On December 15, 2020, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted in the second reading and as a whole the draft Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2021”. This law is particularly interesting because it deals with the financing of important national programs which directly affect the rights of internally displaced persons and victims of armed conflict.
It will be appropriate to compare the expenditure parts of both the Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2020” (Annex 3) and the Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2021” (Annex 3). In connection with the COVID-19 global pandemic in April and for the rest of 2020, the Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2020” was substantially amended, which resulted in redistribution of funds between different governmental programs.
It is necessary to take into comparison the changes in the expenditure part of the state budget for 2020. The texts of the draft law on the state budget for 2021 for the first reading and after the proposals processing for the second reading are also a subject for comparison.
So what’s new in the law on the state budget for 2021, how is it comparable with a similar law for 2020 in the context of internally displaced persons and armed conflict?
The key changes are:
- Increased funding for the state program for the payment of monetary compensation to victims, whose houses (apartments) were destroyed as a result of an emergency caused by the armed aggression of the Russian Federation to 114 million UAH.
- Subventions from the state budget to local budgets for the implementation of measures to support the conflict-affected territories in eastern Ukraine were increased to 125 million UAH.
- A new state program has been introduced to ensure proper and safe conditions for entry and exit to the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine – 267 million UAH.
- New program for the reintegration of youth from the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol – 30 million UAH (although such a program appeared only between the first and second readings).
- Lack of funding for the “Affordable Housing” state program (it was reduced with the April State Budget amendments and will not be renewed in 2021).
- Lack of funding for subventions from the state budget to local budgets for the implementation of the project “Housing for Internally Displaced Persons”.
For more information, see the comparison table (in Ukrainian).
Another change that can significantly affect the rights and interests of a large number of people is the lack of funding for measures to implement court decisions guaranteed by the state.
According to the draft Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2021”, which was submitted for the first reading, 200 million UAH was provided for the implementation of this program. However, based on the results of the consideration of the draft law in the second reading and in general, the allocation of funds for the implementation of court decisions was abolished altogether.
The problem of non-enforcement of court decisions in Ukraine is not an isolated one. More than half of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights against Ukraine concern non-enforcement of court decisions for which the authorities in Ukraine are responsible. Implementing these decisions requires a lot of resources. Funding has been clearly insufficient in recent years. For example, in 2016 – 144,757 UAH, in 2017 – 500 million UAH, in 2018 – 500 million UAH, in 2019 – 600 million UAH, in 2020 – 600 million UAH.
This trend, as well as the lack of significant steps to address the enforcement of judgments has not gone unnoticed by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which adopted an Interim Resolution on this issue on 1 October 2020.
At the same time, it should be noted that this year (for 10 months) more than 250 million UAH were accrued for IDP pensions, of which more than 35 million UAH were paid. Last year, the corresponding figures were almost three times higher.
It takes many months of lawyer’s work to help enforce such court decisions. It is almost impossible for people to protect their rights in court alone. Displaced persons and victims of the conflict are plaintiffs in many disputes with material claims. In fact, next year these people will have no possibility to enforce court decisions in their favor, or even simply to cover the court fee.
Considering the already adopted Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2021” we can conclude that there are some positive changes in the financing of compensation for destroyed housing, as well as ensuring proper conditions of entry/exit to or from the temporarily occupied territories.
Nevertheless, it seems that the issue of housing provision for internally displaced persons, as well as the enforcement of court decisions in which the state is the defendant is not a priority for the government in the coming year.