11:52 08.11.2021

Heads of diplomatic missions of EU, NATO, US in Ukraine call on MPs to adopt law on SBU reform

2 min read
Heads of diplomatic missions of EU, NATO, US in Ukraine call on MPs to adopt law on SBU reform

Heads of the diplomatic missions of the European Union (Matti Maasikas, Antti Hartikainen), the North Atlantic Alliance (Vineta Kleine) and the United States (Kristina Kvien) in Ukraine call on the MPs to adopt at the second reading the law on reforming the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

After the successful completion of the reform, the special service will focus on the fight against terrorism, counterintelligence and protection of state secrets, having lost the powers of pretrial investigation, an article written by Western diplomats for the website of Yevropeiska Pravda (European Truth) says.

"A central reform element in the draft law is the gradual termination of SSU [SBU] pretrial investigative powers. This would transform the SSU into a Special Service focused on counterintelligence rather than law enforcement. Pretrial investigative powers would move to law enforcement agencies that are better placed to investigate crimes and operate under stricter oversight than intelligence agencies," the article posted on Monday says.

It says that other key elements in the draft law include the immediate introduction of a temporary parliamentary oversight system (until a dedicated Parliamentary Oversight Committee is established), the downsizing of staff to 20,000 and de-militarization of most of the Service. "There are open questions in the draft law related to the inclusion of far-reaching powers that may infringe on human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the use of physical force, special means, firearms, and detention facilities; ambiguities in the attestation of SSU staff; and the possibility to appoint redundant SSU staff without competition for positions in other agencies," diplomats added.

They emphasize that the weaknesses mentioned should be addressed, especially during the implementation of key provisions enhancing judicial control and oversight, but should not prevent the Verkhovna Rada from adopting the draft law as soon as possible.

"We call on all political parties in the Verkhovna Rada to seize this historic opportunity and adopt the draft law without delay," the western diplomats summarized.

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