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Ukraine: veto on amnesty

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko vetoed the law “On amnesty in 2016”. This as an expected decision – even at the early stages, there were rumors at Bankova Street that the Ukrainian leader will go for such step: the bill was drafted very poorly.

Some 3,000-4,000 convicts were pardoned each year in average. Once Ukraine in 2011 has got into the world’s top ten countries in the number of prisoners, the number of amnestied individuals has grown as well - up to 15,000 people. The annexation of Crimea and occupation of parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions have had their own impact on the life of Ukraine and, definitely, reflected in the fate of prisoners serving sentences in the penitentiary facilities and those waiting for amnesty: in 2014, the relevant law was supposed to provide for pardoning some 20,000 people.

Last year, there was no amnesty whatsoever because the Verkhovna Rada delayed the adoption of the law “On amnesty in 2015” until year-end. This year, the deputies did pass it, but the president used his right of veto. In fact, he had a number of reasonable grounds to do so. First and foremost, the reason for this decision, according to experts, was the fact that draft law No.4255 “On amnesty in 2016”, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on July 7, was really raw and could be ambiguously perceived by Ukraine’s European partners in the Normandy format. They could claim that Kyiv was ready to grant amnesty only to “their” people, while having vowed to apply amnesty to all involved in the events in Donetsk and Luhansk regions…

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