PACE: No place for political prisoners in Europe
On Wednesday Jean-Claude Mignon, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) met with Yevhenia Tymoshenko, daughter of the imprisoned former Prime Minister and Iryna Lutsenko, MP and wife of imprisoned ex-Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko. The Tymoshenko website reports that Jean-Claude Mignon stressed that there should not be any political prisoners in Europe.
In the statement on the PACE website, Jean-Claude Mignon welcomed “the clear willingness expressed by Ukraine’s highest authorities to scrupulously respect their obligations and commitments to the Council of Europe, as well as the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, ”
He called for reform without delay, and said that constitutional reform should be a main priority.
“Other priorities should be revising the laws critical for the smooth functioning of justice, in particular the law on the Office of the prosecutor and the laws on the judicial system and the status of judges, as well as reform of the police and improvements foreseen to electoral legislation. The President encouraged Ukraine to intensify its co-operation with Council of Europe bodies in carrying out these reforms, especially with the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission).
Jean-Claude Mignon indicated that the monitoring co-rapporteurs for Ukraine were due to make a fresh visit to the country in mid-April to continue their assessment of the follow-up given by the Ukrainian authorities to the Assembly’s Resolution 1862 (2012).
Concerning imprisoned former government members, the President called on the authorities to swiftly find a solution, in line with Council of Europe principles, to the problems arising from the selective application of justice – primarily, the emblematic cases of Mrs Tymoshenko and Mr Lutsenko – and to reform the legal system to avoid any repeat of these problems. He also recalled that Ukraine had committed itself to respect the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on this question.”