Archive for June 25th, 2011

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Pre-trial hearing over Russian gas deal begins for Tymoshenko

June 25, 2011

Well, the public performances are now beginning at the circus that surrounds everything associated with Yulia Tymoshenko.

Yesterday saw the opening volleys and in an unusually open fashion.

Channel 5, one of two TV channels in Ukraine that is judged to be unbiased by international opinion, have been covering the event live on Ukrainian TV from within the courtroom for those few that remain interested and were not bored into a coma months ago by the entire circus.

Also present at the court hearing was EU Ambassador to Ukraine Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira, one assumes in a monitoring role. Whether the trial will be fair or not remains to be seen, but it will certainly be public.

Unfortunately it also has all the hallmarks of an American presidential election, namely everyone will be thoroughly fed up with the whole thing being forced fed to them as these things continue to drag along. It will be months before this particular case reaches a conclusion (with two more having yet to reach this stage relating to Ms Tymoshenko) and even that is too soon for Ms Tymoshenko who is accusing the legal system of hurrying things along at the behest of the authorities.

First problem, Tymoshenko, demands the removal of the Judge as he is a political appointee (they always have been in Ukraine) with only two years experience as a judge and is not fit to hear her case. Ho-hum, people shouting over each other to be heard, press cameras and microphones everywhere.

Second problem, much of what is being said is a party political broadcast. There is no direction from the judge. The key phrase to much of it would be “relevance?” The only question is whether she overstepped her mandate by signing the deal with Russia by exceeding her authority and inherently misusing her office or not? According to previous President of Ukraine, Vikor Yushenko, she was told not to sign the agreement and continued to do so.

Whilst there is some interest in the background and circumstances leading up to the need to negotiate and sign a new deal, whether the deal negotiated was a good, bad or indifferent for Ukraine is quite irrelevant as far as that specific question is concerned, and that is the reason why she sits in the courtroom. Everything else is related fluff or party political broadcasting that has absolutely nothing to do with the gas deal at all.

The fact then President Yushenko told her not to sign the deal does not inherently make her actions exceeding her authority or a misuse of office. The 2004 Constitutional Amendments were a complete disaster and blurred many clearly existing lines of authority and accountability that previously existed from the 1996 Constitution.

It was unsurprising that every Presidential candidate of the elections in 2010 stated the Constitution needed to be changed. As it happens the current President reverted back to the original Constitution of 1996 which although returning to clear lines of authority and responsibility, put much more power in his hands to the angst of the opposition parties.

It really is a question of who had the authority to do what and their interpretation of the Constitution as it stood under the 2004 Amendments.

The last problem, given this pre-trial is being shown live around the nation would be if Tymoshenko opted for a jury trial. Not only is the definition of a jury not defined in the Constitution in make-up or number, but who will not have heard or seen something of this circus before they are asked to act as a juror (if the definition of a juror ever gets defined)?

Still, nobody can say this is not being aired live and directly to the public. There are more press in attendance than and court actors added together from defence, accused, prosecution and judicial bench. Behind closed doors, it is not! Today has started in a far more civilised and professional manner, but it is all still fluff. The only question that counts has still not be asked or answered. Did she have the authority or not?

Time to go for a walk amongst the real people as the sun is shining. When I get back, hopefully there will be an A or even B list cast of actors on TV rather than the D list that is currently acting out the farce being broadcast.

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