Yesterday, on November 28, the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Policy approved for the second reading the text of the draft law on the so-called reform of the Constitutional Court, which threatens to politicize the selection of its judges. This directly contradicts conditions that were put forward to Ukraine regrading membership in the European Union. But the most important thing is that Members of Parliament deliberately undermine the reform of the Court, which protects the main law of Ukraine, during the war with Russia.
As early as this Thursday, December 1, the Verkhovna Rada may vote on the draft law No.7662. What risks does it contain?
- The Advisory Group of Experts, which will evaluate candidates, will not include representatives of public, and international experts will not have significant influence on its decisions
- Decisions of the Advisory Group of Experts will be optional, so the Parliament, the President and the Congress of Judges will continue to be able to appoint “manual” judges to the CCU. The society have no guarantees that people like Oleksandr Tupytskyi will not be appointed in future again.
- Only persons older than 45 can become members of the Advisory Group of Experts, thus the generation that grew up and was formed professionally in the USSR will select future constitutional judges
“In addition to the fact that Members of Parliament of the Legal Committee actually decided to deceive the EU by disrupting the reform of the CCU, they are deliberately destroying the foundation of Ukraine’s statehood. After all, the draft law No.7662 cements the practice of political appointments to the Court, which is called to protect the Constitution and observance of the constitutional order. This not only contradicts our obligations to the European Union. This pulls Ukraine away from the rule of law and towards traditional russian values, namely total corruption and monopoly of power. So, these Members of Parliament deliberately cover the possibility of entering the CCU for collaborators and corrupt officials with the word “reform”. And this is especially cynical during the war, when the home front should strengthen institutions”, Halyna Chyzhyk, lawyer, expert of the NGO Anti-Corruption Action Center emphasizes.
She explained that real reform of the CCU will consist, in particular, in involvement of the public in formation of the judicial composition of the CCU. This will demonstrate openness and independence of selection. The Advisory Group of Experts should include representatives of civil society and international experts, who will have sufficient authority to make decisions about the compliance of candidates for positions of judges of the CCU with high moral qualities and requirements regarding the level of competences. Decisions of experts should be obligatory for bodies that appoint judges of the Constitutional Court, so that only the candidate who received positive assessment could become the judge.
Although the Committee proposes to involve one representative from public organizations to the evaluation of candidates for positions of the CCU judge, this could happen only after six years. Moreover, there are no guarantees in the draft law that such representative will be independent and honest, in addition, he will have no real levers of influence on decisions of the Advisory Expert Group.
The AntAC will definitely publish names of all those who will vote for the draft law No.7662, because Ukrainians need to know who is turning them away from democracy, the rule of law, and the EU membership to russia.