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Administrative Court bans MIA from destroying internal passports

24.07.2009    source: www.helsinki.org.ua
The Administrative Court has issued a judgment stating that “A passport is the property of a Ukrainian citizen”, and in accordance with Article 41 § 4 of the Constitution nobody can be unlawfully deprived of their right of ownership

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has already pointed out an anomaly: while Ukrainians travelling abroad to live do not lose their Ukrainian citizenship, their internal passport (i.e. identification document) is taken away and destroyed.

The Order from the Ministry of Internal Affairs from 21.12.2004 states that the internal passport should be removed and destroyed, and that a note should be made that the person has been taken off the registration records.

Anatoly Klyepikov lodged an application with the Kyiv Administrative Court asking that the Court find unlawful and revoke the above-mentioned part of that Order.

 The Administrative Court issued a judgment stating that “A passport is the property of a Ukrainian citizen”, and in accordance with Article 41 § 4 of the Constitution nobody can be unlawfully deprived of their right of ownership, that this right is unalienable.

The Court also pointed out that a “passport of a citizen of Ukraine” is not equivalent to a “form for a passport”. The provisions on such passports envisage the possibility of destroying a passport form, but not the actual passport.

The judgment states that removal and destruction of a Ukrainian’s internal passport violates his or her right to a passport, as well as other rights guaranteed by the Constitution which require a passport to be exercised (electoral rights, the right to business activities, social defence and assistance).

The court ruled that the content of the Order from 21.12.2004 on destroying internal passports violates the Constitution and a whole range of laws and provisions. Item 7 § 4 of the Order was accordingly declared unlawful and invalid.

UHHRU has learned from reliable sources that the Ministry of Internal Affairs has prepared an appeal. Clearly the management are not eager to admit that they have long been violating human rights. Even less do they wish to apologise and thank Anatoly Klyepikov for drawing attention to a fault. The State’s strategy is clear – drag things out.

And while the ruling has not entered into force, the internal passports – the property of citizens of Ukraine continue to be destroyed.

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