Peter Lesniak is an independent Foreign Affairs Analyst concentrating on Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Part 2/3: Postponement of the hearing & refusing treatment in detention
The first part of this series discussed the precise allegations against the former Ukrainian PM including the abuse of political power and lack of procedural approach in inter-governmental contract negotiations.
Today, let’s focus on why Tymoshenko’s hearing is being delayed time and time again and why the former PM refuses certain medical treatment while in detention.
Back to 2012, the Ukrainian high court in Kyiv has, for the fourth time, granted a motion for the final hearing to be postponed until August 16th pending a medical examination (which will establish whether the former-PM is fit to attend the hearing).
Officially, Tymoshenko is being treated for back problems in the state-run Kharkiv Hospital and is currently awaiting further results before being allowed to participate in the hearing.
Nonetheless, the voices behind the scenes identify other reasons that explain why Yanukowych’s government do not want the hearing to proceed. First, such were the coincidences in the Kiev High Court that the process of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma was scheduled for the same day (June 26th), at the same time, and with the same judge as the Tymoshenko case, (although the latter has been agreed months before).
Secondly, the Ukrainian parliamentary elections will take place on 28th October 2012. The deadline for submitting applications for parties standing in elections is August 13th. Clearly, even if the court hearing will, this time, be conducted on time and Tymoshenko is cleared of all allegations, her All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland” party would not have a chance to compete in the upcoming elections.
There can be hardly any doubt that Tymoshenko feels determined to participate in the political process in Ukraine. Nonetheless, it is hard to participate when the system itself acts like an unconquerable bureaucratic barrier. I met with one Ukrainian lawyer very closely involved in the Tymoshenko case who made it very clear that the former prime minister is seriously worried about her health whilst in detention.
She is worried to the point that a formal application to the European Court of Human Rights has been submitted on the basis of a violation of Article 2, (right to life). The European Court of Human Rights will hold a public hearing on the case of Tymoshenko v. Ukraine on August 28th concerning complaints related to her detention.
In addition, Tymoshenko alleges that her Article 3 (prohibition of degrading treatment or punishment), Article 5 (right to liberty and security), Article 8 (right to private life) and Article 18 rights (limitation on use of restrictions on rights) of the European Convention on Human Rights have been violated.
In addition, considering previous cases of incidents in detention facilities, it is no surprise that Tymoshenko refuses to give blood for a medical examination.
Past cases include former minister of Interior who lost twenty-five percent of his body weight and developed hepatitis whilst in a detention facility; and a former Minister of Defence who also developed problems with his back whilst in pre-trial detention. The latter has been in the detention facility for almost 2 years now without trial.