Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
09.12.2000 | E. Zakharov, Kharkiv
Court practices

‘Shame, shame!’


In the late 80s this exclamation and some others of the same sort were very popular, and one feels a wish to use all of them when one observes the political fidgeting around the ratification of the documents of the Council of Europe by the Supreme Rada of Ukraine. It has appeared that it is not sufficient to adopt the law of the ratification. It is not sufficient when the head of the Supreme Rada signs it. According to Article 94 of the Constitution of Ukraine the law must be also signed by the President, after which the law is officially published within ten days. It appeared that the President did not sign the law on the ratification of the European Convention about local languages and languages of minorities. And this became the legal basis for the Constitutional Court to adopt the decision that this law is unconstitutional. Such a simple solution of the complicated problem of fulfilling the promised obligations. This is a simple method of canceling laws adopted by the Parliament! What is the reason of the President’s actions? Opponents say that it is done for not fulfilling the European Convention that gives too many rights to the Russian-language minority (oh, how sick I am of this clumsy terms ‘Russian-language speakers’, ‘Ukrainian-language speakers’!). And why had they to sign and ratify this Convention at all? Was it obvious from the very beginning that our country is enable to execute rather high demands of this international agreement, that is planned for each countries? Was it not obvious that the realization of the Convention will demand such expenditures, which our state cannot afford? By the way no country-member of the Council of Europe adopted this Convention until 1997, the reason being financial. Up to now the Convention adopted nine countries out of 41. And now we, having anticipated the pressure from the ‘professional Russian-speakers’, decided to ‘solve the problem’ by a crooked method. Further, our President did not sign also the law on the ratification of the sixth Protocol to the Convention on the protection of human rights and main freedoms concerning the canceling of the death penalty. That means that the latter law also does not correspond to the Constitution. The document on the ratification of the language Convention is not yet given to the Council of Europe, but the Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Tarasiuk already gave to the General Secretary of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer the ratification of the sixth Protocol. Shame, shame! And now a group of deputies has appeared who, allegedly, voted for the adoption of the law about the ratification of the sixth Protocol, although at that time they were on missions abroad and could not vote. What will be the decision of the Constitutional Court?! Or maybe it is time to stop doubtful political games?

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