September 5, 2023, 17:49

Protecting the rights of war victims: Experts analyze necessary draft laws and some that should not be adopted

On the first day of the tenth session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, experts from a coalition of organizations protecting the rights of the victims of war will present an analysis of the relevant draft laws currently under consideration in the parliament. 

In particular, the presentation will focus on draft laws on “deported” or “forcefully displaced” Ukrainian children and the procedure for their return to Ukraine, on paying retirement income to citizens who live in the temporarily occupied territory or have left it, on legislative regulation of responsibility for collaborative activities, and others.

In addition to the positive change initiatives that need to be adopted now and those that need to be completed to protect the rights of Ukrainians affected by the war, the experts also discussed draft laws that, according to them, have certain risks. 

Thus, during the discussion, Anna Rassamahina, Advocacy Manager at CrimeaSOS NGO, explained that the draft laws No. 8020, No. 9361, and No. 9279 were referred to as such.

She noted that the draft law No. 8020, defining the legal basis for completely free travel for all internally displaced persons by all types of passenger transport, aims to alleviate the situation of IDPs and facilitate their movement. However, the expert notes that it is obviously excessive to establish such a scope of benefits.

“For example, the text of this law implies that any person with an IDP certificate can use public transport trip by train without restrictions, etc. Is this really a necessary and rational decision to restore the rights of IDPs? In our opinion, no. This will impose unreasonable obligations on the state budget of Ukraine, and it will require the development of a travel expenses reimbursement policy by the state, I mean commercial transportation. And again, what is the purpose of this draft law? Do IDPs need, so to speak, unlimited, free rides?” she noted.

Anna Rassamahina emphasized that this law can be defined as populist, declaring additional rights for IDPs, but it can ultimately lead to certain dire consequences.

“It is well known what the country’s financial obligations are now, what is the amount of financial assistance from our partners. And the adoption of this draft law will increase the financial assistance that Ukraine needs,” she added.

The coalition considers draft law No. 9361 inappropriate. The expert explained that this is a draft law that amends the Law of Ukraine on court fees and exempts IDPs from paying court fees when filing lawsuits and applications to the court.

According to her, the text of the draft law suggests that it exempts IDPs from paying court fees not only on issues related to their internal displacement or violation of their rights as IDPs but on a much more comprehensive range of issues.

“Again, we can say that if adopted, this law will provide a person with an IDP certificate with the opportunity to file almost unlimited lawsuits with the court without paying it. And here again, we should mention the overload of the judicial system now, in times of war. The fact that the judicial system is actually moving towards reducing lawsuits and this is justified. And this draft law No. 9361 actually encourages IDPs to go to court for various reasons,” she noted.

Anna Rassamahina noted: “Analyzing these two draft laws on free travel and on exemption from paying court fees, I would personally even suggest positive discrimination here, i.e., a better position of a certain group of people compared to others.”

The list of draft laws that the coalition proposes to reject also includes draft law No. 9279 on the basic principles of compensation for victims of the armed aggression unleashed by Russia. 

The human rights activist explained that this draft law introduces a system for the distribution of future reparations to be received from the aggressor state in the future and distributed among the victims of aggression.

However, according to her, the problem with this draft law is that it declares and establishes norms while the legal relations it is supposed to regulate do not yet exist. They have not yet arisen.

“It is clear that the issue of receiving compensation from the aggressor state is extremely relevant, and someday it will require the establishment of special rules, but this issue should be approached from a different angle. It is also well known that obtaining compensation requires the development of very complex solutions, very complex regulations, and mechanisms that must also be consistent with Ukraine’s legislation or, for example, the European Union. Because a significant portion of the Russian seized assets is currently m in the EU, there is a very long way to go. And now, in 2023, in the midst of the war, it is premature to adopt a bill declaring that Ukraine must compensate all citizens of Ukraine for the damage from the funds received as compensation,” the expert explained.

Anna Rassamahina added that this draft law if adopted, will not serve any practical purpose. Instead, according to her, it is also populist in nature and does not bring the payment of compensation to Ukrainian citizens any closer.

BrainHub is the country’s main discussion platform created by Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. It brings together experts from the state and civil society sectors. BrainHub hosts intellectual discussions around the issues of the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. It’s the birthplace of the best ideas that will become the foundation for the road map of Ukraine’s reconstruction in all sectors: economy, infrastructure, education, agriculture, security, digital, etc.

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