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Timoshenko: impossible damage?

Kader Kadem | 06:51 | 0 Comments
I hope that the recently proposed changes to the criminal code in Ukraine will make such trials impossible in the future,” said Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the 47-member body, after a Ukraine court jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko for seven years. She was convicted of abusing power.

The judgement has enraged the West, jeopardising Kiev’s plans to join the EU. The verdict has potentially devastating consequences for the country - which could be averted on appeal, as President Viktor Yanukovych was quick to point out.

Timoshenko filed a complaint against Ukraine at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in June, claiming her trial was politically motivated. The ECHR rules on actions brought by individuals and legal entities that claim their human and fundamental rights have not been upheld by national courts. So first, the Appeals Court in Ukraine must uphold the verdict against Timoshenko. If it does, it is likely that she could be awarded damages by the ECHR.

New balancing act:
At the heart of this legal matter is the new law Ukraine adopted in 2006, enforcing ECHR judgements. One of its key points is a guarantee that Ukraine will pay compensation, if the ECHR so orders, within three months. Ukraine is eager to support the ECHR. As a member of the Council of Europe, it is a signatory to the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights – the treaty that established the ECHR. But can President Yanukovych’s hopes to avoid negative political fallout from the Timoshenko case, be realised? That depends on how well his country’s government can perform the new delicate balancing act in the political arena – between national and international justice.
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