Human rights activists scrutiny Reintegration Ministry’s bill on transitional justice

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The Coalition of Organizations for Protection of Rights of Victims of Armed Conflict prepared a review of the bill “On the Principles of State Policy of Transition Period” (No. 5844). This document was initiated by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and registered in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on August 9, 2021.

EPA / Alexander Ermochenko

According to the explanatory note, the bill aims to properly regulate the state policy of transition period – a set of measures to counter the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine and ensure its state sovereignty, renew the activity of government agencies and local self-government bodies in the temporarily occupied territories, overcome the consequences of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, reintegrate the temporarily occupied (de-occupied) territories and their residents, build a lasting peace, and prevent a recurrence of the occupation.

The Coalition of Organizations twice submitted its remarks about the wording of the bill at all stages of public consultations held by its drafter – the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories. Those remarks were partially taken into account during the preparation of the bill.

At the same time, the government’s bill on transitional justice contains a number of provisions that could create dangers and gaps in existing legislation, so it needs to be substantially revised. Adoption of this bill may lead to negative consequences, including legislative conflicts, inconsistency with the Constitution of Ukraine and international obligations, as well as to conflicting interpretations and, consequently, to different law enforcement and violation of the principle of legal certainty.

The bill has the nature of a political declaration rather than a normative legal act with clear norms of legal regulation, which calls into question the possibility of fulfilling its provisions in case of adoption.

The main remarks about the wording of the bill are as following:

– Some of the proposals for the introduction of new definitions in the legislation need to be revised and substantially finalized in order not to violate the principle of legal certainty and to prevent misinterpretation and law enforcement.

– Expansion of the powers of the President of Ukraine in an unconstitutional manner.

– Components of transitional justice are set forth in fragments and do not constitute a holistic system.

– Proposals for the introduction of new legal institutions (e.g. convalidation) do not contain even a minimal description of how they will be implemented, of their general principles and mechanisms.

– The draft law contains imperative instructions on phenomena and processes that are to be subject to wide public discussion and dialogues, in particular with the residents of the currently occupied territories of Ukraine (in particular, on issues of commemoration); etc.

Detailed analysis of the main remarks about the wording of the draft law in Ukrainian and English can be seen via link.

Members of the Coalition of Organizations for Protection of Rights of Victims of Armed Conflict: ZMINA Human Rights Center, Charity Foundation “Right to Protection”, NGO “Crimea SOS”, NGO “Public Holding “INFLUENCE GROUP”, NGO “Crimean Human Rights Group”, NGO “Donbas SOS”, Charity Foundation “Vostok SOS”, Charity Foundation “Stabilization Support Services”.

See also the review of the two previous versions of the draft law on transitional justice drafted by the Ministry of Reintegration – the first and the second editions.