On 27 February, former Ukrainian interior minister Yuri Lutsenko was found guilty of abuse of office and embezzlement of state property and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, a subsequent three-year ban on taking public office as well as a fine.
Minister of State Pieper issued today (27 February) the following statement on the case:
“The verdict handed down on yet another former member of Yulia Tymoshenko’s government, a leading representative of the Ukrainian opposition, reinforces the impression of selective, politically motivated justice.
The Ukrainian Government has a responsibility to see the rule of law is upheld. The judiciary must be independent. All trials must be fair and conducted according to due process. The opposition must be able to participate in the political process. These are basic principles of democracy.
If Ukraine is serious about wanting to draw closer to the European Union, it must credibly demonstrate its commitment to European values.”
Former interior minister Lutsenko had been accused, among other things, of having awarded his driver an excessive pension. Mr Lutsenko has been held in custody since December 2010. Like former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who in October 2011 was sentenced to seven years in prison, Mr Lutsenko has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.
Since spring 2010, Ukraine’s prosecutor-general has been conducting investigations into numerous members of the former government and their associates.