Archive for April 3rd, 2013

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Eyes down for the Ukrainian draft law bingo numbers!

April 3, 2013

Well tomorrow should be an interesting day in the Ukrainian parliament.

Up for consideration are UDAR sponsored draft laws 2210 – an up until now completely absent method to impeach a sitting Ukrainian president – and draft law 2221 which is designed to strip the president, MPs, and judges of their immunity (and de facto impunity).

Both laws quite necessary in Ukraine.

However, as reasonable and sensible as these draft laws are in spirit (not to mention necessity), there is somewhat questionable content.

For example, draft law 2210 to enable impeaching a sitting president suggests that only 50 MPs signatures and support are required to bring the issue of impeachment to a full sitting of the RADA.  That seems an incredibly low number of MPs required to instigate a full impeachment session within the RADA.

In fact, given the extremely fractious, polarised and bitter environment that is the RADA, with such a low number of MPs required to raise any impeachment session before the entire RADA, regardless of which party is in power and which is in opposition, scarcely a week could go by without PoR, BYuT, Svoboda or UDAR raising 50 MPs from amongst their number to begin proceedings – without any external help from other MPs external of their parties.

The potential for continuous impeachment issues clogging up the RADA is seemingly immense.

Fortunately for impeachment to actually occur, the draft law requires a RADA majority of 226 for any impeachment to take place.  Altogether a rather more sensible and prima facie democratic number, and yet still rather low if we are to consider the situation whereby there is a parliamentary majority with an opposition president.  Perhaps a higher number yet is required to prevent the RADA becoming even more of a circus than it already is?

With respect to draft law 2221, then the removal of, in particular MPs immunity (and impunity), is something all parties have professed to support publicly historically – and yet none have ever actually done it when they had the chance and were in power.

There is a particular need to put in place some safeguards with relation to MPs when it comes to their actions when acting in an MP – rather than furthering their own private business interests.

In short, with the necessary scrapping of immunity, MPs would need some form of parliamentary privilege to be able to say what they want to within the RADA that will keep them clear of slander, libel or defamation lawsuits.

A vibrant democracy demands that MPs (as well as the media and individuals) should be free to offend, shock or disturb others – be that unease be felt by the public or fellow MPs.  Something the ECfHR was very careful to identify in the case of Erbakan v Turkey (Case number 59405/00 ss56, 6.07.2006).

However, such is the misuse of the People’s Deputies immunity by politicians across all parties, it is an issue that simply must be addressed and rectified – as all parties have publicly stated at one time or another they support.

Why this has not happened seems to be in the timing.  Those at the trough always seem far more reluctant to progress this matter than when they were in opposition.  That is true of the current majority and the current opposition when their roles were reversed.

Anyway, tomorrow when we are listening to the draft law bingo numbers being called out for consideration in the RADA, it will be interesting to see if drafts 2221 and 2210 are amongst those tabled for debate – as is currently the plan.

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