New openness or new labels?
The Ministry of Justice states that since 2006 neither the Cabinet of Ministers nor the President have issued any legislative act which carries the unlawful stamps “Not to be printed” and “Not to be published”.
The Minister of Justice, Mykola Onischuk says that the Ministrys analysis shows that since 2005 the number of documents classified through stamps restricting access has noticeably decreased.
He states that from 1991 to 2005 2,252 legislative acts were issued either with the stamps “Not to be printed” and “Not to be published” which are not envisaged by any legislation, or classified as “For Official Use Only”.
These included 679 Presidential Decrees and 98 Presidential Instructions, and from the Cabinet of Ministers 478 Resolutions and 997 Instructions.
For anybody closing following the actions of Ukraines leaders, it may be interesting to follow the high and low points as far as issue of documents to be kept from the public. The Ministry of Justices report does not mention the very active campaign beginning in 2005 and run by the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, the “Maidan” Alliance and partner civic organizations. This was specifically directed at bringing unlawfully classified documents into the light and ensuring that the practice stopped.
The Minister also notes that in March 2008 the Cabinet of Ministers removed the unlawful stamps “Not to be printed” and “Not to be published” from 1,015 Cabinet of Ministers acts issued from 1991 to 2005. Furthermore, on 26 December 2008 the President issued a Decree removing the stamp “Not to be published” from 35 Presidential Decrees issued in 2005.
In 2006 44 documents were classified as “For Official Use Only”. During that year one Presidential Decree was issued with the stamp “Not to be published”, however this was subsequently removed via another Decree.
In 2007 53 Cabinet of Ministers or Presidential acts were classified as “For Official Use Only”, and 74 in 2008.
The figures require closer scrutiny, however there does appear to be a positive trend which it would be churlish not to welcome.
From information at www.minjust.gov.ua