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20.01.2006

Open Appeal regarding positions of public office incompatible with candidacy for the office of State Deputy of Ukraine

   

Certain executive bodies in a democratic country fulfil specific functions requiring independence, impartiality and objectivity. There are particular demands set down in legislation regarding the incompatibility of these positions of office with commercial or political activity. Individuals holding such posts, therefore, having become candidates for the office of State Deputy of Ukraine, must go on leave for the period of the elections, and in certain cases should entirely resign from their post.  Participation in elections implies engagement in the political struggle for power and involves advocating solely one’s own position.

With regard to judges

The regulation requiring resignation from office applies to all judges who have decided to ballot for the office of State Deputy of Ukraine. Part two of Article 127 of the Constitution of Ukraine and Article 5 of the Law of Ukraine “On the status of judges” prohibit judges from taking part in “any political activity”.  As well as being an infringement of general constitutional requirements regarding the status of judges, such activity as a whole jeopardizes the democratic nature of the elections since it effectively deprives the country of control by the judiciary over any electoral violations during the elections.  The participation of a judge, and still more so of the chairperson of a court who in Ukraine holds wide-reaching administrative powers, sheds doubt upon the independence and objectivity of the judicial process and of any specific court, without which the control of the judiciary loses any reality. In addition to all else, this infringes Article 129 of the Constitution of Ukraine and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms guaranteeing the right to a fair trial in the case of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Therefore, given their political activity, the following judges who have registered as candidates for State Deputy of Ukraine are called upon to resign:

1)  V.T. Malyarenko, Chairperson of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, - registered as No. 5 on the candidate list[1] for the Lytvyn People’s Bloc;

2)  D.M. Prytyka, Chairperson of the Higher Economic Court, - No. 68 on the candidate list for the Party of Regions (Yanukovych’s Party);

3) L. I. Fesenko, Chairperson of the Appeal Court of the Luhansk region, - No. 137 on the candidate list for the Party of Regions;

4) I. H. Kalyetnik, Judge of the Dniprovsky District Court in Kyiv, - No. 11 on the candidate list of the Nataliya Vitrenko Bloc “People’s Opposition”;

5)  V. P. Shevchenko, Chairperson of the Military Appeal Court of the Central Region of Ukraine, - No. 7 on the candidate list for the Election Bloc of the political parties of Boris Oliynyk and Mykhailo Syrota;

6)  L. D. Podkolzina, Judge of the Economic Court of the Donetsk Region, - No. 65 on the candidate list of the Non-affiliated Election Bloc “Sontse” [“Sun”].

With regard to the Human Rights Ombudsperson

The office of Human Rights Representative for the Verkhovna Rada (Human Rights Ombudsperson) requires impartiality and independence, as is directly stipulated in Article 7 of the Law of Ukraine “On the National Human Rights Ombudsperson of Ukraine” . Involvement by the Ombudsperson in political activity is a manifest violation of these principles.  Moreover, open campaigning for one political force creates dependence on the said force and renders the person unable in the future to defend human rights impartially. Therefore, in order to maintain the authority of this office, the National Human Rights Ombudsperson of Ukraine, Nina Karpachova, should also submit her resignation.

With regard to members of the Central Election Commission

In accordance with Part Four of Article 7 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Central Election Commission” (CEC), a member of the CEC does not have the right to stand for election as State Deputy of Ukraine.  CEC member, R. P. Knyazevych who is registered as No. 9 on the candidate list of the bloc “Nasha Ukraina” [“Our Ukraine”, Yushchenko’s bloc] should accordingly resign from his post.

With regard to employees of law enforcement bodies

The holding of office in law enforcement bodies, in particular, those of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and of the Prosecutor’s Office, is also incompatible with political activity. Although there is no direct prohibition on such activity, it nevertheless follows from the requirement to show independence and objectivity in their dealings, and in order to ensure equal defence of violated rights and the holding of democratic elections, the following people should take leave for the period of the elections:

1) Y. K. Varava, Head of the Kryvorizky District Department of the Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in the Dnipropetrovsk region, who is No. 144 on the candidate list of the Lytvyn People’s Bloc;

2) K. O. Kolesnyk, Aide to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine on special instructions of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, –  No. 419 on the candidate list of the Lytvyn People’s Bloc;

3) A. V. Pshonka, Senior Aide to the Prosecutor of the Kirovsky District of Donetsk – No. 128 on the candidate list of the Party of Regions;

4) L. S. Porechkina, Deputy of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine – No. 128 on the candidate list of the Bloc “Nasha Ukraina”;

5)  I. A. Biletsky, Head of the Administration of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine – No. 172 on the candidate list of Yulia Tymoshenko’s Bloc;

6)  V. P. Topcheyeva, Head of the Department of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Kharkiv Region – No. 64 on the candidate list of Lazarenko’s Bloc; 

7)  O. M. Bondarenko, Senior Prosecutor of the Department of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine – No. 33 on the candidate list of the Bloc “Patriots of Ukraine”;

8)  O. V. Sirota, Aide to the Minister of Internal Affairs in the Kharkiv Region – No. 28 on the candidate list of the Party of Patriotic Forces of Ukraine;

9)  Y. O. Stebivko, Senior Aide to the Prosecutor of the Chornomorsky District Prosecutor’s Office – No. 50 on the candidate list of the Party of Putin’s Policy.

With regard to members of the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting

Doubts must also be raised concerning objectivity and impartiality with regard to the activities of the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting as a result of the participation of members of the latter in the elections. The National Council effectively controls political campaigning on television and has serious influence on the activities of all television companies in Ukraine which provide the main outlet for campaigning. The same applies to representatives of the National Council in the regions.

We therefore call upon the following officials to go on leave for the period of the elections:

1) V. F. Shevchenko, Head of the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting  – 28 on the candidate list of the Ukrainian People’s Bloc of Kostenko and Plyushch;

2) V. I. Ponedilko, member of the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting – No. 98 on the candidate list of the Communist Party of Ukraine;

3) L. Y. Bakalenko, Representative of the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting in the Kirovohrad Region – No. 90 on the candidate list of the Party for Environmental Rescue “EKO +25%».

With regard to journalists

In keeping with both Ukrainian and international standards concerning freedom of speech, journalists and the mass media should present information objectively and without bias.  It is clear that a journalist or his / her manager when preparing or imparting news present it in a certain style with the points relating to this highlighted.  As a consequence, when they are politically engaged, this is also reflected in their news which runs counter to the functions of the press in a democratic society.  Under such circumstances and considering the extraordinary influence the mass media exerts on the holding of fair and democratic elections, we demand that journalists and their managers who are involved in preparing and presenting the news, while also standing for office as State Deputies as candidates of specific politic parties, suspend their professional role for the period of the elections:

We call on the following people to take leave over the election period:

1) O. V. Herasymyuk, General Producer of the Television and Radio Company “Studio «1+1» - No. 4 on the candidate list of the Bloc “Nasha Ukraina”;

2) Y. V. Bohutsky, General Director of the International television and radio company ICTV – No. 17 on the candidate list of the Civic Bloc PORA – PRP [Party of Reform and Order];

3) Y. V. Batayeva, General Producer of the public corporation “Telekanal “TONIS”, - No. 25 on the candidate list of the Green Party of Ukraine;

4)  I. M. Tolstykh, Vice President of the National Television Company of Ukraine – No. 73 on the candidate list of the Party for Environmental Rescue “EKO +25%»;

5) H. A. Nyzkodubova, journalist for the information agency “Ukrainski novyny” [“Ukrainian news”, - No. 177 on the candidate list of the Ukrainian People’s Bloc of Kostenko and Plyushch;

6)  V. I. Hrabovenko, correspondent for the information agency “Interfax – Ukraine” – No. 227 on the candidate list of the Lytvyn People’s Bloc;

7)  V. Y. Boiko, General Director of the Zhytomyr Region State Television and Radio Company – No. 324 on the candidate list of the Lytvyn People’s Bloc;

8) O. M. Babiy, General Director of the Ivano-Frankivsk regional television “Halychyna”, - No. 193 on the candidate list of the Bloc “Nasha Ukraina”;

9) O. P. Muts, Chief Editor of the newspaper “Reporter” – No. 159 on the candidate list of the Party of Regions;

10) N. A. Mishcherska, observer for the creative production association “Novyny” [“News”] of the National Television Company of Ukraine, - No. 5 on the candidate list for the party “Zelena Planeta” [“Green Planet”]; .

11) S. A. Smirnov, Deputy Chief Editor of the newspaper “Lvivska gazeta” – No. 131 on the candidate list of the Civic Bloc PORA – PRP;

12) L. F. Kolayenko, Senior Editor of the State Television and Radio Company «Krym» [“Crimea”], –  No. 77 on the candidate list of the Opposition bloc “Ne tak” [“Not yes”];

13) other journalists and editors of media outlets involved in preparing and providing news.

With regard to heads and lectures of higher educational institutions

Among registered candidates for the office of State Deputy there are 49 heads (rectors, pro-rectors, etc) of Ukrainian higher educational institutions, as well as 165 lecturers from these institutions (including professors and associate professors).  The experience of previous election campaigns has shown that campaigning and voting in educational institutions often involve pressure being placed, with candidates making use of their official position.  Among other things, this has been demonstrated in discrimination against students who espouse other political views. We would therefore call on heads and lectures of higher educational institutions who are standing as candidates for State Deputy of Ukraine to suspend their professional activity for the period of the election and to not exert pressure on their students.

We consider that the participation of all the above-mentioned individuals in the election campaign while continuing to fulfil their professional duties is incompatible with the principles of democracy and the rule of law, and presents a serious threat to the achievement of fair and democratic elections.

Yevhen Zakharov,

Chairperson of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU)

Volodymyr Yavorsky

Executive Director of UHHRU



[1]  The elections of 2006 will be the first to be  totally based on a proportional representation and party-list system.  Position on the list directly reflects the likelihood of becoming a State Deputy (translator’s note)

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