Deputies fight anti-corruption


The Verkhovna Rada has postponed to 1 January 2011, instead of 1 April 2010, the entry into force of anti-corruption laws. The National Deputies came to the conclusion that the documents contain numerous “serious contradictions and uncoordinated points”. At the same time the Minister of Justice Mykola Onyshchuk considers the position taken by parliament to be far-fetched and plans to ask President Yanukovych to veto the relevant law.

Draft Law No. 6159 on postponing from 1 April 2010 to 1 January 2011 the coming into effect of three anti-corruption laws: “On the fundamental principles for preventing and countering corruption”; “On liability of legal entities for committing corruption offences” and “On amendments to some legislative acts regarding liability for corruption offences” was prepared and submitted by National Deputy Oleh Novikov (Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence”). The explanatory note asserts that “systematic study of the said documents by the legal community and their discussion on many forums and at seminars showed that they have serious contradictions and uncoordinated points requiring substantive improvement”.

The package of anti-corruption laws was prepared by the Ministry of Justice, submitted by former President Yushchenko and passed by the Verkhovna Rada on 11 June 2009. The laws set out measures for countering corruption, forms of liability for such offences and measures at eliminating their consequences. If the laws were to come into force, Ukraine would effectively ratify the UN Convention against Corruption thus fulfilling a part of its obligations, assumed on 1 January 2006 when joining the Group of States against Corruption [GRECO].

As reported here, Oleh Novikov has already once achieved a deferment for these laws which was criticized by the PACE Co-Rapporteur on Ukraine Renate Wohlwend and other international observers.

The Ministry of Justice is negative about the Verkhovna Rada’s decision. “The reluctance to live according to new anti-corruption legislation is already taking on a systemic nature”, the Minister Mr Onyshchuk said. “I am convinced that the deferment of the period of force of these laws to some extent makes it impossible to carry out anti-corruption reform in Ukraine. It goes without saying that this will adversely affect our image among European partners”. Mr Onyshchuk assumes that GRECO will also on 22 March give a negative assessment of parliament’s decision. “It should be noted that in November already Ukraine must report on its fulfillment of GRECO recommendations. In view of this we plan to turn to the President asking that he vetoes the law since there are no grounds for a further deferment of the date at which anti-corruption laws come into force.”

Alexander Sviridenko

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