Record of violating the rights of opposition representaitves
The dynamic growth of support from the citizens of Ukraine towards the program of the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” political party, as well as local elections in Ukraine to take place on October 25, 2020, have led to an increase in attacks on OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE candidates, activists, campaign booths, buildings and visit offices of the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” party.
It should be noted that in the early parliamentary elections of July 21, 2019, the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” party received 13.05% of the vote in the proportional system to become the second largest faction in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the IX convocation.
VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE OPPOSITION REPRESENTATIVES TO CARRY OUT PARLIAMENTARY ACTIVITIES
The activities of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the IX convocation demonstrate that the rights of the faction of the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” political party, which is the second largest one in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (44 members of parliament, 10.4% of the total number), are being violated.
This goes against international standards and national legislation, in particular, the PACE Resolution 1601 (2008) titled “Procedural Guidelines on the Rights and Responsibilities of the Opposition Representatives in a Democratic Parliament", the recommendations set out in the Venice Commission Report CDL-AD (2010) 025 “On the Role of the Opposition Representatives in a Democratic Parliament”, and the Law of Ukraine “On the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine” and the Law of Ukraine “On the Status of the Member of Parliament of Ukraine”.
- RIGHTS OF THE OPPOSITION REPRESENTATIVES VIOLATED IN THE VERKHOVNA RADA OF UKRAINE OF THE IX CONVOCATION
1.1. The right to chair standing committees
According to the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada “On Electing Chairs, First Deputy Chairs, Deputy Chairs, Secretaries, Members of Committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the IX Convocation” of August 29, 2019, strategically important committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine are headed by representatives of the ruling “Servant of the People” party. Moreover, out of twenty-three parliamentary committees, only four are led by representatives of other parties.
The OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE party has the right to chair two committees of the Verkhovna Rada based on the principle of proportional representation, while it received chairmanship in only one – the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech.
The above indicates a violation of international standards and provisions of national law.
It should be noted that the right of the opposition representatives to chair standing committees has been violated since 2014 – two convocations consecutively. For comparison, in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the VII convocation the opposition representatives headed 12 committees, while in the Parliament of the VI convocation – 10 ones.
1.2. The right to participate in the legislative procedure
In practice, it is difficult for MPs from the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” party to exercise the right for legislative initiative, as evidenced by the following.
According to the “Committee of Voters of Ukraine” National Non-Governmental Organization, during the second session of the IX convocation (September 2019 - January 2020) the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed 133 laws, of which 70 were registered by members of parliament from the “Servant of the People” party, 22 – by the Government led by O. Honcharuk and 22 – by the President of Ukraine V. Zelenskyy.
Draft laws submitted by members of the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” party are being rarely included in the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
A significant number of amendments proposed for the second reading of draft laws prepared by OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE members are being rejected in committees without proper discussion and, as a result, are not supported in plenary.
The same applies to draft laws – they are rejected without careful analysis and discussion based on the political affiliation of their authors.
The above goes against the paragraph 2.5. of the Guidelines enshrined in the PACE Resolution 1601 (2008), which stipulates that “the opposition representatives have to participate in the legislative process”.
- LACK OF LEGAL PROTECTION OF THE PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION
As of July 2020, there is no law in Ukraine that would regulate the activities of the parliamentary opposition.
Only at the end of April 2020 a working group was set up in the parliament to prepare a draft law on the opposition activities. To the word, on August 30, 2019, the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” party registered a draft law “On Parliamentary Opposition”, which has been artificially considered by the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Member of Parliament Ethics and Organization of Activities of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for almost a year and is not submitted for consideration by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
- LACK OF ACTUAL CONDITIONS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OPPOSITION FUNCTIONS
The PACE Resolution 1601 (2008) “Procedural Guidelines on the Rights and Duties of the Opposition in a Democratic Parliament” by the the Parliamentary Assembly says: “Political opposition, both inside and outside parliament, is an extremely important component of the effective exercise of democracy. One of the main functions of the opposition is to be able to offer a credible political alternative to the majority in the parliament by giving society other political options. By monitoring and criticizing the work of the government, constantly evaluating the government's activities and promoting government accountability, the opposition works to ensure transparency of decisions and efficiency in the management of public affairs, thus protecting the public interest and preventing abuse and dysfunction.
The PACE Resolution 1601 (2008) emphasizes that the “democratic quality of a parliament is measured by the means available to the opposition or the parliamentary minority to carry out its tasks.”
At the same time, both the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM FOR LIFE” party, which is the second largest in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and other opposition parliamentary parties and groups are deprived of tools to exercise control and the opportunity to offer an alternative vision of society.
ATTACKS ON CANDIDATES FROM THE “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE”PARTY, PARTY ACTIVISTS, DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT OF OPPOSITION FORCES
ATTACKS ON EMPLOYEES AND OFFICES OF THE “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” PARTY\
On December 4, 2019, in Kyiv in the building where the visiting offices of six members of parliament from the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” party, in particular, of the Chair of the Political Council of the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” party Viktor Medvedchuk, as well as MPs Yuri Zagorodny, Viktor Chorny, Oleksandr Koltunovych are located, a search was conducted. The formal ground was investigative actions against the Storm, an organization that officially provides security services to the party's office and members of parliament representing the party.
On November 12, 2019, the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” party appealed to the Head of the State Investigation Bureau Roman Truba with a statement on the committing by the leadership and staff of the Security Service of Ukraine of a crime through
Conducting illegal search activities against members of the “OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE” party. The party demanded that a criminal case is initiated based on the information published in the media that the Security Service of Ukraine (K department) had been tasked with monitoring and collecting confidential information about the party's leadership and MPs, namely Viktor Medvedchuk, Nestor Shufrych, Taras Kozak, Vasyl Nimchenko, Yurii Zagorodny, Oleksandr Koltunovych, Oleh Voloshyn, Serhiy Dunayev, Vadym Stolar, Ihor Abramovych, Nataliia Prykhodko, Oleksandr Ponomaryov, who are not involved in criminal cases, were not informed about the suspicion; what’s more the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine did not agree on their prosecution. Therefore, the implementation of any search activities against them is illegal and contains signs of crimes.