Access to the Parliamentary Sessions was Open

November 21, 2014

The Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksander Turchynov approved the regulation on procedures to access open parliamentary sessions. From now on, any person can freely attend the sessions of the Verkhovna Rada, by previously submitting an electronic application and obtaining a permit to attend a respective plenary day.

Amendments to the Bylaws of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the right of citizens to attend the parliamentary sessions were introduced already in March this year. However, due to the absence of special order from Oleksander Turchynov, the implementation mechanism of this right was left undefined and in practice for an average Ukrainian to access the Verkhovna Rada was unreal.  

After numerous unsuccessful appeals to the speaker of the Parliament to comply with the requirements of the law; the editor of the resource “Access to the Truth” and the representative of NGO “Centre UAAlisa Ruban, supported by Media Law Institute, filed a claim to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksander Turchynov demanding to ensure public access to open parliamentary sessions.

The court hearing of this case even though initially being intended for 28 October has been postponed numerous times (currently the court hearing is due on 10 December 2014), the main result of the civic fight has already been reached, as on 27 October Oleksander Turchynov has already approved the Regulation On Procedure for Citizens to Access Open Plenary Sessions of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine No694.

Moreover, on the official website of the Verkhovna Rada, the above-mentioned regulation is still not published. However, the lawyers of Media Law Institute were able to get a scanned copy of the document as a response to their information inquiry.

According to the decision of Turchynov, free access to sessions shall be ensured starting from the first session of the Verkhovna Rada of the eighth convocation. 

The original text of the regulation in Ukrainian can be found here.