Archive for January 20th, 2014

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Ukrainian Foreign Ministry – A Facile Statement

January 20, 2014

Yesterday the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine released a statement of surprise relating to the reaction of European nations and OSCE to the recently adopted laws in Ukraine.

“We stress that the bills passed by the Ukrainian parliament on January 16, 2014 are aimed at implementing a number of norms that already exist in the laws of a lot of European countries, meet commonly recognized democratic standards and international practices and are compatible with the commitments within the OSCE framework.”

A quite obviously facile statement which obviously needs to be scrutinised both in terms of the circumstances in which the laws were adopted, their necessity, and the issue of sovereignty.

I have already addressed some of the issues surrounding the manner in which these new laws were adopted with regards to their legitimacy and constitutional compatibility.  In short there are serious challenges to their constitutional compatibility under Articles 5, 8, 22 and subsequently 60 of the Constitution of Ukraine.

That is before considering the rules and procedures of the RADA itself, and the absence of the draft laws being disseminated for either public or private consideration amongst MPs and society – even PoR MPs it seems were not aware of what they were voting for.

The new legislation was also not considered by relevant committees or subjected to subsequent political debate within the RADA machinery prior to any vote, as required in Ukraine.

It is also standard to publish draft legislation on the government websites thus being available for public perusal before any voting – and this did not happen.

I know the drafts were not published per protocol on the official websites as I checked.  I checked because on 14th January, Rinat Akhmetov closed his “Effective Government” think-tank for no apparent reason – and Rinat Akhmetov does not do things for no apparent reason – so I wanted to know why.

As we now know, NGOs deemed in any way meddling in governance or politics must now expressly proclaim they are a “public association , which serves as a foreign agent” if funded in any shape or form externally of Ukraine.

Mr Akhmetov being tax resident in the UK and not Ukraine, such a NGO would therefore necessarily be labeled as such under the newly adopted legislation – hence he closed it for a reason – that reason.  It would never do to have one of his organisations labeled “public association , which serves as a foreign agent” now would it?

Anyway, the point being, having searched all the draft legislation on the governmental websites on the night of 15th January – extensively – looking for reasons for Mr Akhmetov’s as then inexplicable move, I know there was nothing to indicate what was coming – and certainly nothing with any detail to raise the flags of concern.

Thus, regardless of the newly adopted laws and their content, not only do they raise constitutional questions regarding compatibility, but the manner in which they passed is not only undemocratic, it also in complete disregard for required RADA protocols, therefore lacking in legitimacy.

Regardless of the merits and “Europeanness” of the laws as proclaimed by the Foreign Ministry – or not – from an illegitimate and illegal foundation, a legal result simply cannot result – regardless of the breaches of guaranteed constitutional rights that the laws then subsequently raise.

There is then the issue of whether the laws were necessary when they have never been necessary before.

Any right-thinking person will always ask themselves why any new law is passed.  For the benefit of whom does it serve?  Is it justified, serve a purpose beneficial to society, and therefore legitimate in their own mind?  That applies to any law in any nation passed by any parliament even in the most democratic of environments.

So whom do the newly adopted laws serve – particularly in the current circumstances after the manner in which they passed through the RADA – when they were never required before?  For the benefit of society or those who wrote them?

“The end of the law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.  For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom ”  John Locke

In the absence of abiding by the rules and protocols of the RADA and the supreme law of the land by way of the Constitution, there was no law when adopting the new legislation, and as a result a repression of existing freedoms as Mr Locke suggested centuries ago.

Was there a need to make blocking the entry to somebody’s home a criminal offence from 16th January for example?  If so, is the punishment of up to 3 years in prison for an individual, or up to 6 years for 2 or more people, disproportionate?

Which European nation has such disproportionate penalties for parking your car across somebody’s driveway?  Which European countries have such an offence classified as a crime rather than a traffic offence?

How did Ukraine cope with this prior to 16th January – for it certainly coped.

When looking at the newly adopted laws, regardless of what clearly appears to be disproportionate penalties in relation to the purported “European norms” (to quote the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry) – the fact that there may be some laws with some form of symmetry in some European nations does not make the Ukrainian laws right.

How retarded to state “X” is deemed to be OK by nation “Y” so we will do it and say we followed their lead without questioning and testing the legitimacy of “X” in and of itself?  We have already established there was no “testing or questioning” in the RADA prior to, or during, 16th January – the whole sorry episode is now on YouTube for those who want to find it.

We are yet to discover any sovereign societal requirement to have “X” at all, when previously it was neither deemed needed for society, or demanded by society itself in relation to the new laws.

“X” may well be a faulty construct.  It may be the best option.  It may be suitable with a little tinkering.  It may be unnecessary.  But the necessity, robustness, compatibility and legitimacy of “X” does not necessarily fit “Z” as well as it does “Y” – if it fits “Y” well in the first place!

Why not introduce Germany’s liberal prostitution laws, The Netherlands drug laws, the UK’s gambling laws, or the Irish abortion laws on the same basis that “X” is the law in European nation “Y”?  Why not ram through LGBT legislation when forcing this raft of laws through too under the banner of “European norms”?

In short Law “X” must have integrity both in and of itself, in the penalties is carries, and in the reasons for its adoption.  If society sees, or are convinced of the need and acknowledges the  laws are both just and proportionate, then there is far more chance of willing subordination to them by the masses, removing the need for consistent and expensive enforcement on a large scale.

If not, as today’s protests in Kyiv display, the laws are willfully ignored, openly mocked and lawmakers ridiculed further undermining the legitimacy of the authorities.

Anybody doubting the dictatorial intent behind these “European norms” need only look to the lack of scrutiny, debate and method of their adoption to know that anything but a “European norm” will be the outcome.   The integrity of these laws were corrupted upon their conception and no amount of misrepresentation by the Foreign Ministry can revert that.

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