According to Petro Poroshenko, next week the RADA will adopt a law that will provide a way for prisoners to receive treatment abroad, paving the way for Ms Tymoshenko to go to Germany for treatment.
As far as I can tell, the draft law to which he refers would allow prisoners to have treatment abroad on the condition that suitable treatment is unavailable or in some way substandard in Ukraine. The decision as to whether any prisoner would qualify to be at the decision of a currently non-existent panel of experts.
The proposed law states that the time undergoing treatment abroad is to be counted as “time served” toward any sentence.
Naturally if this is the only draft law in existence that will create a legal solution to the Tymoshenko problem, then problems remain.
Firstly, her condition could be treated in Ukraine. Thousands of people with her condition are treated in Ukraine every year.
Secondly, the panel by whom such decisions are to be made by, as yet does not exist.
Next, whilst this law may be politically expedient and facilitate Ms Tymoshenko’s departure to Germany, it does not deal with her return. Should she return prior to her treatment time completing her sentence, is she to return to prison? If not, are we to assume her treatment will continue until 2016 when her sentence expires to avoid a return to prison?
Should her treatment conclude prior to 2016 and yet she remain abroad, this is an obvious exploitation of an obvious loophole – but the prison sentence remains outstanding? Or are foreign doctors are expected to collude to keep a faux treatment going for political reasons to run down the Ukrainian sentencing clock?
We can also presume – given that all the influential people who fall from grace seemingly always fall ill in Ukraine the moment legal proceedings are opened against them – that this is a law that will predominantly be exploited by a class of citizen of certain background compared to the average Ukrainian. Nations willing to host such people will naturally volunteer or be found for these select few.
Whilst these are issues that will clearly come to the fore in the days, weeks and years ahead, we should perhaps return to the statement of Mr Poroshenko – for it is first necessary for this law to pass through the RADA.
The question here is whether there will be sufficient support. It will need the support of at least 226 MPs. Last week the opposition petition to pardon Ms Tymoshenko gathered only 170 signatures from MPs in the RADA.
There is a huge difference between voting for a law and a petition for pardon naturally – a difference that may be more than sufficient to see this law through – a law the the President has said he will sign.
However, there is no such things as a guarantee.
Should only the 170 MPs that signed the pardon petition be seen as guaranteed to vote for this law – in the absence of a PoR “whipped” vote in favour of the law – then we may finally see which of the oligarchs are more keen to head EU-wards than others. It is necessary only to look at who sponsored whose election campaigns to the RADA, or supported a placement high enough on party lists to insure a RADA seat, to work out which RADA MP is “owned” by which oligarch.
Using that model, there are 3 oligarchs of note “owning” about 12 MPs each – discounting a few other oligarchs with lesser numbers of “owned” MPs. These MPs may have to break PoR ranks and vote their masters will, providing a clear indication of who amongst the oligarchy is far more keen to head “west” than others.
As interesting as that would be, I expect a “whipped” PoR vote where all will vote in favour of the law together with many of the opposition – which returns us to the issue of how and when does Ms Tymoshenko return?
This article was originally posted on OdessaBlogger on 20 October 2013.