Archive for November 8th, 2011

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Decriminalising Tymoshenko’s crime

November 8, 2011

Well, it appears that the proposal decriminalising the law under which Ms Tymoshenko was found guilty may well get before the RADA this week.

It could have been last week but members of her own party blocked the parliament to prevent any vote going ahead.  Why did they physically stop the RADA voting?  The answer is that they do not think the majority will support the amendments submitted by the opposition and will only support the original proposal for decriminalising Ms Tymoshenko’s conviction.

The problem is should this proposal be voted down by the majority it cannot go back to the RADA for another vote for 6 months regardless of any changes that would be acceptable to both sides agreed within a much shorter time period after any vote.  Those are the procedural rules.

Ergo, when this proposal does eventually get to a vote, for the sake of Ms Tymoshenko’s timely release, it needs to pass or  she will sit for another 6 months in jail whilst procedural rules are followed for another submission of the proposal.  Undoubtedly all domestic and external actors are fully aware of this situation.

In short, if the proposal fails to pass first time, Ms Tymoshenko will remain in jail by default due to procedural reasons within the parliament rather than any political will from either side to keep her there.

Now it is very easy to say that political will would pass the proposal immediately however I haven’t spoken with anybody who is aware of the exact contents of the proposal or the amendments suggested.  Ukraine has suffered before from quick remedies scribbled on the back of a cigarette packet and agreed in smokey back-rooms to reach a swift solution  only for it to prove to become a legislative nightmare.  The constitutional amendments hastily agreed when Yushenko came to power are a case in point.  As Ms Tymoshenko and others latterly stated, those amendments made Ukraine ungovernable.

It is therefore reasonable to try and get this proposal as right as possible, particularly when an empirical eye is cast over recent legislation that has been invariably returned to the RADA either under presidential veto or after the procedural 6 month period due to improvements that could be made and should have been included in original laws only to be thought about later.

If there is a political will to decriminalise the law under which Ms Tymoshenko was found guilty, the majority will support the original proposal but not necessarily all the proposed amendments, a failure to get a negotiated consensus of opinion would undoubtedly fail her as far as her human rights go.  She would remain imprisoned due to procedural reasons external of the law she was found guilty under, whilst the decriminalising of the law allowing her release would also be delayed through procedural reasons of parliament only.

In the meantime I am led to believe that Ukraine is preparing to take a step back from the DCFTA and AA with the EU regardless, and may not be in a rush to initial these agreements anyway until there is more of a consensus within the EU over the prospects of Ukrainian membership in the future.

More haste and less speed would seem to be the order of the day.

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