On January 16, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine voted on bill’s first reading No. 2412 about the Intelligence. This bill aims to expand the powers of the internal power block, in particular, to provide additional powers in the field of intelligence and counterintelligence of the National Guard of Ukraine, which is part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
“Bill No. 2412 On Intelligence “gives the” interim “minister super powers,” Vitaliy Shabunin the founder of Anti-Corruption Action Centre said on Facebook.
According to the anti-corruption official, the bill is being lobbied in the Verkhovna Rada for adoption, and this will give the current Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov to personally conduct any special operations with a separate budget. In addition, the Minister will have a special agents who can transmit the information collected, bypassing all other ministries and departments in Ukraine, including President.
Far back November 7 of last year, the consideration of the bill was determined by the president as urgent. However, it was not possible to vote for it at the first time, the parliamentarians noticed significant gaps in the document, in particular, nconsistency with the provisions of normative acts in Ukraine. On December 12, the document signed by Verkhovna Rada Chairman Dmitry Razumkov, but returned for revision. And last week, almost finished bill again to the vote.
Why is it almost ready? And how domestic legislators are given a new text before the voting, different from the official text posted on the website?
The Printed Modifications
The original text Bill No. 2412 provided for amendments to 25 current laws of Ukraine. However, on election day, the text of a document of yet another “supplementary” law appeared. It is about amending the law of Ukraine “On the National Guard of Ukraine”, Art. 2, 12, 13 of the specified normative act.
The changes proposed and now already voted in the first reading should provide access to the National Guard of Ukraine, which is responsible for maintaining public law and order and protecting strategic objects, to fulfill strategic intelligence tasks, including the collection of personal information both in Ukraine and abroad.
What is contradiction?
According to the current Ukranian law, The National Guard is a military formation with law enforcement functions, and part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and is designed to fulfill the tasks of protecting the life, rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens, protecting public order and ensuring public safety.
So, the National Guard is a special body in the system of the Ministry of the Interior. The main task of the Ministry is to protect human rights and freedoms, ensure public safety and order, as well as provide police services (Regulation on the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers dated Oct 28, 2015 No. 878). Ministry of Internal Affairs is an authorized body to maintain public safety and order in the state.
On the other hand, the state special-purpose body that ensures the state security of Ukraine is the Security Service of Ukraine (Law of Ukraine “On the Security Service of Ukraine” of March 25, 1992).
The main objective of the Service is to protect state sovereignty,constitutional order, territorial integrity,that is, the employees of this body were given the authority to carry out intelligence activities in accordance with Art. 20 Law of Ukraine “On the National Security of Ukraine”.
Methods of conducting intelligence activities are defined by separate instructions from the security apparatus that contain access restrictions. Most of them are manuals for collecting and processing personal data of citizens in order to suppress and disclose any form of intelligence and subversive activity against Ukraine.
Granting corresponding similar powers to the Ministry of Internal Affairs body no less looks strange, firstly such powers do not relate to the subject of the Ministry – the support of public order. The opposite would indicate the establishment in Ukraine of a stable authoritarian regime.
Secondly, the provision of appropriate powers that are not related to the content and tasks of internal law enforcement agencies directly violates the provisions of the Constitution – Art. 32 “The right to personal and family life.”
Thirdly, such changes in the legislation would open up the possibility for influence not only on the lives of citizens, but also on the work of the relevant bodies, the direct competence of which includes the implementation of intelligence and counter-intelligence activities.
In addition, it remains incomprehensible how the National Guard of Ukraine can carry out such intelligence activities, because the relevant Security Service Instructions do not apply to it. the law of Ukraine “On operational-search measures”, which is a kind of analogue of such instructions and is also not subject to publication, does not determine the order and features of intelligence activities.
Considering that Bill No. 2412 which does not contain any specific prohibitions on intelligence activities by the National Guard and further use of the data, if adopted, Ukraine may well face a new wave of lawsuits in the European Court of Human Rights.
UA-Times also published on 20 Jan, about the new Misinformation bill: Millions fines and sorting of journalists