10:51 03.02.2014

Law on amnesty of protesters after they leave administrative offices published in Ukraine

3 min read

The law granting amnesty to rally participants after they vacate administrative buildings in Ukraine was published in the official newspaper on February 1.

The law on measures to eliminate the negative aftermath and prevent persecution and punishment of persons involved in incidents during peaceful protest rallies was published in the parliament's Holos Ukrainy (Voice of Ukraine) newspaper in the early hours of Saturday, February 1.

As reported, on January 29, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, passed a bill on measures to eliminate the negative aftermath and prevent persecution and punishment of persons involved in developments during peaceful protest rallies, which was prepared by Regions Party faction member Yuriy Miroshnychenko.

The opposition factions' leaders described the passed amnesty bill "a law on hostages" and said that "instead of peacefully resolving the crisis and resuming parliamentarianism, the majority in the Verkhovna Rada continues to escalate the standoff and the practice of law falsification."

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych signed the bill into law on January 31.

The amnesty law stipulates that it will take effect after the Prosecutor General's Office reports on its Web site that the protesters vacated all administrative buildings and unblocked Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv.

The law exempts people suspected or accused of committing certain crimes from criminal liability on condition that these offences and crimes are related to the mass protests that started on November 21, 2013. The criminal proceedings against such people will be dropped.

Article 9 of the law stipulates that it will come into force the day after its official publication but will actually take effect the day after the Prosecutor General's Office posts a prosecutor general's report on its official Web site confirming that the participants in the protests have carried out certain actions.

In particular, the protesters are supposed to vacate all buildings, including those housing government and local government bodies in Kyiv and other populated areas of Ukraine, provide people working there with free access to their workplaces, and eliminate other obstacles to normal operation of these institutions.

The protesters are also supposed to unblock Hrushevskoho Street in Kyiv and other streets, squares, roads, and boulevards both in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine except those where peaceful protest actions are taking place.

Article 10 of the law allots 15 days to the protesters to comply with these conditions, starting the next day after the law comes into force.

Article 11 specifies that the law will remain in effect until the expiration of this 15-day term.

The author of the law, Party of Regions parliamentarian Yuriy Miroshnychenko, points out that the law does not require that the road surface of Khreschatyk Street and the streets adjacent to it be unblocked, but requires only that the buildings housing local government and executive government bodies be vacated.

"There is no talk about phasing out the Maidan [the opposition protest on Independence Square], and peaceful protests are still possible," Miroshnychenko said.

Miroshnychenko added also that the legislation is a compromise, and that the main value is that it should help alleviate tensions in society.

He said that opposition members were involved in drawing up the bill but refused to vote for it as they had not consolidated enough approval from their supporters.