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Law on lustration in Ukraine in fact legalizes political persecution — Dolgov

October 16, 2014, 13:31 UTC+3
Speaking at a meeting of the committee of public support for the people of south-eastern Ukraine in the Federation Council Dolgov also touched upon the situation with mass graves in Donetsk region
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Rally in support of lustration in Kiev, 18 September 2014

Rally in support of lustration in Kiev, 18 September 2014

© ITAR-TASS/Maksim Nikitin

MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights democracy and rule of law, Konstantin Dolgov, has described Ukraine’s law on lustration as legalization of political persecution. The diplomat was speaking at a meeting of the committee of public support for the people of south-eastern Ukraine in the Federation Council on Thursday.

“The West keeps quiet about the law, although the point at issue is legalization of political persecution,” he said. “And the European Union’s reaction is quite remarkable: ‘The law should be adjusted just a little bit to rule out distortions in its implementation.’ In other words, in the opinion of our European counterparts the law is normal in principle. Are we in the 21st century? A country seeking EU membership has a legacy like that,” Dolgov said.

The Ukrainian parliament, Verkhovna Rada, on September 16 adopted a law on lustration applicable to all civil servants and also employees of local self-government bodies who were in office during the period from February 25, 2010 to February 22, 2014, when President Viktor Yanukovich was in power. Pyotr Poroshenko signed the bill into law on October 9.

Concerns over mass graves in Donetsk region

Moscow is surprised why the UN cannot request from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) documents on mass graves outside Donetsk, Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law Konstantin Dolgov said.

“Nothing positive, the situation is not improving,” the diplomat said

“We continue efforts for the investigation of severe violations of human rights, beginning from the Maidan events, the Boeing MH-17 crash and the mass graves,” Dolgov added.

According to him, some partners have said that “the facts of mass graves have not been allegedly confirmed.” “Let them read the OSCE mission’s reports - they (OSCE observers) were there and recorded these facts,” the diplomat said. “If the UN colleagues for some reason find it difficult to request this information from the partner organisation - OSCE, frankly speaking, we don’t understand what’s the hitch.”

“The corresponding photographs and documents are already available. They testify to the massacre of civilians first of all,” Dolgov said. “We are pressing for the investigation,” he said.

In late September, people’s militia fighters found several mass graves near the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk. The sites of mass graves were earlier occupied by Ukrainian troops and volunteer battalions. After examination of one of the graves, forensic experts concluded that people buried there had been killed by shots to the head at close range. Russia’s Foreign Ministry, parliamentarians, public and human rights organisations have called for an international probe into the discovery of mass burial sites.

Civil society dialogue and cooperation

Moscow is prepared to cooperate with partners in the dialogue among civil societies, including the United States, Konstantin Dolgov, added.

“We have always pressed for a dialogue among civil societies,” he said. “We have already commented on the situation in which the United States a while ago made a very weird and faulty decision to terminate the operation of the working group for civil society within the framework of the presidential commission. That group was created for the sake of promoting the dialogue between civil societies.”

“We were absolutely prepared and we remain prepared for working further on to keep the civil society dialogue going,” the diplomat said. “If some of our Western partners think otherwise, then possibly we are confronted with a double standard policy.”

“On the one hand we hear statements about the need for promoting the dialogue in this sphere, but on the other steps are being taken that by no means facilitate this dialogue,” Dolgov said.

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