Human Rights in Ukraine


Verkhovna Rada again refuses to decriminalize ’Tymoshenko article’


During the opening of the new Verkhovna Rada session the opposition chanted “Shame!” and “Freedom for Yulia” as President Yanukovych attempted to give his opening address

On Wednesday the ruling majority refused to support another bill, this one introduced by Dmytro Shvets from BYUT-Batkivshchyna “On amendments to the Criminal Code to bring Ukraine’s criminal legislation into line with the UN Convention against Corruption ».

The bill received only 159 votes with the factions in the ruling majority simply not voting.

The draft bill envisaged amendments to Article 365 stating that exceeding power or office if carried out with the aim of receiving unlawful benefit on a large scale for themselves or another individual or legal entity is punishable (by a range of punishments including imprisonment and being stripped of the right to hold certain positions).

At present the article’s applicability hinges solely on the amount of money involved, not on whether there was any illicit gain to the person prosecuted or others.

Yulia Tymoshenko was sentenced in October to seven years imprisonment under Article 365, with the abuse of power supposedly being over the gas contracts signed with Russia to end the 2009 winter gas crisis (which had stopped the flow of gas to a number of European countries).

The ruling majority have consistently rejected attempts, encouraged by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the EU and US to change the article which effectively allows heavy sentences for political decisions.

It did, on the other hand, pass a law decriminalizing several other articles of the Criminal Code, including concealment of earnings in foreign currency.  This came into force on 17 January 2012

Information about the vote and the photo from UNIAN

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