The Right to Protection Charitable Foundation draws attention to the fact that the provisions of this bill apply not only to prisoners of war, but also to foreign civilians who are on the territory of Ukraine, and therefore considers it necessary to make such a statement.
On November 5, 2020, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine a draft law “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine Concerning the Regulation of Issues Related to Prisoners of War and Internees in a Special Period” № 4327.
Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (IV Geneva Convention), adopted on 12 August 1949 in Geneva and subsequently ratified by Ukraine in 2006, shall apply to all cases of declared war or any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more States, even if one of them does not recognize the state of war, as well as to cases of partial or complete occupation.
The Convention establishes provisions for the protection of persons who, at any time and under any circumstances, find themselves, in the conflict or in occupation, under the authority of a party to the conflict or of the occupying Power of which they are not nationals.
Article 44 of the Convention stipulates that in applying the control measures provided for in this Convention, the detaining State shall not treat refugees as enemies, solely on the basis of their legal affiliation with the opposing State as they are not under the protection of any government .
At the same time, according to the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation, the draft law contains a number of provisions that may negatively affect the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and persons in need of additional protection.
The draft proposes additions to the grounds for banning the departure of foreigners or stateless persons from Ukraine, provided for in part two of Article 22 of the Law of Ukraine “On Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons” with the paragraph “until internment decision will be revoked”.
The project significantly expands the powers of the Security Service of Ukraine. In particular, it entrusts this body during a special period of measures to identify persons who pose a threat to the national security of Ukraine and the citizens of a state which threatens to attack or carry out aggression against Ukraine (…).
The draft gives the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine the right to decide on the internment of citizens of a state that threatens to attack or carry out aggression against Ukraine, who, according to the Security Service of Ukraine, are a threat to the national security of Ukraine or connected to such attack or aggression.
In this regard, the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation considers it necessary to state that in the event of the adoption of this bill there is a high probability that the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms may be violated, namely:
- The right to liberty and security of person provided for in Article 5 of the European Convention;
- The right to privacy provided for in Article 8 of the European Convention;
- The right to freedom of movement provided for in Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 to the European Convention.
In addition, the adoption of Bill № 4327 may result in a breach of the guarantees set out in Articles 35, 43 and 44 of the IV Geneva Convention. The draft law does not contain any safeguards against the internment of civilian citizens of the Russian Federation who are refugees or persons in need of additional protection or seekers of protection, which is directly contrary to the provisions of Article 44 IV of the Geneva Convention.
The Right to Protection Charitable Foundation believes that the project should be brought in line with Ukraine’s international obligations under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, in particular, refugees, persons in need of additional protection and protection seekers should be excluded out of the regulation of this bill.