President Viktor Yushchenko met with the heads of the country’s law enforcement bodies on Tuesday, urging them to protect the rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens on September 30. “The implementation of human rights and freedoms and the most fundamental freedom of all, freedom of choice, depends on the effective performance of the law enforcement system,” he said.

The President demands that law enforcement officers must ensure the citizens can vote safely next Sunday and prevent violations on the day of elections and before the ballots have been counted. He also said they must be neutral. “I would like to emphasize that law enforcement bodies must not interfere with political process,” he said and added that he had issued three decrees between August 30 and September 7 to suspend the Government’s acts to give the Interior Ministry uncharacteristic powers.

Yushchenko reprimanded the Interior Ministry and its leaders for ineffective performance and said there were lots of mistakes in this year’s voting registers, especially in Sevastopil, the Luhansk region and the Kharkiv region, where one citizen is often registered at different polling stations. He also said the Ministry’s passport offices must work this week without breaks and on Sunday.

“All your efforts must be aimed at detecting and preventing possible offences, falsifications and abuses during the election,” he said. “We – state officials and heads of law enforcement bodies – must appreciate our high mission to protect law and order and allow no falsifications.”

“I am convinced the Ukrainian parliamentary election is a serioustest for law enforcement bodies,” as the President’s press office reports.


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