Ukraine's justice minister: Bill on mobilization of convicts may be registered next week

Ukraine's justice minister: Bill on mobilization of convicts may be registered next week

The bill on the mobilization of convicts may be registered in the Verkhovna Rada next week.

Ukrainian Justice Minister Denys Maliuska said this on Ukrainian television, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.

"I think that it [the bill on the mobilization of convicts] will be registered next week, and it will be voted on at first reading at the next Rada meeting. As for the second reading, I expect this to be spring, no later than that," Maliuska said.

He stressed that "there are thousands of prisoners and convicts who are ready to become military personnel and be members of the Ukrainian Defense Forces and defend Ukraine."

"But we entered into rather long discussions with the military. Why has the draft law not been registered yet? Because we wanted the position to be clearly agreed upon by the government, MPs who participated in the discussion, and the Armed Forces, so that we would not have to postpone a long and detailed discussion about the mobilization of convicts. This should already be a pre-agreed position where most MPs would be able to agree and understand that this is already a worked-out detailed mechanism where there are no major disputes with the military," Maliuska said.

Read also: Justice minister reveals details of plan to mobilize certain categories of convicts

According to him, the military asked MPs to exclude from the bill the possibility of mobilizing prisoners and convicts who violated military discipline and committed crimes related to the performance of military duty.

"They do not want citizens who improperly performed their military duty to return to the ranks of the Armed Forces... Likewise, they do not want to see all those who committed crimes against the state," he added.

Therefore, he noted, "such categories will probably not be mobilized."

"But again, the parliament will make a final point. We will show them the agreed position with the Defense Forces and the approximate readiness statistics that will result in the adoption of such a bill. I do not expect a delay in the consideration of this bill in parliament because so far I have not met any politician, MP or head of the Armed Forces who would actively oppose or object to such a mechanism. The fact is that not all military commanders are ready to accept convicts and prisoners. Some are ready, and some are not. But, again, we do not and will not impose such mobilized servicemen on anyone. These will most likely be separate units. But in any case, only commanders who understand who they are dealing with and how to work with them will receive the respective units," Maliuska said.

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