April 8, 2013
As European leaders lined up to praise the decision by
to pardon former Interior Minister
and other opposition figures, credit was also being given to the European Parliament's special envoys to
who have been engaged in 11 months of shuttle diplomacy.
, President of the European Parliament, singled out for praise former Polish President
and former EP President
, who have made numerous visits to
, seeking solutions to the sensitive court cases.
"Fair and independent justice is needed in
, and the release of Mr. Lutsenko is a step in the right direction," Schulz said on Sunday.
Calling the pardons an encouraging move, Schulz said "I wish to deeply thank presidents Cox and Kwasniewski for their efforts in securing the pardon and release of
." He added that their commitment had "ensured that
is a free man who can enjoy his first night in years with his family."
Despite recent skepticism about the value of the mission expressed by some in the EP, Cox and Kwasniewski have persevered, holding frequent talks with both President Yanukovych and former Prime Minister
. Their efforts to find a solution to the Tymoshenko were continuing, Mr. Schulz said.
However, a spokesman for Yanukovych noted that while in the Lutsenko case all court proceedings had concluded, in the Tymoshenko case he cannot issue a pardon until her legal options are exhausted. She is appealing against her 2011 abuse of office conviction at the European Court for Human Rights.