TV Channel 5 reports: “Maidan” Alliance demands that the secret documents of high-ranking officials be published
All documents classified using the stamps “Not to be printed” and “Not to be published” which do not contain state secrets should be made public. This is the demand of the civic organization, the “Maidan” Alliance. Several suits have already been lodged with the courts, insisting that the public be shown not only the names of the legislative acts, but the documents themselves.
A violation of the Constitution is how the “Maidan” Alliance describes the concealment of normative legal acts by those in power. On 31 January 2005 the Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Yevhen Zakharov, addressed an open letter to the President of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers regarding the illegal existence of a huge number of classified normative acts. His initiative was supported by the “Maidan” Alliance which invited people to add their signatures to the letter.
Oleksandr Severyn, legal adviser to the “Maidan” Alliance, explains:
“We organized citizens appeals to the President of Ukraine, demanding that the names of acts issued both by President Yushchenko, and his predecessor, Leonid Kuchma, be made public”.
The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine provided the names of Ukrainian normative acts, starting from 2001. It has also officially acknowledged that the use of such stamps is not foreseen in any legislation. Representatives of the Alliance would however like to receive all illegally classified documents, not only the names, but the texts themselves. They divide the acts provided in general into three categories corrupt activities; various perks and benefits for high-ranking officials; behind the scenes political deals.
Yevhen Zakharov,, Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, specifies :
“If one looks at “the business trips of Yury Kravchenko to the Kherson Regional State Administration, and at the date when this took place, one sees that this was when Mr Kravchenko was appointed governor. It transpired that to keep his police length of service and all police benefits and the salary of a general of the Internal Service, he was sent there on business trips to “work” as governor.”
The first victory of the human rights activists was the decrease in the number of acts unwarrantedly classified. According to the Alliances information, former President Leonid Kuchma issued around 900 acts with the stamp “Not to be printed”, ex-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych – almost one hundred. The current regime has been much more sparing in its use of such stamps. President Yushchenko has classified only 44 acts, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko – 15, and the current Prime Minister, Yury Yekhanurov, not one.
Campaign activists however insist that the end of the battle for transparency of the authorities is still far off. They say that there is no guarantee that such practice will not be renewed. They have drawn up a draft law “On information” which is presently in the Ministry of Justice. The passing of this law, its authors believe, would limit the appearance of “secret documents” and clearly establish the possible grounds for such acts. For the moment the Alliances representatives are waiting for the court hearings on their civil suits about executive bodies.
Olena Khalik, Andriy Romanyuk, TV 5