NGOs call on the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky not to appoint judges who have received a negative opinion of the Public Integrity Council and who have not passed the qualification assessment in accordance with the law to the positions of the High Council of Justice.
On November 18, the High Council of Justice, along with judicial and attorney’s organizations, urged President Volodymyr Zelensky to appoint judges supposedly to resolve the staff shortage in Ukrainian courts. At the same time, 91 out of 135 judges nominated to the President by the High Council of Justice have a negative opinion of the Public Integrity Council and have not passed the qualification assessment.
Article 127 of the Constitution stipulates that only competent citizens of high integrity are appointed to the position of a judge. In order to establish compliance with these criteria, a special procedure has been introduced – qualification assessment of judges with the participation of the Public Integrity Council. Only those judges who have confirmed their suitability for the position can be appointed for an indefinite term.
To appoint a person as a judge, in accordance with Art. 88 of the Law “On the Judiciary and the Status of Judges”, 11 members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges, which has not been working since 2019, must vote for him. The appointment of judges without such a procedure is illegal. In fact, the High Council of Justice calls on the President of Ukraine to grossly violate Ukrainian law.
Moreover, among the candidates nominated by the High Council of Justice are odious judges, such as Maidan-judge Viktor Kytsiuk, who persecuted protesters for travelling to Mezhyhirya. On June 26, 2018, HQCJ stopped evaluating Kytsiuk, that is he did not even complete the testing and did not pass the interview. Among the candidates, there is also judge Eduard Bovkun, who was caught taking bribes in 2010. He was tried but the case was dubiously closed and he has not administered justice since. The public appealed to the High Council of Justice to stop breaking the law but to no avail.
In view of this, the NGOs call on the President to disregard the submission of the High Council of Justice on the appointment of persons in regard to whom there is no decision on the suitability for the position. The Selection Commission will soon start working to reboot the High Qualification Commission of Judges, which should complete the evaluation procedure of judges with negative conclusions of the PIC.
Center for Public Monitoring and Research
Center for Economic Strategy
Kharkiv Anti-Corruption Center
NGO “Strong Communities”
CHESNO. Filter the judiciary! campaign
Center of Political and Legal Reforms
Institute of Legislative Ideas
Media Initiative Group for Human Rights
Public Control Platform
Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre (ACREC)
Human Rights Centre ZMINA