National Guard to the defend the “judicial system”

August 8, 2017

On 7th July 2017, President Poroshenko issued Decree 178/2017.

In summary it was a mobilisation Decree providing for an unspecified/to be determined number of 20 – 27 year olds to enter the National Guard, the conscription taking place during August 2017.

It was not a mobilisation for the Armed Forces.

The reason for this mobilisation was somewhat unclear – for the National Guard conscripted will not serve on the front line in eastern Ukraine.  Ergo, the mobilisation related to other responsibilities – responsibilities that continue to grow, albeit somewhat under-reported and equally unscrutinised.

It was not until 8th August that some light was shone upon this otherwise somewhat opaque Decree that had been left to fester unexplained for a month.

It fell to the Press Spokesperson of the National Guard,, Ruslan Muzychuk, to state that, the National Guard recruitment related to continuously expanding responsibilities.  “The very reason for the current draft is that the number of tasks is increasing, and therefore it is necessary to increase the number of conscripts to perform these tasks. Now, for example, the National Guard has 19 tasks to be performed.”

A figure of 1000 additional personnel was cited – providing clarity on mobilisation numbers.

It appears that one of the newly invested responsibilities of the National Guard is the security and protection of the” judicial system” – a phrase deliberately chosen rather than “the courts”.

A reader will note that it is therefore not simply a matter of protecting court buildings – although undoubtedly the police have displayed an uneven ability to deal with rowdy and disruptive “protesters”, and genuine protesters alike, at innumerable sitting court sessions throughout the nation.

Such disturbances are perhaps the most visible and frequent manifestations of the revolutionaries displaying misplaced loyalties to former peers that on occasion have crossed the legal line, vis a vis an ever-more comfortable elite that has withstood the revolution which is increasingly returning to blatant nefarious deeds and acts legislative sabotage – thus having long since embarked upon a crawling counter-revolution.  There are are further the numerous cases where the authorities simply do not do what they should and the revolutionary crusaders side with the wronged members of the public making matters somewhat murky.

Needless to say, even the task of defending (and by extension de facto quasi-policing) court buildings will require specialist training.

Yet the remit of the National Guard is broader than guarding and defending the courthouse – and thus far that remit appears a little too woolly in its parameters, at least per what has orated in the public realm thus far.

Aside from the protection (and perhaps the inferred de facto policing) of court buildings, the National Guard will create units trained to protect the “organs and institutions” of the “justice system”.   What exactly constitutes “organs and institutions” of the “justice system” remain to be clarified.

Does it extend to the protection of judges a reader will have to ponder?  If it does, then is that protection a 24/7 VIP affair, or a less intensive protection during working hours?  If the latter when should that protection begin and end?  Should it apply when a judge is en route to work and/or heading home too?  Perhaps it does not include such protection at all.  There is certainly no way 1000 additional National Guards could provide 24/7 security for the number of judges in Ukraine.  Such a number would be insufficient.  Thus clarity regarding “organs and institutions” of the “justice system” requires clarification.

Further the National Guard are tasked with protection and movement of defendants.  Thus “prisoner handling” becomes a training requirement.

So too will some form of advanced driver training – perhaps including counter surveillance and counter-ambush techniques.  If the rule of law ever takes a firm and even grip in Ukraine there will be a large number of defendants in a fairly high risk category when it comes to somebody seeing benefit in their assassination and/or springing them – or both – from differing parties with differing interests.

The ultra-conspiratorial will see an ability to “lock down” every court in the nation at a moments notice, keep tabs on judges, perhaps influence them via an ever-present National Guard security team by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to which the National Guard is subordinate.  However that is to seriously over estimate the current competency of the MIA.  (Indeed the incompetency within the Ukrainian ministries and institutions should not be under-estimated.  When things go wrong, it is not always as the result of some behind the curtain conspiracy, but rather incompetence.)

Quite why this responsibility has been placed upon the National Guard is unclear – although in the current climate there is certainly a requirement to provide for public safety and the ability of the courts to function (such as they do) without frequent mass brawls, threats, intimidation, and unnecessary due process delays, whilst also retaining the right for freedom of assembly and speech.  There also needs to be an authority that provides for a power of arrest when necessary to keep the peace.

Perhaps therefore these responsibilities are something the National Police rather than the National Guard should be tasked with instead?

Whatever the case, and matters are still not entirely clear, it is something of an  interesting development.


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