President Yanukovych lodges claim with the European Court of Human Rights

19 October 2015
Author: JHA

This press release is also available in Russian. You can download it as a PDF in English and Russian.

President Yanukovych has lodged a claim with the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that Ukraine has repeatedly breached his human rights.

His application asks the Court to declare violations of his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to a fair trial (Article 6), the right to an effective investigation of attempts made upon his life and the right to protection (Article 2), and the right not to be discriminated against because of his political status and opinions (Article 14).
Joe Hage of Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP, President Yanukovych’s UK lawyer, who has issued the claim, says: “President Yanukovych has brought this action now because it is clear that the Ukrainian authorities are determined to bring prosecutions against him. They have allowed unfair trials to proceed which infringe his basic human right to be present and to defend himself against allegations which President Yanukovych vigorously denies.

  1. President Yanukovych’s rights to an independent and impartial tribunal, to a fair hearing and to reasoned judgments have been breached. The Ukrainian courts are not independent from, or free from the influence of senior state officials, cannot be relied on to act impartially, and do not ensure fair hearings.A vivid example, among many, of a highly politicized court decision against President Yanukovych is the Pechersk Court decision allowing the special pre-trial investigation stage of a case against the President to be completed in his absence, and refusing to permit him even to participate by video link. This decision ignored the fact that there was no legal basis under the Ukraine law (which had been specially amended to pursue President Yanukovych), for allowing trial in the absence of the accused. No reasoned judgment was provided, and the Court completely ignored the fact that President Yanukovych was then and is currently not on an interstate wanted list or an international wanted list, since the Interpol Red Notice against President Yanukovych had been suspended. Ukrainian law does not permit an appeal against this decision.
  2. President Yanukovych’s right to a presumption of innocence has been violated by the numerous public and condemnatory statements made by senior state officials and prosecutors. The statements are so broad and frequent as to undermine his presumption of innocence in relation to any criminal proceedings.
  3. Ukraine has violated its duty to protect President Yanukovych, and its investigative and procedural duty under Article 2 ECHR because of the failure to carry out a proper investigation into the attempts on President Yanukovych’s life in February 2014. These breaches and the continuing threats against President Yanukovych mean that it is unsafe for President Yanukovych to return to Ukraine, and that he cannot attend the criminal proceedings in Ukraine properly to defend himself.
  4. President Yanukovych has suffered discriminatory treatment due to his political status and opinions, including by the multiple unfounded criminal cases said to be being brought against him in Ukraine, the baseless decisions being made against him by the Ukraine authorities and the Ukraine Courts, and the repeated public condemnation by Ukraine’s public officials.

There is no doubt the Ukrainian prosecution authorities are under huge political pressure to secure convictions in relation to false criminal allegations, including those constructed to provide a basis for the EU sanctions listing against President Yanukovych.”

ENDS

Enquiries to: Joseph Hage Aaronson LLP, Tel: +44 (0)2078518888

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