Archive for December 23rd, 2012

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Amending the Criminal Executive Code – Ukraine

December 23, 2012

Sometimes what a nation signs up to has unintended consequences.  Particularly so when it comes to the ever expanding arena of human rights.  Human rights seems to be on a mission creep, or necessary expansion depending upon your point of view, unlike almost any other area of national and international law.

An example being the UK and the ECfHR ruling that the UK must allow prisoners the right to vote – which it currently doesn’t and never has – a ruling the UK seems set to ignore.  Thus how the UK will subsequently attempt to hold other nations to account that also ignore the rulings of the ECfHR without losing credibility or being publicly outed as duplicitous remains to be seen.

The problem with all laws, is that the language and words used within them are often necessarily broad and somewhat elastic to take into account the principle and spirit in which they are written and thus prevent providing a narrow and rigid box that may inadvertently exclude what reasonable people would feel could and should be included within that legal framework in circumstances as yet unforeseen.

The saying is “the law is blind”, and so it should be – to the events of the future.  Therefore as the boundaries and elasticity of the language and words used in writing a law are pushed to their very limits through legal precedent and stated cases, the law can often seem to be distorted – by both State and defendant as their needs suit.

As the UK has discovered there will be (and there are currently 24 unfulfilled rulings against the UK it is not happy to have lost, and has therefore done nothing about in contempt of said rulings) judgments that go against them from the ECfHR.

The UK is not the only nation to have outstanding ECfHR rulings against it of course.  It is harder to find a nation that has always fully complied with ECfHR rulings, than those which haven’t.

This then brings us to Ukraine, Article 8 and Article 9 of the European Human Rights Act, and to Article 60, Section J, of the UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty – to both of which, Ukraine is a ratified signatory – and which diverge significantly with the existing Ukrainian Criminal Executive Code.

Therefore, this statement from the Ministry of Justice has to be welcomed – although given the elasticity of the human rights international laws to which it is attempting to reconcile, and the ever wider interpretations reached by international courts, it seems quite likely that no nation will ever be fully compliant due to the ever subtly shifting international goal-posts.

Nevertheless, a step in the right direction as far as compatibility goes – whether or not you agree with that step, is a matter for yourselves!

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