Lustration is a practice to purge government officials connected to past administrations.
This article is “part of the Kyiv Post’s Reform Watch project, sponsored by the International Renaissance Foundation“ (George Soros’ foundation).
What is civil society? Who is the “popular” support? The first sentence speaks volumes.
Lustration law faces sabotage, legal hurdles
Oct. 23, 2014
by Oleg Sukhov
PHOTO Right Sector activists demanding lustration and exploding a smoke grenade near the Central Elections Commission building on Oct. 2. Lustration has become a key demand of civil society.
The sight of public officials being thrown into trash cans all over Ukraine has become the visible expression of popular anger with corrupt bureaucrats, with lustration becoming a key demand by civil society.
Supporters of the lustration law, signed by President Petro Poroshenko on Oct. 9, say that the cleansing of government is necessary to root out old corrupt practices and entrench Western values as part of Ukraine’s efforts to become a civilized European country.
But the law is likely to be sabotaged by officials and faces legal obstacles. Lawyers say that it will be hard to enforce it because courts may rule that it contradicts the Constitution and international law.
In September, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that the law would apply to about 1 million officials. Earlier in October he said that the first 39 top officials had been fired.
Yegor Sobolev, head of the non-governmental Lustration Committee, told the Kyiv Post that the passage of the law was a victory of civil society.
“The parliament, president and Cabinet didn’t really want this law but society forced them to pass it,” said Sobolev, who is one of the lustration law’s authors and has actively pushed for its passage.
He added, however, that civil society had to make some concessions, for example, by excluding members of parliament from the list of people subject to lustration.
Sobolev urged civil society to be actively involved in the enforcement of the law.
“Without citizens and journalists’ active engagement, control over the implementation of lustration will be sabotaged,” he said.