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Ukraine’s lustration law excludes President Poroshenko, Ukraine parliament speaker says

September 17, 2014, 22:25 UTC+3 KIEV
He is not falling within the ambit of the lustration law because he was elected by people at elections, Alexander Turchinov explained
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© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin

KIEV, September 17 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s incumbent President Pyotr Poroshenko, who used to be a minister in the government of former Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov, will remain unaffected by Ukraine’s new lustration law adopted on September 16, Ukrainian parliament Speaker Alexander Turchinov said on Thursday.

According to Turchinov, the lustration law will cover bureaucrats of all levels, including public servants. However, it does not spread to elective posts.

“President Pyotr Poroshenko is not falling within the ambit of the lustration law because he was elected by people at elections. Officials elected to their posts by national vote are subject to self-lustration during the vote. In short, they do not come under the lustration law,” Turchinov explained.

Earlier on Thursday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that one million Ukrainian officials of various ranks, including the entire cabinet of ministers, would be lustrated.

Yatsenyuk ordered the creation of a special commission to lustrate incumbent ministers, their deputies and the leaders of central executive bodies who are appointed by the cabinet of ministers.

On September 16, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a law on lustration or purification of the government bodies of political opponents. All public servants and representatives of local self-government bodies will be subject to lustration. The law declares certain categories of people who will never be able to pass the lustration. They include high-ranking officials who held posts in a period from February 25, 2010 to February 22, 2014 under the rule of President Viktor Yanukovich; law enforcers, public servants and local self-government officials who caused damage to the life, health and property of “Euromaidan” protesters as well as persons who had occupied the leading positions at the CPSU, the Youth Communist League before August 19, 1991; political instructors in the Soviet armed forces and the USSR Interior Ministry; the former security agents and persons “linked to political persecution of members of the Ukrainian national liberation movement during World War II and in the postwar period.

At present, lustration means a package of legislative measures designed to debar persons who do not suit the ruling authorities for political, religious or other motives from occupying posts in legislative bodies of state power and in law enforcement agencies. The word lustration derives from the Latin term “lustratio”, which means “purification by means of sacrifice”. The lustration practice is usually applied by new regimes, after they rise to power, to their former political opponents. This interpretation of the term “lustration” appeared in East European countries after the fall of Communism in the 1990s.

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