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3 September, 2012  ▪  The Ukrainian Week

Not Entitled to Justice

A Ukrainian court has confirmed Yulia Tymoshenko's verdict. On August 29th, the Higher Special Court for Civil and Criminal Cases rejected Yulia Tymoshenko's appeal to overturn the verdict in the gas case that put her in jail for seven years last year.

According to Tymoshenko's lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko, this signals an attempt to "keep her behind bars for as long as possible."

Vlasenko reminded the public that consideration of the appeal had been back-pedalled both during the stage of the appeal, and in cassation. He claimed this was the result of the government's reluctance to open the door for Tymoshenko's lawyers to the European Court of Human Rights where they can only appeal after they have passed through all Ukrainian judicial institutions.

Now, however, Tymoshenko's laweyrs will file a suit in Europe as soon as possible. Experts say the European Court may take one to two years to deliver its verdict on the case. The Strasbourg Court is already considering the appeal against Tymoshenko's illegal arrest by the Pechersk Court on August 6th, 2011. European media report that that verdict may come very soon, but not before the parliamentary election on October 28th.

Meanwhile, an interesting fact has surfaced: Leonid Fesenko, Chief Justice of the Higher Special Court, is about to move to a higher position. Before Tymoshenko's cassation was considered, the Higher Qualification Committee of Judges nominated him to be Chief Justice of Ukraine's Supreme Court. Fesenko is also known for having illegally combined two positions as Chief Justice of the Higher Special Court and Party of Regions' MP for three months in 2010. Observers assume that, once a Supreme Court Chief Justice loyal to the government is appointed, he may get back the powers withdrawn from the Supreme Court in 2010 and given away to the Higher Special Court which was founded at that time in an attempt to dilute the power of then-Chief Justice Vasyl Onopenko, who had been seen as largely disloyal to the administration for a long time. Petro Pylypchuk, the current Supreme Court Chief Justice, will reach retirement age in early October this year.

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