BRUSSELS, April 8 (RIA Novosti) – European Union and United States officials have welcomed the pardoning of Ukraine's former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko and former Environmental Protection Minister Georgy Filipchuk, and called on Kiev to address more cases of what it sees as selective justice.
“This in an important step by the Ukrainian authorities in addressing the concerns regarding the matter of selective justice,” EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton and EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule said in a statement issued on Sunday.
US National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said that though her country was “encouraged” by the pardon, “much more remains to be done.”
“We urge Ukrainian authorities to end all politically motivated prosecutions, undertake comprehensive judicial reform to ensure such selective justice does not recur, and fully implement the OSCE recommendations made after the 2012 parliamentary elections,” she said in a statement, posted on the White House website.
Lutsenko, sentenced in February 2012 to four years in prison for abuse of office, was due to leave prison in late 2014. The former ministers have denied any wrongdoing, saying their trial was politically motivated.
Tymoshenko remains in prison after being sentenced to seven years in October 2011 for exceeding her authority by signing a gas supply deal with Russia in 2009. EU and other leaders have expressed their concern over her conviction, which they see as being handed out in response to her political opposition to Yanukovych, head of the Party of Regions, which is mostly supported by inhabitants of Ukraine's Russian-speaking north and eastern districts.
The EU has said further progress toward EU integration for Kiev is conditional on progress toward human rights in Ukraine and in particular the handling of Tymoshenko's case. In February, EU leaders visiting Kiev told the government it had to choose between integration with the EU, or the Russian-led Customs Union, and could not have both, the Kyiv Post reported.