Ukrainian military administrations: Donbas experience now in Kherson region

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Verkhovna Rada Profile Committee recommended adoption of bill on civil-military administrations creation near ATO and Crimean peninsula areas
20:28, 25 October 2016

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Civil-Military Administrations (CMA), which have become an essential attribute of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) in Donbas, may soon appear in Kherson region of Ukraine. This innovation is provided by draft law №5111 "On Amendments to some Laws of Ukraine on civil-military administrations". This document was registered in Verkhovna Rada in September and on 19 October it was approved by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense.

In name of struggle against separatism

In the explanatory memorandum to the bill its author - MP from Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc Ivan Vynnyk briefly recounts the history of the annexation of Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation and the ATO in the East, and notes that freezing of the armed conflict in Donbas within the now occupied territories "is not profitable for the Russian Federation in view of the large financial burden on the budget of aggressor state in connection with the need to ensure annexed Crimea needs. " Therefore, according to the MP, the slightest manifestation of separatism in the peninsula adjacent to the Kherson region Moscow will perceive as a signal to attack for creating the promised land corridor from the Rostov region to Crimea.

Vynnyk stressed that today it is very important to monitor the socio-political situation in the territories adjacent to the area of ATO and occupied Crimea. "The last messages that appeared in Ukrainian information space, reflect the increased influence of the" Russian world” apologists within these areas, who spread anti-Ukrainian ideas and cultured Russian imperial paradigm thinking," - says in the explanatory note Ukrainian parliamentarian. In this regard, he offers at the legislative level to allow the President of Ukraine to create the CMA in Kherson region and other areas adjacent to the zone of the ATO and Crimea, under the conditions stipulated by the law "On civil-military administrations".

According to Vynnyk, it will "ensure the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, as well as rapid countering the separatist activities, sabotage manifestations and acts of terrorism in cases of threats to security and public order" on the abovementioned territories, "as well as in case of failure of local authorities in these areas to fulfill their powers assigned by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine".

The bill is very simple by itself and makes changes to the laws "On combating terrorism" and "On the military-civilian administration." In it is proposed to establish a rule that CMA can be created not only in the area of the ATO, but also in the areas adjacent to ATO zone and also to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

Briefly about what the military and civil administration looks like and in what cases it can be created. According to Art. 1 of the law "On civil-military administration," CMAs – are the temporary state bodies in the villages, towns, cities, districts and regions, acting as part of the Anti-Terrorist Centre (ATC) of  Ukrainian Security Service and intended to ensure action of the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, to ensure security and normalization of life of the population, the rule of law, participation in manifestations combating sabotage and terrorist acts, to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the area of ATO.

CAA created, if necessary, by decision of the President of Ukraine. CAA can be created in the villages, towns, cities, in which the respective local councils and their executive committees do not exercise their legal powers. The military administration should be formed from settlements of seconded personnel, Anti-Terrorist Centre and the law enforcement officers. At the same time in the district and regional CMA civilians are also allowed to work to (Art. 3).

Talking about the powers, military administrations would receive of the powers held by village, town and city councils (in the case of settlement CAA) and local state administrations (in the case of region and area CMA).

Security and Defense Committee - for, Scientific and Expert office - against

Rada Committee on National Security and Defense in its meeting of 19 October reviewed the bill of Vynnyk and recommended the Parliament to adopt it as a basis. According to deputies, the adoption of the law "will improve the mechanism for countering threats to security and public order related to the risk of terrorist attacks and armed aggression, and to ensure the normalization of life of the population and the continuity of the implementation of public authority" in Kherson region and other areas adjacent to the ATO zone and Crimean peninsula.

The main Scientific and Expert office of Verkhovna Rada is skeptical about the bill №5111. In particular, in its report dated 13 October 2016, experts considered "unreasonable and unjustified" to create the CMAs in areas where public authorities and local self-government can actually exercise their powers. It also notes that the fight against separatism and subversive activities, for example, in Kherson region should be led in the first place by the law enforcement agencies and not the military administration. In addition to this parliamentary experts even doubt the constitutionality of the creation and functioning of the CMA in Ukraine. Therefore Scientific and Expert office does not support the adoption of the bill.

As you can see, opinions were divided on this controversial document. What choice will make Ukrainian MPs at the session hall, we will see, and perhaps very soon.

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