Editor’s Note: The following is a statement issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ukraine as a response to international criticism to the Oct. 11 conviction of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Ukraine follows closely European Union discussions on the development of internal political situation in our country and the progress in negotiations on the association agreement. In this regard, we would like to make the following statement.
The ultimate goal of the association agreement between Ukraine and the EU is to continue the process of European unification, launched two decades ago. Hence, it is totally unacceptable to limit the Ukraine-EU relations to the neighborhood status. Guided by this major premise, under the agreement Ukraine has committed itself to the obligations proportionate to those of the EU candidate-countries without receiving appropriate financial support since we see the historic mission of this document in opening a European gate for Ukraine.
We believe that continuation of the enlargement process is crucial for the viability of the EU evolution and its historical perspective. For this reason, Ukraine is interested in the success of the United Europe and is ready to undertake corresponding obligations given that the EU assumes proportionate obligations towards Ukraine. We also underscore that there can be no internal process or event that can undermine this reciprocity since we speak of the strategic perspective of the Ukraine-EU relations.
The Yulia Tymoshenko case is no exception and should not have any negative impact on the conclusion of the association agreement, the process Tymoshenko has publicly supported recently on numerous occasions.
The judgment announced today is within competence of the court. In accordance with the legislation of Ukraine the convicted person and her attorneys have the right to appeal against the court’s decision and defend their legal positions. Ukrainian government within its constitutional powers will do all possible to provide the transparency of this process.
The executive branch does not and will not interfere in this process. The case is in the hands of Ukraine’s judiciary. The parliament of Ukraine can also play its role by amending the Criminal Code of Ukraine and other appropriate pieces of legislation with a view of decriminalizing violations Yulia Tymoshenko was charged with. Relevant amendments have already been submitted to the Verkhovna Rada and are pending consideration by members of parliament.
Ukrainian authorities are willing to cooperate with their foreign partners to reform and strengthen our judiciary but have no right to defy fundamental principles of law and assume functions of the court. It is obvious that neither Ukrainian nor any foreign official has a right to put pressure on the judiciary. It is also true that no court case can be used as an instrument of pressure in the course of negotiations on the Association agreement.
We are ready to continue dialogue with our partners on all issues of mutual interest while today it is high-time to take the historic opportunity, demonstrate commitment and vision for the future of Ukraine and the European continent as a whole, and successfully conclude negotiations on the Association agreement.
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