Special edition digest. Governance, business, and people in the occupied territories

15 August 2022
Special edition digest. Governance, business, and people in the occupied territories
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The Cabinet drafted a proposal on the rules of conduct for government bodies, local governments, and businesses in the occupied territories. 

Draft bill # 7646 of August 8, 2022 

Sponsor: the Cabinet 

Status: awaits to be included on the parliamentary agenda 

Who is affected: people and businesses on the temporarily occupied territories, government bodies and local governments, and the aggressor state 

Summary of the bill: 

Proposed regulations concerning the temporarily occupied territories: 

  • Government bodies are allowed to take defense, counterterrorism, intelligence, and counterintelligence measures 
  • Government bodies and local governments are not allowed to exercise their powers, except for the following: 
  1. protection of human rights and freedoms 
  2. investigative and pre-trial investigative activities 
  3. civil defense activities 
  4. protection of cultural values 
  5. humanitarian activities: healthcare, social security, public utilities, and nuclear safety. 
  • Business operations are not allowed, except for the following: 
  1. delivery and distribution of pensions 
  2. civil defense measures 
  3. production and distribution of drugs 
  4. charity and humanitarian aid 
  5. public utilities maintenance 
  6. mining operations, maintenance of pipelines and electrical networks, and electricity production — if the natural resources or electricity are not taken away to the territory of the aggressor state 
  7. educational activities — if they are not promoting the aggressor state 
  8. activities of banks and other financial institutions 
  9. farming 
  10. cargo and passenger transportation 
  11. production of goods and provision of services, in particular, retail and food service. 

What is wrong: 

  • Provisions about defense, intelligence, and counterintelligence measures are redundant in this bill. The Armed Forces of Ukraine, other military and law enforcement units, and government bodies already have all necessary powers — they are defined in the Constitution, the Law On the Defense of Ukraine, and other laws 
  • Government bodies of Ukraine on the occupied territories are not operational and thus are unable to perform their duties concerning medical aid, social security, or public utilities. That is why the international humanitarian law makes the occupant responsible for maintaining order in the occupied territories 
  • Pension delivery to the occupied territories will just help to fund the occupation. It makes it easier for the occupant to keep these territories, stabilizes the social and economic situation there, and contradicts the provision that the occupant is the party responsible for maintaining order in the occupied territories 
  • Presence of Ukrainian or foreign banks in the occupied territories is unacceptable since it will help the occupants to bypass international sanctions on banking activities via Ukrainian banks. Provisions of the proposed bill will be in force also for the territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol city. Banks operating in these territories are under international sanctions since 2014 
  • The permission to produce goods and provide services will allow the inhabitants of the occupied territories, for example, to legally repair cars or gadgets of the occupants. This goes against the interests of Ukraine 
  • Vague wording of the bill does not clearly distinguish between legal and illegal business operations on the occupied territories and will be open to interpretation. 

Alternative solution: 

  • To withdraw the bill and draft a new one that conforms to the following principles: 
  1. to take into account provisions of the international humanitarian law regarding the responsibilities of the occupant to maintain order in the occupied territories and take care of the population 
  2. to avoid legalization of economic activities that the occupant can use for bypassing international sanctions or strengthening its positions 
  3. to not oblige government bodies to perform functions they are unable to perform due to the occupation 
  4. to define a clear list of activities not allowed for people on the occupied territories. It should be taken into account that the fulfillment of regular civic duties except for military service on the side of the occupant is not a collaborationism but a necessity for the survival of people and communities on the occupied territories. Work in infrastructure, public utilities, healthcare, social security, environmental safety, critical infrastructure, or any business that does not directly help the occupational troops and administrations — from production to retail — cannot be considered collaborationism.