Council of Europe body condemns Ukraine’s assault on democracy - Ban on Communist Party incompatible with membership

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The Venice Commission, a group of legal experts which advises the Council of Europe, has once again ruled against an attempt to ban a Communist Party. The Commission gave a similar opinion three years ago when the Moldovan right tried the same anti-democratic manoeuvre. The western-backed right-wing government in Kiev has introduced a law “On the condemnation of the communist and national socialist (Nazi) regimes, and prohibition of propagation of their symbols”, but will now be forced to amend the text.

President of the United Left in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, (PACE) Dutch Senator Tiny Kox, responding to the ruling, said that “We now have to see the amendments Ukraine has offered to propose, as they might be similar to changes made in Moldova after the Venice Commission took a more or less same position to a there adopted anti-communist party law”.

In response to PACE’s request for an opinion, the Venice Commission has stated that the law “does not adhere to the three-fold test of legality, legitimacy and necessity in a democratic society.” It noted further that the measure is “too broad in scope and introduces sanctions that are disproportionate to the legitimate aim pursued. Any association that does not comply with Law no. 317-VIII may be banned, which is problematic with regard to every individual’s freedom of association”.

The Communist Party is an opposition parties which plays a crucial role in ensuring pluralism and the proper functioning of democracy. “The banning of political parties from participation in elections or their dissolution should be a measure of last resort in exceptional cases” states the report.