Last week the Parliament addressed several pressing issues. In particular, MPs voted on the bill introducing criminal punishment for fake vaccination certificates and tried to transfer court cases against central executive bodies from the notorious Kyiv District Administrative Court to the Supreme Court. Also, the Verkhovna Rada once more reshuffled the ministers.
Introduction of criminal punishment for fake vaccination certificates
Draft bill #6084 of September 23, 2021
Status: adopted in the first reading.
Who is affected: law enforcement agencies, medics, and Ukrainian citizens.
Why this is important: Ukraine had a problem with fake vaccination certificates for a long time. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many Ukrainians bought certificates, for example, for their children to be allowed in kindergartens or schools. Today the problem became even more pressing because many Ukrainians do not want to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 and without vaccination certificates they face many inconveniences: cannot travel abroad or receive some of the services provided by the state and even private businesses. As a result, the demand for fake certificates significantly increased, so MPs decided to introduce more severe penalties for forgery.
Summary of the bill:
- a person knowingly using a fake vaccination certificate will face a fine from ₴17,000 to ₴34,000 or two years of imprisonment
- medics issuing fake vaccination certificates will face fines from ₴34,000 to ₴68,000 or two years of imprisonment without the right to practice medicine from 1 to 3 years.
What is right: more severe penalties for issuing and using fake vaccination certificates are necessary for maintaining public safety. In particular, the bill will help to counter the spread of the coronavirus.
What’s next: MPs can propose amendments before the second reading.
Transfer of cases involving highest and central executive bodies from the Kyiv District Administrative Court to the Supreme Court
Draft bill #5067 of February 15, 2021
Status: adopted in the first reading.
Who is affected: the Kyiv District Administrative Court, the Supreme Court, the Cabinet, ministers, and other central executive bodies.
Why this is important: the Kyiv District Administrative Court (KDAC) addresses cases against the Cabinet, ministries, and other central executive bodies situated in Kyiv. In recent years, judges of the KDAC were involved in a number of scandals and allegations of corruption. Court’s reputation undermines the trust in the objectivity and impartiality of its decisions. Moreover, no allegedly corrupt judges were held responsible. Conflicts between the KDAC and the executive branch can result in serious problems for government bodies.
Summary of the bill:
- the Kyiv District Administrative Court as a court of original jurisdiction will no longer address lawsuits challenging the decisions by the Cabinet, ministries, other central executive bodies, the Parliament, and the President. All these cases will be transferred to the Supreme Court
- appeals for such cases will be considered by the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court.
What is right: there will be less risk of the KDAC’s interference with the work of government bodies by making biased decisions.
What is wrong:
- significant increase in the workload of the Supreme Court will delay the proceedings of new and old cases under its consideration
- the Supreme Court is a cassation court and a body responsible for facilitating consistent administration of law. Thus, it is unfit to work as a court of original jurisdiction
- taking into account that the Constitutional Court is not working properly for over a year, transferring cases involving central executive bodies to the Supreme Court will further limit access to justice for Ukrainian citizens and legal entities in cases where their rights are infringed by central executive bodies. The President backed up by the majority in the Parliament and the Cabinet appointed by this majority will be able to abuse his authority with impunity
- the bill is in conflict with the idea of a system of administrative courts that are supposed to decide on cases where private individuals and the state are involved
- the bill does not address the issues of the low quality of the KDAC’s work and allegedly corrupted judges.
- dissolve the Kyiv District Administrative Court and form a new composition of the Kyiv Administrative Court
- hold corrupt judges accountable.
Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, the Cabinet, ministries, other government bodies, military units.
- Oleksii Liubchenko as First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine — Minister of Economy
- Roman Abramovskyi as Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources
- Oleh Urusky as Deputy Prime Minister — Minister for Strategic Industries
- Oleksii Reznikov as Deputy Prime Minister — Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories
- Andrii Taran as Minister of Defense
- Oleksii Reznikov as Minister of Defense
- Iryna Vereshchuk as Deputy Prime Minister — Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories
- Pavlo Ryabikin as Minister for Strategic Industries
- Yulia Svyrydenkoas First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine — Minister of Economy of Ukraine.
What is right: the Verkhovna Rada has appointed a civilian as Minister of Defense. This complies with NATO member states’ best practices.
What is wrong: frequent reshuffles in the Cabinet disrupt the work of the ministries and make it difficult to develop and implement state policies in a consistent manner. Also, frequent changes in the Cabinet are a sign of the inability of the parliamentary majority to properly form the executive branch.
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