Last week the President approved a decision to impose sanctions against thieves in law — both Ukrainian citizens and foreigners. The decision is supposed to protect national security but also has several flaws. Meanwhile, the Cabinet proposed to dismiss several ministries and right away appoint other candidates in their stand.
Sponsor: the Cabinet. The final decision, though, has to be made by the Parliament.
Who is affected: Ukrainian citizens, businesses, doctors, patients, drivers, employees of the infrastructure sector, and the Cabinet.
What is proposed:
- to dismiss:
- Ihor Petrashko as the Minister of Economic Development and Trade
- Vladyslav Kryklii as the Minister of Infrastructure
- Maksym Stepanov as the Minister of Healthcare
- to appoint in their stead:
- Oleksiy Lyubchenko (the Chairperson of the State Tax Service)
- Oleksandr Kubrakov (the Head of Ukravtodor)
- Viktor Liashko (the Chief State Sanitary Doctor).
Why this is important:
- on May 14, the Cabinet imposed government price control on diesel fuel, gasoline A-92 and A-95. According to Ihor Petrashko, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, it was done to protect customers that suffered from the forced lockdown and the decision will allow to make gasoline pricing mechanism transparent
- according to the media, bank accounts of the Ukrainian Railway were arrested for debts to creditors. The situation endangers the work of this state-owned company that is a part of critical infrastructure
- progress with vaccination is still unsatisfactory. Since February, only 940 thousand people, i.e. near 2% of the population, were vaccinated with the first dose.
What is right: it is a usual practice for a democratic country to dismiss ministers that failed at their work.
What is wrong:
- according to the media, President Volodymyr Zelensky personally convinced Maksym Stepanov to resign. It is possible that the other two ministers were pressured the same way. According to the Constitution, though, the President has no right to interfere with issues of ministers’ appointments or dismissals. That is the Prime Minister’s job
- since the President defied the Constitution and de facto took over the work of the executive branch, he is now responsible for the failures of the Cabinet and ministers, especially for the slow progress with vaccination and the fight against the coronavirus.
Sanctions against thieves in law
Decision-maker: the President.
Who is affected: law enforcement agencies, courts, government bodies, and persons under sanctions.
- Ukraine imposed sanctions against 557 thieves in law (542 foreigners and 15 Ukrainian citizens)
- Ukraine imposed sanctions against 111 foreigners residing on its territory who allegedly are “criminal bosses”
- persons under sanctions are denied entry to Ukraine and the opportunity to apply for its citizenship, their property and accounts are frozen, they face forced expulsion.
What is right: Ukraine has the right to expel and deny entry to its territory for foreigners that present a danger to the state. Such sanctions, though, have to be backed by legal evidence and can be challenged in court.
What is wrong:
- the President cannot impose sanctions against Ukrainian citizens. If a Ukrainian citizen has committed a crime, he or she has to face the court, not the President
- according to the Constitution, conjectures are not enough to accuse a person of a crime. To prove someone guilty, there should be proper evidence presented to the court. Neither the President nor law enforcement agencies has the authority to judge whether someone is a “thief in law”
- to call anyone a “crime boss” or “thief in law” is a value judgment. To use such definitions to prosecute people or impose sanctions against them is malpractice that can be used against innocent persons.
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