You will remember about a month ago I wrote about Prime Minister Azarov’s invitation to the EU to send top level international observers to witness the cassation of Yulia Tymoshenko’s 2009 gas case trial and conviction at the highest court in Ukraine beginning later this month.
Well, the EU accepted the offer at the time and as of 11th June, two EU representatives have arrived to study the documents, process and arguments of prosecution and defence when the appeal hearing begins.
The two EU representatives are ex-President of Poland, Alexander Kwasniewski and former President of the European Parliament, Pat Coxand.
Undoubtedly a lot of reading for these people to get through before the actual cassation begins on 26th June (if all goes to plan and Ms Tymoshenko is fit enough to attend the court). However, prima facie, a very transparent move by the Ukrainian authorities and also a brave move on the part of the EU who thus far have only condemned the process and stayed a long way away from making any announcements on the guilt or innocence of Ms Tymoshenko.
One wonders how Alexander Kwasniewski and Pat Coxand will be able to avoid giving their opinion over her guilt or innocence having been given access to the documents, sitting through the cassation hearing and undoubtedly expected not only to make an official report back to the EU institutions, but also make statements to the media as well.
Everybody in Ukraine knows the court system is broken, it is not news to anybody. It is not news to the EU or Council of Europe who have raised their concerns regularly and loudly when the Yushenko/Tymoshenko tandem were in charge, as well as currently.
Considering Geir Harrde, former Prime Minister of Iceland has recently been found guilty of negligence during the 2008 financial crisis at a specially convened political court, and yet Iceland’s EU integration marches onwards with not even a murmur from the EU over that political persecution, prosecution and obviously political trial, there is naturally some cries of hypocrisy amongst certain quarters of Ukrainian society.
Admittedly Mr Haarde was not jailed or fined like Ms Tymoshenko, but besmirched his character now is, and blighted (if not ended) is his political career at the hands of his political rivals. He was also convicted for actually and literally doing nothing, rather than doing something as in the case of Ms Tymoshenko and the gas contract with Russia.
A political decision to do nothing, a political decision to do something. Court cases and findings of guilt over political decisions in both cases and initiated in the case of Iceland by Haarde’s political opponents. The case against Tymoshenko, contrary to popular belief, was in fact instigated by then President Yushenko in 2009/10 and not the current Ukrainian president. The political outcome for Haarde is arguably worse than for Tymoshenko, as he had a good reputation to protect unlike Ms Tymoshenko.
Anyway, I am rambling, the EU observers have arrived and will now be familiarising themselves with the case papers in preparation of witnessing the cassation hearing due to begin on 26th June.
Let’s see what happens and more importantly what is said (or what is doggedly avoided) when they have done what they are here to do.