The Verkhovna Rada voted in favor of the draft law No. 1008, which suggests to completely restart the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine (HQCJ) and create the Ethics Commission. The latter will be able to raise the issue regarding the dismissal of dishonestmembers of the High Council of Justice, the HQCJ, and judges of the Supreme Court. 236 Members of Parliament supported the judicial reform.
Thus, the draft law completely restarts the HQCJ, which recommended dishonest judges to the Supreme Court and failed the qualification assessment of servants of Themis. The new Commission will be formed with the participation of international experts. They will have the decisive word.
“The crucial role of international experts in restarting the HQCJ is very optimistic. Thanks to international experts any dishonest candidate who had made scandalous decision or could not explain origin of his assets didn’t get to the High Anti-Corruption Court”, commented the expert of the Anti-Corruption Action Center Halyna Chyzhyk.
Moreover, according to the draft law, the Ethics Commission will be created under the High Council of Justice – body, responsible for appointing and dismissing judges, and their punishment for disciplinary misconduct.
The Ethics Commission will consist of three members of the HCJ and three international experts. It will be able to raise the issue regarding the dismissal of dishonest members of the HCJ, the HQCJ and the Supreme Court.
Members of the HCJ, who will be part of the Ethics Commission, will not be able to block its work, as international experts will have a prevailing vote. In its turn, three votes of international expert will be enough in order to make the Commission’s decisions.
Thus, new appointments to the HCJ will not take place without the positive opinion of the Ethics Commission.
“The real judicial reform is impossible without the restart of the High Council of Justice. However, this requires changes in the Constitution. And it takes much more time in order to implementthem. However, it is the Ethics Commission that will help at least to clean the HCJ from its worst members. After all, international experts will have the decisive vote in the Ethics Commission”, states Halyna Chyzhyk.
The decision regarding the dismissal of dishonest members of the HCJ and the HQCJ, judges of the Supreme Court will not be made by the HCJ itself, as it was suggested in the initial draftlaw, but at the joint meeting of the HCJ and international experts. The appeal of the Ethics Commission could only be overturned if the majority voted in favor at the joint meeting, and if 2 out of 3 international experts supported it.
Members of Parliament also supported amendments, which protect the independence of the new renewed HQCJ from the unreformed HCJ. The Qualification Commission itself willapprove its Regulation.
In its turn, Members of Parliament did not support the lustration regarding heads and deputies of the HQCJ and the State Judicial Administration.
The restart of the HQCJ should take place within 3 months from the moment of publication of the law signed by the President.