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  • 30 Aug 2016 4:10 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Боротьба з корупцією — як стіл з трьома ногами: без однієї він не встоїть. Інтерв’ю радника генпрокурора

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    Bohdan Vitvitsky is a member of the UABA  

  • 30 Mar 2016 9:34 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    COMMENTARY

    YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW – The 2016 Global Nuclear Security Summit

    This week, Washington hosts the 2016 Global Nuclear Security Summit with the hope of stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  Russia – one of the largest nuclear powers – has decided to boycott this event. Not surprisingly, the United States has now accused Russia of “slowly but surely dismantling the security and arms control agreements that were put in place in Europe at the end of the cold war”

    What a surprise.

    Ironically, the Washington Nuclear Security Summit will be attended by Mr. Petro Poroshenko – The President of Ukraine.  If one would recall, Ukraine possessed the 3rd largest nuclear arsenal in the world. In 1994, it voluntarily surrendered its nuclear weaponry in return for guarantees of its territorial integrity, and economic and political security given by five major powers, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China [the Budapest Memorandum].  Regrettably, recent history has now shown that such security “guarantees” are not worth the paper that they are written on. Assuredly, all the participants of the Washington Nuclear Security Summit are keenly aware of this fact and this stark realization will have a sobering effect on any diplomatic solutions that the attendees may propose.

    Within the immediate past, Russia has acted in total defiance of its international commitments which were the keystone for peace and security on the European continent since World War II. Russia has now invaded Ukraine, illegally annexing its territory, is fomenting violence in Eastern Ukraine with its own armed forces including mercenaries, and is trying to economically and politically destabilize Ukraine. So what is the response from the other “guarantors” of Ukraine’s security under the Budapest Memorandum? -- tepid economic sanctions from the EU and the US allegedly aimed at cajoling Russia to be contrite and comply with its obligations under international law. Clearly, this myopic approach is the product of a naïveté not grounded in a clear understanding of the reality of Moscow’s worldview and political mindset.  From Europe, to the Middle East, to the Pacific Rim, Russia is now increasingly flexing its military muscle despite the anemic economic sanctions imposed by the US and the West.  More disconcerting is the reawakening in the United States of a flawed isolationist foreign policy that, if implemented, would in and of itself remake the geopolitical landscape of Europe beyond the wildest hopes, dreams, and expectations of Vladimir Putin.

    To paraphrase a biblical saying – you reap what you sow [Galatians 6:7-9].  America’s and the West’s abysmal failure to fulfill their security commitments to Ukraine have sowed a revanchist Russia that, unless it is quickly challenged in a more meaningful and firm manner, it will be the unwelcome reaped harvest that will transform the entire geopolitical landscape of Europe and the world and, most certainly, will be a very direct and destructive threat to the security of the United States itself. 

    For further information, please contact

    Myroslaw Smorodsky, Esq.

    Communications Director of the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)

    Tel: 201-507-4500201-507-4500 ; Email; myroslaw@smorodsky.com


  • 08 Mar 2016 11:41 AM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    2016 UABA Survey Results

    Earlier this year, the UABA conducted a member survey to obtain feedback about the UABA and its activities in order to help make the UABA even more responsive to its members.  A short (5 minute) survey was emailed to all UABA members regarding their experiences with the UABA and suggestions for improvement.  The survey also requested member input regarding past conventions to help plan the UABA 2016 annual convention, both in terms of its location and suggested topics. The results of this survey can be reviewed at the following link. 

     2016 UABA Survey Results  

  • 28 Dec 2015 1:54 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    VOLYA Institute for Contemporary Law and Society

    HUMAN RIGHTS ON OCCUPIED TERRITORY: CASE OF CRIMEA

    This report was prepared under the auspices of Razom, Inc., in collaboration with NYU School of Law LLM program (including Matheus de Moura Sena, VOLYA Institute’s Co-Founder and Board Member). In June 2015, the legal group of Razom, led by attorney Ivanna Bilych (Co-Founder and President of VOLYA Institute), presented the first edition of the report in Ukraine (June 15-19 in Lviv and Kyiv) and Europe (June 21-25 in Strasbourg, Brussels and Antwerp), eliciting feedback and distributing the report to Crimeans, Ukrainian civil society organizations, representatives of the Ukrainian government, as well as members of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. In November 2015, Ivanna Bilych and Bohdan Pechenyak, both former Razom Board members, were joined by three other Co-Founders in launching VOLYA Institute for Contemporary Law and Society and releasing the second edition of the report in cooperation with Razom.

     Human Rights in Occupied Territory: Case of Crimea analyzes economic, social and cultural rights of Crimeans, and examines their systemic violations within the current context of occupation.  Based on the analysis, the document provides a comprehensive list of recommendations for addressing the situation. The recommendations are addressed to the governments of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, as well as the international community and civil society actors.

    A crucial part of report is a Human Rights Protection Guide (“the Manual”). The people in Crimea are economically deprived and legally undeserved, often knowing little about their rights and being unable to demand their application. The Manual provide Crimeans of all ethnic and religious backgrounds with access to justice by explaining their fundamental rights. It lists fundamental rights that apply to Crimea, according to international human rights treaties, as well as pursuant to the articles of the Constitutions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The Manual also includes a directory of Ukrainian and international human rights protection organizations and advocacy groups, so that Crimeans know where to report violations and seek advice or explanation.

    Both editions of the report, including exhaustive citations and the Manual, are available for download below.

    Download Report (print version)
    Download Manual (print version)
    Download Report 2nd Edition (print version)
    Download Manual 2nd Edition (print version)

    In addition, Manual has been translated into various languages, and is available for download below:

    Download Manual (in Ukrainian)
    Download Manual (in Russian)
    Download Manual (in Crimean Tatar)

     

  • 18 Dec 2015 7:10 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

    Friday Night at the Ukrainian Museum
    UABA Reception
    (New York City)
    October 23, 2015

    Click here to view in PDF format  --- Натисніть тут для перегляду  у форматі PDF

     

    Friday Night at the Ukrainian Museum
    UABA Reception
    (New York City)
    October 23, 2015

    On October 23, 2015, the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA) hosted a reception at the Ukrainian Museum (222 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10003) as part of the UABA 38th Annual Convention (October 23-25, 2015 in New York City).

     The evening commenced with the opening remarks by Maria Shust, director of the Ukrainian Museum. The Ukrainian Museum, founded in 1976 by the Ukrainian National Women's League of America, is one of the largest museums in the U.S. committed to acquiring, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting articles of artistic or historic significance to the rich cultural heritage of the people of Ukraine.  The Ukrainian Museum's collection falls into three primary groupings: (i) "folk art", which includes festive and ritual attire and other items of clothing, ceramics, metalwork and carved wood items, as well as Ukrainian Easter eggs (pysanky), (ii) "fine arts", including paintings, drawings, sculptures and graphic works by noted Ukrainian artists, and (ii) the archives, including photographs, personal correspondence, posters, flyers and playbills, stamps and coins, documenting the life, history, and cultural legacy of the Ukrainian people. 

     

    Ms. Shust’s remarks were followed by a presentation on the rule of law by J. Truman Bidwell, Jr., a partner at Sullivan & Worcester LLP.  Mr. Bidwell’s practice is focused in the areas of international asset financing, banking, structured finance and insolvency, and he is also the co-chair of the firm’s Opinions Committee. Mr. Bidwell stressed that establishing respect for the rule of law, the principle that no one is above the law, is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary governance and is fundamental to achieving the sustained economic progress and development in any country.  Ukraine has vast natural resources and highly-educated and skilled human capital, but it needs to establish a trustworthy transparent legal system which is vital to attract more foreign investment. 

    The evening concluded with the networking reception at the Ukrainian Museum.

     

     Special thanks to the Law Offices of Peter Piddoubny& Oksana Pelekh (25-84 Steinway Street, Astoria, NY 11103) for sponsoring the reception.

    This report was authored by Iryna Ivashchuk
    Berger Singerman LLP
    350 East Las Olas Boulevard, Suite 1000
    Fort Lauderdale,  Florida 33301

     

  • 11 Sep 2015 1:53 PM | Myroslaw Smorodsky (Administrator)

     Minsk II -- Simply Another Form of Russian Aggression

    Bohdan Vitvitsky: Resident Legal Advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine in 2007-09

    as printed in the Huffington Post

    The recent violence in Kyiv in connection with protests over Ukrainian parliamentary consideration of some sort of special status for the separatist part of the Donbas is unforgivable. But Minsk II, the hastily cobbled together peace treaty engineered by Germany and France under Russian pressure, is no less forgivable for having placed Ukraine in a near impossible situation.

    Countries may have numerous interests, whether security, political or economic. But there is only one set of rights, the related rights to exist, not be attacked and, with respect to these rights, the right to be treated equally with all other nations regardless of size, power or influence. Those are the rights presupposed by all of the formal treaties into which European countries have entered in the post-war era, each of which treaties was signed by Germany, France and Russia's predecessor, the Soviet Union. Thus the Preamble to the foundational United Nations Charter of 1945, also signed by Ukraine, explicitly provides a reaffirmation of the "equal rights" of "nations large and small." The signatories of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 pledged to "respect each other's sovereign equality. . . as well as all the rights inherent in and encompassed by its sovereignty, including in particular the right of every State to juridical equality, to territorial integrity. . ." And the Charter of Paris for a New Europe of 1990 provides for "equal security for all our countries." This principle of equality of nations is the moral underpinning of the entire post-war order, an order built on the ruins of World War II with its fantasies of ubermenschen and untermenschen.

    It is also a matter of common sense, as also reflected in legal principles, that the perpetrator of a violent assault does not, on the basis of said assault, get to extract concessions from the victim of that assault. And yet such concessions are exactly what Germany and France forced Ukraine, the victim, to accept.

    The so-called separatists in Donbas have never had any legitimate basis for their separatism -- legitimate in the sense of real. When it was still possible to take public opinion polls, many of the polls taken showed that the majority of the population in Luhansk and Donetsk provinces wished to continue to remain part of Ukraine. There was no action by the new Ukrainian central government that in any way caused the inhabitants of those two provinces to do or not do anything differently. There is no controversy that the separatism was manufactured and led by Russia. That some locals have participated in the insurrection is of no moment. Furthermore, although as a general proposition decentralization is desirable and has been planned by Ukraine for a year, the concocted, albeit ambiguous, demands for special decentralization for parts of Luhansk and Donetsk in Minsk II are perverse in light of two facts. First, it was the inhabitants of Luhansk and Donetsk that voted for the previous Ukrainian regime of Viktor Yanukovych in greatest numbers, the same regime that centralized Ukraine as never before. Second, it is the separatists' sponsor, Putinist Russia, that completely reversed the decentralization efforts undertaken after 1991 and has now completely centralized Russia. 

    So why at Minsk did Germany and France surrender to Russia's demands against Ukraine, violate the central moral and legal principle of all of the post-war treaties that less powerful countries have the same rights as the more powerful countries, and, therefore, that the interests of the more powerful certainly do not trump the rights of the less powerful, and in effect reward the perpetrator of an assault? The off the cuff nature of the arranged talks, the somewhat surprising inclusion of France and the mystifying exclusion of Poland and/or Sweden, the two countries that have led the European Union's Eastern Europe policy, suggest either a complete absence of preparation, despite the earlier Russian occupation of Crimea, or amnesia about what it is that has produced generations of unparalleled peace and prosperity in Europe.

    Where should Europe go from here? If additional rounds of negotiations take place, such negotiations should, for multiple reasons, include Poland. In addition to its leading role in implementing EU's policy in Ukraine, it is Ukraine's neighbor and would most directly be affected by renewed fighting in Ukraine because such fighting would likely cause new migrations, and, of course, Poland would directly be affected by Russian aggression against NATO's eastern flank. In terms of speaking about, conceptualizing and developing strategies for dealing with what has been happening in Ukraine, Europe should liberate itself from the miasma of pretending that what has been going on is anything other than Russian aggression. European countries should at long last begin spending the money they have failed to spend on maintaining their armed forces. And, Germany should lift its apparent opposition to Ukraine receiving lethal defensive weapons from the West.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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