Het misbruik van de rechtsstaat

MADRID – Ooit gedroegen despoten zich gewoon als despoten. Tegenwoordig dirken ze hun dictaturen op met de uitwendige versierselen van de rechtsstaat.

Neem de Oekraïense president Viktor Janoekovitsj. Nog geen jaar na zijn magere overwinning op oppositieleider Julia Timosjenko bij de presidentsverkiezingen van 2010 liet hij Timosjenko arresteren op grond van gefingeerde aanklachten over minachting van het gezag. Nu zit ze een gevangenisstraf van zeven jaar uit omdat ze zogenaamd haar positie als premier had misbruikt om een gasovereenkomst met Rusland te sluiten – en is ze in afwachting van de afloop van nog eens twee rechtszaken.

Anders dan de meeste politiek gemotiveerde rechtszaken profiteert de zaak tegen Timosjenko van het toezicht door het Europese Hof voor de Mensenrechten (ECHR), dat onlangs oordeelde dat haar detentie in afwachting van de behandeling van haar zaak een schending was van de Europese Conventie over de Mensenrechten. Maar Janoekovitsj blijft voorwenden respect te hebben voor de rechtsstaat, en houdt staande dat hij geen presidentieel pardon kan overwegen totdat de juridische procedures zijn afgerond.

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