In its judgement today, the European Court of Human Rights established that, in the case of the arrested former Ukrainian interior minister, Yuri Lutsenko, Ukraine had violated the European Convention on Human Rights several times.
Minister of State Pieper issued the following statement today (3 July):
“Today’s judgement by the European Court of Human Rights concerning the former Ukrainian interior minister Lutsenko confirms our concerns about the rule of law and democracy in Ukraine. I call upon Ukraine to take due account of the judgement, also with a view to the ongoing cases against Yuri Lutsenko and other former members of the Tymoshenko government and their associates.
The judgement underscores that it is high time for the Ukrainian Government to guarantee due process and an independent judiciary. The opposition must not be prevented from participating in political processes using the tools of criminal justice. These are basic democratic principles and important prerequisites for Ukraine moving closer to the European Union.”
On 27 February 2012, the former Ukrainian interior minister Yuri Lutsenko was sentenced to four years in prison for alleged abuse of office. He was accused, for example, of having organized pension perks for his former driver. On 23 April 2012, another trial against him began. Since spring 2010, Ukraine’s prosecutor-general has been conducting investigations into numerous members of the former government and their associates. Alongside the former Prime Minister Julia Tymoshenko, two other members of her then government have been given lengthy prison sentences.
In its judgement today, the European Court of Human Rights described Lutsenko’s arrest as arbitrary and maintained there were no valid reasons for his detention. Today’s judgement is not yet final as during the three-month period following its delivery, any party may request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber of the Court.