EU criticizes Ukraine’s bill on special confiscation
Ukraine has implemented steps to introduce a harsh law without ensuring the right to a fair trial and right to property, according to the comments by the EU Delegation to Ukraine regarding bill No.4057 passed in the first reading, provided to Europeiska Pravda online newspaper.
The EU Delegation believes that the draft law fails to provide sufficient safeguards to protect property rights, which would be in line with EU standards. Rather, it can be perceived as a hasty step towards the introduction of more stringent and intrusive tools that do not provide necessary protection of the right to a fair trial, property rights, as well as the improved stability of property relations, Europeiska Pravda reported.
Also, EU representatives stressed that initiatives on pre-trial forfeiture must necessarily go hand in hand with the strengthening of guarantees for the law-abiding owners (which would prevent abuse of special confiscation mechanisms); as there are no such guarantees in this bill.
In addition, the Delegation recalled that, in recent months, Parliament approved legislation on special confiscation (bills 2540a, 2541a, 3040), which were regarded by EU experts as the promotion of the correct balance and were among the obligations of the Ukrainian authorities according to the Visa Liberalization Action Plan.
The newspaper states that, based on the received comments by the European officials, EU believes the adoption of this draft law violates the obligations under the VLAP. At the same time, the EU representatives refrained from forecasts as to the EU action in the case of the adoption of mentioned bill.
Read alsoPoroshenko says how Ukraine to use seized assets of Yanukovych regimeThe publication notes that the EU representation rarely issues statements and notes criticizing the bills that have not yet been approved by the Verkhovna Rada.
It should be noted that the bill in question proposes changes to the criminal legislation allowing confiscation before the court verdict of assets and income received from these assets.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the Verkhovna Rada on the requirement of the People's Front faction on March 15 voted in favor of the inclusion in the agenda of the relevant bills No. 4057 and No. 3196 on special confiscation of the money of the previous government, but the vote did not gain enough support.
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that the bill will return to the state budget $1.5 billion of assets of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych’s and his entourage.
However, opponents of the law say that it violates the presumption of innocence and the constitutional right to property.
Read alsoRada adopts special confiscation bill in first readingIn June 2014, the Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Financial Intelligence found 42 non-resident companies, affiliated with ex-President Yanukovych, blocking in the accounts of 19 of these companies a total of $1.5 billion. Most of the funds used to be channeled through offshore companies to buy Ukraine’s domestic loan bonds. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk then appealed to the Prosecutor General, the Security Service and the courts to accelerate consideration the inquiry and return the money to the state budget.
It should be noted that the authors of bill No.4057 are MPs Yuriy Bereza, Serhiy Pashynskiy and Andriy Teteruk from People’s Front as well as Iryna Friz, Ivan Vinnik and Artur Herasimov from BPP.