Lutsenko Verdict still further dismantles the rule of law in Ukraine

On 27 February 2010 the Pechersky District Court in Kyiv sentenced former Internal Affairs Minister Yury Lutsenko to four years imprisonment.

The court trial of Yury Lutsenko over many months demonstrated the same failings with respect to fair court proceedings as seen during the trials of Yulia Tymoshenko and other former high-ranking officials.

Yury Lutsenko has been convicted over political decisions which in law-based democracies cannot constitute criminal offences, and the sentence is effectively extra-judicial punishment since it is based on arbitrary extension of the norms of criminal legislation.

The undersigned human rights organizations are concerned at this latest demonstration of selective justice by the Ukrainian authorities. The verdict against Yury Lutsenko is the latest step in the destruction of rule of law in Ukraine. This verdict is a massive step backwards for Ukraine in its democratic development and clearly shows the stubborn wish by those in power to negate the achievements of the Ukrainian people over the last 20 years.

Of especial concern is the fact that this destruction of European values is seen in a country which is to hold the presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2013.

We call on the high courts in Ukraine to restore faith in the Ukrainian justice system by revoking this manifestly unjust verdict against Yury Lutsenko and to stop the trend towards arbitrary interpretation of the law.

We call on the international community to give their political assessment of attempts by the Ukrainian authorities to destroy the independence of the judicial system and allow the use of the justice system for political persecution of leaders of the opposition and civic activists.

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors of Law Enforcement

The Vanadzorsky Office of the Helsinki Civic Assembly (Armenia)

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee

The Moscow Helsinki Group

“Public Initiative”

The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

The Kazakhstan International Human Rights Office

The Armenian Helsinki Committee

The IDEA Eurasia Network

The International Youth Human Rights Movement

The Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Russia

Freedome files, Russia

Catena, Turkmenistan

Voiсe of Freedom Kyrgystan

Promo Lex Moldova

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights

People in Need, Czech Republic

Human Rights Monitoring Institute

Vladimir Lobkovich

International Partnership for Human Rights

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Human Rights House Foundation

Crude Accountability USA

Artikle 19

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