19:09 18.01.2018

Donbas bill entitles Ukrainian president to use troops without Rada's control – MP Nayyem

3 min read

The legislation on Donbas passed by the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada on Thursday entitles the president to decide on the use of the armed forces without parliamentary control, Rada deputy Mustafa Nayyem said.

These and some other provisions of the legislation passed by the Rada "can hardly be called positive," Nayyem said on Facebook on Thursday.

The legislation vests "unprecedented and vaguely detailed powers in all individuals responsible for measures to ensure national security and defense," he said.

"They are entitled to use weapons and special equipment, detain people and bring them to National Police stations, check people's and officials' papers, and in the absence of such papers, detain them for identification; to conduct personal inspections and inspections of belongings and vehicles; to temporarily ban or restrict the movement of vehicles and pedestrians on streets and roads; to enter housing and other premises, use vehicles belonging to private people, and so on," he said.

"Such powers are understandable in case of war and if vested in a certain number of persons. But in this case, I'd repeat that these powers take effect in very vague conditions and for a very broad number of people," Nayyem said.

The legislation also says directly that the parliament's legal endorsement of the president's decision to use the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other military units to deter and repel armed aggression in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions shall be purely formal, Nayyem said. "This means, in fact, that the bill entitles the president to make decisions on the use of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other military units on his own, without subsequent parliamentary control, which goes directly against Clause 33 of Article 85 of the Ukrainian constitution," Nayyem said.

The bill's provision stipulating that the borders and the list of 'temporarily occupied' populated areas in Donbas shall be determined by the president based on recommendations of the Defense Ministry and proposals from the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is not completely constitutional, either, he said.

Another provision that violates the constitution stipulates that all forces and resources of all military units, including the Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry, and the National Police, involved in the operations in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions will be under command of the combined forces commander through the Ukrainian Armed Forces' combined operational headquarters, and the commander of the combined forces and his powers will be determined by the president, Nayyem said.

"The bill quite unambiguously places all the blame for moral and material damage caused to Ukraine on the Russian Federation. The bad news is that the bill does not indicate the period, the terms in which this damage was caused, or the territory where this happened," he said.

The legislation empowers the cabinet of ministers to determine the procedure for transporting individuals and goods to and from the territories not controlled by Kyiv, "but these rules can be absolutely ignored by the commander of the combined forces," Nayyem said.

"Unfortunately, a lot of amendments, including mine, which suggested that at least a general framework for transporting individuals and goods be defined have been rejected," he said.

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