Our experts confronted the information that social protection bodies abridge citizens’ right to pension according to Myrotvorets (Peacemaker) website database.
The website publishes the personal data of individuals allegedly linked to armed groups and/or labelled as “terrorists”, which may serve as a justification basis for pension payments. However, the experts of the Liaison Officer (RADNYK) Programme assure that the state should not allege to Myrotvorets website to deprive a citizen of their constitutional right to pension.
“Such actions comply with neither national nor international law. From now on, this is not only a matter of property (since the pension is a citizen’s property), but also the matter of respect for private life, personal data protection, protection of person’s honour and dignity”, – said Ganna Dudinska, lawyer of the Liaison Officer (RADNYK) Programme.
According to the expert, Myrotvorets centre is not an official database. The Myrotvorets website positions itself as “an independent non-governmental organization established by a group of scientists, journalists, and researcher”. The website preserves evidence of the “objects of study, whose actions have signs of crimes against the national security of Ukraine, peace, human security, and the international law”. The sources of information are primarily public materials, which serve exclusively research, creative, and journalistic purposes.
“However, let’s not forget about the presumption of innocence enshrined in the Constitution and is one of the principles of criminal proceedings. An accusation shall not be based on illegally obtained evidence or on assumptions. All doubts in regard to the proof of guilt of a person shall be interpreted in his favour. A person shall be presumed innocent of committing a crime until his guilt is established by a court verdict of guilty”, – stated Ganna Dudinska.
Myrotvorets employees are not authorized by law enforcement agencies. Accordingly, they shall not make any accusations, evaluate evidences, raise suspicion or bring an accusation.
According to the international legal perspective, pension deprivation on the basis of unofficial information from an open source may violated not only Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights, but also Article 8, which guarantees the right to respect for private life. Moreover, it is unlawful to collect and disclose personal information, as well as to state publicly a person as a member of a terrorist organization, war criminal, border violator, supporter of military operatives, etc., until his guilt is proved.
One should keep in mind a recent scandal after Berlin’s former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was put on the Myrotvorets database. On November 14, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany condemns including of Schröder on the list and demands from Ukraine to close the website. Prior, the OSCE expressed concern about revealed Myrotvorets’ list of journalists, who were accredited by the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic”. The UN Monitoring Mission also claims that information published about the person on the Myrotvorets website violates the right to privacy and the presumption of innocence.
Finally, according to the Constitution, the fundamentals of social protection, the forms and types of pension are determined exclusively by laws. According to the article 49 of the Law of Ukraine On Compulsory State Pension Insurance, the payment of pension shall be terminated by a decision of the territorial bodies of the Pension Fund or by a court:
1) if the pension is assigned on the basis of documents containing inaccurate information;
2) for the whole period of pensioner’s stay abroad, unless otherwise envisaged by Ukraine’s international treaty accepted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine;
3) in case of pensioner’s death;
4) in case of non-receipt of the assigned pension for 6 consecutive months;
5) in other cases stipulated by law.