Lviv Regional Council to appeal against adoption of language law in Higher Administrative Court

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Aug. 3, 2012, 11:58 a.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

A man looks on after he symbolically places tape over the mouth of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko's monument during a protest against a language bill in the western city of Lviv on July 6, 2012. Ukraine's fractious parliament adjourned for a summer recess despite failing to resolve a crisis over its rushed passing of a controversial bill elevating the status of Russian'. In its final session, the Verkhovna Rada voted not to even consider whether to accept the resignation of speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn who announced he would quit after not being warned the chamber was preparing to pass the bill.

The deputies of Lviv Regional Council has ordered its chairman, Oleh Pankevych, to file an appeal at the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine (HACU) against the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on recognizing as unlawful its actions in the preparation and adoption of the law on the principles of state language policy, the press service of the Svoboda Party reported on Thursday, Aug. 2.

Ninety deputies voted for the decision on the socio-political situation, including the abovementioned appeal, at an extraordinary session of Lviv Regional Council on August 2

The appeal states that the language law was passed in violation of the Constitution of Ukraine and the law on the parliament's rules of procedure.

In addition, the regional council submitted a statement to the Prosecutor General's Office and the Security Service of Ukraine regarding evidence of criminality in the actions of the Verkhovna Rada and its officials during the preparation and adoption of the language law, as envisaged under Part 3, Article 161 of the Criminal Code (intentional acts committed by an organized group of individuals and aimed at inciting national enmity and hatred, humiliation of national honor and dignity, as well as the direct or indirect restriction of rights of citizens on grounds of language).

As reported, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine passed the law on the principles of state language policy initiated by the Regions Party on July 3. The document significantly expands the sphere of use of Russian and languages of other national minorities in the regions where they are used by at least 10% of population. Members of the Regions Party parliamentary faction Vadym Kolesnichenko and Serhiy Kivalov are the authors of the law.

The approval of the document by the parliament triggered a number of protests across the country. In particular, a hunger strike and a mass protest were staged near the Ukrainian House in Kyiv following the vote.

Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn refused to sign the law and submitted a letter of resignation. However, the Verkhovna Rada twice held votes of confidence in the speaker, and did not accept his resignation.

On July 31, Lytvyn signed the law on the principles of state language policy. The law has already been sent to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych for signature.

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