Instituto de Estudios Políticos y Derecho Público "Dr. Humberto J. La Roche"
de la Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Políticas de la Universidad del Zulia
Maracaibo, Venezuela
Esta publicación cientíca en formato digital es continuidad de la revista impresa
ISSN-Versión Impresa 0798-1406 / ISSN-Versión on line 2542-3185Depósito legal pp
197402ZU34
ppi 201502ZU4645
Vol.39 N° 69
Julio
Diciembre
2021
Recibido el 22/03/2021 Aceptado el 15/06/2021
ISSN 0798- 1406 ~ De si to le gal pp 198502ZU132
Cues tio nes Po lí ti cas
La re vis ta Cues tio nes Po lí ti cas, es una pu bli ca ción aus pi cia da por el Ins ti tu to
de Es tu dios Po lí ti cos y De re cho Pú bli co “Dr. Hum ber to J. La Ro che” (IEPDP) de la Fa-
cul tad de Cien cias Ju rí di cas y Po lí ti cas de la Uni ver si dad del Zu lia.
En tre sus ob je ti vos fi gu ran: con tri buir con el pro gre so cien tí fi co de las Cien cias
Hu ma nas y So cia les, a tra vés de la di vul ga ción de los re sul ta dos lo gra dos por sus in ves-
ti ga do res; es ti mu lar la in ves ti ga ción en es tas áreas del sa ber; y pro pi ciar la pre sen ta-
ción, dis cu sión y con fron ta ción de las ideas y avan ces cien tí fi cos con com pro mi so so cial.
Cues tio nes Po lí ti cas apa re ce dos ve ces al año y pu bli ca tra ba jos ori gi na les con
avan ces o re sul ta dos de in ves ti ga ción en las áreas de Cien cia Po lí ti ca y De re cho Pú bli-
co, los cua les son so me ti dos a la con si de ra ción de ár bi tros ca li fi ca dos.
ESTA PU BLI CA CIÓN APA RE CE RE SE ÑA DA, EN TRE OTROS ÍN DI CES, EN
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nes Cien tí fi cas y Tec no ló gi cas Ve ne zo la nas del FO NA CIT, La tin dex.
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OIRALITH
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Co mi té Edi tor
Eduviges Morales Villalobos
Fabiola Tavares Duarte
Ma ría Eu ge nia Soto Hernández
Nila Leal González
Carmen Pérez Baralt
Co mi té Ase sor
Pedro Bracho Grand
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Joan López Urdaneta y Nil da Ma rín
Re vis ta Cues tio nes Po lí ti cas. Av. Gua ji ra. Uni ver si dad del Zu lia. Nú cleo Hu ma nís ti co. Fa-
cul tad de Cien cias Ju rí di cas y Po lí ti cas. Ins ti tu to de Es tu dios Po lí ti cos y De re cho Pú bli co
“Dr. Hum ber to J. La Ro che”. Ma ra cai bo, Ve ne zue la. E- mail: cues tio nes po li ti cas@gmail.
com ~ loi chi ri nos por til lo@gmail.com. Te le fax: 58- 0261- 4127018.
Vol. 39, Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre) 2021, 133-145
IEPDP-Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Políticas - LUZ
Unconstitutionality of criminal liability
for ling inaccurate information in
Ukraine: сritical legal analyses
DOI: https://doi.org/10.46398/cuestpol.3969.07
Andrii Vozniuk *
Dmitriy Kamensky **
Olexandr Dudorov ***
Roman Movchan ****
Andriy Andrushko *****
Abstract
The investigation reveals shortcomings in the arguments of
the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on the recognition of article
366-1 of the Criminal Code as not being in conformity with the
Constitution, in terms of:(a) the court’s lack of authority to
criminalize socially dangerous acts; (b) lack of argumentation on
the absence of social harm in the non-submission of a declaration
and in the presentation of inaccurate information; (c) positive foreign
experience; (d) conformity of article 366-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine
with the principle of the rule of law. The article employs a set of legal
research methods, including terminological, systemic-structural, formal-
logical, and comparative-legal. It is stressed that:(a) the criminalization of
a socially harmful act is a matter for the legislator, not the Constitutional
Court of Ukraine, to decide; (b) the decision does not present or refute
any argument on the element of social harmfulness relating to the non-
submission of a declaration and the declaration of inaccurate information.
On the basis of the investigation, it has been concluded that the decision of
the Constitutional Court on the recognition of article 366-1 of the Criminal
Code does not comply with the Constitution and has not been suciently
substantiated.
* Doctor of Legal Sciences, Head of Research Laboratory at the National Academy of Internal Aairs.
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3352-5626. Email: vaa.999999@gmail.com
** Doctor of Legal Sciences, Head of Legal Courses Department at Berdyansk State Pedagogical University.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3610-2514. Email: dm.kamensky@gmail.com
*** Doctor of Legal Sciences, Head of Research Laboratory at Luhansk State University of Internal
Aairs named after E.O. Didorenko. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4860-0681. Email:
o.o.dudorov@gmail.com
**** Doctor of Legal Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Constitutional, International
and Criminal law at Donetsk National University named after Vasyl Stus. ORCID ID: https://orcid.
org/0000-0003-2074-8895. Email: romanmov1984@gmail.com
5
*****
PhD, Associate Professor of the Department of Criminal Law and Process at Uzhhorod National
University. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7735-7898. Email: andrushko525@gmail.com
134
Andrii Vozniuk, Dmitriy Kamensky, Olexandr Dudorov, Roman Movchan y Andriy Andrushko
Unconstitutionality of criminal liability for ling inaccurate information in Ukraine: сritical legal
analyses
Keywords: declaration of unreliable information; public corruption;
corruption-related criminal oense; unconstitutionality of
the law; rule of law.
Inconstitucionalidad de la responsabilidad penal por
presentar información inexacta en ucrania: análisis
legales críticos
Resumen
La investigación revela deciencias de los argumentos del Tribunal
Constitucional de Ucrania sobre el reconocimiento del art. 366-1 del Código
Penal como el hecho que no se ajusta a la Constitución, en términos de: a) falta
de autoridad de este Tribunal para tipicar como delito actos socialmente
peligrosos; b) falta de argumentación sobre la ausencia de perjuicio social
en la no presentación de declaración y en la presentación de información
inexacta; c) experiencia extranjera positiva; d) conformidad del art. 366-
1 del Código Penal de Ucrania con el principio del estado de derecho. El
artículo emplea un conjunto de métodos de investigación jurídica, entre
los que se encuentran terminológicos, sistémicos-estructurales, formales-
lógicos y comparativos-legales. Se destaca que: a) la criminalización de un
acto socialmente dañino es un asunto que debe decidir el legislador, no el
Tribunal Constitucional de Ucrania; b) la decisión no presenta ni refuta
ningún argumento sobre el elemento de lesividad social relacionado con la
no presentación de declaración y la declaración de información inexacta.
Sobre la base de la investigación, se ha concluido que la decisión del Tribunal
Constitucional sobre el reconocimiento del art. 366-1 del Código Penal no
cumple con la Constitución y no se ha fundamentado sucientemente.
Palabras clave: declaración de información no conable; corrupción
pública; delito relacionado con la corrupción;
inconstitucionalidad de la ley; Imperio de la ley.
Introduction
Corruption remains among the major threats to Ukraine. In terms of
the nature of its danger, it can be compared to the war in Eastern Ukraine.
While penetrating into all spheres of public life, it damages the most
important social values of both state as a whole and its individual citizens.
In particular, it negatively eects market economy relations, such as stock
market and institutional investors (Kamensky et al., 2020). Therefore, the
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Vol. 39 Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre 2021): 133-145
ght against corruption remains priority for both public authorities and
members of civil society. In view of this, practices aimed at preventing and
stopping any corruption oenses are being implemented in Ukraine. They
include, in particular, creation of the mechanism for mandatory declaration
of existing assets by persons covered by the Law of Ukraine “On Prevention
of Corruption” (2014).
When talking about corruption on the specic national level, it should
be also noted that critical study of relevant foreign experience in this
area will facilitate transposition of relevant provisions of criminal law of
various foreign countries in order to adapt, converge, harmonize, unify, etc.
(Vozniuk et al., 2020). Indeed, any given state should not be left legally
isolated when searching for the appropriate solutions and remedies to ght
corruption related oenses.
Criminal law provision previously included in Art. 366-1 of the Criminal
code of Ukraine (2001), which established the grounds of criminal liability
for declaring unreliable information, has been a vital component of the
mechanism of electronic declaration in Ukraine. This norm has been rightly
recognized as an important tool to deter persons authorized to perform
functions of state or local self-government from committing corruption
oenses (Cherniavskyi and Vozniuk, 2019).
However, a powerful strike was made against anti-corruption
mechanism in Ukraine on October 27, 2020, when the Constitutional
Court of Ukraine (hereinafter – CCU) issued a ruling, which has partially
“paralyzed” the work of the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption
and “destroyed” some of electronic declaration tools. The CCU ruling
provided for the recognition of Art. 366-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine
(Decision of the CCU, 2020) as the provision, which does not correspond
to the Constitution. Such actions of the exclusive body of constitutional
jurisdiction in Ukraine have been ambiguously perceived by members of
civil society: some have supported the decision, while others have labeled
it as the one with signicant shortcomings. Therefore, it is important to
thoroughly analyze Court arguments for striking down Art. 366-1 of the
Criminal Code of Ukraine (2001) as unconstitutional.
1. Methodology
The article uses a set of research methods, namely: terminological,
system-structural, formal-logical, comparative-legal. Theoretical basis of
the study is constituted by the works of scientists, some opinions of CCU
judges, provisions of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (2001) and the Law of
Ukraine “On Prevention of Corruption” (2014), as well as their application
practice.
136
Andrii Vozniuk, Dmitriy Kamensky, Olexandr Dudorov, Roman Movchan y Andriy Andrushko
Unconstitutionality of criminal liability for ling inaccurate information in Ukraine: сritical legal
analyses
The structural method has been employed to describe construction
of the Criminal Code provisions related to liability for ling inaccurate
information by public ocials.
Also, using systemic method has allowed characterizing current limits of
permissible behavior in the area of public service in their relationship with
the norms of other legal bodies, including constitutional law.
Finally, the formal-legal method enabled the authors to analyze legal
substance of the national Criminal Code provisions aimed at ghting
corruption related oenses in general and ling inaccurate information in
particular.
2. Recent research and ndings
While ruling on the unconstitutionality of Art. 366-1 of the Criminal
Code of Ukraine (2001), the CCU relied on two arguments:
1) non-compliance with the principles of justice and proportionality as
elements of the rule of law principle primarily due to non-compliance
with the criteria of criminalization of specic behavior as described
in Art. 366-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (2001);
2) violation of the rule of law principle, in particular elements of legal
certainty and predictability of the law.
The rst argument of unconstitutionality is based on non-compliance
with the principles of justice and proportionality as elements of the rule
of law principle, primarily due to non-compliance with the criteria of
criminalization of the act described in Art. 366-1 of the Criminal Code of
Ukraine (2001). “By their legal nature, such acts are not capable of causing
signicant harm to a natural or legal person, society, or state to the extent
necessary to label them as socially dangerous ...” (Decision of the CCU,
2020).
The establishment of criminal liability for such acts is an excessive punishment
for committing such oenses. Negative consequences of a person prosecuted for
committing crimes under Article 366-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (2001) are
disproportionate to the damage, which has occurred or may have occurred in the
event of such acts commission (Decision of the CCU, 2020).
Of course, such opinion has its merits, and if it is embodied in the
relevant decision by the judges of the constitutional review body, it becomes
a requirement, which, from a legal point of view, is subject to mandatory
implementation. At the same time, position of the CCU is not indisputable,
and therefore counter-arguments can be provided to refute it.
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Vol. 39 Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre 2021): 133-145
First, criminalization of a socially harmful act is a matter for the
legislator, not for the CCU, to decide.
Only the Parliament should determine an act as socially harmful,
and therefore it decides which type of behavior should be recognized as
a criminal oense, and which should not. This position was supported by
the Presidents of GRECO and the Venice Commission (National Agency of
Corruption Prevention, 2020), as well as by the CCU judge O. Pervomaisky
(Pervomaisky, 2020).
Second, the decision does not present or refute any argument about
the social harmfulness element related to not submitting declaration and
declaring inaccurate information.
The CCU did not even make an eort to establish, what the public
danger of this crime was, but limited itself to stating inconsistencies. This is
a purely subjective opinion by some judges of the CCU. It is no coincidence
that representatives of this body, such as S. Holovaty (Holovaty, 2020),
V. Lemak (Lemak, 2020), (Voznyuk, 2019) V. Kolisnyk (Kolisnyk, 2020)
and O. Pervomaisky (Pervomaisky, 2020) view the ruling as unfounded.
3. Results of the study
Criminalization of the act outlined in Art. 366-1 of the Criminal Code
of Ukraine (2001), was necessary to ensure a mechanism for combating
corruption oenses, the level, structure and dynamics of which remain of
serious concern in Ukraine. Statistics demonstrate a signicant number of
recorded facts of crimes under Art. 366-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine
(2001): in 2015, 25 of such criminal oenses were registered, in 2016 – 58,
in 2017 – 1134, in 2018 – 1541, in 2019 – 1118, for 9 months of 2020 – 861
(Statistical reporting, 2016-2020).
Social conditionality of the establishment of relevant criminal law
prohibitions (submission of knowingly inaccurate information in the
declaration and intentional failure to submit declaration) is determined by
the following circumstances.
1. Social harmfulness of such acts. Social harmfulness of corruption
oenses has been repeatedly conrmed by academics (Dudorov et
al., 2019; Cherniavskyi and Vozniuk, 2019; Nathanson, 2013). The
CCU ruling has identied corruption among the major threats to the
national security of Ukraine (Decision of the CCU, 2020).
Social harmfulness of the intentional failure to le a declaration means
that such act: 1) creates conditions for the concealment of property owned,
used or disposed of by the declarant, his other assets, expenses, nancial
138
Andrii Vozniuk, Dmitriy Kamensky, Olexandr Dudorov, Roman Movchan y Andriy Andrushko
Unconstitutionality of criminal liability for ling inaccurate information in Ukraine: сritical legal
analyses
obligations, etc.; 2) complicates detection of corruption or other oenses;
3) prevents eective pre-trial investigation of illicit enrichment; 4) does not
provide the opportunity to properly control observance of the principles of
ethics, rst of all requirements of integrity, by the persons authorized to
perform state or local government functions.
Social harmfulness of ling knowingly inaccurate information in the
declaration by the designated person means that such act: 1) serves as one
of the means to conceal corruption- related or other illegal activities, helps
such persons to avoid responsibility by for their wrongdoing; 2) encroaches
on the constitutional right of citizens to vote (due to false information,
citizens may be misled during election to public authorities and local
governments); 3) violates requirements of transparency to candidates
during competition procedure for their appointment to a certain position,
and therefore there is a threat of electing a person, who does not meet
the established requirements; 4) violates one’s right to information on
public activity of persons authorized to perform functions of state or local
government, in particular on its objectivity, reliability, completeness and
accuracy; 5) causes incorrect assessment of the activities of the state or
local government representatives; 6) reveals illegal and unethical behavior
of such persons.
2. The need to ensure the fulllment of the obligation to declare persons
authorized to perform functions of state or local government. The
threat of criminal punishment encourages relevant entities to declare
their income and expenses, to explain the origin of their assets in the
declaration.
3. The need to create preconditions for proving illicit enrichment.
Without a rule on criminal liability for declaration, establishing the
fact of illicit enrichment becomes questionable.
4. The need to ensure transparency in the activities of persons
authorized to perform functions of state or local self-government.
Relevant provisions provide for an opportunity to objectively assess
their work, as well as in certain cases to identify possible elements of
illegal acts.
5. Availability of potential in the context of corruption oenses
prevention. Criminal liability for declaring inaccurate information
hinders the unimpeded use of illegally acquired assets and their
unhindered concealment. Discussed provision encourages the
oender to take action in order to legalize illegal assets, since he is
not able to spend them at will.
6. The need to fulll obligations enshrined in the Constitution of
Ukraine. According to Art. 67 of the Constitution of Ukraine (1996),
everyone is obliged to pay taxes and fees in the manner and amounts
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CUESTIONES POLÍTICAS
Vol. 39 Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre 2021): 133-145
prescribed by law. All citizens annually submit declarations of their
property and income for the previous year to the tax oces at the
place of residence and in the manner prescribed by law.
7. Ukraine’s legal obligations before the international community to
prevent and combat corruption oenses.
Third, experience of other countries testies to the expediency of the
existence of criminal liability for intentional non-submission of declarations
and for ling knowingly inaccurate information.
Thus, it is no coincidence that the CCU Judge V. Lemak has stressed out:
“I do not agree in principle with the denial of the idea of criminalizing the
relevant act, as evidenced by the experience of the entire civilized world”
(Lemak, 2020: 29). As S. Holovaty correctly noted, introduction of eective
deterrent sanctions for providing knowingly inaccurate information in
declarations is an international standard and an important element of
the general system of reporting assets by public gures. For example,
the OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central
Asia has repeatedly recommended that Ukraine ensures the eectiveness
of sanctions for failure to provide or for providing false information in
declarations (Holovaty, 2020).
Indeed, liability for intentional failure to le a declaration and le
knowingly inaccurate information meets international standards for
preventing and combating corruption. In accordance with Part 5 of Art. 8 of
the United Nations Convention against Corruption (2003), each State Party
shall endeavor, where appropriate and in accordance with the fundamental
principles of its domestic law, to establish measures and systems requiring
public ocials to make declarations to appropriate authorities regarding,
inter alia, their outside activities, employment, investments, assets and
substantial gifts or benets from which a conict of interest may result with
respect to their functions as public ocials.
In this regard, the world employs the following models of liability
for such acts: 1) criminal liability (recognition of such acts as crimes or
misdemeanors); 2) administrative liability (recognition of such acts as
administrative oenses); 3) disciplinary liability (recognition of such acts
as disciplinary oenses); 4) mixed liability (recognition of such acts as
crimes, as well as administrative or disciplinary infractions).
Criminal law of foreign nations addresses issues of ling inaccurate
information and intentional failure to submit a declaration dierently:
in some countries criminal liability is provided only for ling inaccurate
information (Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova,
Croatia), while in others – for declaring inaccurate information and
intentional failure to submit declaration (Albania, Georgia, Czech Republic).
140
Andrii Vozniuk, Dmitriy Kamensky, Olexandr Dudorov, Roman Movchan y Andriy Andrushko
Unconstitutionality of criminal liability for ling inaccurate information in Ukraine: сritical legal
analyses
Analysis of the sanctions provided for in these articles demonstrates
that they are alternative in nature and include penalties in the form of nes,
community service, deprivation of the right to hold a certain position or
engage in certain activities, imprisonment for a certain period. This proves
the fact that imprisonment not only in Ukraine but also in other countries
is recognized as an adequate legal instrument designed to counteract
intentional failure to submit a declaration or to declare knowingly inaccurate
information.
The second argument of unconstitutionality is based on a violation of
the rule of law principle, in particular of such its elements as legal certainty
and predictability of law.
Having investigated elements of the crime under Art. 366-1 of the
Criminal Code of Ukraine (2001), the CCU concluded that the use of legal
structures, which do not have a clear list of laws, makes it impossible to
unambiguously dene the range of subjects of crime, and reference rules
make it impossible to establish the range of their addressees. As a result,
persons, who cannot be subjected to the declaratory requirements and
therefore knowingly failed to do so, may be held liable for intentional
failure to le a declaration. This is not consistent with the concept of the
lawful state and the principle of the rule of law, enshrined in Part 1 of Art.
8 of the Constitution of Ukraine (1996), in particular with such elements as
legal certainty and predictability of law (Decision of the CCU, 2020).
We do not agree with such approach. Firstly, grounds for criminal
liability for declaring inaccurate information have appeared as a result of
the adoption of the Law of Ukraine “On Prevention of Corruption” (2014),
which has provided, in particular, for amendments to Article 366-1 of the
Criminal Code of Ukraine (2001). Since then, the practice of declaring
income, expenses and liabilities has developed. Therefore, in 2020 no doubt
exists on the range of declaration subjects and, accordingly, the perpetrators
of crime under Art. 366-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (2001).
Secondly, the statement of the CCU that the lack of a clear list of laws
makes it impossible to unambiguously dene the range of subjects of crime
is not true. In the note to Art. 366-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (2001)
oenders are clearly dened: the persons responsible for the declaration
are persons who, in accordance with Part 1 and 2 of Art. 45 of the Law of
Ukraine “On Prevention of Corruption” (2014) are obliged to submit a
declaration of a person authorized to perform functions of state or local
government.
Instead, two categories of persons are mentioned in parts 1 and 2 of
Art. 45 of the Law of Ukraine “On Prevention of Corruption” (2014): 1)
persons referred to in paragraph 1, subparagraphs “a” and “c” of paragraph
2 of the rst part of Article 3 of this Law, who are required to submit a
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CUESTIONES POLÍTICAS
Vol. 39 Nº 69 (Julio - Diciembre 2021): 133-145
declaration by April 1 for the last year; 2) persons referred to in paragraph
1, subparagraphs “a” and “c” of paragraph 2 of the rst part of Article 3 of
this Law, who terminate activities related to the performance of state or
local government functions and le a declaration for a period not previously
covered by submitted declarations.
At the same time, reference to paragraph 1, subparagraphs “a” and “c”
of paragraph 2 of Part 1 of Art. 3 of this Law allows to clearly identify such
persons. Among them are, for example, members of the Parliament of
Ukraine, deputies of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of
Crimea, deputies of local councils, village, city mayors, civil servants, local
government ocials, etc.
Thirdly, even assuming that there are doubts about the classication of
certain categories of persons as declarants, they can seek clarication from
the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption. In addition, the law
provides for appropriate mechanisms for notifying each person on the need
to le a declaration, which also eliminates their reference to the ignorance
of the obligation to le a declaration.
Other violations committed by the judges are also noteworthy:
1. The CCU also ruled on the provisions of the legislation on corruption
prevention, which have not been challenged in the constitutional
petition.
2. During the decision-making process, three CCU judges acted
under the conict of interest, as the procedure of bringing them to
administrative and criminal responsibility has been underway. At
the same time, withdrawal (self-withdrawal) has not been used.
3. Judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine could postpone
expiration of certain provisions of the Law and the Code, which have
been declared unconstitutional. However, they did not provide the
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the national Parliament) with enough
time to rectify the situation with the prohibition on declaring
inaccurate information. This can be explained, in particular, by the
fact that the provision does not have defects, due to which it can be
declared unconstitutional.
Given the unfoundedness of the relevant decision of the Constitutional
Court of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine restored the grounds for
criminal liability for these acts, which are very similar to those declared
unconstitutional. This is no surprise given that foreign experience reveals
that criminal law recognizes mostly two acts: failure to le a declaration
and ling inaccurate information.
The Criminal Code of Ukraine (2001) has been supplemented by Art.
366-2, which establishes liability for intentional entry by the subject of
142
Andrii Vozniuk, Dmitriy Kamensky, Olexandr Dudorov, Roman Movchan y Andriy Andrushko
Unconstitutionality of criminal liability for ling inaccurate information in Ukraine: сritical legal
analyses
declaration of knowingly unreliable information in the declaration of a
person, who is authorized to perform functions of state or local government,
provided by the Law of Ukraine “On Prevention of Corruption” (2014),
if such in