Statement to the President of Ukraine concerning manipulations with the Parliament’s voting concerning the procedure for the election of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights
Dear Mr. Poroshenko,
We appeal to you, as the guarantor of the Constitution of Ukraine, to stop manipulation with the Parliament’s voting regarding the procedure for the election of the Human Rights Ombudsperson.
In April 2017, the procedure for the election of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights was initiated, during which three candidates for this post were nominated by the political forces.
In violation of the Law of Ukraine “On the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights”, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has not established the 20-day term for the election of the Commissioner.
However, in the Parliament, a scenario of changes to the order and method of voting for candidates for the post of Ombudsman were implemented, namely the change of the procedure of secret voting ballot to an open procedure by the system “Rada”. Appropriate amendments were supported in the first reading.
But a draft law to change the election procedure was cynically included to draft amendments to the Law No. 6427-d “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine”, while the need to consider these proposals by the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Human Rights, National Minorities, and International Relations was ignored. This Committee was denied the opportunity to consider the above proposals.
On July 13, 2017, during the second reading of the draft law on amendments to the Law “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine”, MP Olha Chervakova voiced suggestion saving procedures ballot for candidates for the post of Commissioner, which was voted and supported by 227 MPs (link on the transcript of the meeting).
However, the Apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and individual MPs are manipulating with the content of the supported proposal. The reason for them was that Mrs. Chervakova confused the number of the amendment during her speech. But it is clear that MPs focused on the content of the speech, and not on the number of the amendment.
We consider it unacceptable to distort the vote, which most MPs have clearly expressed in favor of maintaining a secret ballot procedure for candidates for the office of Commissioner. Falsification of voting is a criminal offense. Should also be recalled that open voting is contrary to the Paris Principles of the United Nations on national human rights institutions, it is aimed at increasing dependency of the Commissioner on the political situation, destroying the constitutional status of the independence of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the legitimacy of the elected candidate.
Despite protests of the public, some MPs, appeals to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the illegal nature of the provisions of the draft law on the election of the Ombudsman, the official website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine still contains the amendments; supported and voted amendment for keeping secret ballot procedure has been deleted. In this form, the law was signed by the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andrii Parubii and sent to the President for signature.
The signing of the draft Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine» (№6427-d of 07.06.2017) threatens to significantly limit the functioning of the institutions of a modern democratic society – the Ombudsman. In addition, such manipulations in the Verkhovna Rada delegitimize not only the institution of the Commissioner for Human Rights but the Parliament. This will inevitably negatively affect the image of Ukraine as the rule of law, for which you as the President are responsible as the guarantor of the Constitution.
We urge you not to sign the draft Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” (No. 6427-d of 07.06.2017).
Arkadiy Bushchenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Yevhen Zakharov, director of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
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