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20 November, 2013

MPs on the Association Agreement and Tymoshenko

The Ukrainian Week polls members of the major political parties on the recent developments in parliament and chances of signing the Association Agreement

Arseniy Yatseniuk, Batkivshchyna

Can you think of the Prosecutor General’s Office looking at a case of five years, with no witnesses and no evidence, and deciding to withdraw the person’s (Serhiy Vlasenko, Yulia Tymoshenko’s lawyer, was summoned for an interrogation to the main investigation department of the Prosecutor General’s Office on November 11 upon suspicion of physical abuse of his ex-wife. The next day he was released on a bail, his international passport withdrawn – Ed.)  passport and ban him to leave the country? … And this is two weeks before the summit. This is a crystal clear answer to what is in their heads. All the things that have taken place at the Verkhovna Rada and all the things happening to Vlasenko are a crystal clear answer. Nobody (those in power – Ed.) is going anywhere. Maybe they will change their mind if the EU tells them “okay, you can put Vlasenko in jail and open five more cases against Tymoshenko, even then we’ll consider your entrance to the EU”. But Europe sticks to its principles, and this is about principles right now.

We have requested Cox and Kwasniewski to continue the mission until the last day in Vilnius and to make an interim report. Maybe Yanukovych will then have an insight and he will finally decide to fulfill the EU’s conditions and sign the Agreement. Therefore, we will fight to the opportunity to sign the Agreement with Europeans until the last day.

Viktor Chumak, UDAR

The prospect of passing the law on treating inmates is vague because the Bankova (Presidential Administration – Ed.) has its clear position on this. It doesn’t need it… The only thing that works for it is Yulia behind bars. What else can it decide? I think the main task they pursue is to show that they have fulfilled all of the EU’s 11-19 provisions, except for one, so the decision is up to the EU now.

The prospect of signing is a serious political matter. How willing is Europe to turn a blind eye to Yulia Tymoshenko?

And it’s not just Europe – there may be very serious consultations between Berlin and Washington, Brussels and Washington and so on. What we have today is probably the biggest geopolitical game after WWII and the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is my opinion. Just think about it: a choice could change all balances in the world.

Andriy Mishchenko, Svoboda

I am deputy head of the working group that prepared draft laws on treatment of inmates abroad. Here is what happened there. 

Representatives of the majority would sit and troll us, mocking the wrong commas… In turn, we essentially made concessions every hour as the majority demanded. So, they put up 19 points for vote, we voted for seven in a consensus, then put up three more, then we put two down. If there were will and a real intention to fulfill their 19 most important requirements, the draft law would have been completed by now, I think.  

But we have to understand that an experienced lawyer instructed to fail a law will do so. The Party of Regions actually included such experienced lawyers in the group – Oliynyk, Bohoslovska and others. 

They were pretending to do something, posing for the cameras and could keep the group working for many more hours. But we realize that they would come up with new requirements every day that have nothing to do with that will.

This draft law is not a legal act, it’s a political legal act. They wanted us to stay out of Article 365 on decriminalization. We removed that issue. They wanted to have a list of people not covered by this article and we did so. They wanted to amend the Code of Criminal Proceedings and we did. They wanted a bilateral agreement because Ukraine cannot impose its will on another country, and had it.

They demanded that inmates be released for treatment based on a court verdict – and we did. We agreed to all basic things they could speculate on. But they just have no will.  

Oleh Zarubinsky, Party of Regions

Some MPs insist, even if seemingly, that there should be a law on Yulia. It can’t be that way. We can’t pass a law on one person. There is no such case in international or Ukrainian practices. This should be a law allowing all citizens, all inmates to be treated beyond the penitentiary system, other than the ones you just can’t release – the worst criminals…. The opposition wants a law to cancel punishment under the disguise of treatment abroad, and it says so openly. The Party of Regions believes that treatment abroad should not be identical to a release. That’s all. 

I don’t think that the signing of the Association Agreement should depend on who places stakes on whom; on Moscow or Brussels wanting to have a controlled and fully dependent agent of influence. There is still the law on prosecutor’s office to be passed. I think those 500 amendments were included in for a purpose: people offer 10 amendments if they really want to change something… Just think how many plenary sessions they will take. I don’t understand what this was done for. Perhaps, to prevent the prosecutor law from being passed. The same argument refers to the election law.

Then, there will be just question left. Is Yulia Tymoshenko the reason why the EU is not signing the Association Agreement with Ukraine, or not… I believe that the fate of one person – even if well-known and influential in a certain circle – cannot determine the fate of the country.  

If I played a political totalizator, I would bet 50% that the Agreement will be signed. In any case, Ukraine is ready to sign it. I wish the EU were ready, too.  

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