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20.03.2008

Civic victory

   

The Cabinet of Ministers has removed the illegal stamps restricting access from its own acts issued between 1991 and 2005.  The stamps involved “Not to be printed” and “Not to be published” are quite simply not envisaged by Ukrainian legislation and had no right to exist.

This was made clear to those in government repeatedly over the last few years with the “Maidan” Alliance, at the suggestion of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, beginning a major campaign to have all “secret” acts declassified.  The campaign involved using the mechanisms allowed for in the Law on Information, including civil suits against those unlawfully concealing information.

It should be mentioned that the problem became less acute in 2005 with the number of such “secret” acts falling dramatically.

And now the Ministry of Justice has withdrawn the offending stamps from almost 1.5 thousand Cabinet of Ministers acts.

Minister of Justice Mykola Onishchuk reported that overall between 1991 and 2005 the Cabinet of Ministers had issued 1410 resolutions and instructions with the stamps restricting access “Not to be printed” and “Not to be published”,

They apparently pertain to design of special technology; material reserves; export of commodities; fighting illegal migration; support at the State border and near it, and others.

However around 300 of the acts mentioned will have the above mentioned stamps removed, but will still not be available to public scrutiny with another stamp “For official use only” being used instead.  Almost all these acts deal with defence and security or contain issues relating to economic competition

The “Maidan” Alliance is delighted with this move which they see as in no small measure linked with their campaign “The rights to the truth”.  

They do plan however to immediately write to the Ministry of Justice requesting to be given the names and details of those acts which remain classified with the old illegal stamps being replaced by “For official use only”.

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