2018-12-24 10:22:00

Ukrainian parliamentary opposition to go to Constitutional Court, Prosecutor General's Office over church renaming bill

Kiev, Decenber 24, Interfax - Members of the Opposition Bloc faction at the Ukrainian Verkhovnaya Rada intend to go to the Prosecutor General's Office and the Constitutional Court, citing irregularities in the passage of a bill on renaming the canonical Orthodox Church, Mykhail Papiyev of the Opposition Bloc, a member of the procedural committee, said on Friday.

"While passing Bill No. 5309 yesterday, the Verkhovnaya Rada chairman violated the procedural norms and the Ukrainian constitution," Papiyev said at a plenary session.

There have been precedents of the Constitutional Court's declaring some laws as unconstitutional if the procedure of their passage had been violated, he said.

The Opposition Bloc faction members are determined to initiate the special procedure to have the bill passed on the whole declared unconstitutional, he said.

"As the actions by the Verkhovnaya Rada chairman might have involved indications of the violation of Criminal Court Article 364 Part 1, which deals with abuse of office, we are asking the Prosecutor General's Office to file this information with the General Register of Pretrial Investigations and conduct a pretrial investigation," Papiyev said.

The Verkhovnaya Rada passed legislation obliging the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to indicate its affiliation with the Russian Orthodox Church in its name on Thursday. The bill amending the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations was supported by 240 parliamentarians.

The legislation stipulates that a religious organization that is a structural part of a religious organization with its center in the state that "has committed military aggression against Ukraine and temporarily occupied its territory" must indicate affiliation with this religious organization outside the country in its name. Such a religious organization would have to fully indicate the name of the organization whose part it is and whose center is located outside Ukraine in its statutory name. It can add the words "in Ukraine" to this name.