Zaluzhny and Shaptala are in favor, some military and deputies are against
Petition calling for president wins over 31,000 votes Vladimir Zelensky to veto a bill that increases the punishment for the military for disobeying orders, desertion and other violations of military discipline.
The new rules were ambiguously perceived by some deputies and the military, but supported by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny and the Minister of Defense.
Arguments “against” the law are given, for example, by Roman Kostenko, a military man and a people’s deputy from the Golos faction: “We don’t even apply to collaborators and traitors such norms that we want to apply to our servicemen.”
Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny’s argument is “for” the law: during the war, quick decisions are needed.
LIGA.net collected the main positions “for” and “against” the adopted bill N8271.
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WHAT’S HAPPENED. On December 13, the Verkhovna Rada adopted bill No. 8271-d, which strengthens the punishment of the military for violating discipline. It prohibits the courts from mitigating the punishment of the military for disobedience, non-execution of orders, threats to the chief or violence against him, desertion, unauthorized leaving of a military unit or battlefield.
The terms and fines for violations have been increased, and inspection by the military law enforcement service of reservists and those liable for military service for the fact of intoxication has been introduced.
The bill was adopted as a basis and as a whole (without a second reading) five days after its registration in the Rada. In parliament, he was represented by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Sergei Shaptala.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT. A petition demanding Zelensky to veto the law received 31,000 votes in a week, out of 25,000 needed. Otherwise, the petition says, the command gets unprecedented leverage to blackmail and punish the military with prison for any criticism of their decisions.
A number of deputies were against the adoption of the law without a second reading. This is discrimination against the military, critics say. They will not have the right to leniency that those charged with other offenses have.
“Even people who have raped and killed have access to leniency,” explains LIGA.net lawyer and military man Masi Nayem. – And with this law they want to take away these rights (from the military. – Rate). It is not right. Even from the point of view of attitude to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. I’m not talking about the fact that it fundamentally takes away their right to justice.”
People’s Deputy and military man, retired SBU colonel (call sign “Grom”) Roman Kostenko says LIGA.netthat saw different situations on the battlefield. And each case requires individual consideration by the court, and not equalization: each gets 5-12 years in prison.
“I am against, for example, a situation where a person mobilized, went through a week of training, came under shelling, became cowardly and retreated, and for this he gets five years,” Kostenko explains.
The law does not solve the main problem – discipline in the army, Niem is sure.
The Criminal Code even now has enough mechanisms to punish violators, Kostenko is sure: “If a military man retreated, and this killed a battalion or company, no judge will ever give him leniency.”
To improve discipline, now you need to analyze the situations when it was violated, Nyeem says. Also a big question is the orders themselves.
In addition, it is important to work with the military and commanders themselves, to involve psychologists, says Kostenko.
“In our army now, for the most part, not professional soldiers, but yesterday’s conditional teachers, agronomists and drivers,” the people’s deputy explains. “They didn’t see 152-mm shell explosions every day, many corpses and bombed buildings. And there must be an approach to them , and not in such a way that he gave back – and five years in prison.
The military themselves asked to urgently consider the bill – the corresponding letter was submitted to the Rada with the signatures of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny and Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov. The military in the Rada explained the urgency of the difficult situation near Bakhumt, says the head of the Security Council, David Arakhamia.
Zaluzhny publicly urged Zelensky to support the bill. According to him, the army rests on discipline: it is possible to explain and convince in peacetime, but in times of war, quick decisions are needed.
“Rejectionists can pay a fine of up to ten percent of combat payments, or receive a punishment with a trial, this is unfair. Moreover, and this is key, other military personnel are forced to cover exposed sections of the front, which leads to an increase in losses of personnel, territories and peaceful people on them,” the commander-in-chief explained his position.
At the same time, Zaluzhny assured that commanders are also responsible, and he himself is working on problems that lead to AWOL.
At the General Staff consider fair in conditions of war not to impose milder punishments for the military than provided for by law. Such crimes weaken the defense capability, can fatally affect the performance of combat missions by other law-abiding military personnel, the General Staff said in a statement.
Also on December 16, N8271 was publicly supported by Zelensky’s representative in the Rada Fyodor Venislavsky. The law is quite balanced and will improve the quality of discipline at the front, the people’s deputy believes.
According to him, there are isolated cases when non-compliance with orders, AWOL or threats from the head negatively affected the combat capability of the unit and could endanger other military personnel.
“The morale of the Ukrainian army as a whole is very high. Unfortunately, there are exceptions when one or more servicemen sabotage the activities of an entire military unit,” Venislavsky explained. will not feel the effects of this law.”
LIGA.net tried to get comments from Venislavsky and the head of the profile committee, Sergei Ionushas (SN), but at the time of publication did not receive any answers.
WHAT’S NEXT. Zelenskiy has two actions to take: respond to the petition (he has 86 more days to do so) and decide whether to veto or sign N8271 to become law.
However, in practice, the bill can lie for a long time without a signature at all. For example, since April, it has been waiting for the signature of N7180 dated March 19, 2022, which allows Ukrainians to continue military service up to the age of 65 if they wish, human rights activists say.
Bankovaya has not yet officially commented on the bill.
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