Europe appalled by removal of Vlasenko’s mandate
There were strong statements on 7 March following the extraordinary ruling by the High Administrative Court to anul the MP status of opposition MP and civic defender of imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Information about the run-up to this ruling, and reasons for grave concern can be found here
Strasbourg, 7 March 2013 - The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, has asked the Ukrainian authorities to explain on what legal basis Mr Serhiy Vlasenko, an opposition deputy, was stripped of his parliamentary seat yesterday.
“I find it very unusual that a deputy elected by the people can be expelled from Parliament at short notice and without having committed a serious crime.
I have asked the Ukrainian authorities to provide an explanation for this action which may affect a fundamental principle in a democracy, the sovereignty of a people to elect its deputies”, he said.
Strasbourg, 07.03.2013 – The monitoring co-rapporteurs for Ukraine of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Mailis Reps (Estonia, ALDE) and Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin (Sweden, EPP/CD), together with the Rapporteur on “Keeping political and criminal responsibility separate”, Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), have jointly expressed their deep concern and disappointment at the revocation of the parliamentary mandate of Ukrainian opposition MP Serhiy Vlasenko by a decision yesterday of the Ukrainian High Administrative Court.
“This raises the spectre that Mr Vlasenko is being punished for being a political ally and legal adviser to jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, ” said the three rapporteurs. “He is deprived of his popular mandate following a procedure that was reportedly marred by numerous violations. This follows the fact that he was prevented from attending the session of the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg in January this year on questionable grounds which are unacceptable and this only adds to our concerns.”
“We can only agree with Catherine Ashton and Stefan Füle, who said yesterday that the electorate, and not a court, should decide on the composition of parliament – except during the short period stipulated by law for the judicial review of possible election irregularities, which are not at all in question here.”
The three parliamentarians have been closely following the cases against the imprisoned former government leaders in the framework of their respective mandates, and have visited both former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko in their places of detention.
Mr Omtzigt, who met with Mr Vlasenko during his recent information visit to Kyiv, is due to present his final report to the Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights during its meeting in April. Ms Reps and Ms De Pourbaix-Lundin will visit Ukraine on 4 and 5 April 2013, when they intend to raise the case of Mr Vlasenko with the competent authorities.