Suggestions of the participants of the round table devoted to ‘Military legal reform in Ukraine and ways of the improvement of military legislation’


On 19-20 February 1999 the USMU jointly with the Ministry of Defense in the framework of the TACIS project held the round table on the military legal reform in Ukraine and ways of the improvement of military legislation. Specialists in legislation suggested a number of amendments to the Articles of War and to the Ukrainian law ‘On the total military duty and military service’. Besides, the problem of coordination of the Ukrainian legislation and norms of the international right was discussed. Among other amendments the participants suggested some measures for closer cooperation of NGOs and military agencies and for the public control over force structures.

The most principal of them are as follows:

Like in Bundeswehr, they proposed to establish the post of the ombudsman in charge of military affairs.

Organizing the institute of legal counselors in the army and organizing consultations in social and legal questions in military units and recruiting commissions.

Mandatory discussion of drafts of Articles of War and laws concerning the military in public organizations and military units.

To give the legal expression to the really existing restrictions for servicemen’s Constitutional rights and freedoms, formulate explicitly servicemen’s privileges as a compensation for these restrictions.

Cancel as a non-Constitutional the norm of the disciplinary statute which sets such a measure of punishment as an arrest and incarceration in guardhouse.

To increase the mandatory personal insurance of servicemen in case of death, making it equal to the one of members of the Ministry of Interior (nowadays the former sum is 20 times less than the latter).

Include to the statute of internal service a part titled ‘Duties, rights and responsibilities of servicemen’, including there the main rights which servicemen have.

To coordinate the Ukrainian law ‘On citizens’ complaints’ in the part concerning servicemen with the Constitutional norms. The same must be done to the Articles of War.

To include to the Articles of War the mandatory availability of shower-rooms in all military units.

Create in the army the professional ODA service, which must be independent of the commandment.

A preliminary analysis of legal rights in the Articles of War enables us to affirm that the level of guaranteeing Constitutional rights for servicemen is lower than that for the incarcerated. For example, according to Article 36 of the Penal Code, the incarcerated have two hours free of work every day, which they may use for their own needs, whereas soldiers have only one hour, which is mostly occupied by indoctrination lectures or some other work. Any restrictions that can guarantee that this free hour can be used by servicemen for rest are not stated in the Articles of War. Also, according to Article 9, the Penal Code stipulates the participation of Public organizations in the prisoners reforming, whereas any relations of the military with public organizations are not even mentioned in the Articles of War.

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