Ukrainian Constitution has some articles on impeachment, and the Rules of the Verkhovna Rada have a separate section for it, which also describes the procedure for removing the president from office by impeachment.
The problem here is to regulate the activities of the provisional investigatory commission, which should investigate the alleged crimes of the head of state. There is a reference to the law on provisional investigatory commission, but there is no law (the Constitutional Court recognized it as unconstitutional in 2009).
The rules on the provisional investigatory commission should be adopted in order for the impeachment procedure to be workable.
The Verkhovna Rada of the previous (eighth) convocation adopted the law “On temporary provisional investigatory commission.” The document was signed by President Zelensky on June 12, 2019.
Zelensky himself promised that he would sign the law on impeachment.
“You will definitely see this law on the agenda of the new Verkhovna Rada, the law on the impeachment of the president,” Zelensky said during a July 21 briefing.
On the first day of the work of the newly elected Verkhovna Rada, the president submitted draft No. 1012 to the parliament on a special procedure for removing the president of Ukraine from office (impeachment).
What does the impeachment bill establish?
Removing the norms on impeachment (with some amendments) from the Rules of the Verkhovna Rada,
Removing the reference to the law on provisional investigatory commission and special commissions of the Verkhovna Rada.
A provisional investigatory commission of the Verkhovna Rada shall be formed within 30 days from the date of initiation of impeachment. It must prepare conclusions based on the results of the investigation about signs of treason or other violations within six months and submit them to parliament.
Impeachment initiators suggest the candidacy of the special prosecutor to the special commission; MPs’ factions and groups are candidatures of special investigators. The lack of an e-declaration for the last year is a hindrance to the appointment of a special prosecutor or special investigator. If the special prosecutor withdraws his candidacy, new ones are introduced within three days.
If MPs doubt about a real or potential conflict of interest, they can declare the candidates to be part of the special commission, but only before the Rada considers the issue of forming a special commission.
The special commission elects a chairman, deputy, and secretary (they cannot be from one faction or group). The quorum of the special commission is more than half of the composition approved by the Rada. The decision of the special commission is adopted if more than half of its composition has voted for it.
The MPs of the special temporary investigation commission are to prepare conclusions on the probable violations, based on the results of the investigation; collect information, evidence, explanations, documents, and materials, examine them; keep transcripts of meetings; keep records of incoming and outgoing documents.
Government agencies, local governments, enterprises and institutions, officials and employees must comply with the legal requirements of the special commission. Violation entails criminal liability.
If the Parliament does not decide on impeachment, the chair of the plenary meeting must apologize to the president on the behalf of parliament by paper form.
Ukraine’s Constitution and the Parliamentary Rules have already regulated some stages of the impeachment procedure:
- 226 MPs sign the idea of the removal of the president from his post,
- Rada of initiates the impeachment proceedings (with 226 votes),
- Verkhovna Rada forms a commission to investigate allegations (with 226 votes),
- conclusions and proposals are passed to the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada,
- during a secret voting, at least 300 votes of MPs are required to accuse the president,
- 226 votes are necessary for the appeal of the Verkhovna Rada to the Constitutional and Supreme Court;
- in case of positive conclusions of the Constitutional Court and the Armed Forces of Ukraine within two days, the Verkhovna Rada holds a secret ballot on the removal of the president from office (at least 338 votes);
- board of elections reports on the results of secret voting at an open meeting of the Verkhovna Rada;
- the decision of the Verkhovna Rada comes into force from the moment the chairman announces its adoption;
- according to the Constitution, from that moment the president’s powers are performed by the speaker of the Verkhovna Rada.