Radical Reform is Required of Ukraine’s Security Forces: Contribution to Discussion on Yuriy Lutsenko’s blog

Yuriy Lutsenko made a very good point when he wrote:
‘The next step is the liberation of Ukraine. For this we need to destroy the repressive holding of the GPU (Prosecutor-General)-MVS (Interior Ministry)-courts through their dissolution, the adoption o European legislative base and hiring of new personnel through the use of lie detectors, finding the sources of bribes and declarations of expenditures by members of law enforcement, courts, and members of their families.’ (http://blogs.pravda.com.ua/authors/lucenko/518098999f4d2/)

This conforms to my own views that I outlined in my “Call to Radical Action” (http://blogs.korrespondent.net/celebrities/blog/taraskuzo/a63460).

In the last two decades of Ukrainian independence the only branch of Ukraine’s siloviky (security forces) that have been reformed (to a certain degree) are the military – thanks to NATO and because of an extensive period of cooperation initiated by President Leonid Kuchma under NRBO Secretary Volodymyr Horbulin.
The other branches of Ukraine’s siloviky continue to remain Soviet, over-staffed, corrupt and incompetent. When the opposition win 2015 and 2016 they should prioritise de-Sovietisation of the siloviky – something that was not undertaken under President Viktor Yushchenko.
Such a policy of de-Sovietisation would be important for three reasons.
1. To prevent a Yanukovych-2 in the future from repeating the attack on democracy that Yanukovych-1 has undertaken since 2010.
2. To end massive abuse of human rights by the Ministry of Interior which massively mistreats and tortures detainees, the Prosecutor’s office which is an arm of political repression and unable to prosecute high level real massive abuse of office, and the SBU which also cannot find senior level abuse of office and whose main purpose is surveillance of Ukrainians.
3. De-Sovietisation of the siloviky should be understood as part of the process of Europeanisation and integration into Europe.

The best manner to appreciate how Ukraine’s siloviky remain Soviet is to analyse them in a comparative context:

• Analysis: In the last decade, all four Prosecutor-Generals have been Donetsk loyalists (Hennadiy Vasylyev, Viktor Pshonka, Oleksandr Medvedko) or Party of Regions parliamentary deputies (Sviatoslav Piskun). The Donetsk clan is not renowned for their understanding of the concepts underpinning the rule of law. Prosecutor-General Viktor Pshonka and First Deputy Prosecutor Rinat Kuzmin headed the prosecutor’s office in Donetsk during the 1990s where they failed to resolve the perpetrators of major crimes and murders. How can prosecutors who worked in Ukraine’s most criminalised region in the first decade of Ukrainian independence where they failed to resolve many high level crimes, be able to bring the rule of law to Ukraine in the second decade? The majority of Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General’s since 1991 have no understanding of the rule of law. Conclusion: the prosecutor’s office is corrupt and incompetent and needs to be closed down and replaced by a European equivalent.
• Analysis: The British police force and Prison Service comprises 135, 000 officers in a country with 60 million population. Ukraine, with a 40 million population has a 330,000 police force with jurisdiction over prisons that is the largest in Europe. The Ministry of Interior has 40,000 Internal Troops who are used for internal security in a democracy against the country’s own citizens. Conclusion: the Interior Ministry needs to be massively downsized and Europeanised with its name changed to police (even in Russia they have police – not militsia). Internal Troops need to be re-organised – as they were in the 1990s – into a National Guard along the lines of Italy’s Carabineiri and Spain’s Guardia Civil.
• Analysis: The SBU (Security Service) and Foreign Intelligence Service, with combined personnel of 34, 000, could not find the organisers of Georgi Gongadze’s murder or those behind Yushchenko’s poisoning. Britain’s MI5 and MI6, with combined personnel six times less of 6,000 (for a country with 20 million more people and greater security threats) quickly found the Russians who were behind the 2006 assassination of Alexander Litvinenko. Canada, with a population only ten million less than Ukraine, has less than 1, 000 security service officers in CSIS.
• Conclusion: the SBU needs to be broken up into domestic and external structures, Europeanised and heavily reduced in manpower.
• Analysis: The Canada Border Services Agency (combining customs and border enforcement) employs 12, 000 personnel to patrol the longest 8, 900 kilometres border in the world between two countries (USA and Canada). 20, 000 US Border Patrol officers patrol the 3, 1000 kilometre US-Mexican border which represents a major security threat from narcotics and illegal immigration to the US. Ukraine’s Border Troops and Customs Service employs 63, 000 personnel on its 4, 500 kilometres of borders – or three times more than the US on its border with Mexico. Conclusion: Border Troops need to be professionalised and Europeanised, combined with State Customs into one structure, and massively reduced in manpower.
Such a radical programme of reform of the siloviky requires both Ukrainian and foreign expertise. I would be honoured to organise Western experts on security sector reforms, civil-military relations and Ukraine for such an important reform programme.

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