Dissolution of the SBI, restoration of electronic asset declarations, and penalties for forced passportization

29 September 2022
Dissolution of the SBI, restoration of electronic asset declarations, and penalties for forced passportization
Home > Monitoring > Dissolution of the SBI, restoration of electronic asset declarations, and penalties for forced passportization

MPs propose to “reboot” the State Bureau of Investigation, return electronic asset declarations, and criminalize for civil servants to obtain russian passports. 

“Reboot” of the State Bureau of Investigation 

Draft bill # 8059 of September 19, 2022 

Cosponsors: a group of MPs from the European Solidarity faction with Artur Herasymov as the first signatory. 

Who is affected: the President, MPs, the Cabinet, employees of the SBI, high-rank officials, military, and civil servants. 

Summary of the bill: 

  • repeals the Law on the State Bureau of Investigation 
  • until the new SBI is created, all the cases, requests, reports, and materials of the current SBI will be transferred to the NABU 
  • if the bill is adopted, the following will be possible: 
  • dissolution of the SBI as a legal entity with respective changes to the state registries 
  • early termination of work contracts with SBI employees and their transfer to equal positions in the Armed Forces of Ukraine or other military units 
  • the Cabinet will be obliged to draft and submit a draft bill On the State Bureau of Investigation to the Verkhovna Rada. The new draft bill should make the SBI a central executive body, its text should be agreed upon with the Venice Commission. 

Why this is important: 

  • the SBI was already “rebooted” in December of 2019. Then its status was changed from a central executive body to a state law enforcement agency. Also, the role of the President was increased. By these changes, the SBI de facto was made subordinate to the Head of the state. 
  • in June 2019, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine ruled that state bodies that by their functions, the scope of authority, and competencies can be characterized as central executive bodies should be subordinated to the Cabinet. This applies to state regulators (National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Public Utilities) and law enforcement agencies (the NABU, the SBI, the National Police, etc.). 

What is right: the bill is a reminder that according to the Constitution the SBI should not be subordinate to the President. Sooner or later, this question will be addressed by the Constitutional Court, and it will rule the current version of the law unconstitutional. So the changes should be introduced already and not after the Court’s decision. 

What is wrong: the bill does not really reboot the SBI but instead eliminates the legal grounds of its work and allows the Cabinet to dissolve this law enforcement agency. To change the status of the SBI, there is no need to dissolve it or repel the current law. It is enough to amend the law. 

Legislative amendments required to fulfill requirements for the EU member states 

Draft bill # 8071 of September 23, 2022 

Sponsor: Davyd Arakhamiia, the head of the Servant of the People faction in the Parliament. 

Who is affected: the President, MPs, members of the Cabinet, civil servants, and officials of local governments. 

Summary of the bill: 

  • while martial law is in force, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) has the following powers: 
  • submit proposals concerning sanctions to the National Security and Defense Council 
  • monitor and evaluate the consequences of the sanctions already imposed in Ukraine or abroad 
  • to interact with foreign agencies on issues concerning sanctions 
  • civil servants will have once again to submit asset declarations. It will be required to submit first declarations within sixty days after the law comes into force. People that are on temporarily occupied territories, in combat zones, or are performing tasks concerning national security matters will be free not to submit declarations 
  • the requirement to submit civil servant asset declarations for candidates for political offices, civil servant positions and positions in local governments will be restored. Also, the requirement will apply to civil servants appointed while martial law was in force 
  • the requirement to perform special background checks on the candidates will also be restored. Special background checks will be optional if a body responsible for conducting these checks is in a combat zone or under temporary occupation. Also, they will be optional if a person that is supposed to be checked is directly involved in hostilities, resides in a combat zone or on a temporarily occupied territory. 

What is right: the bill fulfills the EU requirement on fighting corruption. The present situation allows for a renewal of electronic asset declarations and special checks for people that are not in combat zones and are not engaged in fighting off the enemy. 

What is wrong: 

  • the title of the draft bill does not give an understanding of its content. In fact, it is deceptive since the draft bill does not cover all changes necessary for Ukraine to become an EU member. 
  • sanctions as an international legal protective mechanism should be developed. However, they do not have any relation to Ukraine’s obligations to the EU. Also, it is unclear why the issue of sanctions and interactions with foreign agencies about sanctions should be a responsibility of the NACP in particular since at the moment it has no relation to this matter. 

Measures against russian passportization 

Draft bill # 8057 of September 19, 2022 

Sponsor: the Cabinet. 

Who is affected: citizens, war criminals, collaborationists, and russian military administrations on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. 

Summary of the bill: 

  • courts will not be allowed to use general guidelines to set lighter penalties for crimes against peace, human safety, and national security while martial law is in force. 
  • забороняє судам користуватись зальними правилами про призначення м’якшого покарання за злочини проти миру, безпеки людства та національної безпеки, вчинені в умовах воєнного стану; 
  • criminal penalties will be introduced for the following violations: 
  • acquisition of citizenship or a passport of the aggressor state by civil servants or officials of local government while martial law is in force: the penalty will be from 10 to 15 years imprisonment with or without confiscation of property 
  • propaganda, calls for action, or actions aimed at forcing Ukrainian citizens to acquire citizenship or passports of the aggressor state: the penalty will be from 5 to 12 years imprisonment with or without confiscation of property 
  • what will not constitute the loss of Ukrainian citizenship: 
  • automatic naturalization of people who live on the temporarily occupied territories 
  • acquisition of russian citizenship under circumstances when a person’s rights become more restricted without the documents issued by the aggressor state 
  • acquisition of russian citizenship by Ukrainian citizens deported to the territory of russia. 

What is right: the Cabinet started to form a state policy to counter russian activities on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.