Fast track „pardon”


Yury Lutsenko was greeted by his wife, family and friends on Sunday afternoon 

While Yury Lutsenko’s release is wonderful, Yulia Tymoshenko remains in prison, and Lutsenko was "pardoned" after the last court in Ukraine rejected his appeal against a grossly flawed sentence

On Sunday morning President’s website  reported that President Yanukovych had signed a Decree pardoning six people, including ex-Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko and former Environment Minister Georgy Filipchuk.  Yury Lutsenko walked free around midday.

The text went on to assert that a process of reform of criminal and criminal procedure legislation, initiated by the President is underway this being “aimed at humanizing legal norms and reducing the number of people held in custody”.

Filipchuk himself asked for a pardon; an apparent request from the Human Rights Ombudsperson citing Lutsenko’s state of health has been given as the reason for Lutsenko’s pardon.

The EU Cox and Kwaśniewski Delegation also asked for Lutsenko’s pardon.

The good side

Yury Lutsenko’s release from custody after more than two and a half years imprisonment and possibility to receive proper treatment for the illnesses exacerbated (some probably caused) by prison conditions.

The bad

The pardon comes days after the High Specialized Court rejected the cassation appeal against the first conviction and four-year sentence.  The same court’s ruling is expected on 10 April regarding the second conviction, this over  surveillance measures against Valentin Davydenko.  The latter refused to testify in person and wrote to the court saying that he did not regard himself as a victim.  Neither this nor the numerous witnesses who said that Lutsenko’s authorization of the surveillance had been fully within the law had any effect on Judge Hanna Medushevska who found him guilty.  She was one of the judges in the first trial (together with presiding judge Serhiy Vovk and Oksana Tsarevych).  That first conviction and sentence have now been upheld by all possible courts in Ukraine (the second conviction did not alter the period of imprisonment).  This was despite the seriously questionable charges, flagrant infringements of procedural norms and there having been no grounds for Lutsenko’s detention up to and during the trial.. . 

The damning findings of the European Court of Human Rights regarding Lutsenko’s original arrest and ongoing detention, and effective acknowledgement of political motivation, have thus not led to any acknowledgement by a Ukrainian court of irregularities in the case.

While on purely humanitarian grounds Yury Lutsenko’s release is to be warmly welcomed, it is impossible to see this as any resolution of the problems with selective justice which have so damaged Ukraine’s reputation and probably its prospects for European integration. 

Halya Coynash

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