Human rights concerns over prosecutions of former government officials
According to Pshonka, in all, 18 criminal cases have been initiated, with the investigation into eight of them completed. At the same time President Yanukovych stated last Thursday that up to 30 criminal cases had been initiated against ministers of Tymoshenko’s government.
Opposition politicians and most independent experts view this as political reprisals against opponents. Human rights activists draw attention to flagrant violations of the rights of those arrested. “In the majority of those cases the people gained no benefit from the decisions they passed. There is therefore a problem with observance of the right to a fair trial”, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Volodymyr Yavorsky, explains.
He adds that the wording in many cases “misuse of official position” is not at all specific, while in half the cases there are signs of a selective approach where criminal prosecutions are being brought against members of the former government for actions which the present ministers are carrying out with impunity.
As an example, Yavorsky cites violation by the present government of tender procedures for choosing participants in the audit of the activities of the Tymoshenko government. The selection was made without any tender although tens of millions of public funding were spent.
The appeals against these violations should be examined by the High Court for Civil and Criminal Cases, however the Deputy Head of the Court is the brother of the present Prosecutor General. This, Yavorsky points out, “creates a problem with the court system in Ukraine in general”.