Ukrainian Lustration and European Standards : building democracy capable of defending itself

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Pursuant to an initiative by USAID’s Fair, Accountable, Independent and Responsible Judiciary Program (FAIR) in Ukraine, I was invited to Kyiv, Ukraine, as an independent expert providing expertise on the topic of lustration. I visited Kyiv in February 10-14, 2015.

During my visit I had an opportunity to meet with other experts, civil society members, lawyers, and members of state institutions involved in the conduct of lustration process and in its revisions. I had meetings with members of Kyiv Bar Association, High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine, the Public Council on Lustration at the Ministry of Justice, a meeting with drafters of lustration at the Verkhovnaya Rada, and a Roundtable Talk on Lustration in Ukraine. In these meetings, we exchanged views about the need for implementing lustration in Ukraine, its historical and political context, and its conformity to international and European human rights standards. Many participants manifested an aspiration to reform the personnel situation in the state apparatus of Ukraine as well as a strong desire to meet European standards.

My understanding is that the main question regarding lustration that Ukraine seeks to answer today is how to effectively conduct lustration policies in accordance with European human rights standards. This question also concerns rebalancing the substantive provisions of lustration law to meet those standards, responding to legal and constitutional challenges to lustration law, and responding to international community concerns about lustration law.

In this report, I will briefly review the objectives of lustration laws and the European standards that relate to lustration laws. In particular, I will consider whether the concept of “democracy capable of defending itself” – introduced by Karl Loewenstein and applied by the European Court of Human Rights – applies to the Ukrainian lustration law in view of the current historical and political situation in Ukraine. I will then discuss the implications for the substantive provisions of the Ukraine’s lustration law.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe FAIR Justice Project
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2015


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