Russia is building up its troops on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and near Ukraine’s state border, so today we will focus on decisions concerning national security and defense made by the President — the Supreme Commander-in-Chief. He has already managed not just to visit the frontline and meet with Recep Erdoğan but also to issue several important decrees. Today in our digest: protection of the rights and freedoms of war veterans, sanctions against top-officials of the Yanukovych regime that have fled to Russia and gone over to the enemy, and transfer of presidential plane and helicopter to the Ministry of Defense.
Provision on Advisory council for protection of rights and freedoms of defenders of Ukraine approved Decree #152/2021
Who is affected: the Cabinet, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry for Veteran Affairs, veterans, soldiers of the Armed Forces and other military units, and law enforcement officers engaged in fighting off the Russian military aggression.
Decree in a nutshell:
- the Advisory council is recognized as a consultative and advisory body under the President of Ukraine
- key functions of the Councils are: to monitor the observance of the rights and freedoms of the participants of the Revolution of Dignity and war veterans, to prepare proposals and legislative amendments on restoring these rights and issues of amnesty.
What is right: although Ukraine is de facto fighting a war, civil law still applies. As a result, some soldiers have suffered and still suffer from criminal prosecution for actions that would not have been considered criminal offenses under martial law. The state has to amend its laws to protect its defenders.
What is wrong: the decree by Zelensky violates the Constitution because most of the powers delegated to the Advisory council belong to the Cabinet, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Veteran Affairs. Also, the exclusive authority to address issues of justice belongs to law enforcement agencies and courts that are supposed to be independent.
- a proper way to protect the rights of soldiers is to establish the office of a military ombudsperson. Such institution exists in the Scandinavian countries, Canada, Ireland, and many other countries
- the Ministry of Defense should be more active in protecting the rights of the veterans, veteran assistance programs should be launched
- problems with prejudiced investigations and court proceedings can be solved only via a real reform of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary
- veterans prosecuted for duty-related criminal offenses should be allowed to apply for an early pardon.
Sanctions against top-officials of Yanukovych regime imposed Decree #151/2021
Who is affected: Victor Yanukovych, Mykola Azarov, Victor Pshonka, Serhii Kurchenko, Pavlo Lebedev, Dmytro Salamatin, Serhii Aksionov, Vadym Kolesnichenko, Volodymyr Konstantinov, Nataliia Poklonska; companies Endless Moonlight Limited and Trading Field Limited (both registered in Hong Kong), and ISS-Soft LLC (registered in the RF).
Decree in a nutshell: Ukraine imposed sanctions against ex-president Yanukovych, top ex-officials of the Revolution of Dignity period, and individuals that took an active part in the temporary Russian occupation of Crimea. Sanctions were imposed against 27 individuals and 3 legal entities.
What is right: Ukraine has an unalienable right to self-defense against individuals and legal entities that threaten its national security. Sanctions are one of the tools that can be used to that end.
What is wrong: it is unconstitutional to impose sanctions against citizens of Ukraine.
Alternative solution: investigations of crimes committed by the leaders of the Yanukovych regime should be finished and courts should apply trial in absentia for these cases.
Presidential plane and helicopter handed over to Ministry of Defense Decree #154/2021
Who is affected: the State Management of Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Decree in a nutshell: An-148-100V aircraft and Mi-8MTV-1 helicopter are transferred from the State Management of Affairs to the Ministry of Defense.
What is right: in the face of Russian preparations for a possible full-fledged armed invasion, the presidential plane and helicopter will be of some help after been remodeled to suit the needs of the Armed Forces.
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