The Heads of the diplomatic missions of the European Union (Matti Maasikas, Antti Hartikainen), the North Atlantic Alliance (Vineta Kleine) and the United States of America (Christine Quinn) call on the Verkhovna Rada in Ukraine to adopt the law on reform of the Security Service of Ukraine in the second reading.

According to an article written by Western diplomats for the European Truth website, after the successful completion of the reform, the Secret Service will focus on the fight against terrorism, counterintelligence and the protection of state secrets, while losing the power of pre-trial investigation.

“The central element of the reform envisaged by the bill is the gradual deprivation of the SSU of the powers of pre-trial investigation. Due to this, the SSU will become a special service that focuses its work on counterintelligence, rather than law enforcement.  Investigative powers will be transferred to law enforcement agencies that specialise in the investigation of crimes and the activities of which are subject to closer supervision compared to the activities of special services,” the article says.

It emphasises that other important changes envisaged by the bill include the immediate introduction of a temporary system of parliamentary oversight, which will operate until a special parliamentary oversight committee is established, as well as the reduction of the intelligence service to 20,000 and the demilitarisation of most staff positions.

“Meanwhile, the bill leaves open a number of issues. In particular, these are extremely broad counterintelligence powers that violate fundamental human rights and freedoms; preservation of the right to use physical force, special means and firearms; preservation of temporary detention facilities; insufficient certainty of the procedure for attestation of SSU employees, as well as the possibility of appointing dismissed SSU employees without a competition for positions in other departments,” the diplomats added.

They note that these shortcomings need to be addressed, especially during the implementation of key provisions of the law on strengthening judicial review and strengthening oversight mechanisms. But they should not be an obstacle to the adoption of the law as soon as possible.

Bohdan Marusyak

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