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Weekly analytics for 16 – 22 of August

24.08.2022

Political Points of the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform include a weekly expert analysis of the most important process in Ukraine in areas of constitutionalism, political parties and elections, governance and public administration reform, judiciary, combating corruption, criminal justice, etc.

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First appointments of HCJ members under the new procedure took place


Event

On August 15, Verkhovna Rada elected R. Maselko and M. Moroz to the vacant positions of the High Council of Justice (hereinafter – HCJ) members.

On August 19, a congress of representatives of higher legal educational institutions and scientific institutions was held, at which D. Lukyanov was elected a member of the HCJ. Furthermore, the congress could neither reject nor approve the recommendation of the Ethics Council regarding the dismissal of the HCJ member V. Hryschuk.

CLPR’s assessment

1. The Parliament’s election of R. Maselko and M. Moroz as members of the HCJ is a landmark event for the judicial reform. These are the first appointments to the HCJ that were carried out with the involvement of the Ethics Council. It should also be mentioned that the public had no reservations regarding the integrity of these individuals, and R. Maselko is generally known for his many years of fighting against dishonest judges.

2. The situation is much worse relating to the congress of scholars. The problems began at the stage of the candidates’ assessment by the Ethics Council, as the civil society organizations uncovered circumstances that could indicate non-compliance with the integrity criteria regarding two of four recommended candidates (D. Lukyanov, S. Melenko). Considering the fact that the Ethics Council did not broadcast the interviews with these candidates, it is currently impossible to assess the extent to which they were able to refute doubts regarding their integrity. Also, as experts of DEJURE Foundation discovered, several leading law schools did not receive an official invitation to the congress, while seven out of eight scientific institutions that were supposed to participate in the congress fall under the purview of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, of which D. Lukyanov is a corresponding member. This Academy is headed by O. Petryshyn, who participated in the competition for the Constitutional Court under the President’s quota, while D. Lukyanov was a member of the competition commission that recommended him for appointment. Given the presence of such a connection, civil society organizations predicted that the congress of scientists would elect D. Lukyanov to the HCJ, which is exactly what happened.

The aforementioned circumstances give rise to reasonable doubts regarding the impartiality and integrity of the election of D. Lukyanov to the position of the HCJ member.

Furthermore, the recommendation of the Ethics Council on V. Hryschuk’s dismissal from the position of the HCJ member was considered during the congress. It should be noted that V. Hryshchuk is deemed to have been removed from his position since August 7, 2022, since the law gives the appointing entity only three months to consider the Ethics Council’s recommendation on dismissal, after the expiration of which the HCJ member in question is deemed to have been dismissed from positions in accordance with the law. In light of the fact that the Ethics Council recommended V. Hryschuk’s dismissal back on May 7, 2022, there was no longer any need to consider this recommendation at the congress of scholars.

3. Currently, only seven positions on the HCJ are filled. Another 14 positions remain vacant (including 8 positions under the quota of judges, 2 positions each under the quotas of lawyers and prosecutors, and one position each under the quotas of scholars and the President).