The Ministry of Justice and fighting corruption
On Wednesday Viktor Yanukovych instructed the Ministry of Justice to fulfil the functions of a specially authorized body on fighting corruption until such a body is created. This decision was taken in signing the Law on the Principles of Preventing and Countering Corruption. Members of the opposition are convinced that the Ministry of Justice cannot be assigned such powers.
The President announced that he had signed the law during a meeting of the National Anti-Corruption Committee Viktor Yanukovych said that he had been working intensively for the last 15 months on anti-corruption legislation. He has made the SBU [Security Service] and Ministry of Justice responsible for anti-corruption policy. “Until the creation of a specially authorized body on anti-corruption policy its functions will be carried out by the Ministry of Justice involving the capacity of the Security Service”.
The anit-corruption law contains a norm on the need for such a body and this is one of the demands in the action plan for the visa-regime dialogue with the EU passed in Brussels in October 2010.
One of the members of the parliamentary Committee on Fighting Corruption and Organized Crime, Hennady Moskal, from the opposition Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence believes that the President’s Administration has got things muddled. He says that the Ministry of Justice is not a body with authority to carry out law enforcement activities and “the grandiose powers which it has been handed are nowhere, not in the Constitution or in laws, set out. The only thing that the Ministry of Justice can do is to carry out an assessment of documents to check for any corruption component.”
From the report at http://www.kommersant.ua/doc.html?docId=1656718
As reported here, the President may have been working intensively on anti-corruption legislation, but the situation even from the legislative point of view is still considerably worse than in December last year. On 23 December a draft law introduced by President Yanukovych was submitted to parliament as urgent. This alternative draft law led the ruling majority to scrap the anti-corruption package of laws which should have come into force on 1 January 2011. The structures which were to coordinate the drafting and implementation of anti-corruption legislation – a Government Ombudsperson and a Bureau on Anti-Corruption Policy – were dissolved. This package had been actively supported by GRECO (the Group of Council of Europe Countries against Corruption) and the need to scrub them altogether would seem to be understood only by those within the ruling majority who initiated the move.