President of Ukraine Disrupts This Year Adoption of Draft Law on Anticorruption Court – “Comprehensive Political Reform” Organizers

Within the last three days of street rallies the President of Ukraine once again changed his stand regarding the anticorruption court. Currently he is showing reluctance to move forward with the legislation neccesary to launch the work of the new court already this year.

President’s behavior and public statements of his representatives in the Parliament show his willingness to shift responsibility for drafting the law to the Parliament and even the Venice Commission.

Iryna Lutsenko, MP of the Block Petro Poroshenko faction and President’s representative in the Parliament announced today the plans to send President’s new draft law to the Venice Commission for reconsideration before its adoption in the first reading.

Thus, the President of Ukraine eliminates the chance for this year adoption of the draft law on anticorruption court and therefore blocks it establishment for at least one year.

We emphasize that development of the draft law by the Parliamentary working group as well as and sending it for reconsideration to the Venice Commission would cause unjustified delay in the establishment of the anticorruption court. This gives top officials impunity for illicit enrichment at the expense of corruption schemes.

Ukraine has already received recommendations from the Venice Commission and international partners regarding the establishment of the independent anticorruption court and the appellate instance, as well as the selections of anticorruption judges with the crucial role of international donors. If the President is sincere to hear and take into account their opinion, it is a matter of legal work to draft the law based on their recommendations. New opinion of the experts of the Venice Commission, which will take up to 3 months minimum, is not required.

Coordination of the positions of political factions should take place according to the procedures for draft law’s second reading, as provided by the Rules and Procedures of the Verkhovna Rada.

Taking into account the clarity and specification of the Venice Commission’s recommendations both on the anticorruption court and Ukrainian judiciary as a whole, reconsideration of the draft law on the anticorruption court has neither justification nor sense.

The President may need additional advice from the Commission only in case he intends to deviate from the previous recommendations and include in his draft law provisions conflicting with the standards of the Council of Europe.

In addition, the request for additional expertise may mean the attempt to involve the Venice Commission in political games aimed at blocking the establishment of the anticorruption court.

Taking into account the abovementioned, we call on the President of Ukraine to give up this tactics and announce today the date of submission of his draft law to the Parliament.

We also urge the Speaker of the Parliament Andriy Parubiy to avoid participating in the machinations and not to use the Venice Commission for blackmailing the MPs and political bargaining.

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