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Yegor Sobolev: Lustration is a Government Filter Rather Than a Punishment

Kyiv, 4 April 2014 – Speaking at a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Head of the Lustration Committee of Ukraine, Yegor Sobolev emphasized: “Lustration is currently one of the most popular ideas in the society which inspires great enthusiasm and is widely supported by the population. We are deeply convinced that lustration is a government filter rather than a punishment, and it needs to be conducted only in accordance with the law.”

“The Lustration Committee has presented two main ideas: life-long prohibition of the former President of Ukraine and his closest officials from holding or running for office, and cleansing of the judicial system, starting with the heads of all courts in the country and their deputies all the way down to district courts, as well as the High Council of Justice and the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine. The proposed bill has caused a lot of arguments in the parliament as the judicial system itself resists the adoption of the bill. Nevertheless, it has already been passed in the first reading,” said Yegor Sobolev.

“Lustration is akin to criminal responsibility. Those who are found by the court to have broken the law must be brought to criminal responsibility. As for the others, lustration does not envisage any punishment,” Mr. Sobolev added.

“We invite every citizen of Ukraine to participate in the discussion of the lustration law. It has been posted for public discussion on the Lustration Committee website and on Facebook. Furthermore, we are organizing visits to various regions of the country to discuss the idea of government cleansing with the citizens, and we are ready for criticism and discussion with anyone, be it a Venice Commission representative or a resident of Donetsk region,” the head of the Lustration Commission underlined.

Mr. Sobolev mentioned the successful lustration experience of Georgia, Czech Republic and the Baltic states, however the proposed bills provide for stricter and wider measures than those taken in these European countries.

Speaking about the lustration bill, Yegor Sobolev added: “The key officials coming from the soviet KGB system must not be allowed to hold office: we shouldn’t give this system a chance to use its connections and influence to tear Ukraine apart and bring it back to soviet times. The same prohibition should apply to all officials who served during Yanukovych’s presidency, from the top ones to the deputy heads of district state administration, heads of district offices of the Security Service of Ukraine and militia and members of political parties banned by the court, as well as all public officials who have been previously brought to justice for corruption. The Ministry of Justice is currently preparing to open the register of such persons, which will allow us to automatically prevent them from holding public office.” Although Mr. Sobolev didn’t specify the number, he spoke of “thousands” of officials who may be subject to layoff.

Yegor Sobolev is a Ukrainian public activist, Head of the Lustration Committee of Ukraine

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