Extraordinary parliament session over Timoshenko case unlawful

DONETSK, August 8 (Itar-Tass) —— The Ukrainian opposition’s initiative to call an extraordinary session of the parliament over the criminal case of former Prime Minister and opposition Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party leader Yulia Timoshenko is unconstitutional, Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legislative Support to Law Enforcement Work First Deputy Chairman Vladimir Oliynik.

“Deputies can only call an extraordinary session for a concrete matter. But if an extraordinary session is called over the Timoshenko case it will be unconstitutional,” the Party of Regions press service quoted Oliynik as saying o Monday, August 8.

Under the Constitution, power in Ukraine is divided between three branches – legislative, executive and judicial – and they are forbidden to interfere in each other’s work.

“There is a ruling of the Constitutional Court, which says that people’s deputies cannot interfere in the work of judicial bodies in any form. The reason for this is that deputies used to abuse their rights by sending inquiries to courts with regard to concrete cases,” the lawmaker said.

He stressed that if the opposition’s initiative were supported, this would constitute a direct violation of the Constitution and breach of the principle that forbids anyone to put pressure on court.

Oliynik said there is not a single case in Europe where a parliament would interfere in a criminal case involving a politician.

Earlier in the day, Kiev’s Pechersky district court ordered that Timoshenko should remain in custody and refused to free her.

Presiding Judge Rodion Kireyev turned down Timoshenko’s lawyers’ appeal for replacing arrest with recognizance not to leave Kiev.

Three criminal cases have been opened against Timoshenko and she has given a written pledge not to leave Kiev.

One concerns the use of part of proceeds from the sale of greenhouse gas quotas, which were intended for certain purposes, for financing national budget expenditures. A total of 380 million euros were misused.

Another criminal case concerns the purchase, against the government’s guarantees, and import into Ukraine of allegedly specialised Opel Combo ambulances. The damage from this transaction is estimated at 67 million hryvnia (over eight million U.S. dollars).

Kiev’s district court has confirmed the legitimacy of the criminal case against Timoshenko over gas contracts with Russia made in 2009.

The court rejected Timoshenko’s appeal questioning the legitimacy of the criminal case and confirmed that the Prosecutor General’s Office had acted lawfully by brining criminal charges against her.

Timoshenko was notified on April 13 of a new criminal case opened against her for the gas agreements she had made with Russia in 2009.

Kuzmin said prior to that that new charges of abuse of office when making natural gas supply contracts in 2009 had been brought against Timoshenko.

“The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has opened a criminal case against the ex-premier for abuse of office when making gas contracts in 2009,” he said.

Earlier, the Prosecutor General’s Office opened two criminal cases against Timoshenko and later combined then into one.

Timoshenko has been charged with misuse of 380 million euros received by Ukraine under the Kyoto Protocol. She may face a prison term of five to ten years. She has been asked to give a written pledge not to leave the city.

Timoshenko claims that the money was used to pay pensions.

On December 20, 2010, the Prosecutor General’s Office said that as prime minister Timoshenko, “acting deliberately and driven by her personal interests,” made the decision to “use a part of the proceeds from the sale of greenhouse emission quotas intended for stated purposes for financing Ukraine’s national budget expenses, primarily pension obligations.”

According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, Timoshenko’s decision resulted in a loss of 960,000 hryvnia (121,000 U.S. dollars) in the national budget.

Timoshenko denied the misuse of the funds.

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