Weekly analytics for 12 – 18 October 2021
Weekly analytics of the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform include a weekly expert analysis of the most important processes in Ukraine in areas of constitutionalism, political parties and elections, governance and public administration reform, judiciary, combatting corruption, criminal justice, etc.
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Judicial reform is vital to strengthening Ukraine's resilience and future success: Ukraine-EU Joint Statement.
On October 12, following the 23rd Ukraine-EU Summit, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen approved a statement in which they «reconfirmed that comprehensive and consistent implementation of judicial reforms remains vital for strengthening Ukraine’s resilience and its future success». The need for rapid adoption of amendments to the Laws of Ukraine «On High Council of Justice» and «On the Judiciary and the Status of Judges» (i.e., laws №1635-ІХ on the reform of the High Council of Justice (HCJ) and №1629-ІХ on restart of the competition to the High Qualifications Commission of Judges) was noted separately.
The CPLR’s assessment
The joint statement emphasized at least twice the importance of comprehensive judicial reform. This is not the first time in the issue of judicial reform in Ukraine has been discussed at the international level in the last few years. In particular, it was included in memoranda with the International Monetary Fund (June 2020) and the European Union (July 2020). Moreover, the Ukrainian reforms, including judicial, were assessed by the European Parliament in February 2021.
At the same time, despite repeated urges of the international partners and even President Volodymyr Zelensky’s public statements, judicial reform remains in its initial stage. Thus, there is a delay in the establishment of the Ethics Council, which should play a key role in the HCJ reform; the issue of the District Administrative Court of Kyiv is not addressed; and, according to the monitoring results conducted in June 2021, none of 17 civil society recommendations on judicial reform have been implemented by the authorities in full, while 13 recommendations have been partially implemented. Currently, the implementation of judicial reform depends on the Council of Judges of Ukraine, which delays the delegation of their representatives to the Ethics Council, as well as on the Constitutional Court, to which the Supreme Court submitted a petition placing in doubt the constitutionality of powers and functioning of the Ethics Council.
It should be recalled that last week, the CPLR jointly with other civic organizations called on the President and the Parliament to remove the Council of Judges of Ukraine from the procedure of the Ethics Council formation trough legislative amendments and to introduce a genuine competitive selection of judges of the Constitutional Court.