Wednesday, May 9, 2012


VOST President Olexandr Dzhulyk in the WOW office during his visit to Brussels.

During his visit to Brussels I had the opportunity to speak with Olexander Dzhulyk, president of the Ukrainian trade union confederation VOST. It was on the same day that the Ukrainian minister of foreign affairs had decided to cancel the summit to be held in Yalta because of a boycott of many European heads of government. It was also the 20th day of the hunger strike of former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko that she started in prison because she was beaten by prison guards.

VOST is convinced that Timoshenko has been imprisoned for political reasons. During the 2010 elections she was the strongest contester of president Janukovic. He won the second round of presidential elections only by electoral fraud (especially in the eastern part of the country) that gave him a 3% more votes than Timoshenko. But what makes things worse is that president Yanukovic himself has become a prisoner of criminal gangs. Therefore, the struggle for the freedom of Timoshenko is not only a struggle for democracy based on free and fair elections but also against political banditry.

As long as resolution 1862 (2012) of theParliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is not fully implemented by president Yanukovic, VOST will support the boycott of the European football championship as already has been announced by some European political leaders.

In this Resolution (article 2) the Assembly expresses “its concern with regard to the criminal proceedings initiated under Articles 364 (abuse of office) and 365 (exceeding official powers) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine against a number of former government officials, including the former Minister of the Interior, Mr Juriy Lutsenko, the former acting Minister of Defence, Mr Valeriy Ivashchenko, and the former first Deputy Minister of Justice, Mr Yevhen Korniychuk, as well as the former Prime Minister, Ms Yulia Tymoshenko.”

Yulia Timoshenko shows one of her bruising due to beatings by a prison guard.

Article 3 of the Resolution says: “the Assembly considers that Articles 364 and 365 of the Criminal Code are overly broad in application and effectively allow for ex post facto criminalisation of normal political decision making. This runs counter to the principle of the rule of law and is unacceptable. The Assembly therefore urges the authorities to promptly amend these two articles of the Criminal Code in line with Council of Europe standards and to drop the charges against former government officials which are based on these provisions. The Assembly wishes to emphasise that the assessment of political decisions and their effects is the prerogative of parliaments and, ultimately, of the electorate, and not of the courts. In this respect, the Assembly asks the President of Ukraine to consider all legal means available to him to release these members of the former government and to allow them to stand for the upcoming parliamentary elections. It considers that strict international standards delimiting political and criminal responsibility need to be developed.”

In article 4 “the Assembly regrets the numerous shortcomings noted in the trials against former government officials and considers that they may have undermined the possibility for the defendants to obtain a fair trial within the meaning of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Therefore VOST will continue its struggle for democracy in Ukraine as started in 2002 by the Orange Revolution as long as Resolution 1862 is not implemented by the actual Ukrainian Government.

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