Tymoshenko cassation appeal again deferred despite her objections


On Thursday the High Specialized Court on Civil and Criminal Cases in Kyiv yet again deferred the hearing into the cassation level appeal lodged by former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko against her 7-year sentence over the 2009 gas accords with Russia. Presiding judge Stanislav Mishchenko thus allowed the application for a postponement from the prosecution. He stated that the postponement was aimed at ensuring objective consideration of the case.  The MPs from the opposition present in the courtroom responded to this with chants of “Shame!”

Ms Tymoshenko is understood to have asked for the cassation hearing to be held in her absence as she is still undergoing medical treatment.

The cassation appeal has now been deferred three times since the original date of 15 May.  The earliest it will now take place, assuming it is not postponed again is 16 August.

After the last adjournment, there was wide consensus among analysts and Members of the European Parliament that the appeal was being deliberately stalled.

Ms Tymoshenko’s defence has on a number of occasions said that they will apply to the European Court of Human Rights without having exhausted this final legal remedy in Ukraine.  While the Court in Strasbourg will consider arguments presented in each such case, the period of time involved is not unprecedented.  It is also likely that the prosecution will cite Ms Tymoshenko’s illness and the recent Constitutional Court judgement about defendants having the right to attend all hearings in their case making it by no means guaranteed that the Court would agree to consider the application.

The former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition Batkivshchyna Party was sentenced on 11 October 2011 to 7 years imprisonment over the 2009 gas deal with Russia.  The conviction was widely condemned as politically motivated. 

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