the Ukrainian court’s decision to reject former Prime Minister and opposition Batkivshchina party leader Yulia Timoshenko’s cassational appeal.
PACE President Jean-Claude Mignon, and the co-rapporteurs for Ukraine, Mailis Reps (Estonia) and Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin (Sweden), expressed their deep disappointment with the Court of Cassation rejection of Timoshenko’s appeal against her conviction to seven years in prison in the so-called gas case.
“The Assembly has stated on several occasions that her conviction in the gas case amounts to the criminalisation of normal political decision-making. Given the many questions that have been raised with regard to the Court proceedings that led to her conviction, we – as well as many other friends of Ukraine – had expected that the Court of Cassation would accept her appeal,” they said.
The PACE President and co-rapporteurs emphasised that: “President Yanukovich has made it clear to the co-rapporteurs that he would be ready to intervene in this case if her appeal was rejected by the Court of Cassation. We therefore call upon him to keep his word without delay in order to resolve the issue of the imprisoned former government members. These cases should not be allowed to overshadow the upcoming elections,” they stressed.
Following an invitation by President Viktor Yanukovich, the co-rapporteurs intend to visit Ukraine before the next Assembly part-session in order to discuss possible political avenues to resolve this issue in line with Council of Europe standards.
On October 11, 2011, Kiev's Pechersky District Court sentenced Timoshenko to seven years in prison.
Timoshenko has also been barred from holding public positions for three years and has to pay a penalty of 189 million U.S. dollars in damages to Naftogaz Ukrainy.
In late December 2011, Timoshenko was transferred from the investigation prison to a correctional facility in the eastern Kharkov region.
Timoshenko is also facing new charges as former head of the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine.
In late January, the PACE passed a resolution recommending Ukraine to clear former government officials of the charges of abuse of office and power. It warned that sanctions might be used against Ukraine if it fails to comply.
The parliamentarians said the articles of Ukraine's criminal code used to bring these cases were "overly broad and effectively allow for post-facto criminalisation of normal political decision-making. This runs counter to the rule of law and is unacceptable."
The PACE Monitoring Committee will discuss the political developments in Ukraine during its next meeting in Paris on September 4.