Crimean Tatar autonomy in terms of the law

Author : Denys Matsola

Source : 112 Ukraine

The national territorial status can be changed by adopting special amendments to the Constitution of Crimea, but this is impossible due to nonexistence of Crimean Verkhovna Rada - expert
13:09, 21 October 2016

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September 22, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada recommend the president to change the status of Crimea in the Constitution of Ukraine – from the territorial on Crimean Tatar national autonomy. Adopted resolution, apparently, was a response to the numerous statements of Poroshenko who wanted to address this issue. Indigenous leaders repeatedly urged the government to rewrite the main law of the country. However, apart from the risk of causing a series of political problems, the solution will be very difficult to implement without breaking the law and the very Constitution of Ukraine.

Related: Crimea has nothing to do with Ukraine: myth or reality?

According to the Constitution of Ukraine, the territorial status of the Crimean autonomy is determined by the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Not by the Constitution of Ukraine, not by the ordinary laws of Ukraine, namely by the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Therefore, changing the status on the national territorial or any other status can be reached be changing the Constitution of Crimea. The problem is that it can only be changed by the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea. Only the deputies of Crimean Verkhovna Rada can make proposals to amend the powers of Crimea to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. President and ministers cannot change anything, but only deputies of the Crimean autonomy. Obligation prescribed in the Constitution of Crimea reordering of powers guaranteed autonomy of its constitutional status. Status, which puts the Crimean Constitution above ordinary Ukrainian laws and makes it impossible for its repeal by ordinary resolution of the Ukrainian Parliament. Currently, the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea de facto and de jure does not exist. Its powers were terminated ahead of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by Resolution of 15 March, 2014.


Related: Pro-Russian Mufti-squealer in occupied Crimea

According to the article 48 of the Constitution of Crimea, Verkhovna Rada cannot start changing the Crimean Constitution without a local republican consultative referendum. The word "advisory" here, however, means that the results of the referendum has no direct influence on the result of the vote of the Crimean deputies. But the word "Republican" means that the vote in such a referendum should people prescribed in Crimea. In other words, Crimeans, but not Sevastopolians, as Sebastopol is not included autonomy.

As a result, we obtain a pyramid of the direct legal obstacles, where making the Crimean Tatar autonomy in the fundamental law of Ukraine is impossible without a change in the Crimean constitution. Change is not possible without a vote of the nonexistent Crimean parliament. And holding this vote is not possible without a national referendum in the occupied, uncontrolled Ukrainian autonomy.

Related: Almost 9000 Crimean residents received Ukrainian passports after annexation , - Migration Service

Of course, laws and even the Constitution is, ultimately - just letters on the paper, and with a strong desire, as has often happened in the history of Ukraine, can be sacrificed for the sake of political legitimacy necessary.

Possible options

Increased activity in the last year of the Crimean Tatar leaders in lobbying for national autonomy, the statements of the Ukrainian president and the Verkhovna Rada make us think that the Ukrainian elite seriously examines the option of a politically motivated decision. And so do not be amiss to think exactly which national autonomy will enter in the text of the Constitution so that it is somehow in line with the legislation of Ukraine.


Related: Ukraine sues Russia for illegal capture of its gas assets in Crimea

First of all, Ukraine needs to create on the mainland the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, by analogy with already existing far from the "green men" the prosecutor's office of Crimea. Since the overwhelming majority of deputies of the last pre-occupation autonomous Rada passed over to the enemy, it is obvious that we need a new one. In contrast to the prosecutor's office, any glad even settlement, created by direct secret ballot. And then there is another problem. After all, most of the Crimean people, including the Crimean Tatars living in the reach of the Crimea Ukrainian election commissions. However, hypothetically, it can be solved by arranging the elections across the continental Ukraine, where the right to vote had only Crimean citizens with a residence permit in the passport. Information campaign can be deployed for greater legitimacy to appeal to pro-Ukrainian residents of Crimea to come to vote.

Related: Crimean Tatars: the endless pressure

Next, in a similar way it will be necessary to hold a consultative but as we found out, a binding referendum to amend the Constitution of Crimea - and a direct route to the Crimean Tatar national-territorial autonomy of Crimea will open. Crimean parliament will submit to the Verkhovna Rada a draft national autonomous Constitution, MPs would approve it, the president would sign it, and the work is done. Of course, theoretically Crimean deputies may refuse to implement the plan of the central government. But first, probably most of them will be represented by the Mejlis, whose position on this issue is unequivocal. And secondly, the situation in which the people's servants refuse to make a decision, for which they were collected and gave the authority looks fantastic too. Of course, even in the case of implementation of the plan we cannot completely avoid conflict with the law. Regional plebiscite without the participation of the regions themselves have been never carried out in Ukraine and our laws are not adapted for such experiments. But the basic constitutional obstacles will be removed, and this with a strong political will is sufficient.

Related: Umerov: ‘Expertise proved I’m mentally sane’

The process of formation of the Crimean authorities will not occur in the spherical vacuum. Despite the president's initiative in the Ukrainian political class, society, and even in the Crimean settlers environment there is no consensus on the status of Crimea. Some experts advise not to touch the administrative status of the peninsula until its release. There is very popular opinion that Crimea should be turned into an ordinary area, without waiting for de-occupation. A number of radical right-wing political forces support this idea. In the idea of national autonomy of the Crimean Tatars they see the specter of separatism and disintegration of Ukraine.

Related: Case of Umerov is a test for adequacy

With high probability it can be argued that since the beginning of the tenth article of the Constitution the power of the change process will face massive protests and broad public opposition. But even if all elections and referendums on the mainland are perfect, the international community and Crimeans remain many questions about the legitimacy of such democratic practices. After all, whatever one may say, and what laws do not take, but a change of administrative status of the region without the participation of most of the inhabitants of this region cannot look convincing. This participation can be achieved only in one way - free Crimea from the power of the Russian militarists.

Related: Crimean Tatar Mejlis banned in Russia

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