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Parliament of Ukraine Cuts Down Legislative Backlog in Final Weeks Before Snap Election

Ukrainian Citizenship for Foreign Volunteers

It is estimated that since 2014 several hundred foreign nationals have joined the volunteer efforts against Russian aggression in Ukraine. These persons have provided medical assistance and training to the military units of the regular army, as well as to volunteer battalions. Yet the foreign protectors of Ukraine’s independence and integrity have found themselves in a risky situation. They cannot go back to their countries of origin in the majority of cases, because there they have already been indicted for crimes they did not commit. At the same time they have already overstayed the designated number of days in Ukraine and the authorities have the right to deport such persons at any time. This breach of migration laws means that the foreign volunteer aids cannot apply for Ukrainian citizenship.

Draft Law No.3433 has been lying around in Parliament since 2015 and it took 4 years for it to finally be adopted on June 6,2019. This Law streamlines the procedure for foreign nationals who have contributed to the fight against Russian aggression. In particular, it introduces a waiver for the maximum length of stay in Ukraine, as well as for the need to present a valid passport. Instead a residence permit is issued based on evidence from unit commanders and a request from one of the defence and security structures participating in the armed conflict. The Ukrainian language requirement is also waived. Once the residence permit is obtained foreign national can immediately apply for citizenship without having to wait for 5 years. The President has until June 25, 2019 to either sign or veto the draft law. 

Stolen Valour Sanctions and Liability for Memorial Vandalism

Ukrainian Parliament adopted Draft Law No.9217 in full, introducing penalties for the unlawful sale, acquisition and wearing of military uniforms and medals.  This legislative act also introduces criminal sanctions for vandalizing graves and memorials of the fallen heroes of the war on Russian aggression.

This draft law was developed by lawyers of Legal Hundred NGO. The Organization has been advocating the adoption of this law since Autumn 2018 together with Andriy Teteruk and the Parliamentary Committee of Veteran Affairs.

NATO Standards in Ukrainian Military Statutes

Draft Law No. 8370 introduces new terms into national legislation: “military standardization”, “military standard”, “NATO standard” and “defense standard of NATO member”. In addition a number of military positions are renamed in accordance with NATO terminology. This Law further extends the authority of the MOD as regulator in the field of military standardization.

War criminals

Ukrainian Parliament adopted in the first hearing Draft Law No. 9438 that provides:

– the criminalization of so-called core crimes under international law (genocide, aggression, crimes against humanity and war crimes);

– the implementation of international obligations to prevent impunity;

– improvement of the legal regime of criminal liability for torture in the maximum correspondence with the requirements of contemporary international law.

Chaplains in the Armed Forces

Ukrainian Parliament adopted in the first hearing Draft Law No. 10244-1, which allows the pastoral care for servicemen. The bill does not provide any status or social guarantees for military chaplains.

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