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Kamianets-Podilskyi lawyers help to regulate the work of voluntary formation of territorial defense

Author: Olena Orlova / Legal Development Network

Lawyers of the CSO “Association of Lawyers of Kamianets-Podilskyi” drafted the legal documents for the territorial defense of their community. This success story is interesting because there is still no clear legal regulation in Ukraine for the functioning of voluntary defense associations. At the same time, the LDN’s member organization, by developing policies and procedures for them, was able to regulate the work of the local center of territorial defense. This can be an example to follow for other Ukrainian communities.

The beginning of a full-scale war with russia was remembered by the residents of Kamianets-Podilskyi not only by the flow of forced displaced persons but also by huge queues. People who voluntarily decided to defend Ukraine lined up near the military enlistment offices. Those who, for various reasons, were unable to join the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and territorial defense battalions, joined the voluntary formations of territorial defense. In the considerably small city of Kamianets-Podilskyi, with a population of about 100,000, more than half a thousand men and women have signed a volunteer contract. Among them are representatives of the Association of Lawyers of Kamianets-Podilsky: Ihor Antoniuk, Executive Director, and Maksym Ilchyshen, lawyer of the organization and the Chairman of the Board of the Legal Development Network .

Photo: Ihor Antoniuk, the Executive Director of the CSO “Association of Lawyers of Kamianets-Podilskyi”
Photo: Maksym Ilchyshen, the lawyer of the CSO “Association of Lawyers of Kamianets-Podilskyi” and the Chairman of the Board of the Legal Development Network

The first challenges faced by the Voluntary Formation № 2 of the Kamianets-Podilskyi Territorial Community are the lack of regulation of both the procedures for the legalization of the formation and the regulation of its activities.

  • ‘The normative legal acts adopted hastily at the beginning of the war, aimed at regulating the legal status of voluntary formations, are rather laconic and superficial. For the most part, they answer the question “what is possible?”, But do not contain any answer to the question “how?”. This can be explained not only by urgency but also by the attempt to ensure the universality of the rules. After all, the regulations for the volunteer formations of the five hunters of a small village, and for thousands of veterans of the big city are the same’, Maksym Ilchyshen explains.
Photo: Taking the oath in the Volunteer Formation № 2 Kamianets-Podilskyi Territorial Community. Photo: CSO “Association of Lawyers of Kamianets-Podilskyi”
In Kamianets-Podilskyi, more than half a thousand men and women have signed a territorial defense volunteer contract. Photo: CSO “Association of Lawyers of Kamianets-Podilskyi”

Lawyers had to create internal regulations and procedures directly in the process of formation of territorial defense. This applies to the documentation of activities, personnel records, and the division of responsibilities. Some issues concerning the order of manning of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and voluntary formations of territorial communities still remain unresolved, says Maksym and cites an example.

Thus, on April 1, 2022, amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the Basis of National Resistance” were voted on, which stipulate that people can join volunteer formations at their registered place of residence. However, these changes have not yet taken effect. Previously, there was no criterion for selection at the place of registration in this law. At the same time, quite a few volunteers live and work in the city, and are registered in neighboring rural communities. Students are registered in dormitories at the location of educational institutions. Not to mention people who have fled with their families from areas of active hostilities.

  • ‘Given these inconsistencies, given that the changes did not take effect, as well as to comply with the general principle of territoriality in staffing, candidates for membership in the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine submitted, in addition to documents provided by the Regulations on voluntary formations, which would confirm the candidate’s affiliation to the territorial community. This could be a certificate from the Association of apartment building co-owners, a document on homeownership, a certificate from the place of work, even a marriage certificate paired with a certificate of registration of the wife’s place of residence, etc.’, clarifying the lawyer.

To date, the lawyers of the Association have established a system of document management, personnel policy, and the system of internal relations and communication – and all this taking into account the peculiarities dictated by the specifics of the tasks of formation during martial law.

Photo: CSO “Association of Lawyers of Kamianets-Podilskyi”

P. S. More relevant information on legal and humanitarian issues – is in the special section #StandWithUkraine. It accumulates materials that may be useful to those who suffer, whose rights are violated as a result of the war between russia and Ukraine.


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