Sometime around 1995 Ukraine promised the Council of Europe/PACE that upon entry to that particular club, it would sort out the due process, from arrest through to sentencing of existing procedures within Ukraine. By 0400 in the morning of 14th April 2012, it kept that promise, assuming the President doesn’t veto it when it reaches him for signature.
Now it would be quite wrong to have a go at the current government for eventually keeping the promises Ukraine made to the Council of Europe about 17 years ago. However, despite now eventually keeping a promise that could and should have been kept within a few years of making that promise, the current government are about the be on the wrong end of a keyboard lashing relating to the new Criminal Procedures Code anyway.
Why? Well obviously if you are going to make significant changes to the criminal procedures of Ukraine throughout every step of the process and accounting for as many existing and probably contrary laws and procedures along the way when drafting such a document, it is going to be a rather weighty tome.
It is something that will take a lot of preparation and a huge amount of due diligence in order to present to parliament something that needs little amendment when meeting the requirements of Ukraine and receiving the blessing of the Council of Europe.
In fact so weighty and critically important to Ukraine is the new Criminal Procedures Code, it began being debated in the RADA on 10th April and continued to be debated until 0400 on 14th April. Bravo you would say. Dedication, scrutiny and an end result. Caps duly doffed to the original creators of the new code.
Well you would until you realise that there were 4000 amendments made to the new code during that debate.
No that is not a typo, there were F O U R T H O U S A N D amendments made during the time it took to pass through the RADA!
Now you may share my concerns that whatever reaches the president may very well be subject to a veto and thus the Ukrainian promise to the Council of Europe made so very long ago may still not be met.
Seriously, 4000 amendments with a 4 day long debate finishing at 0400 and a vote passing the code? Nobody thinks that any of those amendments will have counterproductive results somewhere else within that new code when very tired (and generally academically retarded) MPs try and force through a major piece of legislation before they went on their Easter break?
Go take a sizable instruction manual and then make 4000 amendments to it at 0400 in the morning, then come back and look at it after a long weekend and see if it is seamless and perfect all the way through.
What if amendment 357 means that amendment 2956 creates a diametrically opposed procedure? What if amendment number 1564 means you really should create yet another amendment which you did not consider in the original text because there is now some serious ambiguity and unnecessary wiggle room in the new code?
Having waited 17 years or so to keep this promise to the Council of Europe and do the right thing by the people of Ukraine, after 4000 amendments, (which implies to me either the original draft was absolutely dire or the MPs have created amendments in their own interests), a further month or so studying the new code complete with the 4000 amendments may have been a wise thing to do prior to voting it through the RADA? More haste and less speed?
How much of the original draft still resembles the original draft after 4000 amendments?
No law is ever perfect, but seriously, you have to doubt the standard of what we may very well be about to receive. It may well be better than what we currently have, but you have to suspect it will fall a long way short of what it could have been.
Let’s see what happens. After all, even if it is an almost perfect new Criminal Procedures Code, it still has to be implemented and that is something Ukraine can never manage to do. Already government ministers are saying it will be a step by step process to bring this code in.
In the meantime, let injustice continue despite the new code?