Mobilization of vehicles for military needs: what’s in reality and what’s on paper?
This article considers the peculiarities of takeover of vehicles of companies on the basis of Article 6 of the Law of Ukraine "On mobilization preparation and mobilization", in particular with regard to the duration of the involvement of vehicles that are taken from the companies for military and other defense purposes, how it is now done in practice and how it should be done according to the law.
Article 6 of the said Law provides for transport duty under which transport vehicles may be taken from companies and other organizations as well as from individuals when so-called special period. Under the law the special period starts at the earliest (1) when mobilization is proclaimed/hidden mobilization is launched or (2) martial law is applied.
Article 6 does not specify exactly how the transport duty shall be exercised, merely stating in part 3 that, provided that martial law status is not proclaimed, the transport duty shall be exercised by way of taking the chosen vehicles for free of charge use. The vehicles shall be returned upon announcement of de-mobilization. In case the vehicles are damaged or destroyed, proper compensation shall be provided to the owners.
Part 2 of Article 6 stipulates that the losses of the owners of the vehicles that are forcibly alienated (i.e. taken over to the state property for special needs) when special period shall be properly compensated. There is also separate law on the procedure of forcible alienation when martial law.
Unfortunately, Article 6 does not stipulate precisely how the transport duty shall be exercised when martial law. The said Article just states in general that applicable procedure shall be set up by the Cabinet of Ministers.
Relevant procedure also does not provide for peculiarities when martial law.
As a result, the transport duty is still exercised by "picking up" by the local administration together with local military complectation centers vehicles from the companies under the terms of free of charge use and subject to return only when full de-mobilization. Such process continues since the year 2014 when partial mobilization has been proclaimed. It is just intensified significantly since beginning of full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022.
However, as of February 24, 2022, martial law has been introduced in Ukraine by the President’s Decree No. 64/2022 as of February 24, 2022 "On the introduction of martial law in Ukraine".
Therefore, there are reasons to consider that the performance of military transport obligation
- after February 24, 2022, i.e. during martial law,
- by free involvement of vehicles with return after demobilization,
- by territorial recruitment and social support centers,
- on the basis of the decisions of local state administrations, –
is happening not according to the law, and not on the basis of the law, but rather "by inertia", the way it has been done before, as far as the mobilization (without martial law) has been announced in Ukraine in March 2014. So, there was a "special period" due to mobilization – until February 24, 2022, during which the free involvement of vehicles took place. And from February 24, 2022, there is another special period with the legal regime of martial law.
As such, there is base for claiming that after February 24, 2022 vehicles may be taken from companies only by way of forced alienation, not for "temporary use free of charge". This shall be done with the other set of documents and upon decision of the other authority – military command (either central or operating in that area). Forced alienation under the law is done with immediate or delayed (up to 5 years after martial law) compensation of the cost of the taken assets. In case the taken assets "survive" over martial law period, the former owner has right to claim them back with then compensation be provided only for use of the assets.
What steps are possible in practice, given the above considerations, for companies facing the mobilization of their vehicles under non-relevant procedure, read please in the exclusive article available in Ukrainian by the link.
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The Decision of the Supreme Court of Ukraine as of September 13, 2023, which established that disputes regarding requisition of property for military purposes are subject to consideration under civil-law jurisdiction
Military transport obligation during martial law (Part 2)
Military transport obligation during martial law