The Monitoring Committee expresses its concerns with regard
to the criminal proceedings initiated against a number of former
government members. It considers that the charges amount to the
post facto criminalisation of normal political decision-making.
The committee considers that the assessment of political decisions
and their effects is the prerogative of parliaments and, ultimately,
of the electorate, and not of the courts. It therefore calls on
the Ukrainian authorities to remove the articles of the Criminal
Code that allow for the criminalisation of normal political decision
making and asks that all charges based on these articles against
former government members be dropped.
In addition, the committee considers that the numerous shortcomings
noted in the trials against former government members may have undermined
the possibility for them to obtain a fair trial within the meaning
of Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights. In the
view of the committee, these shortcomings are the result of systemic
deficiencies in the justice system in Ukraine. These deficiencies,
which are not new and have been long-standing concerns of the Parliamentary
Assembly, are covered by the accession commitments of Ukraine to
the Council of Europe. The committee therefore urges the authorities
to promptly address these issues in line with Assembly recommendations.
With regard to the upcoming elections, the committee regrets
that the new electoral code for parliamentary elections does not
take into account the main recommendations of the Assembly and the
Venice Commission. It urges the authorities to implement a number
of key recommendations before the next elections take place. In
this respect, the committee considers that the upcoming parliamentary
elections will be a litmus test for Ukraine’s commitment to democratic
With regard to the reform programme of the Ukrainian authorities,
the committee is concerned that, despite the initial positive results,
the drive and political will to implement these reforms are diminishing.
It therefore urges the authorities to implement promptly the reforms
needed to honour the country’s accession commitments and to build
a robust democracy in the country.