Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday unveiled a law toughening penalties for military personnel for disobedience and desertion. Despite the Russian invasion, this text is criticized by human rights activists.
According to the text published on the website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, which adopted it in December, we are talking about refusal to obey an order, threats against the commander, desertion and flight from the battlefield, or drinking alcohol.
In particular, it prohibits courts from commuting sentences or imposing suspended sentences on military personnel found guilty. This provision has been heavily criticized, despite the fact that the severity of penalties has not changed significantly under the new law. Ukrainian soldiers face up to 12 years in prison for desertion, up to 10 years for disobedience or refusal to fight, and up to 7 years for threatening a superior.
“In war conditions, quick and effective solutions are needed”
During discussions in parliament, the text was criticized by human rights activists, and several organizations called on the president not to sign it. A petition against the law, posted on the president’s website, gathered nearly 35,000 signatures in December. “Instead of gratitude to the military, who for almost a year repelled a large-scale Russian invasion and carried out successful operations to liberate the territory, we receive prison terms for the slightest disagreement or remark about the commanders,” the petition says.
On the other hand, the bill was supported by the head of the General Staff of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny. According to him, the commanders on the ground “demanded a systematic solution to this complex of problems” and “in war conditions, quick and effective solutions are needed.” “The army is disciplined. And if the loopholes in the legislation do not guarantee its observance (…) this leads to increased losses. »
Source: Le Parisien
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