I am creating the new Google Doc with the “Martial Law” title. Even at this first moment, I feel uneasy. And I do not know exactly how I’m going to finish this letter. But I move all the feelings aside and move the whiskey up (a little further you will find out about the alcohol) and pass through the merciless legal fact-checking everything that has happened during these two media days.
The military command gets the huge powers.
They might be needed in connection with the actual start of hostilities. But the President does not declare war, and the specific purpose of imposing martial law is not clear. However, the military command has already received enormous powers. And no one knows exactly how they will use them.
On November 26, 2018, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine took urgent measures in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation in the Kerch Strait. A few hours later, the President of Ukraine issued a decree imposing 30-day martial law in 10 regions of Ukraine. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine endorsed this decree.
What exactly will happen in the next 30 days, no one knows. But we know for sure what may happen or what may not.
What may happen
I will divide the consequences into “more real” and “less real”. I estimate the reality by the possibility of their implementation during 30 days.
Partial mobilization. It is written directly in the decision of the National Security and Defence Council. Since martial law was not introduced throughout Ukraine, partial mobilization will affect only 10 regions. In any case otherwise is not defined. Who can hand over the military subpoena — read over here. And now we have a reasonable question: who and how (in what order) will check it, and what consequences await for the violator. The answer is in the next paragraph.
Any conscripts and reservists are prohibited to change their place of residence without notifying the chief enlistment officer
Restriction of freedom of movement. Entry and exit of citizens, foreigners, and traffic. I think so far they mean the additional checkpoints at the entrance to the above-listed regions. Maybe, it means the restriction of movement of buses, trains. All this can be accompanied by the documents, inspection of vehicles, belongings. Most likely, the military command will use this point to implement the mobilization plan.
Information security. It should be provided by both the Security Service of Ukraine and the State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection. It is still a mystery to me how this will happen. As these two Services have always been obliged to ensure the information security. It is not clear how they will perform already perfectly enough staged searches even more often than now. As for the light version: there may be content cleanup (requests to the site administrators, hosters, domain name registrar), temporary access to the information on servers. The hard version: the new criminal cases on the betrayal of homeland, encroachment on territorial integrity, and, as a result, searches.
Seizure of the computers and telecom equipment is possible only in case of violation of martial law. In other words, they can seize.
The military command may dismiss the director of the company for the malicious non-fulfillment of these requirements, and appoint someone else to this position. Since there are no details, they can remove me from the post of Axon’s CEO and assign, let’s say, Liashko.
The prohibition of the choice of place of residence. This means the possibility of resettlement from the conflict zone.
Control over media, television, radio and telecom companies. This will be performed by the military command with the help of the police and the State Security Service. Online media including Youtube channels are not included in this category.
Engagement (use) of the companies, their property and employees for the sake of the defences. These can be the companies of any form of ownership.
Expropriation. This can be done by the police, the National Guard, and others. But keep calm: everything will be in accordance with the requirements of the law and with the issuance of a certificate. We do not know the kind of certificate.
Curfew. Imposed by the military command or local authorities. The SSU can help in its implementation.
Liquor trade prohibition. It is directly stipulated by law, by I don’t wanna talk about it, just take my whiskey.
Military housing duty is a duty to accommodate the military or, depending on the size of the property, to accommodate the whole military unit or refugees.
What cannot happen
Here we turn on fact-checking to the full and filter out the numerous rumors and insinuations multiplied during these two days.
Courts. Martial law does not affect the judicial system. No one has the right to change the procedural deadlines, postpone meetings due to martial law.
Force Majeure. The imposition of martial law is not a force majeure. But if, for example, liquor was banned from importing into the Vinnytsia region, the liquor supplier may receive a certificate from the Chamber of Commerce and thus avoid sanctions for violation of the supply contract.
Significant change of circumstances. There is such a reason for changing the terms of the contract in court. It is likely that the landlord will want to increase the rental price if the hryvnia rate suddenly drops due to martial law. So, to prove it in court will be almost impossible.
How long it will last
It seems that martial law will not be limited to 30 days.
Look: the President has 24 ways of restricting rights, and all of them are listed in martial law. Some of them can be entered quickly, and some of them can’t. Let’s have a look at liquor trade prohibition and prohibition of the choice of place of residence (and they are not the most difficult to implement): I cannot imagine what Harry Potter will be able to implement them within 30 days. I do not want even to mention that in exactly 30 days both prohibitions will turn into pumpkins.
If the President or the National Security Council were aware of what they were going to do, they would have written their decisions less vaguely.
If “unlikely” actions are launched, then the term of martial law will be extended.
How to prepare
If we are really facing the military action, then there is no way. We need to support our army. Have a look what happened in Israel, Turkey and Philippines during the martial law.
If there is no visible aggravation of the situation, then any attempts by the military command and the police (to seize the property, to detain) should be taken extremely critically. One thing: please check your insurance, the martial law may not be covered.
If you need me, you know where to find me.