KIEV, December 26 - RAPSI, Andrei Lubensky. The defense of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is determined to win the case in the European Court of Human Rights and looks for other opportunities to submit its appeals to other courts outside Ukraine, chief defense counsel Serhiy Vlasenko said.

An appellate court in Kiev upheld last Friday the high profile judgment sentencing Tymoshenko to seven years in prison for abuse of power in signing gas supply contracts with Russia in 2009. The courtroom was half-empty as neither Tymoshenko nor her defense attorneys attended the Friday hearing, saying that they have no faith in Ukrainian justice system and will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Vlasenko said it is hard to appeal directly to the Strasbourg Court avoiding the Ukrainian court of cassation. However, he said, there are examples, when the parties appealed directly to the Strasbourg Court immediately after addressing the appellate courts.

Vlasenko also said that the Strasbourg Court has already accepted Tymoshenkos appeal. He added that the appeal may be amended or supplemented. The defense is now looking for other options to address its petitions to courts outside Ukraine, Vlasenko said, adding that the defense "has already achieved some success in this area."