Ukraine's Tymoshenko Lodges Complaint At EU Court

KIEV, Ukraine -- Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko announced Wednesday she had complained to the European Court of Human Rights ahead of her trial this week for alleged abuse of power.

Yulia Tymoshenko

"We have submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in which we have given evidence of political persecution," she said at a news conference two days before the start of her high-profile trial.

Now an opposition leader, Tymoshenko said she had filed the complaint because of what she called the "venal justice system of (Ukrainian President Viktor) Yanukovych," whom she accused of personally organising the probe.

"Everything that happens around me is an attempt by Viktor Yanukovych to ruin me as his rival, to carry out a reprisal against me," said Tymoshenko, who last year lost a presidential race against Yanukovych.

In the complaint, submitted Tuesday, Tymoshenko claimed violations of the European Human Rights Convention during the investigation of her case, her lawyer and deputy of her party Sergui Vlasenko said.

"We expect that the European Court of Human Rights will start investigating this case with the least possible delay," Vlasenko said.

Tymoshenko was one of the leaders of the pro-Western Orange Revolution in 2004 and went on to serve as prime minister under former president Viktor Yushchenko in an administration dominated by bitter disputes between the two.

The prosecutor-general's office has opened several investigations into Tymoshenko and she is due to stand trial for abuse of power that allegedly caused severe financial losses for Ukraine.

Numerous other officials from the previous administration have been targeted by similar investigations.

The current government argues that it is fighting corruption while the opposition accuses it of carrying out political repressions.

The United States and Europe have expressed concerns over what they called selective justice in the ex-Soviet state, whose current president Yanukovych is more closely allied to Russia than his predecessor.

Source: AFP