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Friday, February 09, 2007

The Ombudswoman in Blue: Reappointment of Yanukovych Associate Defies European Practice

The Yanukovych-controlled Rada Thursday appointed MP Nina Karpachova, PRU, to her third term as Ukraine's Commissioner for Human Rights. Later in the day, MP Mykola Tomenko, BYuT, landed the job as Vice Speaker. The latter position, generously reserved for the opposition, came with the nodding approval of the ruling Anticrisis Coalition. Being part of BYuT’s prior agreement with the PRU, it saved BYuT the agony of having to explain another episode of rapport with the PRU. (BYuT largely abstained from the Karpachova vote.)

While Tomenko’s promotion provides BYuT with a comfortable perch, Karpachova’s political credentials make her comeback a demotion for Ukraine’s human rights track record. (Blue is the official color of the PRU.)

European democracy requires that this watchdog position be occupied by an independent, nonpartisan figure. In Ukraine, however, democracy takes a back seat to Donbas and justice walks in lockstep with the oldest profession — or should we say proffession? But since Ukraine became a member of the Council of Europe in 1995, its citizens have learned to sue the corrupt government all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, winning settlements of a few thousand euros.

Despite assurances to the contrary, the human rights agenda to expect from Ombudswoman Karpachova should probably be called “See no evil, hear no evil.”

Bonjour mesdames Severinsen and Wohlvend. Here’s your clue on how Yanukovych’s goes about his vision of “building a Europe inside Ukraine.”

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