Verkhovna Rada rejects bill on decriminalization
The ruling majority in the Verkhovna Rada on Wednesday refused to decriminalize the articles of the Criminal Code under which former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Lutsenko are charged. Only 154 (with 225 needed) deputies voted to have the draft law introduced by Viacheslav Kyrylenko [Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence] put on the agenda.
The draft law proposed amendments to Articles 364 and 365 of the Criminal Code to say that “people who in accordance with Ukraine’s Constitution are (were) members of the Cabinet of Ministers are not officials.”
Parliament also failed to support the bill submitted by Arseny Yatsenyuk on amendments to some laws (on introducing European standards in criminal justice).
They did however include on the agenda a draft Law on Humanization of Liability for Economic Offices. This presidential draft law does not envisage decriminalization of the articles behind the charges about Tymoshenko and Lutsenko.
Yulia Tymoshenko has been charged with the offence under Article 365 § 3 of the Criminal Code (over the gas accords with Russia in the winter of 2009 when a dispute between the two countries led to the gas being cut and gas not reaching European countries.
Lutsenko is charged under the same Article 365 § 3 [exceeding official powers leading to serious consequences); Article 364 § 3 (abuse of power and official position causing considerable damage to the rights of citizens protected by the law and caused by a law enforcement body employee.)
The above-mentioned prosecutions and others have led to numerous statements of concern abroad as well (see reports below). Assessment of the charges is provided in, among others, the following: Public Committee against Political Persecution: Persecution of members of the former government for governmental decisions. Document 3 and Danish Helsinki Committee: Legal Monitoring in Ukraine II