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16.10.2013

Last Chance: Cox-Kwaśniewski Mission extended

   

The European Parliament Mission has been extended into November, essentially because the key conditions have not been met.  Former Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko remains imprisoned almost two years after President Yanukovych first assured western countries that the “situation” would be resolved.

The EP envoys Pat Cox and Aleksander Kwaśniewski reported to their parliamentary colleagues on Tuesday. Later Martin Schulz, EP President stated that they had agreed that the envoys would continue their work until mid November and will present their report just days before the Vilnius Summit which is to decide whether the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is to be signed.

The following are excerpts from the Cox-Kwaśniewski key observations to the Conference of EP Presidents.  

“Since the last report to the Conference of Presidents on April 18, we have undertaken eight additional official missions to Ukraine …bringing the total number of visits since the beginning of the monitoring mission to 22.

Since the beginning of the mission, we have spent the equivalent of 12 full working weeks in Ukraine, meeting President Viktor Yanukovych 14 times, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov 21 times, Yulia Tymoshenko in hospital 13 times for about 32 hours of dialogue and meeting members of her family and defence lawyers on a regular basis. We also met on many occasions other senior current and former officeholders both within the government and the opposition, the representatives of the civil society and diplomatic corps. We are grateful for the continued high level of cooperation with all our counterparts in Ukraine, both with the authorities and with the opposition.

This cooperation has enabled the mission develop a high level of trust resulting in Tymoshenko remaining in hospital care, without video monitoring and attended only by female guards. She has not been forced to attend court hearings and has not been transferred back to the colony.

All trials and criminal investigations against her have been suspended at least since June. 

Former Minister of the Interior Yuriy Lutsenko was pardoned on April 7 and released immediately.

Former Acting Minister of Defence Valery Ivashchenko was released on Aug. 14 and his travel ban lifted. 

Since December 2012, the mission has also paid close attention to a number of related cases brought against Hryhoriy Nemyria, a member of parliament from the opposition Batkivshchina party and the chair of the Rada Committee on European Integration, and Tymoshenko's lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko, whose travel ban was lifted on April 3.

 Moreover, we have systematically encouraged the authorities and the opposition to work together in order to meet with key expectations by the European Union especially in terms of standards of democracy and rule of law. 

Electoral legislation is being improved following the last parliamentary elections and a date for new elections in the five disputed constituencies has been set on Dec. 15. The new criminal procedural code is being implemented, significantly reducing the number of pre-trial detainees.

 Moreover, the Venice Commission has recently adopted mostly positive recommendations as regards further proposed reforms to the judiciary and the public prosecutor's office. These reforms, if conducted and implemented fully and in line with European standards, could significantly change the political and legal landscape in Ukraine, an improvement which is also much needed to attract the  available foreign direct investment.

the mission delivered an appeal to Yanukovych on Oct. 4 (see annex) to release Tymoshenko for medical treatment on health and humanitarian grounds by way of pardon. As publicly stated, Germany would be ready to host Tymoshenko for such a treatment, not least due to the doctors from the Charité clinic being based in Berlin.

Our appeal comes at a time of strategic importance for EU-Ukraine relations. Addressing the issues of selective Justice is one of the key requirements identified by the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council in December 2012 in order to sign the Association Agreement with Ukraine. Many efforts have been made as regards the other requirements, notably in terms of legislative reforms as outlined above.

We were mandated by the European Parliament to deal with the question of selective justice in Ukraine. The conditions for signature were set by the Foreign Affairs Council of the EU, not by our mission. In our opinion, these conditions, especially as regards Yulia Tymoshenko, still remain to be fulfilled. After 16 months and 22 missions, we conclude at this point in time that further work is required to ensure compliance.

In this context, we believe this mission should continue its efforts in order to facilitate the implementation of a mutually acceptable solution before the decision by the Council of the European Union on a potential signature of the Association Agreement. Given the pressing nature of the remaining timeframe we urge all parties in Ukraine, the EU institutions and its Member States to lend their focused and fullest support to the mission in order to secure the necessary conditions that would ensure success at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.

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