Archive for November 6th, 2011

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Checks and imbalances – Structural immunity and civil reactions

November 6, 2011

I have written many times about politicians, judges and their ilk from the former Communist nations managing one way or another to avoid what the public and external actors feel they richly deserve by way of justice.  There is also the alternative case of the public and external actors feeling that some get what they do not deserve if a nation does something about it.

Then there are the cases where the public feel these people get what they deserve but the external actors don’t like it.

As I have previously written, I anticipate Ms Tymoshenko being out of jail by Christmas at the latest.  Not that her incarceration necessarily means she was guilty or that her release necessarily means she is innocent.  In fact there are few internally of Ukraine who claim she was innocent outside her own political party and I have yet to read a statement from any European politician stating she was innocent either.

There are a number within Ukraine who doubt the motivation behind her incarceration and quite rightly.  The politicians and courts should be held to public scrutiny.  There are those who agree with her incarceration and believe she broke the law under which she was charged but do not like the manner and judicial system by way of transparency under which she was found guilty.  They do still believe she was guilty even if they don’t like the process.  The EU does not like the possibility of political motivation or the process but none have claimed she is innocent.

That however does not stop the coercive pressure for her release.  For the EU, guilty or not, it is important she takes part in the elections next year as she is the closest thing to an opposition figure that will  provide any semblance of an interesting democratic vote.  For them, even if she gets a spanking at the polls, she must take part.  During the entire circus that was her trial and as of today, her political support seems unchanged at 13% of the national vote.  Unpopular as the current powers are, they remain quite some distance ahead.

As I have previously pointed out in the above link though, the EU is still publicly and repeatedly moaning about Bulgaria and Romania dragging their feet prosecuting past political office holders and politicians.  On the other hand it has serious concerns over the state of Hungary and its plans to prosecute 3 past Prime Ministers.  As yet I have not read any serious comments over Iceland charging their ex-Prime Minister for quite  literally doing nothing.  That is despite Iceland moving towards EU Membership.

We now have the case of a Romanian judge under investigation in Romania as per the broad EU pressure on it to deal with corruption, only to find that the search and seizure of evidence against her cannot be used as the home she shares with her husband has diplomatic protection as he sits on the bench at the Strasbourg and holds diplomatic immunity.  Ergo, Romania goes after a corrupt judge at the top of the Romanian justice system to find she is fire-proof because of her husband’s position and Europe backs him.

Luckily they have Poland, the poster child of the EU when it comes to Eastern Europe.  Or do we?

Poland went after a corrupt ex Prime Minister and has again been cut off at the knees by Europe.

This Polish case has implications for Ukraine who have opened investigations into Ms Tymoshenko for her opaque dealings when head of the monopoly gas supplier and intermediary, United Energy Systems in the 1990’s.  The Russian Department of Defence claims to be owed $405 million which Ms Tymoshenko flatly denied until recently, when she then changed her position and stated there was a debt but not to the amount stated.

Intermingled in this cesspit of opaque gas deals and ultimately costing the Ukrainian people $ billions, is ex-Prime Minister Lazerenko who was jailed for laundering gas money in the US and is to be released in January 2012.

You have a sovereign nation in Russia claiming theft/fraud, an ex-Prime Minister jailed in the US for laundering opaque gas proceeds from UES whilst under Ms Tymoshenko’s directorship and I read with incredulity a female German MEP stating no Ukrainian politician is an angel and the matter should be left with the sleeping dogs.

She is right that no Ukrainian politician is an angel.  Nobody who survived in a position of power through the 1990’s can possibly be an angel.  It was a dirty, murky, nefarious time and make no mistake, but is she seriously advocating drawing a line under past deeds for politicians past and present in Ukraine?  What about justice?  Defrauding and stealing from the people of Ukraine is OK if you are a politician past or present as long as it occurred prior to some arbitrary time-line in the sand?

I would remind this German MEP of a statement by Golda Meir – “One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.”

At what point could Ukraine go after her (or any other Ukrainian politician who has held public office) for such crimes?  When she is as old and as infirm as Jacques Chirac and no longer matters on the political scene.  Is France setting the precedent?  Only then can the law have its turn?  Should Italy prosecute Berlusconi only when he retires from office or should they wait for a while afterwards and prosecute him posthumously?

Both Romania and Poland have had their legs licked out from under them when prosecuting past political leaders by European Courts in the past few weeks.  If the Polish case is anything to go by, should Ms Tymoshenko ever face trial and be convicted over the $405 million owing to Russia, she will win an appeal at the ECtHR as the same reasoning that the judge is not independent of the State will surely apply in Ukraine.

Now I know I am not even scratching the surface of the incidents in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Hungary, Iceland,  Romania or Poland.  I am not getting into the technicalities, rules of procedure, motivations, laws or individual national legal systems for good reason.  That good reason is the hoy polloy never do.

The great unwashed of which I am a fully paid up member, see only corrupt politicians and those at the top of the structures of state getting away with crimes and nefarious acts that have ultimately cost them money all the time, and when something is done, they see the EU supra-structures kicking the legs out from under the national system one way or another.

The human rights of the collective sacrificed at the alter of the human rights of the individual?  The law and justice sacrificed at the alter of political expediency?  National sovereignty sacrificed at the alter of the supra-structure?  National economics sacrificed at the alter of the markets?

Is it any wonder that the masses are getting rather miffed across the continent?

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