The top news of the last days in Ukraine is sudden suspension from duty of Acting Healthcare Minister Ulyana Suprun. Why did it happen and what are the consequences of this decision?
The role of the Radical Party of Lyashko
Kyiv District Court has prohibited Ulyana Suprun from exercising the power of Ukraine’s Health Minister, as the court’s decision says. It was published by Ukrainian MP Igor Mosiychuk on his Facebook page. 'The first Deputy of Ukraine’s Health Minister Ulyana Suprun is banned from performing any actions within the competence of Ukraine’s Health Minister,' the court ruled. As it turned out, Mosiychuk has appealed to the court in January (twice) and in February.
His claims were not accepted either due to poor documentation or due to the lack of a specific substantiation of the claim. His requirement was to establish that Ulyana Suprun was not competent enough to perform her duties.
The relevant decision takes effect from the day of signing the document and would be valid until February 5, 2022. Suprun has the right to go to the appellate court within 15 days.
Later, the court explained why it decided to carry out such a decision. "The court explained its decision by finding the signs of obvious fraud," as reported at the court’s website. At the same time, Mosiychuk’s arguments were that Suprun obtained Ukrainian citizenship in 2015, but still did not renounce her US citizenship; public official in Ukraine cannot have dual citizenship.
Criminal Code of Ukraine does not consider dual citizenship a crime, accordingly, there is no punishment for it. No one can be punished in Ukraine for dual or multiple citizenships. According to Art. 4 of Ukraine’s Constitution, Ukraine has single citizenship. This means that in legal relations with Ukraine, Ukraine’s citizen that has become a citizen of another state is recognized only as a citizen of Ukraine, and he does not lose his Ukrainian citizenship automatically. However, there is a rule that the state officials are prohibited from having passports of other states.
Reaction to Suprun’s kick out
The society was divided into two camps. Supporters of the decision thanked the court for justice for complying with the law, ensured national security, now no Americans can find out our healthcare state secrets.
Opponents expressed concerns that citizenship is not a person’s main thing, but rather the actual deeds and reforms.
Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers is concerned about the decision of Kyiv Administrative Court to remove Ulyana Suprun from the office of the acting Healthcare Minister, as the members of the cabinet stated.
“…We are highly concerned about today’s decision of Kyiv Administrative Court on the suspension of Ulyana Suprun. This decision will be appealed in the order established by the law and we will strive for its cancelation in the order established by the law,” the message said.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed his absolute support for Ulyana Suprun. 'I'd like to stress that Mrs. Suprun enjoys the full support of the President of Ukraine. And I very much appreciate what we, me and Mrs. Suprun did in terms of the medical reform along with the government, along with the Parliament,” he said.
British Ambassador Judith Gough also expressed concerns over this decision of the Ukrainian court. 'Still awaiting further details on this case, but concerned about the potential impact on Ukraine's vital healthcare reforms', she posted on her Twitter account.
Suprun: What will happen to the healthcare system now?
Ulyana Suprun thanked the citizens who had defended her and advocated her healthcare reforms. The official warned that because of the court’s prohibition to fulfill her duties as a minister, the country's healthcare system and timely procurement of medicines, in particular, were under threat.
As experts have explained to BBC Ukraine, the Kyiv District Administrative Court does have the right to enforce the claim of MP Mosiychuk and to stop the powers of Acting Minister of Health for the reasons given. “The resolution will be valid until its cancellation, and this might happen in two cases: if the district court itself determines that it is no longer necessary, or if Ulyana Suprun fills the corresponding appeal,” lawyer Roman Marchenko stated.
Failure to comply with a court decision would entail criminal liability. In particular, if Suprun signs an administrative act at the position of the head of a ministry, criminal proceedings can be instituted against her under the article on non-execution of a court decision.
However, at the moment, there is no one to sign the most important documents, and this issue should be resolved as soon as possible.
“The warehouses of state-owned enterprises Ukrvaktsyna and Ukrmedpostach (which deal with drugs procurement and delivery, - ed.) are preparing for the delivery to the regions of life-saving drugs for 33 public procurement programs. These are measles vaccines, drugs for children with cancer, people with diabetes, heart disease, hepatitis, drugs for those who need dialysis or antiretroviral therapy. Who will sign contracts with organizations that procure drugs, vaccines, and medical products at the expense of the state budget in 2019?" Suprun wondered.
The session of the Kyiv District Administrative Court is scheduled for February 15.
We cannot predict when the interim decision of the court will be challenged.