Canadian Group for Democracy in Ukraine is asking the government of Canada to increase pressure on the regime of
Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych by
listing names of individuals tampering with the rule of law. In a letter, the group
asks that violators be disallowed from entering Canada and their assets here
democracy has been deteriorating since the president came to power, the most
visible indication being the incarceration of political opponents including Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko. Despite
calls from Western powers to adhere to
the rule of law there has been no response. In fact further draconian actions
of the last weeks underscore the regime’s determination to cripple the opposition
and snuff out the last vestiges of free media on the eve of Ukraine’s parliamentary
elections in October.
government has been trying to get TVi, the only independent television broadcaster
left, off the air. “It has lost some 10 million viewers and some $2.5 million in
ad revenues,” says Andy Holowaty a Toronto media consultant. “The government’s
National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council is directly responsible for
this.” The network has also been slapped with bogus back taxes.
paid, there is concern other fines may follow. Then last week the Cabinet of Ministers
unexpectedly enlarged the reach of its security and defense entities aimed at
“preventing and dealing with” terrorism.
consider the order to be a new open-season on political opposition, dissidents
and non-complying media, recalling the Great Terror, Velykyj Teror, of the
1930s under Nikolaj Yezhov–Stalin’s head of the NKVD — when fear and hunting
for what the state called “enemies of the people” terrorized the country.
concern was raised again by last week’s announcement that the party has drafted
legislation that will sentence journalists up to five years in prison for libelous
statements. “The problem with this law, as with the Order, is that there is no
recourse to an independent tribunal. Ukraine’s judicial system has shown itself
to be seriously flawed,” states the Canadian Group for Democracy in Ukraine letter
(Sept. 19) addressed to the parliamentary secretary to the minister of defense,
Laurie Hawn, copies to the prime minister, minister of foreign affairs and
others. The letter asks Canada to take action now with other Western states
against individuals who misuse their positions of power and apply laws
necessary to send a strong message before the election that Western governments
will not tolerate further violation of democratic norms in Ukraine. Publicizing
such a list is vital. Ukraine’s authorities must realize that there are serious
personal consequences for violating international commitments,” says Serhiy
Kudelia, a Ukraine expert. “Without a threat of personal sanctions they will continue
business as usual.”
sanctions are to work fully, the participation of the British Virgin Islands
and Cypress is needed, according to the letter.
is scheduling a visit the United States later this month to attend a session at
the United Nations in New York.
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