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27.12.2012

Who is delaying Lutsenko’s second European Court judgement

   

  Ukraine has already been found by the European Court of Human Rights to have breached the rights of former Interior Minister and opposition leader Yury Lutsenko with respect to his detention in December 2010.  There is no reason to believe that Lutsenko’s second application to Strasbourg over the charges against him and the extraordinary judicial irregularities in the trials would be rejected. 

A matter of time…

The court appeals have also been rejected and the sentences condemned by the EU, USA and others, upheld.  This, however, has not exhausted the domestic court remedies which in theory could overturn the convictions

Oleksy Bahanets, one of Lutsenko’s lawyers, explained to the Deutsche Welle Ukrainian Service that they are unable to lodge the application since the High Specialized Court is procrastinating on examination of Lutsenko’s cassation appeal.

“We were told that the judge who should examine Lutsenko’s appeal did not have access to State secrets and that it was only after three months that the court applied to the SBU [Security Service] to get such access”.

He asserts that the judges and those in power know that without the cassation appeal ruling, Lutsenko can’t appeal against his sentence to the European Court of Human Rights.

On 3 December Lutsenko’s lawyers lodged a second application with the Court in Strasbourg over the actions of the Administration in “deliberately turning Lutsenko into an invalid through failure to provide medical assistance”.

Bahanets says that Lutsenko suffers from cyrrhosis of the liver and portal hypertension which, according to the law precludes imprisonment. Yet, as reported, on Monday 24 December the Mensk District Court rejected the application to release Lutsenko on health grounds.

Arkady Bushchenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union says that the procrastination has not yet reached the critical point which the Court in Strasbourg would find to be a violation of his right to a fair trial. The procrastination would need to be years, rather than months.

On the other hand he confirms that he and human rights colleagues continue to see the case of Lutsenko as politically motivated and aimed at removing a political opponent.

He says that this damages the current regime both within the country and at international level. 

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