Archive for April 9th, 2010

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Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Poland at war…….again!

April 9, 2010

http://www.battleofthenations.com.ua/about.php

Well dear readers, nations battling in Ukraine…….errrrm yes I know, hardly the first time Ukraine has been used as a battlefield……… but “real victories and defeats, no stage battles, no scripts and theatre sketches! Only full contact – the sparks of steel, the crackle of shields and the glitter of swords, sport intrigue and human emotions…..”

Competing teams?  Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Poland……..so just like old times then!

Somehow I foresee nothing but real pain, real blood and possibly a very nasty incident…….particularly as Health and Safety in Ukraine is……..well almost non-existant!

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A question of interpretation…….or corruption at the highest level?

April 9, 2010

Well dear readers, as anticipated, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine has ruled by a majority of 11 to 9, that the new parliamentary coalition composed of 3 parties and 7 defectors from the BYuT and OU-PSP is a legal entity………with another 10 or so MPs expected to defect to the majority before the parliamentary summer holidays.

This goes against a previous Constitutional Court ruling in 2008 where it ruled majority coalitions can only be composed from entire factions and not individuals.

The issue was put before the court by both PoR and rivals BYuT, specifically requesting interpretation of 6/83 of the Constitution of Ukraine and 4/59 of the Parliamentary Regulations over an individual MPs right to support and join a coalition outside of a full scale party entry into such a coalition.

Ms Tymoshenko, whilst no longer even a member of the RADA, is still the most well known face associated with one of the opposition parties, and made accusations of bribery and pressure on individual judges to overturn the previous interpretation which would not suit the opposition parties but certainly favour the current government.

Of course, having made such allegations publically, she was inevitabley summonsed to the Prosecuter Generals Office.  She immediately claimed this to be intimidation and the start of repression for having to explain such claims.

A question surely worth asking here is that if she was simply ignored and not summonsed to the PGO to provide evidence of her claims, would that have been worse?  No investigation into such serious allegations would surely have been a bad sign. 

The rule of law is already under intense international scruity as well as domestically and now that she is no more than a normal citizen of Ukraine (at least for the moment), is it not in the interest of the public that a citizen making such public claims of high level corruption is requested to provide evidence of such claims?

Not withstanding liable and slander laws, there is a real issue of public confidence and public interest here.

According to Interfax-Ukraine, Ms Tymoshenko said that she had brought a written address with her, which indicates the amount of bribes that were offered to judges, and added that it was written evidence of her allegations.

However, she declined to specify from whom she received such an address.

“I brought a written address with me, which clearly says what bribes were offered to the judges, what offers were made to them, how they were intimidated, and what steps were taken against them so that 11 judges voted against the constitution,” Tymoshenko said.

She also said that political repression in Ukraine had started from today, since she was called to the prosecutor’s office.

She said that under no circumstances would she conceal any information she has.

Tymoshenko said that as far as she knew, the Constitutional Court had already issued a ruling declaring the creation of the parliamentary coalition legitimate.

She said that 11 judges of the Constitutional Court had voted for such a decision.

Tymoshenko said that the court, at the request of the Ukrainian president, “abruptly changed its position.”

“The two diametrically different rulings by the same court indicate that a certain part of Constitutional Court judges committed a crime yesterday while taking a decision that contradicts the Constitution,” she said.

So we now have the situation where Ms Tymoshenko will not withhold any information that is available to her from the PGO…….except who provided her with the evidence to compile her “written address”.

One can only assume that the written address was not signed or addressed to any particular individual but is anonymous……..and therefore could have been written by anyone for anyone……..a little like this blog really.

This is not evidence for the basis of any criminal procedings unless she will state who gave her the information and they are called to account for what is writen……and yet she refuses to do so…….despite stating she will withhold nothing from the PGO.

It is impossible to give any credance to such “evidence” whether there is fact behind it or not.  In the case of public interest, “because Ms Tymoshenko says so” is simply not good enough.

Whislt one can question a different interpretation, one also has to question the standard of the document which the judges are being asked to interperate.

Every single politician in Ukraine, regardless of party, have all said the Constitution of Ukraine needs to be rewritten because it is badly written and smudges lines of executive and parliamentary power.  The Constitution also contradicts numerous Ukrainian laws which exist, such as only allowing Ukrainian citizenship where the law does not disallow holding more than one passport.  In fact there is quite a substantial list of contradictions and yet these laws were passed and are on the Statute Book.

Needless to say, regardless of whether there is any real evidence or not of bribery and corruption, regardless of whether the interpretation is now correct or the previous one was and regardless of whether the Constitution will eventually be rewriten or amended, there will be a huge sigh of relief heard passing through the halls of Ukraine’s neighbours, trading partners and investors as political stability, until 2012 when the next parliamentary elections are due, now seems assured.

If such evidence exists, and I do not mean supposition, but genuine prima facie evidence, then Ms Tymoshenko, if she has no faith in the PGO or legal system (which she had 4 years to reform when in power……but didn’t) can always publish it in the media.

If the media will not publish such documents then she has her own website and her own blog on which to do it.  There is also wikileaks.  Even I would publish such evidence on my blog for her if the evidence exists and can be corroborated.

If, however, it remains supposition  and without hard evidence, then there is a reason why such “written address” is somewhat anonymous in its nature…..and that is that there is no real evidence to back up accusations that constitutional court judges were offered and paid $1 million each to vote one way or another as she claims.

The opposition, as it finds itself in a position of powerless minority by way of supporting MPs, must learn to use the media effectively, providing proof of wrong doing rather than just shouting “foul” on a daily basis with nothing to back up those claims.

The more they cry “wolf”, the less people will hear.

There is also the question, if we are to play devil’s advocate, as to wether this decision by the Constitutional Court was free and fair and whether the previous decision in 2008 was not subjected to bribes, pressure and corruption.

Is it right to automatically conclude that only this Presdient and Government would do such a thing?

What are my grounds for saying this?

Well, I am prepared to back up my inference that this is not the first time the Constitutional Court has been subjected to externl forces and/or completely ignored regardless of decision.

To put things into a little perspective, in 2007 then President Yushenko interfered with the Constitutional Court in order to remove the sitting government, a fact not missed by the rest of the world.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in its report titled Functioning of Democratic Institutions in Ukraine. (Items 13 and 14) stated:

“ The Assembly deplores the fact that the judicial system of Ukraine has been systematically misused by other branches of power and that top officials do not execute the courts’ decisions, which is a sign of erosion of this crucial democratic institution. An independent and impartial judiciary is a precondition for the existence of a democratic society governed by the rule of law. Hence the urgent necessity to carry out comprehensive judicial reform, including through amendments to the constitution.

The Assembly reiterates that the authority of the sole body responsible for constitutional justice – the Constitutional Court of Ukraine – should be guaranteed and respected. Any form of pressure on the judges is intolerable and should be investigated and criminally prosecuted. On the other hand, it is regrettable that in the eight months of its new full composition, the Constitutional Court has failed to produce judgments, thus failing to fulfil its constitutional role and to contribute to resolving the crisis in its earlier stages, which undermines the credibility of the court.

There is an urgent need for all pending judgments, and in particular the judgment concerning the constitutionality of the Presidential Decree of 2 April 2007, to be delivered. If delivered, the latter should be accepted as binding by all sides. ”

The associated explanatory report under the sub-heading of Pressure On The Courts expressed concern that “Several local courts have made decisions to suspend the Presidential Decree only to then withdraw them, allegedly under pressure from the presidential secretariat.” (item 67)

In emphasis the report (item 68) stated

“This is a worrying tendency of legal nihilism that should not be tolerated. It is as clear as day that in a state governed by the rule of law judicial mistakes should be corrected through appeal procedures and not through threats or disciplinary sanctions ”

On April 30, on the eve of the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the legality of the president’s decree dismissing Ukraine’s parliament, President Yushchenko, in defiance of the PACE resolution of April 19 intervened in the operation of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court by summarily dismissing two Constitutional Court Judges, Syuzanna Stanik and Valeriy Pshenychnyy, for allegations of “oath treason.” His move was later overturned by the Constitutional Court and the judges were returned by a temporary restraining order issued by the court.

Following the president’s intervention the Constitutional Court still has not ruled on the question of legality of the president’s actions.

So, with PACE as my witness……who I am happy to name in the public interest…..I call into as much reasonable doubt, the Constitutional Court decision in 2008, as being made under duress.

It is unfortunate that readers of this blog and the western press for the most part do not live here and therefore only get to read the selective opinion and selective facts portrayed to feed the public a certain agenda.

If the Constitutional Court was unduly influenced then this is not the first time and if that it the case then it goes to show that whether the politician be “orange” or “blue”, they are not necessarily better or worse than each other when personal bias is removed and facts are presented in the cold light of day.

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