Victor Yushchenko took part in a meeting of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDCU) to discuss ways to join the WTO and observe property rights in Ukraine.

Speaker Vladimir Litvin, Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov, NSDCU Secretary Anatoly Kinakh and several ministers were present at the meeting.

Speaking about Ukraine’s WTO membership, the Head of State said he was convinced that, “if parliament approves necessary bills, the question of our membership can be positively solved in December.” The President informed those present that in the near future he intended to ask all leaders of parliamentary factions to consolidate to solve it. He reiterated that this was one of the key points in the Declaration for UnityandCooperation for the Sake of the Future. Yushchenko also noted that he hoped the matter would not be much politicized.

Touching on the subject of property rights, the President stressed that relations with business and citizens depended greatly on their observance. In their reports, the participants focused on legal aspects of property rights in Ukraine. They particularly noted that the Civilian Code and the Economic Code defined some concepts differently, making them legally vague, while, on the other hand, many legal concepts were similarly defined. Then they added that there was no status of joint-stock companies and we still used out-dated approaches to privatization and bankruptcy procedures.

It is also quite problematic to observe property rights in Ukraine because the so-called institutional infrastructure of the market economy functions inefficiently. Justice Minister Sergey Golovaty noted that Ukraine did not have laws on central and regional state agencies and a law on the State Property Fund.

“These are all legal acts that should have been approved according to Article 19 of the Constitution. They clearly define legal principles, obliging state agencies and officials to act in accordance with the Constitution,” he said.

Then the participants of the meeting spoke about Ukraine’s imperfect judicial system, unprofessional lawyers, insufficient mechanisms to bring judges to trial for disciplinary violations and the corrupt system to execute court verdicts.

They also criticized prosecutors for currently being able to exert influence on judges, not being participants of civilian and economic judicial relations. When the constitutional reform comes into force in 2006, the Prosecutor General will have the Directorate right and “thus will totally ruin institutional functions of the judicial branch.” Holovaty thinks it might cause institutional misbalance and threaten our national security.

Economy Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk reminded all that the European Commission thought it was unacceptable to approve similar laws and expedient to repeal the Economic Code. The European Commission also criticizes our Directorate regulations for being “inconsistent with European conventions and general approaches.”

The participants also spoke about ways to develop legal science in Ukraine and adapt it to European norms.


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