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European Parliament Censures Ukraine Over 'Selective Justice'

Estonian MEP Kristiina Ojuland was one of those in favour of the resolution to reprimand Ukraine.

Estonian MEP Kristiina Ojuland was one of those in favour of the resolution to reprimand Ukraine.

The European Parliament has warned Ukraine to stop using criminal law as an instrument of pressure on the opposition, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

The call came in a resolution passed by a simple majority on June 9 in Strasbourg.

It refers to former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko "and other former government members," urges maximum transparency in Ukrainian court cases, and warns the Ukrainian authorities against using the criminal code to attain political goals.

Not all lawmakers supported the resolution, and some publicly called on the parliament not to interfere in internal Ukrainian affairs. The majority nevertheless voted for the resolution brought by Spanish MEP Raul Romeva i Rueda.

"We have noticed with concern that the recent cases brought against Tymoshenko and members of her government are politically motivated," said Romeva i Rueda, adding that the Ukrainian authorities must guarantee that the law is not applied selectively and that all investigations be conducted transparently.

Estonian MEP Kristiina Ojuland, of the European People's Party, criticized the Ukrainian authorities for violating the rule of law. "We protest against removing political opponents by using the court system," she said.

Tymoshenko is accused of misusing millions of dollars received by the government while serving as prime minister, charges she and her supporters describe as political revenge by current President Viktor Yanukovych, her longtime pro-Russian rival.

The European Parliament has 740 members, but only 60 participated in the discussion on June 9, of which 37 supported the resolution.

Reacting to the parliament's move, Ukrainian MP Leonid Kozhara told RFE/RL: "This resolution does not represent the view of the majority of this European body."

"These are simply reservations on the part of a group 37 European MPs," said Kozhara, a member of President Yanukovych's ruling Party of Regions.