650 amendments to Ukraine's national security law

Author : Iryna Sampan

Source : 112 Ukraine

President Poroshenko will attend NATO summit, which will be held in July. Until then, the law on national security has to be adopted
11:40, 18 June 2018

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President Poroshenko will attend NATO summit held in July. Until then, the law on national security has to be adopted to prove that the Ukrainian parliament has fulfilled its obligations. The Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andriy Parubiy expressed his hope that on June 21, he "will be able to put to a vote and get a positive decision on the bill on national security." The presidential version of a bill No. 8068 was not ideal, but structured and logical. It required refinement in some provisions. However, the committee decided to actually rewrite it.

Ukraine was not ready to participate in the war not only financially, but also legally. However, today there are three laws, which absolutely do not correspond to the current military-political situation. This is the Law on the Fundamentals of National Security of Ukraine (2003), the Law on Democratic Civilian Control over the Military Organization and Law Enforcement Bodies of the State (2003) and the Defense Planning Organization (2005). Therefore, in February 2018, the President submitted a new bill "On National Security of Ukraine", in which these three documents were optimized, and a new course for the power and defense departments was indicated. What is of fundamental importance: a) the way to the EU and NATO; b) civil democratic control over the Armed Forces, other structures of the security, and defense sector; c) the distribution of powers between the Ministry of Defense (with the civilian minister) and the General Staff of the Armed Forces (where the commander-in-chief and the chief of the General Staff are two different persons, and not one, as now). And in the presidential bill No. 8068, all these issues were logically articulated. Of course, not as flawlessly as would like it to be, but let us speak later about it. We have analyzed the first version of the law on national security right away, as the text appeared in the media ("The Law on National Security: What does it change and why is it for Ukraine?").

Related: Poroshenko to be invited to NATO summit, - Stoltenberg

After Poroshenko’s bill was registered in the Verkhovna Rada, the leaders of several factions said they would not vote for it, therefore, no. 8068 does not cover the whole range of dangers in Ukraine, but only those of the military nature. At the beginning of April, the parliament did pass bill No. 8068 on national security as a basis but sent it for revision to the Committee on National Security and Defense. People's Deputy Ivan Vinnyk, who headed the relevant working group, recently stated that 650 amendments were made to the presidential bill.

These amendments have radically changed the document, and not for the better.

What was positive in the first draft of the draft law on national security? “National interests” as an abstract and incomprehensible notion was thrown out of it. The law of Ukraine "On the Fundamentals of National Security of Ukraine" in 2003 contained, for example, the point: "Development of spirituality, moral foundations, intellectual potential of the Ukrainian people, strengthening the physical health of the nation, creating conditions for expanded reproduction of the population, preserving and strengthening the institution of the family." Yes, it sounds proudly and patriotically, but how to protect these values? These things are so subjective for every Ukrainian that in the new law the authors decided to omit them and unite them into three global spheres of national interests: state sovereignty and territorial integrity; development of the economy, civil society, and the growth of the level and quality of life of the population; integration into the EU and membership in NATO. But the Ukrainian deputies are so fond of screaming about spirituality and moral principles that a whole article called "National Values" has been added to the new edition as if they directly affected the defense capability of the country. We read: "the integrity of the Ukrainian humanitarian, cultural, educational, information, and confessional space, the welfare of society and the physical health of the nation, the gene pool of the nation." What is the integrity of the Ukrainian information space? What is the recipe for preserving the gene pool of a nation?

Related: Poroshenko to be invited to NATO summit, - Stoltenberg

But in fact, it is not the worst thing that we got after 650 amendments. Instead of improving Bill No. 8068, the working group confused it and added a bunch of unnecessary sections and paragraphs.

It was for this reason that a new bill on national security was created. We have previously talked on democratic control. In short, citizens can control the Armed Forces or other security agencies through their deputies and media. That is, democratic control is automatically laid down in the right to choose those who will exercise this control - the parliament and the president.

A "civility" is that it is carried out by civilians (not military) people – the president, the parliament, NSDC, Cabinet and local government bodies, and since 2019 the defense minister and his deputies will be civilians.

The NGO "Institute of World Politics" in its analysis has noted that, in general, "Bill No. 8068 on National Security of Ukraine" is a step forward in the issues of Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine. Its adoption will allow official Kyiv to fulfill the taken obligations on the Strategic Defense Bulletin ". Speaking about the weaknesses, experts noted that the second reading should detail cybersecurity, because it is poorly articulated, and experts are worried about the situation with the accountability of the SBU, in particular, intelligence agencies. The bottom line is that the bill is trying to prescribe the creation of a commission or body that would have controlled intelligence in a certain way.

Related: "Militants are scared": What Joint Forces Operation changed in Donbas, - Defense Ministry

Mykola Beleskov, the deputy executive director of the Institute for World Politics, writes in his report: "Article 6 of Bill No. 8068 deals with the creation of a parliamentary committee for control functions with respect to law enforcement agencies with special powers and intelligence. The conclusion of the Main Scientific and Expert Department of the Verkhovna Rada Apparatus points out that it is impossible to understand which "law enforcement agencies with special powers" are referred to. The current legislation provides for the existence of a "law enforcement officer, Article 19 of the draft law No. 8068 defines the SBU as "a state special-purpose body with law enforcement functions." This wording in draft law No. 8068 concerning the SBU is not reflected in the current legislation of Ukraine. May 2017, the draft law "On National Security" contained a separate reference to the SBU in Article 6. After the vote of bill No. 8068 on national security, NSDC Secretary Olexandr Turchynov promised that a separate mention of the SBU would be placed in Art. 6 again."

So how do we determine who will be accountable to these special bodies of special purpose with special powers? The new version says that the Security Service of Ukraine is accountable to the President of Ukraine and is under the control of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Related: Ukraine to win media war, - National Security and Defense Council

In accordance with Art. 89 of the Constitution of Ukraine, "In order to ensure unswerving and unconditional compliance by law enforcement agencies with special powers and intelligence agencies with the requirements of the Constitution of Ukraine and Ukrainian legislation regarding the observance and maintenance of human rights and fundamental freedoms during the conduct of intelligence, counterintelligence, operational and investigative activities, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, exercising the powers of parliamentary control, creates a permanent acting Special battening commission of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the Special Commission) to a preliminary study, preparation for consideration of the relevant issues. " It is also not clear how exactly this commission will operate.

A week ago a working group headed by Deputy Vinnyk presented the revised bill No. 8068 on the Parliamentary Defense Committee.

The military-industrial complex is defined not only as state enterprises that are part of the "Ukroboronprom". This is a set of subjects of private or public law, which produce military or dual-use products. This is important because the state pays attention to the development of the state enterprises, this distorts both competition and democratic principles. Now, "Ukroboronprom" is both a regulatory body and an economic entity. This is an unacceptable situation, which entails corruption risks. As a result of the adoption of this bill, the central executive authority will be organized, and the enterprises that are part of the Ukroboronprom concern will fall into the sphere of management of the central executive authority. Probably, we should talk about their corporatization, privatization, because the state independently high-tech industries (conditionally the creation of weapons) cannot effectively retain or develop."

Related: Fire density increases in Donbas since ATO was rebranded into JFO, - Ukraine's defense ministry

Discussions about the privatization of at least some of the enterprises of "Ukroboronprom" have been going on for a long time. For example, the senior defense adviser in Ukraine (from the US) Stephen Silverstein believes that Ukraine could give away at least a few enterprises into private ownership.

However, some representatives of Ukroboronprom believe that private enterprises will not cope with the state defense order. And, by the way, speaking about. This is one of the most closed spheres of activity concerning the Ukrainian army. The society does not know about its financing, there is no democratic control as well. And if there are any suspicions, then this is a state secret. Foreign advisers who work under the Ministry of Defense say that it is necessary to open at least some of the information on public procurement since not all of it is classified.

The draft law No. 8068 does not contain it. And is also not very clear how the central executive authority, which will control defensive enterprises, will also function.

Related: 3, 332 Ukraine's soldiers died in Donbas conflict, - Defense Minister


The presidential version of the bill No. 8068 was not ideal, but it was at least well structured and logical. It required refinement in some provisions. However, the committee decided to rewrite it, rearrange the paragraphs, for example, in the section on the civil control they managed to hint, they say, "democracy is the democracy, but we have a law on state secrets here." Why they decided to change the section on the vertical of the military command, which was previously written on the model of the alliance countries, it is not clear too.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 112.International and its owners.

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