With former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other prominent members of her Government still in custody, the Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner, Markus Löning, today (12 August) issued the following statement:
“Only the rule of law can protect the rights of the citizens of Ukraine. The rule of law is also a key precondition for Ukraine’s desired move towards the EU. It is therefore especially regrettable that the numerous cases against members of the country’s previous Government are creating the impression of a selective and politically motivated judiciary in Ukraine.
The arrest of Yulia Tymoshenko, former Prime Minister and now leader of the opposition, has further cemented this impression.
It is the Ukrainian Government’s task to ensure the independence of the judiciary. All procedures must be fair and must be conducted in keeping with the rule of law. Moreover, the restriction of the freedom to demonstrate and of freedom of opinion is unacceptable. On acceding to the Council of Europe, Ukraine committed itself to these principles. Now it must adhere to them.
The Federal Government, along with its partners in the European Union, will watch developments in Ukraine very closely.”
Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was remanded in custody on 5 August on the orders of the Ukrainian public prosecutor accused of several violations of court procedure. She has been on trial since 24 June for alleged abuse of office relating to the signing of a gas deal with Russia in 2009. If she is found guilty she faces ten years in prison.
Since spring 2010, the Ukrainian prosecutor-general has been conducting an investigation into numerous members of the former government and those connected with it.