Archive for March 13th, 2017

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Poroshenko submits urgent “Citizenship” Bill (6175)

March 13, 2017

A few days ago an entry appeared relating to the suspended and currently (perhaps temporarily) incarcerated Roman Nasirov and his UK citizenship.

While that entry pondered the issues over the UK Bribery Act therefore being applicable to every dodgy and unscrupulous deal Mr Nasirov has engaged in, it also mentioned the fact that Ukrainian law prevents civil servants from holding dual nationality.

In short a Ukrainian can become a civil servant, and remain one, when only holding Ukrainian citizenship.  Well so be it.  It is a decision made by any applicant to join the civil service in Ukraine.

Since the Nasirov citizenships (plural) have become public knowledge, numerous (populist and otherwise) parliamentarians have called for a law to proscribe that all parliamentarians can only hold Ukrainian citizenship – and that those found transgressing such a law have their mandate removed.

Quite right too.

There are certain roles within the State and its apparatus, both public mandate and institutional, that should demand only Ukrainian citizenship to hold those positions.  Ergo, that is part of the terms and conditions for the job – and indeed should be clearly written into statute.

It appears President Poroshenko has entered the citizenship fray (seemingly blurring the constitutional lines between parliamentary responsibilities and those of President once again) but with such a high profile case as the political backdrop he will have wanted to be seen to be doing something.

Bill 6175 has been urgently submitted by the President to the Verkhovna Rada.  A timely reader will note that when this entry was published, the Bill is decidedly lacking in the actual text submitted.  It may appear somewhat later – or not.

Thus a reader is left to wonder on its contents via the comments of Block Poroshenko MP Anton Gerasimov who has stated  – “Today, 13 March, the president has submitted to the parliament what is defined as an urgent bill, which deals with solutions to the dual citizenship problem.  

This bill is clearly established that the person voluntarily entered into the citizenship of another state, will be considered subject to the requirements of termination of Ukrainian citizenship.”

Well fair enough.  Doesn’t Article 4 of the Constitution make clear – “There is single citizenship in Ukraine. The grounds for the acquisition and termination of Ukrainian citizenship are determined by law.

Perhaps – or perhaps not.

It may be interpreted that in the event of any Ukrainian holding more than one citizenship, Ukraine will recognise only that they are Ukrainian.

And there may be something of a Constitutional problem with the “The grounds for the……..termination of Ukrainian citizenship are determined by law” text if President Poroshenko is proposing the forced removal of Ukrainian citizenship for those holding another.

Article 25 of the Constitutions is explicit – “A citizen of Ukraine shall not be deprived of citizenship and of the right to change citizenship.

Thus Article 4 of the Constitution appears to irritatingly rub against Article 25.

What if a Ukrainian holds one (or more) other citizenships (as many, many thousands of Ukrainians do) but doesn’t want to willfully give up either?

As all Ukrainian statutory law is subordinate to the Constitution, if Article 25 so unambiguously states a Ukrainian shall not be deprived of citizenship, what statutory law provided for under Article 4 – including the President’s “urgent Bill 6175” – can overcome Article 25?

Surely any attempt to strip a Ukrainian of their citizenship against their will is guaranteed to result in a constitutional challenge and ultimately at the ECfHR if the court agrees to remove citizenship?

Jerking knees and wanting to be seen to do something aside, is it not wiser to consider a list of public roles that can be subjected to statutory limitations regarding the singular and solitary holding of Ukrainian citizenship – and continue the existing policy (official or otherwise) of only recognising the Ukrainian citizenship of those that hold others too?

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