By Natalka Zubar and Olexander Severyn
“Voting at sessions of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine shall be performed by a people’s deputy of Ukraine in person.”
(Constitution of Ukraine, 84)
Here is the scheme of the collapse of legality in Ukraine. It tells the story of how we are trying to make the government of Ukraine enforce the Constitution, especially when it comes to the requirement of personal voting by Members of Parliament.
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine in 1998 ruled that legislation enacted that was not voted on personally can be considered unconstitutional. This applies to international treaties as well.
For years members of Ukrainian Parliament have been voting for others. It means that almost any legislative act adopted over these years can be declared unconstitutional.
A few honest MPs were trying to fight against this illegal practice for years with no results. The problem finally broke into the media after the scandalous vote for the “Kharkiv treaty” (Ukraine-Russia international agreement) on April 27 2010, when several MPs who were recorded as having voted “for” were actually out of the country at the time.
There were many indignant comments in the media, but nobody tried to approach the problem legally until we did. The scheme above displays 4 months of our legal battle.
On March 15 2011 we documented the fact of fraud in Ukrainian Parliament – non personal voting of MPs. The Head of Parliament’s Office confirmed officially that 75 MPs were absent without valid reason, 16 were on official leave and 10 officially ill. Most of these absentees’ votes were recorded that day.
On March 29 we submitted a statement of crime to the Procurator General. According to the law, the Procurator General should have started a criminal persecution or sent us grounds for refusal.
Instead on April 11 and on April 18 the Procurator General referred us to the Regulatory Committee of Parliament that should be submitting such statements of crime to the Procurator.
On April 31 the Head of the Regulatory Committee of Parliament sent us an official response stating they support the idea of personal voting of MPs, but that it cannot be implemented without changes to internal regulations, that should be approved by a majority of MPs. On May 17 in response to the Procurator General’s idea that the committee should be submitting statements of crime, the Head of the Regulatory Committee of Parliament wrote that the Procurator General does not know the law.
The Speaker of Parliament did not respond to our requests and foewarded them to the Head of Parliament’s Office, whose answer to our questions “How it is possible for an officially absent MP to vote?” was short … “ask the MPs themselves”.
On June 30 the President of Ukraine who is sworn to be the guarantor of the observance of the Constitution of Ukraine (Constitution, 102) answered via his Administration that the observance of the Constitution by MPs is none of his business and sent us to complain to the Procurator General.
We have tried to sue the Procurator General for inactivity (not opening the criminal case or not refusing to do it), however two different courts refused to process our appeals (on April 29 and on June 02).
We sent the third appeal regarding the Procurator General’s inactivity to the Pechersk district court in Kyiv which has not responded to our appeal for more than a month.
This is not the end of our legal battle. We submitted the third statement of crime to the Procurator General, this time using the response from the President’s Administration.
We will continue appealing to the courts. We will send a new series of very specific requests for information to the Speaker and the Head of Parliament’s Office.
Our objective is to document the legal collapse in Ukraine and publish the evidence worldwide.
Our battle is not limited to legal arguments only. Enjoy!
To sign the appeal – go to this page
1. Spihotechnika (Russian) – the art of getting rid of responsibility, of delegating your own business to others
2. The term “Procurator” used in Ukrainian Constitution actually means Prosecutor