Group of national deputies made amendments to the second reading of the draft law number 4670 “On Disciplinary Statute of the National Police of Ukraine”, which were developed with the involvement of a working group, that had worked on the law enforcement reform – Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR) and other human rights activists.
Experts of our group actively participated in development of amendments and keep on monitoring work on the draft law, because introduction of an effective accountability mechanism is very important part of the Police reorganization.
New Disciplinary Statute represents improved version of the previous law – Disciplinary Statute of the Law Enforcement, because it lacked European norms, which were included into recommendations of the OSCE and the Council of Europe, for example – introduction of an appropriate body for investigation of complaints against the police, etc.
But refinement of the draft law is a significant step to publicity and effective official investigations of disciplinary violations in the police.
Important amendments proposed for the second reading of the draft law “On Disciplinary Statute of the National Police in Ukraine” number 4670:
1. Disciplinary commissions (article 15 of the draft law)
a) according to the version, adopted in the first reading, involvement of the public representatives to disciplinary commissions is not obligatory.
New version defines necessity of involvement of the public representatives into such commissions in cases, when an official investigation is provoked in response to a complaint from a natural or legal person;
b) according to the version adopted in the first reading, the MIA is responsible for selection of the public representatives because it has to approve a bylaw on implementation of the law;
c) according to conclusion of the OSCE ODIHR to the draft law “On the police and police activities” representatives of the public should be selected by an open competition with detailed criteria and order.
It is important to develop a body (Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights), which will recommend the public representatives and define reasons for its recommendations – a competition aimed at selection of candidates with perfect reputation, high professional and moral attributes, public confidence;
d) rights of an authorized member of the disciplinary commission, which conducts the official investigation, are determined (paragraph 9 article 15 of the Law).
2. Specification of the “service discipline” and “disciplinary offence” concepts (article 1 and 12 of the draft law)
а) “other normative acts” were excluded from the content of the service discipline (article 1) in order to avoid abuse by other institutions and state bodies; international treaties were included according to confirmation of the Supreme Council of Ukraine. Particular wording and content of the service discipline were clarified;
b) “disciplinary offence” is clarified: unlimited list of actions, “which undermine authority of the police” was excluded; number of offences, restrictions and prohibitions was decreased.
3. The law provides details on reporting to a chief regarding criminal or illegal orders (article 5 of the draft law)
According to the version adopted in the first reading, the subordinate, who has got an illegal order, should not implement it and has to report the Head, who had made the order, in writing immediately.
In practice, it is hard to imagine a situation, when a police officer has an opportunity to write a refusal to execute an order immediately during, for instance, a peaceful assembly.
Proposed amendments oblige to report the Head in writing not later than in one working day.
4. Circumstances that decrease or increase responsibility of the police officer were determined (article 19 of the draft law)
Defining the form of punishment the disciplinary commission should pay attention to circumstances stated in the Law, that decrease or increase responsibility, and help the commission to determine actions, which in positive or negative way characterize the offender. At the same time, the list of circumstances is not exhaustive.
5. The law defines rights, that guarantee protection of the police officer, who is liable to disciplinary prosecution (part 6 article 1, part 4 article 14, article 18 of the draft law)
The law clarifies rights of the police officer to protection, which provide him an opportunity to participate in official investigation in case, if the officer is liable to disciplinary responsibility. The law also provides for a possibility to have a representative, what was stated by the OSCE ODIHR in the conclusion, mentioned earlier.