In early November village, settlement and city councils representing over 200 thousand residents in 169 hromadas were surprised to find out that the judge of the Kyiv District Administrative Court tried to stop the first elections in 34 amalgamated hromadas, established in 2018.
Their surprise follows up from the fact that, contrary to the requirements of the law, the court did not in any way care about ensuring their access to justice, since the court has not yet sent them either rulings on opening of proceedings, or decisions on securing the claim.
During the week, the case has gained some resonance, and in the absence of clear information it starts being surrounded with rumors. Therefore, it makes sense to consider some facts.
By lawyer Vira Kozina
A “Gift” in the form of an attempt to stop the first elections came from the MP of Ukraine, who appealed against the decision of 34 local councils on voluntary amalgamation of hromadas, located in 14 oblasts of Ukraine. He substantiated his claims by supposedly collective complaints from citizens.
There is not a single complaint from citizens, let alone collective complaints, in the case. Moreover, the case does not even have a brief description of at least one fact of violation.
The plaintiff did not provided the description of violations and substantiations, why these violations infringe his rights. He was much mistaken with the location and the name of the case participants. By the way, according to my clients, this MP has really never addressed them.
The MP-plaintiff is not only incompetent in the issues of the interests of which hromadas and regarding what circumstances he tried to “protect” in such a strange way, but is even not aware of the extent of his powers.
Is the decision of the judge, who in course of several hours decides that two hundred thousand people should depend on someone’s unsupported allegation, balanced?
The court is obliged to take into account the balance of interests of all participants of the case, not only to observe the concept of a fair trial proceeding, but also to provide each party with a reasonable opportunity to present themselves in the case within conditions, which do not place each of the parties in substantially less favourable position, than that of an opponent .
Currently, all authorities and entities of electoral process involved in ensuring the first elections execute not the decisions of the councils on amalgamation, but the CEC’s regulation on the appointment of the first elections. Therefore, it no longer the law on voluntary amalgamation of homadas working, but the law on elections and the budget code.
The court rejected the plaintiff's request to prohibit the CEC and other commissions from taking any actions in the formation of local self-government bodies. The court rejected the plaintiff's request to suspend the operation of the CEC’s regulation on appointment of the number of single-mandate constituencies. The requirements for the prohibition of formation of lower level election commissions are also rejected.
Unfortunately, my clients find themselves in a situation, where they have to prove their absence of fault in committing violations, which someone was lazy even to come up with, not telling about covering them with weak evidence. My clients are small local councils with limited technical and material resources. Therefore, we comply with the law – so far we have prepared and filed appeals and a number of documents.
Now there is a new quest – in a matter of days, it is necessary to file a statement of defence and find ways to copy over 10 000 pages for each council willing to exercise its right to access justice.
Moreover, according to the judge's decision, the case is still being considered under simplified procedure.
Because of the lack of real information, because of the rumors around this truly legendary case, I consider it reasonable to disclose certain legal facts, that can be really confirmed, in the interests of my clients.
Everyone concerned by these facts should decide on his/her own how to evaluate and use them.
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