5. Is it possible to dismiss the Ombudsman earlier?
Can. The law on the Ombudsman lists a clear list of conditions when it is possible to initiate the procedure for the early resignation of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada. There are five prerequisites in this list: violation of the oath, violation of the conditions of non-combination, termination of citizenship of Ukraine, for health reasons, if for 4 or more months he cannot perform his duties, for ties with the oligarchs. The presence of such grounds (or at least one of them) must be reported by a specially created investigative commission of the Verkhovna Rada. Then the speaker or a group of people's deputies (at least 112) enter the game and collect signatures for resignation. Voting follows.
Important!In wartime conditions, the procedure for early dismissal is different. The speaker of the Verkhovna Rada or a group of people's deputies can initiate a “no confidence” in the Ombudsman, which triggers the dismissal procedure. Anything can be summed up as reasons for “distrust”.
6. Who in Ukraine took care of the protection of the rights of citizens through the Verkhovna Rada?
In the history of independent Ukraine, there were only three ombudsmen. From 1998 to 2012, this position was held by Nina Karpacheva. Then there was a five-year cadence of Valeria Lutkovskaya. In 2018, Lyudmila Denisova was elected Ombudsman.
7. What claims were previously voiced against Denisova?
A lot of attention to the person of the Ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova was riveted after she spoke out against the anti-oligarchic law. In September 2021, Denisova publicly stated that this law violates the rule of law and simply offends good people. In this regard, questions arose whether Denisova would also fight off other bills, the constitutionality of which is also a lot of questions: the law on lustration, on language, on indigenous peoples, on the verification of subsidies, on civil confiscation.
In November last year, people's deputies even registered a draft resolution on the creation of a temporary commission of inquiry to verify possible violations of the oath by Lyudmila Denisova, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Verkhovna Rada. But they could not create the VSK. There was a vote in January, but the “servants” could not collect the required number of votes. Only 202 parliamentarians voted for the creation of the VSK.
Human rights activists raised the issue of the early resignation of Lyudmila Denisova back in July 2019. Then representatives of the Crimean Human Rights Group in their public statement called on Denisova to resign. The reason is corruption. In a statement, human rights activists said that on July 26, 2019, NABU, together with the Office of Special Investigations of the GPU, released recordings of conversations of the chairman of the Kyiv District Administrative Court Pavel Vovk, indicating that the Ombudsman Lyudmila Denisova used her position in her own interests related to the NACP protocols. We are talking about the appointment of a competition for the position of a member of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine (HQJC) from the representative of the Rada for the sake of third parties.
And earlier, the NACP also revealed false information in the declarations of the ex-people's deputy, authorized by the Verkhovna Rada for human rights of Lyudmila Denisova for 2015, 2016 and 2017. Denisova challenged the NAPC protocols in court.
Valeria Lutkovskaya held the position for five years. Photo by Mikhail Koifman/UNIAN
8. Were previous ombudsmen involved in scandals?
For 14 years of her human rights activities as Ombudsman, Nina Karpacheva has not demonstrated any special achievements. Many human rights activists complained about her and her apparatus for the fact that they were engaged in “replies” – painted Ukrainians' complaints about those state institutions that they complained about. In 2011, she insulted the protesters of the “Chernobyl victims”, showing them the middle finger, instead of listening to their problems, helping. In 2012, the first Ombudsman in the history of Ukraine, Nina Karpachova, became a defendant in a criminal case. And all because of the photographs of Yulia Tymoshenko with bruises published by her. The Ombudsman made public the facts of the alleged beating of the leader of the “Batkivshchyna” in the colony. After that, Karpacheva was forced to emigrate from Ukraine.
The second Ukrainian Ombudsman, Valeria Lutkovska, was remembered for trying to ignore the topics of political persecution in Ukraine. So, in 2012, on the air of Channel 5, Lutkovskaya noted that she did not see signs of political persecution in the criminal case of Yulia Tymoshenko. She refused to meet her daughter Tymoshenko. There was similar rhetoric in the case of ex-Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko. In an interview with Radio Liberty in 2012, Lutkovskaya, commenting on the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which declared the arrest of former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko illegal, noted that this problem is not relevant.
POLITICAL SCIENTISTS' OPINION
Vladimir Tsibulko: Authorities are preparing for early elections
– The dismissal of Lyudmila Denisova can be regarded as an element of the authorities' scenario for preparing for early parliamentary elections. In this position, they need “their” person. Denisova was not like that. In 2018, she was elected according to the quota of the “People's Front”, previously she was an ally of Yulia Tymoshenko and is still close to the “Batkivshchyna”. By sacking Denisova, Zelenskiy's team is playing against Tymoshenko's potential rating increase.
The position of the ombudsman in the conditions of war is quite influential, media. This person will go public and talk about the achievements of the authorities in creating humanitarian corridors, about the exchange of prisoners, investigations of war crimes, and protection of victims of the war. That is, a person in this position can work for the rating of the pro-presidential team, and not delay the glory towards another political force.
FB of Alexei Yakubin
Alexei Yakubin: This is the result of Denisova's shortcomings
– I would not look for politics and some undercover games in the reasons for the dismissal of Lyudmila Denisova. The main motive for early resignation is the insufficiently good work of the Ombudsman in the conditions of war.
The Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights has a large toolkit for active work. But during these three months of the war, I personally did not see Denisova’s large-scale human rights campaign: appeals to international institutions and international leaders, to my colleagues abroad with a call to help Ukraine organize humanitarian corridors, exchange prisoners, investigate war crimes, etc. Was there any cooperation between the Ombudsman and law enforcement agencies? The question is open.
I think that within a week the people's deputies will be able to elect a successor to Lyudmila Denisova. And this person will be more public and with a good legal background, established contacts with international human rights organizations and structures.