As we wrote earlier, the issue of regulatory support for the de-occupation and reintegration of the Crimea has recently become a key topic for the activities of the Ukrainian parliament, despite the fact that the main amendments to the legislation of Ukraine, which were approved in the last period by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, should be divided into three main directions: denunciation of bilateral agreements with the aggressor, approval of parliamentary statements and amendments to current legislation.
At the same time, significant rule-making activity in this dimension could be observed recently in relation to the President and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine; therefore, the analysis of the relevant documents is an important component of the overall picture regarding the organizational preparation of Ukraine for the deoccupation and reintegration of the Crimean Peninsula.
Anna Prykhodko, an expert of the Association, looked into the situation. Regarding the law-making activity of the President of Ukraine in relation to the occupied territories, it can be recalled that in 2014-2022, a significant number of acts were approved, primarily more than 30 fully or partially non-secret decrees, in particular, which approved the decisions of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC); among them, decree No. 579/2022 dated August 15, 2022 “On the Advisory Council on Deoccupation and Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territory of the ARC and the City of Sevastopol” should be singled out.
Also, by 2023, at least 55 decrees of the President of Ukraine approved the decisions of the National Security Service of Ukraine regarding the application and introduction of changes to personal special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions) related to Russian aggression and occupation of the territories of Ukraine, of which in 2022, 17 such decrees.
In this regard, it is worth recalling separately the decree of the President of Ukraine dated February 1, 2021 No. 41/2021, which approved the decision of the National Security Service of Ukraine “On the application of sectoral special economic and other restrictive measures (sanctions) to the Republic of Nicaragua” due to the criminal “recognition” by the regime of this state of the attempted annexation of Crimea by Russian Federation.
In 2023, the relevant rule-making practice continued; we should point to more than thirty decrees of the President of Ukraine regarding sanctions in the period from January to July 2023. At the same time, as of the end of October 2023, there were no approved changes to the Strategy for Deoccupation and Reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory of the ARC and the city of Sevastopol, approved by the Decree of the President of Ukraine dated March 24, 2021 No. 117/2021.
The above-mentioned Consultative Council on Deoccupation and Reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory of the ARC and the city of Sevastopol was supposed to work out the corresponding changes, but this has obviously not happened yet, because there is no information about the meetings of the Consultative Council. At the same time, the composition of the Advisory Council on Deoccupation and Reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory of the ARC and the city of Sevastopol was approved by the Decree of the President of Ukraine dated May 18, 2023 No. 283/2023.
Since 2014, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (CMU) has published a significant number of resolutions and orders approved due to the occupation of the territories of Ukraine. In particular, these are resolutions on the formation and reform of relevant executive bodies, the formation of three interdepartmental working groups, a council, two commissions and three coordination headquarters and a national commission, eight action plans, measures and additional measures, six strategies and two provisions.
Undoubtedly, the key document approved by the CMU in 2023 should be considered Government Order No. 288-r dated April 4, 2023 regarding the new edition of the plan of measures for the implementation of the Strategy for the de-occupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory of the ARC and the city of Sevastopol, and its separate analysis has already been carried out within activities of our Association.
The updated version of the plan contains 127 measures, while the previous one contains a much larger number, namely 158. It is noteworthy that the general analysis of the plan’s measures shows that a total of 41 out of 127 have an international dimension either completely or to a large extent.
They are grouped in a separate section “International cooperation”, which contains 14 measures, and are contained in other sections of the plan, namely “Features of the state policy to ensure the de-occupation of the territory of the ARC and the city of Sevastopol” and “Environmental policy” (one measure with 10, respectively and 5 proposed, respectively), “Legal protection of citizens of Ukraine and legal entities of Ukraine, whose rights and legitimate interests have been violated as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation and the temporary occupation of the territory of Ukraine” (3 measures out of 24 proposed), “Social and humanitarian policy” (3 measures out of 23 proposed), “Information policy” (5 measures out of 19 proposed), “Protection of human rights and freedoms” (6 measures out of 14 proposed) and “Economic policy” (7 measures out of 12 proposed).
The Association’s experts partially analyzed the new version of the plan, and noted that the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine focused on measures that should be implemented during the period of the temporary occupation of the peninsula, and that during this period they should be of a permanent, not phased, nature. On November 23, the Association’s experts took part in the presentation of the results of the II Strategic Forum “Future of Crimea”, the participants of which elaborated and provided recommendations regarding this edition of the action plan.
At the same time, the order of the CMU dated April 18, 2023 No. 327-r, which approved the action plan for the implementation of the Strategy of Foreign Policy of Ukraine, is also extremely important; the corresponding section “Countering aggression of the Russian Federation by political and diplomatic means” contains almost 20 measures, primarily for the period of 2023-2024, they cover:
- monitoring the situation in the territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied and affected by the armed aggression of the Russian Federation, in particular in the security, humanitarian, economic spheres, in the sphere of environmental protection, as well as in relation to the violation of international law, the commission of acts of nuclear terrorism;
- work within the framework of international organizations, convention bodies and interaction with partner states regarding the coverage of the course and consequences of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine;
- interaction and coordination with foreign partners on issues related to the strengthening and expansion of sanctions pressure on the Russian Federation and other states that support the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, as well as maintaining the imposed sanctions until the moment of deoccupation of all temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine;
- taking measures to limit Russia’s participation in international organizations;
- the implementation of the policy of deoccupation and reintegration of the temporarily occupied territory of the ARC and Sevastopol, which as a result provides for the implementation of the plan of measures for the implementation of the Strategy for the deoccupation and reintegration of the occupied territory of the ARC and the city of Sevastopol in accordance with the specified order of April 4, 2023 No. 288-r;
- conducting regular consultations and coordinating actions within the framework of the International Crimean Platform;
- ensuring constant monitoring and informing the international community about the situation regarding the observance of human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples of Ukraine and the provisions of international humanitarian law in ARC and Sevastopol;
- implementation of legal support in the International Court of the United Nations of the lawsuit against Russia regarding accusations of genocide and regarding the application and interpretation of international conventions on the fight against the financing of terrorism and on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination; supporting cases in arbitration tribunals established in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea;
- supporting the consideration of interstate cases of Ukraine against the Russian Federation at the ECtHR;
- the involvement of international and national legal mechanisms for the recovery of compensation (including the arrest and confiscation of assets of Russia in favor of Ukraine) and the prosecution of the political and military leadership of Russia and other involved persons for the crimes committed during the armed aggression against Ukraine;
- implementation of measures to monitor the safety of navigation in the Black and Azov Seas and the Kerch Strait, as well as the collection and analysis of information on ship arrivals at the closed seaports of the ARC and Sevastopol and on flights in the airspace of Ukraine over the territory of the ARC and Sevastopol in violation of the rules for using the airspace of Ukraine
It is noteworthy that the action plan for the implementation of the Strategy of Foreign Policy of Ukraine also provides for the monitoring of information on companies that plan to resort to the mechanisms of protection of their rights provided for by the Agreement between the CMU and the Government of Russia on the Promotion and Mutual Protection of Investments of 1998, and the coordination of measures to protect those violated as a result of the temporary occupation of the territory of Ukraine of the property rights of the state of Ukraine, which are used or planned by individual Ukrainian investors; at the same time, as indicated above, the agreement was denounced by the Law of Ukraine dated August 10, 2023 No. 3329-IX.
In this regard, it is worth pointing out relevant resolutions of the CMU dated March 10, 2023 No. 213, March 3, 2023 No. 187, and February 10, 2023 No. 125, which amended the previous government acts.
In addition, the action plan of April 18, 2023 also provides in paragraph 16 for determining the expediency of denunciation of the Treaty between Ukraine and Russia on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait of 2003, despite the fact that this Treaty was denounced by the Law of Ukraine of February 24, 2023 No. 2948 -IX, that is, two months before the approval of the plan.
Among the aspects of financing the costs of challenges related to the occupied territory, the resolution of the CMU dated July 11, 2023 No. 709 “Some issues of support for internally displaced persons” should be noted; Resolution of the CMU of July 11, 2023 No. 741 “Some issues of providing state monetary assistance to persons who have been deprived of their personal freedom as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, and their family members”; CMU resolutions No. 548 dated May 26, 2023, No. 819 and No. 823 dated August 4, 2023, and No. 975 dated September 12, 2023 have a certain significance in this regard.
An important document regarding the regulation of the legal regime in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine is the resolution of the CMU dated September 15, 2023 No. 1000, which defined the line of contact between the temporarily occupied territory and other territory of Ukraine and established the administrative border between the temporarily occupied territory and other territory of Ukraine as a conditional line on the surface of the earth, which is the border between the territories temporarily occupied by Russia, which are included in the list, and another territory of Ukraine, on whose adjacent territories no hostilities are conducted.
Resolution No. 1000 amended the Procedure for entering and leaving the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and the Procedure for establishing a special regime for entry and exit, restrictions on the freedom of movement of citizens, foreigners and stateless persons, as well as the movement of vehicles in Ukraine or in certain parts of it areas where martial law has been imposed. In addition, Resolution No. 1000 repealed Resolution No. 1035 of the Cabinet of Ministers dated December 16, 2015 “On Limiting the Supply of Certain Goods (Works, Services) from the Temporarily Occupied Territory to Another Territory of Ukraine and/or from Another Territory of Ukraine to the Temporarily Occupied Territory”.
Resolution No. 1092 of the CMU of October 17, 2023 was directly devoted to the issue of reintegration, which approved the Procedure for creating a reserve of health care workers to work in the de-occupied territories of Ukraine; it is noteworthy that among the persons who have the right to determine the authorized person, this procedure is mentioned by the Minister of Health of the AR of Crimea.
Aspects of the status of internally displaced persons were regulated by the Strategy of the State Policy on Internal Displacement for the period until 2025 and the operational plan of measures for its implementation in 2023-2025, approved by the Order of the CMU of April 7, 2023 No. 312-r, as well as by CMU resolutions of March 24, 2023 No. 263 “Some issues of providing housing for internally displaced persons who defended the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and of September 1, 2023 No. 930 “Some issues of functioning of temporary residences of internally displaced persons”; in addition, the Resolution of the CMU dated April 18, 2023 No. 330 established the Coordination Headquarters for Ensuring the Implementation of the Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced Persons. Separately, it should be noted the resolution of the CMU dated April 18, 2023 No. 339 “Some issues of protection of persons, including children, deported or forcibly displaced in connection with the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine”.
Other significant basic governmental acts approved in 2023 in terms of the reintegration of Crimea include the Model Regulation on the Coordination Council on the Affirmation of Ukrainian National and Civil Identity under the Council of Ministers of the ARC, the local executive body, the local self-government body, approved by the resolution of the CMU of April 18 No. 364 of 2023 and the Procedure for developing regional development strategies and action plans for their implementation, as well as monitoring the implementation of these strategies and action plans, approved by CMU Resolution No. 816 of August 4, 2023.
Such acts of the government of Ukraine in 2023 as the Resolution of the CMU dated January 6, 2023 No. 19, which established the National Commission for the Crimean Tatar Language, and the Decree of the CMU dated July 28, 2023 No. 657-r “Issues of developing the Crimean Tatar orthography” are devoted to the issue of the rights of indigenous peoples languages” and Resolution No. 874 of the CMU of August 19, 2023, which amended the Procedure for establishing the legal status of the representative body of the indigenous people of Ukraine and depriving it of such status.
Also, in 2023, no less than 12 bilateral agreements with the aggressor were terminated by the acts of the CMU in 2023, precisely because of Russian aggression and occupation of the territories of Ukraine, including the Crimea. Accordingly, the further rule-making activity of the Ukrainian President and the Government regarding the deoccupation and reintegration of Crimea will require additional scientific research.