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Legal news in Ukraine: unconstitutionality of the article of the Criminal Code on punishment for illicit enrichment, the Laws on Official Election Observers and the Register of War Veterans entered into force, the government has indexed pensions

03.03.2019 / 20:22
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Legal news in Ukraine: unconstitutionality of the article of the Criminal Code on punishment for illicit enrichment, the Laws on Official Election Observers and the Register of War Veterans entered into force, the government has indexed pensions

An article of the Criminal Code on punishment for illegal enrichment was declared unconstitutional, the President registered a new bill

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine declared unconstitutional article 368-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which provides for punishment for officials for illicit enrichment.

The court concluded that the article did not meet the requirements of clarity, accuracy and unambiguousness, and therefore contradicts legal certainty as an integral part of the principle of rule of law enshrined in Article 8 of the Constitution.

The article is not in accordance with the constitutional principle of the presumption of innocence (parts one, two and three of Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine) and the constitutional prescription of the inadmissibility of bringing a person to responsibility for refusing to give testimony or explanations about himself, family members or close relatives (the right of a person not give testimony or explanation regarding oneself, family members or close relatives) (part one of Article 63 of the Constitution of Ukraine).

The Court emphasizes in particular that such constitutional requirements should apply equally to all persons. The Constitution of Ukraine does not allow the reduction or cancellation of these guarantees in relation to certain categories of persons.

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine notes that the provisions of the article are formulated in such a way that doubts about the legality of the grounds for a person to acquire ownership of assets in a significant amount can be interpreted not in favor of this person and can be considered as confirmation of its illegal enrichment, although according to part three of Article 62 of the Constitution of Ukraine «all doubts about the proof of the fault of the person are interpreted in its favour».

At the same time, on February 28, 2019, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko introduced the draft law «On Amendments to the Criminal and Criminal Procedural Codes of Ukraine regarding liability for illegal enrichment» to the Verkhovna Rada, marking it as urgent.

The draft law proposes to supplement the Criminal Code of Ukraine with Article 368-5, according to which it is a criminal offense for a person authorized to perform the functions of the state or local government to own assets in a substantial amount (exceeds one thousand non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens) without legal grounds when there are not signs of abuse of power or official position or signs of acceptance of the offer, promise or obtaining of an unlawful benefit by an official, as well as transfer of such assets to any other person.

Such actions will be punished with imprisonment for up to 2 years with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for up to 3 years with confiscation of property.

It also assumes a stricter responsibility if such acts are committed by an official in a responsible position (to be punished with imprisonment for a term of 2 to 5 years with deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or engage in certain activities for up to 3 years with confiscation of property), as well as official a person in a particularly responsible position (to be punished with imprisonment for a term of 5 to 10 years with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a term up to 3 years with confiscation of property).

With this approach, the obligation to prove the absence of legal grounds for obtaining ownership of assets by a person authorized to perform the functions of the state or local government will rely on the pretrial investigation authorities.

It will be based on constitutional prescriptions that guarantee the presumption of innocence of a person and the inadmissibility of bringing a person to responsibility for refusing to give testimony or explanation about himself, family members or close relatives (Articles 62, 63 of the Constitution of Ukraine).

The inclusion of such a sign of illegal enrichment as the absence of legal grounds for acquiring assets in property is based on the provisions of the Law of Ukraine «On Preventing Corruption», according to which the criterion for determining benefits as illegal, what constitutes corruption, is the absence of legal grounds for obtaining certain benefits.

This crime will belong to corruption crimes, and its investigation will be carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.

The Law on Official Election Observers entered into force

The Law of Ukraine «On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on Monitoring the Electoral Process in Ukraine» came into force on February 28, 2019.

The law provides that an official election observer may not be:

1) a person who is a citizen (subject) of a state recognized by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as the aggressor state or

occupant state;

2) a person whose proposals were initiated or submitted by a state recognized by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine as an aggressor state or an occupying state.

The law makes changes to the Laws of Ukraine «On the Elections of the President of Ukraine», «On the Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine», «On Local Elections».

The Law on the State Register of War Veterans entered into force

The Law of Ukraine «On the status of war veterans, guarantees of their social protection» regarding the Unified State Registry of war veterans came into force on March 1, 2019.

The law provides for the creation of the Unified State Register of War Veterans – a unified state information and telecommunications system designed to collect, record, accumulate, store, protect and de-identify information about war veterans, people with special merits to the Motherland, of the Revolution of Dignity, members oft heir families and other persons covered by this Law.

Personal data contained in the Registry is information with limited access. Registration of such information is carried out in compliance with the requirements of the Law of Ukraine «On protection of personal data».

The Government determines the procedure for the establishment and maintenance of the Register, as well as access to information and its use.

Automatic indexation of pensions has been started in Ukraine

The government conducted automatic indexation of pensions on March 1, 2019. The recount will occur annually.

Pensions will be automatically transferred to 10,2 million pensioners, and the average increase will be 255 UAH. «This does not mean that everyone will receive the same 255 UAH, because the funds are distributed in accordance with the formula. A real increase will occur for 8 million pensioners, but the increase will not be less than 100 UAH»,

explained the Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Andriy Reva.

In addition, pensioners who have full insurance experience, but because of a small salary have a low pension, will receive additional payments to the pension.

«It is proposed to pay in addition to the pension of 1,9 million pensioners in the amount of 2,410 UAH. Why exactly this amount? We are talking about an additional resource that was received from the Law on excise taxes on car imports. For the first time in Ukraine, the harmful phenomenon was returned to the benefit of pensioners», explained Reva.

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