Law of Ukraine

"On Ensuring Civil Rights and Freedoms, and the Legal Regime on the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine"

Date of entry into force:
April 27, 2014

The Law determines the status of the territory of Ukraine temporarily occupied as a result of armed aggression of the Russian Federation, establishes a special legal regime on that territory, determines the work specifics of state authorities, bodies of local self-government, companies, institutions and organizations under this regime, observance and protection of human and civil rights and freedoms, and the rights and lawful interests of legal entities.

The temporary occupied territory of Ukraine (hereinafter referred to as "temporarily occupied territory") is an integral part of Ukraine and lies within the scope of effect of the Constitution and the Laws of Ukraine (Article 1 of the Law).

According to Article 3 of the Law, the temporarily occupied territory is defined as:
  • land territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, and inland waters of Ukraine on these territories;
  • inland seas and territorial sea of Ukraine around the Crimean peninsula, the territory of exclusive (maritime) economic zone of Ukraine along the coast of the Crimean peninsula, and the continental shelf of Ukraine adjacent to the coast, which lie within the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian state authorities according to the norms of international law, the Constitution and the Laws of Ukraine;
  • airspace over the above territories.

For the duration of this Law, the temporarily occupied territory is subject to a special legal regime for crossing the boundaries of the temporarily occupied territory, conclusion of legal relations, holding elections and referendums, and exercising other human and civil rights and freedoms. The legal regime of the temporarily occupied territory provides for a special procedure for exercising the rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens residing on the temporarily occupied territory. The legal regime of the temporarily occupied territory can be established, altered or cancelled exclusively by Laws of Ukraine (Article 4 of the Law).

Article 5 of the Law, in particular, establishes the following:
  • Ukraine takes all necessary measures to guarantee human and civil rights and freedoms provided by the Constitution and the Laws of Ukraine, and by international agreements, to all citizens of Ukraine residing on the temporarily occupied territory;
  • Ukraine shall support and ensure economic, financial, political, social, informational, cultural and other connections with citizens of Ukraine residing on the temporarily occupied territory;
  • responsibility for violation of human and civil rights established by the Constitution and the Laws of Ukraine on the temporarily occupied territory is borne by the Russian Federation as the occupying state, according to the norms and principles of international law;
  • automatic citizenship of the Russian Federation involuntarily acquired by citizens of Ukraine residing on the temporarily occupied territory is not recognized by Ukraine and does not constitute grounds for losing the citizenship of Ukraine.

Documents that confirm Ukrainian citizenship, identify a person or their special status, are issued to citizens who relocated from the temporarily occupied territory by the central executive authority implementing state policy in the sphere of migration (immigration and emigration), including prevention of illegal (unlawful) migration, citizenship, and registration of natural persons, refugees and other migrant categories determined by the legislation, at their location. Documents that confirm Ukrainian citizenship, identify a person or their special status, are issued to citizens who reside on the temporarily occupied territory by the central executive authority implementing state policy in the sphere of migration (immigration and emigration), including prevention of illegal (unlawful) migration, citizenship, and registration of natural persons, refugees and other migrant categories determined by the legislation, according to the procedure determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (Article 6 of the Law).

For citizens of Ukraine who reside on the temporarily occupied territory or relocated from it, the rights to employment, pension benefits, mandatory state social unemployment insurance, insurance against temporary disability, insurance against industrial accidents and occupational diseases that caused disability, and the right to receive social services are exercised according to the legislation of Ukraine. Pensions for citizens of Ukraine who reside on the temporarily occupied territory and do not receive pensions and other social benefits from authorized bodies of the Russian Federation are paid according to the procedure established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Citizens of Ukraine who resigned from their job (ceased employment of another type) and relocated from the temporarily occupied territory, if unable to provide documents that confirm their resignation (cessation of employment), length of service and pensionable period, are registered as unemployed and receive benefits and social services under mandatory state social unemployment insurance, according to the data of the State Register of Mandatory State Social Insurance, in accordance with the procedure established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Citizens of Ukraine who relocated from the temporarily occupied territory without resigning from their job (ceasing employment of another type), if unable to continue in their job (another type of employment) on the occupied territory, can terminate their employment relations or confirm termination of such relations (another type of employment) through a court procedure at their location, in order to acquire the unemployed status and receive benefits and social services under mandatory state social unemployment insurance. Cessation of other types of employment, including self-employment and entrepreneurial activity, is done by means of an application under a simplified procedure, at the person's location, according to the procedure established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Citizens of Ukraine who relocated from the temporarily occupied territory are entitled to receive material support and social services according to the legislation, at the place of their actual residence or stay. Citizens of Ukraine who reside on the temporarily occupied territory or relocated from it have the right to continue obtaining a certain level of education on the territory of other regions of Ukraine, at the expense of the state budget. The procedure for financing the education of this category of citizens is established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (Article 7 of the Law).

Article 8 of the Law provides for protection of voting rights of Ukrainian citizens on the temporarily occupied territory.

According to Article 9 of the Law, any bodies, their officers and officials on the temporarily occupied territory, and their activity, are considered illegal if such bodies or persons were created, elected or appointed under a procedure not provided for by law. State power bodies of Ukraine, their officials, bodies of local self-government and their officials may establish connections and interact with illegal bodies (officials) created on the temporarily occupied territory exclusively with the purpose of ensuring the national interests of Ukraine, protecting the rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens, fulfillment of international agreements ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and facilitating restoration of the constitutional order of Ukraine within the temporarily occupied territory.

Citizens of Ukraine have the right for free and unhindered entry to the temporarily occupied territory, and exit from it, through entry-exit checkpoints, upon presentation of a document that identifies their person and confirms their Ukrainian citizenship. Foreign nand stateless persons are permitted entry to exit from the temporarily occupied territory by special permit only, through entry-exit checkpoints (Article 10 of the Law).

According to Article 11 of the Law, ownership rights on the temporarily occupied territory are protected according to the legislation of Ukraine. The state of Ukraine, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, territorial communities, including the territorial community of the city of Sevastopol, state authorities, bodies of local self-government and other public law entities retain their ownership rights and other corporeal rights to property, including real estate and land plots located on the temporarily occupied territory. Natural persons (regardless of whether they acquire refugee status or another special legal status), companies, institutions and organizations retain their ownership rights and other corporeal rights to property, including real estate and land plots located on the temporarily occupied territory, if such right was acquired according to the laws of Ukraine.

Measures of legal response on the temporarily occupied territory are provided for by Article 12 of the Law.

Article 14 and 15 of the Law determine the specifics of:
  • cessation of military service of citizens of Ukraine in military formations and law enforcement bodies of Ukraine in connection with temporary occupation of the territory;
  • privatization of residential premises located on the temporarily occupied territory by military servicemen of military units and law enforcement bodies of Ukraine.

Judges who worked in courts of Ukraine on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and expressed a wish to relocate due to the temporary occupation by the Russian Federation, are guaranteed the right to be transferred to the position of a judge in a court in another territory of Ukraine (Article 16 of the Law).

The Law supplements the Criminal Code of Ukraine with a new Article 332-1, which establishes criminal liability for:
  • violation of the procedure for entry to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and exit from it with the purpose of damaging the interests of the state (restriction of freedom for a term of up to 3 years, or deprivation of freedom for the same term, with confiscation of vehicles);
  • the above actions, carried out repeatedly or by previous concert by a group of people, or by an official with the use of their official position (deprivation of freedom for a term of 3 to 5 years, with suspension of the right to hold certain positions or carry out certain activities during a term of up to 3 years, and with confiscation of vehicles);
  • the above actions, carried out by an organized group (deprivation of freedom for a term of 5 to 8 years, with suspension of the right to hold certain positions or carry out certain activities during a term of up to 3 years, and with confiscation of vehicles).

The Law supplemented Article 114 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine with another part, which establishes the following:
  • court cases on disputes arising from the fact of occupation or offences related to occupation are included in a separate category of cases, which are reviewed according to appropriate procedural norms, with regard to the specifics established by the Law of Ukraine "On Ensuring Civil Rights and Freedoms, and Legal Regime on the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine";
  • a case can be declared to be related to occupation by a motivated ruling of a judge;
  • if a foreign element is present in the case, court orders, summons and other court documents are served no later than 15 days before the start of procedural action;
  • if a party of a criminal proceeding or the civil defendant in an occupation-related case is a foreign public law entity (including its bodies, institutions or organizations) or a foreign legal entity under Article 96-4, part 2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, interaction is carried out through an embassy or permanent representative office.

According to the new version of Article 202 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences, violation of the border regime, regime in the checkpoints at the state border of Ukraine, or regime regulations in entry-exit checkpoints is punishable by a fine of UAH 91 to UAH 170 for citizens, and UAH 170 to UAH 340 for officials.

The Law supplements the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences with a new Article 204-2, which institutes administrative liability for violating the procedure of entry to or exit from the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine (fine of UAH 1,700 to UAH 5,100, or administrative detention for a term of up to 150 days).

The Law supplements Article 19 of the Code of Administrative Proceedings of Ukraine with a new part, according to which administrative cases related to contesting decisions, actions or inaction of power entities at checkpoints for entry to (exit from) the temporarily occupied territory are resolved by an administrative court at the location of the appropriate checkpoint.

The Law also introduces appropriate amendments to the Laws of Ukraine "On the State Frontier Service of Ukraine", "On Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons", "On Freedom of Movement and Free Choice of Place of Residence in Ukraine", "On Border Control", "On the State Register of Voters", "On the Power Sector", and "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine to Implement the Action Plan for the European Union Liberalization of the Visa Regime for Ukraine, Regarding Liability of Legal Entities".
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