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Suffering incompetence – Stoyanov raises his head once again

July 8, 2016

When the “Lustration Law” (Law on cleansing power”) was passed, immediately the blog raised a few very basic, and as it turned out entirely justified questions, accompanied by some predictions which by and large have all manifested.

As with all new legislation, fundamental questions such as is the law necessary, does the law adversely affect existing fundamental rights, and does it further justice, all led to the very basic questions in the aforementioned link.

The “Lustration Law”, due to many a (possibly corrupt) court appeal has increased, or rather highlighted, an existing, odious and ingrained phenomenon of Yo-Yo employment among the elite and those under their patronage.  A reader may wonder just how the head of the State Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov remains in post (a deal made with the “Will of the People” Party for their Verkhovna Rada support is the probable answer) despite his obvious shortcomings (to be diplomatic), or why it has come to pass that Prosecutor General Lutsenko has appointed Roman Hovd as Kyiv Prosecutor but a few days ago, despite his obvious shortcomings (to be diplomatic) too.

Nonetheless, at the time the “Lustration Law” was passed, flawed as it was, and perhaps necessarily so in the circumstances.

Falling within the remit of the “Lustration Law” was a Yanukovych regime appointee as Regional Prosecutor of Odessa, Nikolai Stoyanov.  His head therefore metaphorically rolled.  That was until Viktor Shokin’s last day as Prosecutor General before he too was sacked.  Mr Shokin’s final act was to fire Davit Sakvarelidze the then Odessa Regional Prosecutor and (re)appoint Mr Stoyanov – this despite Mr Stoyanov falling within the “Lustration Law” parameters.

Nikolai Stoyanov

Nikolai Stoyanov

After several weeks of 24/7 protests, the Justice Ministry clearly stating that Mr Stoyanov was legally barred from holding this office, and eventually public noises from the President, Mr Stoyanov was again removed as Regional Prosecutor of Odessa.

Since Yuri Lutsenko became Prosecutor General, he has since appointed Oleg Zhuchenko (it could have been far worse when considering PG Lutsenko’s latest appointment in Kyiv) as the Odessa prosecutor.

Goodbye Mr Stoyanov – except there are further matters to consider when it comes to laws and policy.

The sacking (twice) of Mr Stoyanov is indeed legal per the law of the land – despite the flaws within the “Lustration Law” that constitute the law of the land.

Mr Stoyanov may feel aggrieved that genuine lustration was never going to be achievable when the State has still not got to grips with the rule of law, and still employs a patronage system in its appointments to posts.  Loyalty and not ability remains the clear defining factor of those surrounding President Poroshenko and in positions of real power.  To be sacked twice under the “Lustration Law” when others have had a much easier time of it he perhaps feels is more than unlucky.

That said, the local constituency certainly feel aggrieved to have been subjected to Mr Stoyanov as Odessa prosecutor – twice.

Though a reader may question the wisdom of a flawed “Lustration Law” from the outset, and indeed the wisdom of Mr Stoyanov accepting a role he knew he was barred from holding, wisdom is not a character trait that runs freely throughout the Ukrainian elite.  Indeed it is exceptionally rare.

So rare is wisdom that Mr Stoyanov is now taking the flawed “Lustration Law” and his second sacking to court in an effort to get his most recent appointment as Odessa Regional Prosecutor reinstated.

Obviously weeks of 24/7 public protests, unambiguous Justice Ministry statements, his name clearly listed among those subject to lustration, and public presidential grumblings over his holding the position only a few months ago have little effect on Mr Stoyanov’s bid to return to the corrupt prosecutor’s trough of Odessa.  Naturally, if successful, there are many nefarious interests that will be pleased to seem him return too!

All of which brings a reader to Ukraine’s eternal problem – effective implementation – and in the case of Mr Stoyanov (and many others), implementation has clearly not been seamlessly done and remains questionably effective.

If a law should be necessary, not adversely effect fundamental rights, and advance justice, then when that law in a clear instrument of policy as the “Lustration Law” is, having qualified as legal (pending ECHR rulings), achievable (at least in part), wise (to a point when considering the volatile circumstances surrounding its passing), its implementation remains somewhat less than seamless.

The State still has no genuine grip on universally applying and/or upholding the rule of law, and then when it also fails to implement its own policy well, its constituents consider it incompetent.  That perceived incompetence is magnified when it can be specifically identified (rather than a general belief) and/or personified, which is happening in the on-going case of Nikolai Stoyanov.

The State therefore could do with some quick legal, and effectively implemented policy “wins” in Odessa where the perception grows that the usual vested interests and organised crime (where they can be separated) are becoming more entrenched than ever.

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