Movchan R. O.

The scientific-practical Law Journal
“Almanac of Law” Volume 14 (2023), 121-126 p.

DOI: 10.33663/2524-017X-2023-14-121-126

Movchan R. O. On the prospects of improving the provisions of the draft Criminal Code dedicated to the regulations of responsibility for possession of natural resources

The article provides a critical analysis of the provisions of the draft Criminal Code of Ukraine, devoted to responsibility for taking possession of a natural resource. According to the results of the conducted research, certain shortcomings of the studied norms should be identified, as well as scientifically based proposals for improving the relevant provisions of the Project should be developed.

In particular, it was proved that when describing the subject of the relevant criminal offenses, instead of the current reference to “soil cover (surface layer) of lands” and “surface (soil) layer of water fund lands”, they should use the single phrase “surface layer”. The allocation in the Project, along with “illegal possession of any surface layer”, is also criticized for such a separate form as “illegal possession of the surface layer of water fund lands”. It is summarized that such a step actually reproduces the unsuccessful approach embodied in the current Criminal Code of Ukraine – its articles 239-1 and 239-2. Taking this into account, it is stated that the corresponding additional instruction should be removed from the relevant articles of the Project.

Also, in particular, with reference to the relevant experience of solving the relevant issue in the criminal legislation of European countries, the proposition is argued that instead of mentioning in the name of the analyzed norms such a phrase as “illegal possession”, the use of which is intended to characterize the process of illegal appropriation of something, inherent for encroachments on property, and not on the environment, they should contain an indication of such a generalization phrase as “illegal removal of a natural resource from its natural state” (as an option – “illegal extraction of a natural resource”). Instead, their provisions should specify specific types of illegal actions that would reflect the specifics of such actions in relation to each of the items listed in the article (for example: removal of the surface layer of land; felling of forest; mining of minerals; hunting of wild animals or birds and fishing (as variant – “poaching”), etc.). 

It is concluded that regardless of taking into account the previous recommendation, the currently used wording “illegal appropriation of waters” should in any case be replaced by a clearer one that takes into account the relevant provisions of the regulatory legislation, which, in particular, refers to such offenses as “arbitrary use of water resources in the absence of a permit for special water use” and “exceeding the limits established in the permit for special water use.” Prospects for further scientific research in the researched field are determined.

Key words: environment, natural resources, illegal possession, destruction, land, ground cover, flora and fauna, water.


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