On December 1, the Ethics Council held its first meeting. It selected the head and approved the first two sections of the Rules of Procedure. Next to the law, the Rules of Procedure are the most important document that determines rules of work of the Ethics Council.
The text of the first two sections of the Rules of Procedure of the Ethics Council was published on the official website of the body on December 2. The provisions of these sections determine the procedure for convening and holding the meeting and decision-making.
In particular, the document provides that the meeting of the Ethics Council is authorized if at least four members of the Council are present. The quorum, established by the Rules of Procedure of the Ethics Council, means that meetings of the Ethics Council may not take place if at least one judge nominated by the Council of Judges is absent.
Thus, the Ethics Council by its first decision refuted manipulations that had been spread for several months by representatives of the judiciary, who stated that international experts would meet in secret from judges and make their decisions.
However, if judges try to block the work of the Ethics Council by ignoring meetings, international members of the Ethics Council will be able to review the Rules of Procedure on their own and cancel the requirement regarding the quorum.
Members of the Ethics Council also fixed in the Rules of Procedure that the examination for integrity of members of the High Council of Justice will begin on February 8, 2022. By this time, they should have time to evaluate candidates who applied for vacant positions to the Verkhovna Rada, the Congress of Law Universities and the Congress of Judges.
The judge of the Supreme Court Lev Kyshakevych was selected the head of the Ethics Council.
We should recall that the Ethics Council has two powers:
- Assessment of integrity of all candidates who apply for positions in the High Council of Justice (except for the head of the Supreme Court, who is the member of the HCJ ex officio). According to results of the assessment, the Ethics Council makes the conclusion and decides whether to recommend the candidate for appointment. Only those candidates recommended by the Ethics Council continue to participate in the competition;
- Examination of the integrity of current members of the High Council of Justice. If the Ethics Council makes the conclusion that one or another member of the HCJ does not meet the criteria of integrity and professional ethics, it initiates his dismissal. The final decision on this issue is up to the body that appointed this member of the HCJ.
Read more about the judicial reform and threats to its implementation in the article for Ukrayinska Pravda.