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Civil society’s vision of reform priorities presented at the annual Ukraine Reform Conference in Toronto
On July 2-3, the annual Ukraine Reform Conference was held in Toronto, Canada. Delegates of the governments of Ukraine and countries supporting reforms in Ukraine as well as representatives of the private sector and civil society attended the Conference. It was also attended by the President of Ukraine V. Zelenskyy, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, ministers of various governments that demonstrated a high level of the Conference.
Toronto Principles were presented at the event – key reform priorities for 2019-2023 laid down in more details in sectoral briefs on reforms in Ukraine. These papers were prepared by the civil society and widely discussed in regions of Ukraine. Experts of the CPLR were also involved in the preparation of Principles and sectoral briefs.
At the Conference, the majority of speakers indicated the rule of law and justice as a priority area for further implementation of reforms. Establishment of the High Anti-Corruption Court is a good sign. Acceleration of economic growth and enhancing investors’ confidence is not possible without fairness and rule of law as well as without the corresponding sustainable and capable institutions. To build such institutions is an urgent task for Ukraine.
As regards judiciary reform, experts believe that one of the priorities for few next yeas is to increase civil society representation in courts which are responsible for the selection of judges and for bringing them to disciplinary liability. According to experts, it is also needed to introduce reliable selection procedures for recruitment of the Constitutional Court judges, to introduce independent external evaluation as an obligatory precondition of access to law professions, to increase the level of decision enforcement and to improve service orientation approach of courts. In the area of anti-corruption reform, according to experts, the key tasks are to relaunch the National Agency of Corruption Prevention, to restore criminal liability for unlawful enrichment, to deprive the Security Service of Ukraine of redundant anti-corruption function. Moreover, it is extremely important to continue the reform of public procurement by further optimizing the ProZorro system and to restore trust in Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office by changing the leadership of this body.