Veterans in party electoral lists, political responsibility of MPs, and exchanges of prisoners of war

08 June 2022
Veterans in party electoral lists, political responsibility of MPs, and exchanges of prisoners of war
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MPs want to introduce a mandatory requirement for parties to include veterans in their electoral lists, ban from participating in parliamentary activities those MPs whose parties are suspended, and simplify procedures for exchanging prisoners of war. 

The requirement to include veterans in party electoral lists 

Draft bill # 7405 of May 25, 2022 

Sponsor: Heorhii Mazurashu, Servant of the People faction. 

Who is affected: political parties, candidates for the Parliament, war veterans, and voters. 

Summary of the bill: it will be required that at least two out of five candidates on a party electoral list are veterans — a requirement analogous to the current provision that at least two out of five candidates on party electoral lists must be of different sex. 

What is wrong: 

  • a decision about which specialists to include in their electoral lists should be made by parties, not by law. Parties are supposed to be interested in engaging the most popular candidates, so if veterans are the most popular — they will be on the lists. At the same time, lists should also include doctors, economists, educators, tax specialists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and IT professionals — to represent a variety of different social groups and provide professional expertise on draft bills proposed by the Cabinet concerning policies in different sectors. 

The political responsibility of MPs from suspended political parties 

Draft bill # 7424 of June 1, 2022 

Cosponsors: MPs from the Servant of the People faction and For the Future group with Taras Batenko (the head of For the Future group) as the first signatory. 

Who is affected: MPs, voters, and Ukrainian citizens. 

Summary of the bill: if the President enacts a decision on suspending the activities of a political party represented by a faction in the Parliament, MPs will be able to ban members of this party from participating in sessions of the Verkhovna Rada, ceremonies, parliamentary hearings, work of committees and subcommittees, temporary special committees, etc. 

Why this is important: on March 18, the President suspended the activities of several political parties. One of them is the Opposition Platform — For Life which was represented in the Verkhovna Rada by a faction of 43 persons. 

What is wrong: 

  • penalties proposed by the bill have nothing to do with political responsibility. Political responsibility, by definition, means that parties and MPs are responsible to voters and it is up to voters to decide in the next election whether their representatives fell short of their expectations 
  • the draft bill can significantly impair the work of the Verkhovna Rada by complicating the work of committees, subcommittees, temporary special committees, and the Parliament itself. 

Alternative solution: MPs that are members of the suspended political parties should be held responsible exclusively when they have personally committed a crime: committed high treason, collaborated with the enemy, etc. 

Exchange of convicted prisoners 

Draft bill # 7436 of June 6, 2022 

Cosponsors: a group of MPs from the Servant of the People faction with Fedir Venislavskyi as the first signatory. 

Who is affected: detectives, prosecutors, judges, russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war. 

Summary of the bill: 

  • it will be allowed to free russian prisoners of war convicted for their crimes in Ukraine from serving a sentence and to close criminal cases against them 
  • if a person who has been exchanged this way is once more detained on the territory of Ukraine while participating in the military hostilities against Ukraine, the court will have to consider his or her closed case for the second time or send this person to prison. 

What is right: there will be more prisoners of war that Ukraine is able to exchange. Currently, some legal collisions are preventing the exchange of detained or prosecuted russian war criminals. 

What is wrong: 

  • there will be no sense to investigate cases against russian war criminals or prosecute them since even if their guilt is established and recognized by Ukrainian society and the international community, the authorities will still be able to exchange them 
  • as a result, the quality of work done by detectives and prosecutors in such cases will significantly decrease.