By the Focus News Agency (October 11, 2011)
OSCE chair Lithuania on Tuesday expressed concern at the conviction of Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on abuse of power charges, saying she must have a fair right to appeal, AFP reported.
“I have followed this case closely and previously urged the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that the defendant’s rights to a fair trial were fully respected,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis said in a statement.
“It is now vital that the appeals process be conducted openly and fairly and in line with the highest standards to restore the trust of the Ukrainian people and the international community,” added Azubalis, whose country is currently at the helm of the 56-nation Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Tymoshenko, who has spearheaded Ukraine’s opposition since losing a presidential poll in 2010, was convicted of abusing power in signing a 2009 gas deal with Russia and sentenced Tuesday to seven years in jail.
“Ukraine needs to show the utmost transparency in the conduct of its judicial processes. While countries have a duty to uphold the rule of law, they must do so in a way that avoids the selective application of justice,” Azubalis said.
In 2013, Ukraine is due to take over the chair of the OSCE, the role of which includes monitoring judicial standards, human rights and democracy arm in its member states.