BRUSSELS, June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, announced Wednesday that the former President of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski and former European Parliament President, Pat Cox, will monitor the upcoming court proceedings of Yulia Tymoshenko.
In January, the former Ukrainian Prime Minister's defense team appealed her 7-year sentence for abuse of office for agreeing to a controversial gas contract with Russia's Vladimir Putin in 2009, a deal considered damaging for Ukraine's national interest and ruinous for its economy by most observers in and outside the country.
"I am delighted that Pat Cox and Aleksander Kwasniewski have accepted my proposal to go to Ukraine to monitor court proceedings involving Ms. Tymoshenko on behalf of the European Parliament," said Schulz in a statement.
"Mr. Cox and Mr. Kwasniewski are personalities of high international repute. They command respect for their excellent record in foreign and domestic politics. They enjoy wide support across all political forces in the European Parliament."
Irish politician Cox, who was President of the European Parliament in 2002, is known for his support of EU enlargement. Kwasniewski was President of Poland from 1995 to 2005 and has good relations with Ukrainian politicians.
The announcement is expected to put to rest allegations of political persecution by the Ukrainian government and could reinvigorate the stalled relations between Ukraine and the EU.
"I hope their mission will be a breakthrough that will help Ukraine to address problems concerning the rule of law and the independence of judiciary," said Schulz, adding, "I hope it will contribute to restoring mutual confidence in EU-Ukraine relations."
Schulz further noted that Cox and Kwasniewski would have full access to all documents relevant to the case as well as lawyers, prosecutors and other officials. The European Parliament will provide comprehensive legal and logistical assistance.
The monitors are due in Kyiv next week to meet with Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Tymoshenko's family.
The appeal is due to be heard on June 26th.
SOURCE Ukraine Foreign Affairs