The Constitution of Ukraine

Date of Entry into Force:
June 28, 1996

According to the Constitution, Ukraine is a sovereign and independent, democratic, social and legal state. Ukraine is a unitary state. Ukraine is a republic.

According to Article 3, a human being, his or her life and health, honor and dignity, inviolability and security are recognized as the highest social value in Ukraine.

State power in Ukraine is exercised on the principles of its division into the legislative, executive and judicial power.

In Ukraine, the principle of the rule of law is recognized and effective. The Constitution of Ukraine has the highest legal force. Laws and other normative and legal acts are adopted on the basis of the Constitution of Ukraine and should conform to it.

The state language of Ukraine is the Ukrainian language. The Constitution guarantees free development, use and protection of the Russian and other languages of national minorities in Ukraine.

According to the Constitution, bodies of state power, bodies of local self-government, as well as their officials shall be obliged to act only on the grounds, within the limits of authority, and in the manner envisaged by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine.

The state symbols of Ukraine are:
  • the State Flag of Ukraine;
  • the State Coat of Arms of Ukraine;
  • the State Anthem of Ukraine.

The capital of Ukraine is the city of Kyiv.

Citizens shall have equal constitutional rights and freedoms and shall be equal before the law. There shall be no privileges or restrictions base on race, skin color, political, religious and other beliefs, sex, ethnical and social origin, property status, place of residence, linguistic or other characteristics.

The Constitution guarantees to each person:
  • inalienable right to life;
  • the right to freedom, personal inviolability and security of residence;
  • privacy of mail, telephone conversations, telegraph and other communication;
  • non-interference in personal and family life;
  • freedom of movement, free choice of the place of residence, the right to free departure from the territory of Ukraine, except for restrictions imposed by the law;
  • the right to freedom of thought and speech;
  • the right to own, use and dispose of their property and results of their intellectual and creative activity;
  • the right to entrepreneurial activity, which is not prohibited by the law;
  • the right to labor;
  • the right the right to a standard of living sufficient for himself or herself and his or her family that includes adequate nutrition, clothing and housing;
  • the right to an environment that is safe for life and health, and to compensation for damages inflicted through the violation of this right;
  • the right to education, etc.

Human and civil rights and freedoms are protected by the court. Each person is guaranteed the right to challenge in court the decisions, actions or inactivity of government bodies, bodies of local self-government, officials and public servants. Everyone has the right to appeal for the protection of his or her rights to the Authorized Human Rights Representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

According to Article 58, laws and other normative and legal acts have no retroactive force, except for cases, when they mitigate or eliminate responsibility of a person. Nobody can be responsible for actions, which were not recognized as violations by the law at the time when they were undertaken.

Article 62 specifies the principle of the presumption of innocence: the individual is not guilty of a crime and cannot be subjected to criminal punishment, until their guilt is proven according to the legal procedure and established by the convicting sentence of a court.

The Constitution obliges every person:
  • to pay taxes and levies according to the procedure and in amounts established by the law;
  • to strictly abide by the Constitution of Ukraine and the laws of Ukraine, and not to encroach upon the rights and freedoms, honor and dignity of other persons.

The Constitution points out that ignorance of the law does not relieve from legal responsibility.

Chapter ІІІ is dedicated to elections and referendums in Ukraine.

The legal status of the Parliament - the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is determined by Chapter ІV. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is the sole body of legislative power in Ukraine. The constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is four hundred and fifty People's Deputies. People's Deputies are elected once in four years by way of a secret ballot on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage. A People's Deputy of Ukraine can be a Ukrainian citizen who is aged 21 on the day of elections, has the right to vote and has been residing in Ukraine for the past five years.

People's Deputies of Ukraine are guaranteed immunity of a deputy.

The Verkhovna Rada works in sessions. Each year, regular sessions of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine start on the first Tuesday of February and on the first Tuesday of September. The Parliament's sessions are open. A closed session is to be carried out by the decision of the majority from the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Article 85 determines the authority of the Verkhovna Rada. Article 92 specifies the list of issues regulated exclusively by laws.

According to Article 99, Ukraine's monetary unit is hryvnia. The National Bank of Ukraine shall ensure the hryvnia's stability.

On behalf of the Verkhovna Rada, the Accounting Chamber shall oversee the spending of funds from the State Budget of Ukraine. The Authorized Human Rights Representative of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine exercises parliamentary control over the observance of constitutional human and citizens' rights and freedoms.

The Head of the State is the President of Ukraine. He is the guarantor of the state sovereignty, territorial integrity of Ukraine, adherence to the Constitution of Ukraine, human and civil rights and freedoms. The President is elected by Ukrainian citizens once in five years by secret ballot on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage. The President of Ukraine can be Ukrainian citizen who is aged thirty-five, has the right to vote, has been residing in Ukraine for the past ten years before the day of the election and speaks the official state language. One and the same person cannot take the office of the President of Ukraine for more than two subsequent terms. Authorities of the President of Ukraine are determined by Article 106 of the Constitution.

The highest body in the system of bodies of executive power is the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is responsible to the President of Ukraine and is subordinated to and supervised by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine includes the Prime-Minister of Ukraine, the First Vice-Prime-Minister of Ukraine, three Vice-Prime-Ministers of Ukraine, and ministers. The Prime-Minister of Ukraine is appointed by the President of Ukraine upon the consent of the more than half from the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The President of Ukraine upon the suggestion of the Prime-Minister of Ukraine appoints personal composition of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Resignation of the Prime-Minister of Ukraine results in the resignation of the entire Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Executive power in oblasts and regions, the cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol is exercised by local state administrations. The composition of local state administrations is formed by Heads of local state administrations. Heads of local state administrations are appointed and dismissed by the President of Ukraine upon the suggestion of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. While implementing their authorities, Heads of local state administration are accountable to the President of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, are subordinated to and supervised by bodies of executive power at a higher level. Local state administrations are subordinated to and supervised by councils on the part of authorities delegated thereto by relevant regional or oblast councils. Local state administrations are subordinated to and supervised by bodies of executive power at a higher level.

According to Article 124, justice in Ukraine is administered exclusively by the courts. It is not allowed to delegate functions of a court, as well as to appropriate these functions by other bodies or officials. The jurisdiction of courts applies to all legal relations arising within the state. Legal proceedings are conducted by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and courts of general jurisdiction. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine resolves issues related to the conformity of laws and other legal acts to the Constitution of Ukraine and provides official interpretation of the Constitution of Ukraine and laws of Ukraine.

Authorities of the Prosecution Office of Ukraine are outlined in Chapter VII.

The Ukrainian administrative and territorial system is made up of: the Crimean Autonomous Republic, oblasts, regions, cities, districts, settlements and villages.

The Crimean Autonomous Republic is an integral part of Ukraine, and within the authority established by the Constitution of Ukraine it resolves issues included into its competence. The Crimean Autonomous Republic has its own Constitution of the Crimean Autonomous Republic, which is adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of the Crimean Autonomous Republic and approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine by at least one half from the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Local self-government is the right of the territorial community - residents of villages or voluntary unification of residents of several villages, settlements and towns into rural community - to independently resolve local issues within the Constitution of Ukraine and laws of Ukraine. Regional and oblast councils are bodies of local self-government representing common interests of territorial communities of villages, settlements and towns. The issue of organizing the management of districts in cities belongs to the competence of city councils.

Chapter XIII determines the procedure for introducing amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine.
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