The Prosecutor General’s Office in Ukraine today announced that Yulia Tymoshenkos request to lift a travel ban and to allow her to visit the City of Kharkiv to meet voters and party activists on May 17-18, has been turned down. This happens simultaneously with the release of a statement by Hryhoriy Nemyria, Deputy Head of Batkivshchyna Party and former Deputy Prime Minister in criticizing Ukraine’s political leadership for not honoring its commitments and obligations as a member state of the Council of Europe.
“The current administration must not and has no right to apply selectively criminal justice system to persecute political opponents and to impede the activities of the opposition” said Hryhoriy Nemyria. “It has no right to manipulate electoral laws, to restrain the freedom of assembly, to use the Security Service of Ukraine for intimidation of civil activists, and to establish executive control over the judiciary.”
In regards to the failed commitments as a member state of the Council of Europe Hryhoriy Nemyria explained that “President Yanukovych approved the respective Action Plan and issued a number of instructions to the government more than a year ago. Only three out of these 22 instructions, following his visit to Strasbourg, were fulfilled completely and another three were fulfilled partly (though none of them on time). Unfortunately, progress in fulfilling the rest of instructions is minimal, if at all exististing.”
The priorities of Ukraine’s Chairmanship in the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers as announced by the current Government, namely “to strengthen and to develop democracy at local level” and “human rights and the rule of law in the context of democracy and stability in Europe”, are a bitter irony, said Hryhoriy Nemyria. “The shameful local elections of 2010 were found to be inconsistent with relevant international standards of the OSCE and the Council of Europe. Despite pompous official declarations demonstrating Ukraine’s ‘Potyomkin democracy’, this fall in standards was evidenced by Ukraine being downgraded in various international ratings.”
Hryhoriy Nemyria stated that during the year-long preparation for the Chairmanship, the Ukrainian authorities have failed to achieve real progress and to correct the systemic deficiencies of the Ukraine’s legal system, “with a view to stopping thousands of appeals from Ukrainian citizens flowing into the European Court of Human Rights”. He noted that Ukraine remains one of the five “leaders” in this respect among the 47 nations of the Council of Europe.