Archive for May 4th, 2017

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Making decisions unnecessarily messy – Poroshenko

May 4, 2017

A few weeks ago an entry appeared within which comment was made regarding the possible stripping of Ukrainian citizenship from MP Andrei Artemenko.

That would be the same Mr Artenenko who funds Right Sector and who among other apparent sins was peddling dubious and certainly unsanctioned plans to the Trump White House via Felix Sater and Michael D Cohen that many in Ukraine regard as treasonous – resulting in his ejection from The Radical Party.

As is not unusual for Ukraine, the Constitution, as with many issues, is not without friction over the issue of citizenship – or more to the point dual citizenship.  Depending upon the interpretation of the reader there are a number of Articles that rub against each other.  A matter for the Constitutional Court in due course (and perhaps ultimately the ECfHR) should citizenship be removed and that removal be appealed.

Since that aforementioned entry it is rumoured across every leading Ukrainian media platform that President Poroshenko has signed a Decree to strip Mr Artenenko of his citizenship – and not only Mr Artenenko but also Oksana Nuss, Sasha Borovik, Denis Novgorod and Lilly Yuzich.

However, the only copies of the Decree in circulation are unsigned.

That is not to say there is not a signed Decree somewhere, it is just that nobody has yet to see it in the public realm.

The law is quite clear however, Presidential Decrees come into lawful effect from their date of publication or a date set within a decree upon its publication – not from the date they are signed (if indeed this Decree has been signed).

As of the time of writing however, the Decree has not been published on the presidential website.

Ukrainians are thus left with only an unsigned Decree in circulation – which may or may not have been signed – and whatever the case, it is a decree that has not come into legal effect as it has not been published as Ukrainian legislation requires.

The question for the Ukrainian constituency is therefore are these political personalities still their elected representatives – or not?

It doesn’t matter what a reader may think of this or that office holder and their actions,  this is a question of legality and legitimacy.

It is a requirement for a people’s deputy at whatever level of government to be a Ukrainian citizen.  Likewise for the civil service.  The status of these people is now less than clear.

What are the political class saying and/or leaking to the media?

Bizarre as it may seem, the claim is that the Decree has been signed, but it has not been published, as it is for “internal use”.

Internal use?

Without publication not only does the Decree not come into lawful effect, but with Ukrainian citizenship comes a Ukrainian passport.  With that passport comes the expectation of being treated with the rights and obligations afforded to a Ukrainian citizen when abroad.  If this decree is for “internal use”, what effect if any has it on a document used primarily for external use?  Particularly when the validity of the decree in question flies in defiance of Ukrainian law.

Can these citizens get on a plane and fly from Austria to Barcelona on their Ukrainian passports and thus as a citizen of Ukraine – or not?

Clarity of the “not for internal use” is obviously required when international documents are involved, notwithstanding any bilateral, regional or international obligations relating to citizenship.

Why such an unnecessary mess?

Either deal with the matter in full compliance with the law and publish the decree, or don’t and stop the issue of such citizenship open to debate – but do not pretend citizenship has been stripped (some media agencies state suspended) when having failed to fully comply with the domestic legislation and further making claims in the public realm that the Decree it is for “internal use”.

Through a much wider lens, of course if all are equal before the law (and claims of persecution are to be avoided) how many citizens will be lost when applying equally such policy?  Are further decrees to follow removing (or perhaps not removing) dual citizenship from everybody else, or a nuance-less knee jerk statute to be passed in haste and repented at leisure?

If so how will that effect the demographics – especially along the borders with Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Poland, where many Ukrainians hold two passports (and those passports provide the right to live and work in the EU)?

How will it effect the lobbying/advocacy in the USA, Canada and Australia where there are large Ukrainian diaspora holding two passports?  Will the standard and energy reduce, or will it be targeted in a way that does no favours for those that cause the loss of Ukrainian citizenship and yet expect the diaspora to lobby for Ukraine?

Is it not wiser to simply legislate that certain roles within political and institutional life can only be held by persons with only Ukrainian citizenship – and those that hold two (or more) simply cannot fulfill those roles?

Questions for another day perhaps – for there is a current and pressing requirement for clarity before the electorate as to whether elected public figures remain Ukrainian citizens – or not and therefore cannot be elected public figures.

The presidential choice is to either publish the Decree, complying with the law of the land and providing transparency for the Ukrainian voter – or don’t and stop

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