MOSCOW, December 12 (RAPSI) - The Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters, announced on Friday that it had found serious shortcomings in Ukraine’s law on government cleansing, the so-called lustration law.

"The Venice Commission recalls that lustration does not constitute a violation of human rights per se, as a democratic state is entitled to require civil servants to be loyal to the constitutional principles on which it is founded,” according to the statement of the Commission released on Friday. “However, in order to respect human rights, the rule of law and democracy, lustration must strike a fair balance between defending democratic society on the one hand and protecting individual rights on the other. "

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed last October the law which provides for blacklisting officials suspected of power abuse under former president Viktor Yanukovych. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said about a million officials from different levels of government, including the cabinet of ministers, faced screening and removal from their posts under the law.

The Venice Commission noted that the list of positions to be lustrated should be reconsidered, as lustration must concern only positions that may genuinely pose a significant danger to human rights or democracy. The Commission also considers that the lustration of judges should be regulated only in one law.

Moreover, the Commission recommends relieving the Ministry of Justice of responsibility for carrying out the lustration and entrusting it to a specifically created independent commission.

"Guilt must be proven in each individual case, and cannot be presumed on the basis of merely belonging to a category of public offices, and therefore the criteria for lustration should be reconsidered," according to the Commission.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the lustration law literally legitimizes political persecution in Ukraine.