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Bill on Donbass reintegration goes against Ukraine's constitution, politician says

January 15, 18:25 UTC+3 KIEV

Some Ukrainian experts have already voiced an opinion that the law in the planned wording will make more difficult and will put off tasks for a peace settlement in Donbass

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© Mikhail Sokolov/TASS

KIEV, January 15. /TASS/. Provisions of the bill on the reintegration of Donbass that will be given a second reading on Tuesday, run counter to the Ukrainian constitution and violate the rights of its citizens, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights told a news conference on Monday.

"Passing the bill the way it has been drafted for a second reading will have considerable risks for the rights and freedoms of the people," said Mikhail Chaplyga. Besides, some provisions, in particular on martial law, run counter to the country’s constitution, the spokesman added.

Chaplyga said that under the bill on the reintegration of Donbass, the Ukrainian armed forces can be engaged in the time of peace without martial law imposed. "Practically, this bill introduces martial law without the necessary procedure envisaged by the Constitution in relevant laws," he said. That is why, the property of companies, entrepreneurs and individuals can be used for the protection of state interests, besides through the means not envisaged by the constitution," the spokesman said.

He said the bill on the reintegration of Donbass introduces the notion "implementing measures to ensure national security and defence, to repel an armed aggression by the Russian Federation in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions".

"Practically this is the replacement for the phrase ‘martial law,’ and it is not clear what this definition means, the powers and actions by the bodies of state power on the basis of this new definition are equally unclear, which may carry major threats as to the observance of human rights," Chaplyga said.

On October 6, Ukraine’s Rada passed in its first reading the bill on the reintegration of Donbass, called "On the peculiarities of state policy on the restoration of the state sovereignty of Ukraine over the temporarily occupied territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine." On November 17, the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security and Defense recommended adopting it into law at large and agreed upon all the amendments to it. The bill classifies the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as "occupied territories," labels Russia an "occupier" and officially introduces the notion of "Russian aggression."

The measures on the reintegration of the region boils down to a use-of-force scenario, and political and diplomatic pressure on Russia. During its first reading in the parliament, the bill had been stripped off any mentioning of the Minsk accords and norms, and any reference to these agreements.

Some Ukrainian experts have already voiced an opinion that the law in the planned wording will make more difficult and will put off tasks for a peace settlement in Donbass. According to the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Fiona Frazer, the bill does not fully ensure the protection of human rights. President’s representative to the parliament Irina Lutsenko also said earlier that the amendments made to the bill under the first reading distorted the strategy envisaged in the document by President Pyotr Poroshenko.

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