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Politics 2020-07-15T06:15:45+03:00
Ukrainian news
Maksim Lavrynovych: A Target of Political Persecution in Ukraine

Maksim Lavrynovych: A Target of Political Persecution in Ukraine

Maksim Lavrynovych. Фото: 112.ua
Maksim Lavrynovych. Фото: 112.ua

Ukrainian News publish column of Maxim Lavrinovich, son of Alexander Lavrinovich, previous published by Politiko.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address urges “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from earth.” Americans did unite and made their country embraced the principles of democracy, freedom and justice.

Today, Ukraine faces similar challenges to those America faced when Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. It is being tested, and the threat of authoritarianism in Ukraine is imminent. Its people have embraced principles of democracy, but its government elites are only hiding behind empty words.

The Constitution of Ukraine and its Bill of Rights, guarantee freedom of speech and the right to due process. However, while in U.S. human rights are sacrosanct, in Ukraine they are flagrantly violated.

Underneath the rhetoric of democratic reform that undergirds U.S. - Ukraine relations, hides a shadowy country that has not yet evolved into a free market nation guided by rule of law. As a lawyer and a Ukrainian citizen, I want to draw the attention of U.S. government to the fact that there is no rule of law in Ukraine. My father, Oleksandr Lavrynovych, is a famous Ukrainian statesman. He is one of the founding fathers of Ukraine’s independence, and has now been subjected to baseless, political persecution by Ukrainian authorities.

On September 15, 2017 Pechersky Court in Kiev arrested my father on charges of “overthrowing constitutional order”.

The purported reason for the criminal indictment was the implementation of a decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine of September 30, 2010, which was adopted by 252 people’s deputies. By this decision, the Constitutional Court abolished the law amending the Constitution of 2004 and returned Ukraine to the 1996 Constitution. The Prosecutor claims that the “crime” allegedly committed by my father is the publication of the decision of the Constitutional Court and the text of the Constitution published in the Official Gazette of the Ministry of Justice.

One does not have to be a scholar of Ukraine’s law to appreciate the absurdity of these charges. In Ukraine only the Constitutional Court is authorized to interpret Ukraine’s Constitution and determine if legislation is following its tenets. How the decision of the Constitutional Court can be considered a violent coup d’état is absurd.

This decision was approved by the Venice Commission, the advisory body of the Council of Europe on issues of constitutional law.

There are disturbing factors in to my father’s criminal case that shed light on his political persecution.

First, how could the Minister of Justice be held accountable for a decision rendered by the Constitutional Court? The Constitutional Court’s decisions in Ukraine are binding upon all state authorities from the moment they are rendered. Employees of the Official Gazette carried out their work in accordance with their duties. How can the Minister be held accountable for the implementation of the law by the employees of the department entrusted to him? The publication is purely informative and does not bring into effect the Constitution or the decision of the Constitutional Court in Ukraine. Such irrational and legally unsupported claims And their way into formal charges through Ukraine’s Prosecutor’s office. To appreciate the absurdity of what Ukraine’s prosecutors have done, imagine, for example, if officials of the Health Administration in U.S. were arrested for implementing Obama Care.

If we follow the reasoning of Ukraine prosecutor’s accusation, the judges who made this decision also took part in the forcible seizure of power. However, most are still members of the Constitutional Court, and the Prosecutor General’s Office did not charge any of them. There are no complaints from the Prosecutor General’s Office against the 252 people’s deputies who voted. The Lavrynovych case is a clear illustration of the vice of not only selective enforcement of laws, but also disregard for them, resulting in imprisonment of an innocent public figure.

After my father’s arrest, his lawyers appealed, and on September 27 the Court of Appeal, freed him from custody. Notwithstanding, the criminal case has not been dismissed and his political persecution in Ukraine is unlikely to stop without public pressure. The alleged criminal acts attributed to my father did not entail violence and did not pose a threat to anyone. Thus, according to the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights, and Ukrainian legislation, he simply could not be arrested - but he was.

I believe that the purpose of the Prosecutor General’s Office in charging and arresting my father was to publicly demonstrate a “success” on the backdrop of the failure of numerous investigations and hundreds of murders since 2014.

Lavrynovych is one of the founders of the independent Ukraine, the founder of the national liberation movement of the 1980¬90s - “Narodnyi Rukh” of Ukraine, one of the authors of the Constitution of Ukraine, and served as the Minister of Justice under the three presidents. He carried out the effort of drafting Ukrainian legislation to meet the standards and rules of the European Union.

He is the founder of the country’s legal system. He has been illegally charged and arrested as part of a corrupt political ploy to discredit him, deflect from real crimes, and to show that the current administration is punishing the former leadership.

Democracy is cherished by American and Ukrainian people. Americans have successfully overcome historical challenges, and Ukrainians have recently toppled their government in pursuit of freedom. However, Ukraine’s new government has taken the path of repression and political reprisals. And this means that the struggle for democracy in Ukraine must continue. This arrest of Oleksandr Lavrynovych has demonstrated that the Ukrainian authorities are capable of dispensing with the rule of law and with reason to pursue corrupt political agenda.

Ukraine’s government continues to be guided by corruption and its transactional expediency, rather than the rule of law. I am confident that American politicians will appreciate the significance of my father’s predicament.

Maksim Lavrynovych


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