Lutsenko to receive “pardon”?
On Friday imprisoned former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko’s second cassation appeal was heard in his absence. Unlike on Wednesday, when it rejected his appeal against the first 4-year sentence, the High Specialized Court took time out to consider the second appeal, stating that their judgement would be issued on 10 April.
A message was also placed on the President’s official website stating that “the Head of State is proposing that the Pardon Commission under the President consider without delay the applications from Valeria Lutkovska and Georgy Filipchuk. A separate message is posted, apparently quoting Ms Lutkovska, the Human Rights Ombudsperson, in which she asks for the pardon on the grounds of concern for Lutsenko’s deteriorating health.
As reported, a strong message was issued by EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, and Commissioner Stefan Füle on 4 April in which they “express their regret over the rejection of former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko’s cassation appeal and reiterate concern over the trial which did not respect international standards”.
“We have noted with regret yesterday’s decision by Ukraine’s Higher Specialized Court for Civil and Criminal Cases to uphold the verdict against Mr Yuriy Lutsenko of four years’ imprisonment.
We recall our strong concern regarding his trial which did not respect international standards as regards fair, transparent and independent legal processes. These concerns were reinforced by the 3 July 2012 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights which held that his pre-trial arrest in December 2010 had been arbitrary and that the lawfulness of his arrest and detention had not been properly reviewed.
We commend the efforts undertaken by the European Parliament’s monitoring mission to Ukraine headed by former Presidents Cox and Kwaśniewski. We call on the Ukrainian authorities to step up cooperation with the mission to redress the effects and remove the concerns regarding selective justice. This would also require, among other issues, consideration of the health condition of Mr Lutsenko and implementation of further judicial reforms”
We will continue to monitor closely developments in Ukraine and we look forward to the full implementation of the conclusions of the 10 December 2012 Foreign Affairs Council and 25 February 2013 EU-Ukraine Summit.”
Information about Georgy Filipchuk’s case can be found here