Since the last report to the Conference of Presidents on 18 April 2013, we have undertaken eight additional official missions to Ukraine, bringing the total number of visits since the beginning of the monitoring mission to 22.
Since the beginning of the mission, we have spent the equivalent of twelve full working weeks in Ukraine, meeting President Yanukovych fourteen times, Prime Minister Azarov twenty-one times, Yulia Tymoshenko in hospital thirteen times for about thirty-two hours of dialogue and meeting members of her family and defence lawyers on a regular basis. We also met on many occasions other senior current and former office holders both within the Government and the opposition, the representatives of the civil society and diplomatic corps. We are grateful for the continued high level of cooperation with all our counterparts in Ukraine, both with the authorities and with the opposition.
This cooperation has enabled the mission develop a high level of trust resulting in Mrs Tymoshenko remaining in hospital care, without video monitoring and attended only by female guards. She has not been forced to attend Court hearings and has not been transferred back to the colony. All trials and criminal investigations against her have been suspended at least since June 2013. Former Minister of the Interior Mr Lutsenko was pardoned on 7 April 2013 and released immediately. Former Acting Minister of Defence Mr Ivashchenko was released on 14 August 2012 and his travel ban lifted. Since December 2012, the mission has also paid close attention to a number of related cases brought against Mr Nemyria MP (Batkivshchina party & Chair of the Rada Committee on European Integration) and Mrs Tymoshenko's lawyer Mr Vlasenko, whose travel ban was lifted on 3 April 2013. Moreover, we have systematically encouraged the authorities and the opposition to work together in order to meet with key expectations by the EU especially in terms of standards of democracy and Rule of Law. Electoral legislation is being improved following the last parliamentary elections and a date for new elections in the five disputed constituencies has been set on 15 December 2013. The new Criminal Procedural Code is being implemented, significantly reducing the number of pre-trial detainees. Moreover, the Venice Commission has recently adopted mostly positive recommendations as regards further proposed reforms to the Judiciary and the Public Prosecutor's Office. These reforms, if conducted and implemented fully and in line with European standards, could significantly change the political and legal landscape in Ukraine, an improvement which is also much needed to attract the available foreign direct investment.
As regards Mrs Tymoshenko's situation, the Former Prime Minister is being hospitalised since April 2012 in the Ukrzaliznytsia Central Clinical in Kharkiv where a team of doctors of the Charité clinic (Berlin, Germany) is overseeing her treatment. In June 2013, the assessment of Tymoshenko's medical situation concluded that she urgently requires appropriate surgical treatment. Due to her distrust in the Ukrainian authorities rather than the Ukrainian Doctors themselves, Yulia Tymoshenko has refused such treatment in Ukraine. She would however be willing to undergo surgery abroad as publically stated on 4 October 2013.
In the “gas case”, the Kyiv Pecherskyi District Court's verdict was upheld by the Court of Appeal and by the Cassation Court in August 2012. The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on her pre-trail arrest and detention came into force on 30 July 2013, establishing that she was detained illegally before the conviction. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has already criticized Ukraine for not re-opening the criminal proceedings that led to her conviction in order to execute that judgment. There is currently also the second case pending before the Strasbourg Court as regards the alleged violations to her right to a fair trial. In the “tax case”, the trials at the Kharkiv District Court have been constantly postponed due to the ill health of the defendant. In the "Shcherban murder case" (merged with the "UESU debt case"), the pre-trial investigation has been also suspended.
Given this medical and legal context, the mission delivered an appeal to the President of Ukraine on 4 October 2013 (see annex) to release Yulia Tymoshenko for medical treatment on health and humanitarian grounds by way of pardon. As publically stated, Germany would be ready to host Mrs Tymoshenko for such a treatment, not least due to the Doctors from the Charité clinic being based in Berlin.
Our appeal comes at a time of strategic importance for EU-Ukraine relations. Addressing the issues of selective Justice is one of the key requirements identified by the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council in December 2012 in order to sign the Association Agreement with Ukraine. Many efforts have been made as regards the other requirements, notably in terms of legislative reforms as outlined above.
We were mandated by the European Parliament to deal with the question of selective justice in Ukraine. The conditions for signature were set by the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU, not by our mission. In our opinion, these conditions, especially as regards Yulia Tymoshenko, still remain to be fulfilled. After 16 months and 22 missions, we conclude at this point in time that further work is required to ensure compliance.
In this context, we believe this mission should continue its efforts in order to facilitate the implementation of a mutually acceptable solution before the decision by the Council of the European Union on a potential signature of the Association Agreement. Given the pressing nature of the remaining timeframe we urge all parties in Ukraine, the EU institutions and its Member States to lend their focussed and fullest support to the mission in order to secure the necessary conditions that would ensure success at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.
- 22 visits to Ukraine
- 13 Court hearings attended
- 61 days of meetings in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mena penal colony, Yalta
- 14 meetings with President Yanukovych
- 21 meetings with Prime Minister Azarov
- 3 meetings with the Prosecutor General of Ukraine
- 13 meetings with Yulia Tymoshenko in the Kharkiv hospital
- 6 meetings with Yuriy Lutsenko (2 in Court, 2 in prison, 2 in EU Delegation)
- 5 meetings with Valeriy Ivashchenko
- 23 meetings with Yulia Tymoshenko's representatives (lawyer & family)
- 15 meetings with opposition leaders (Batkivshchina & UDAR)
- 15 meetings with EU-27 Heads of Mission
- 9 meetings with US Ambassador
- 4 meetings with Ukraine's former Presidents (Presidents Kravchuk, Kuchma & Yushchenko).6 meetings with NGOs (18 in total)
- 17 days of meetings in Brussels and Strasbourg
Source: The European Parliament