Weekly analytics for 22 – 28 February 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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Re-Launch of the Judicial Self-Governance Bodies Temporarily on Hold
On February 22, ten High Council of Justice (HCJ) members submitted resignations early on their own initiatives. Two days later, on February 24, the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion in the territory of Ukraine began, as did the introduction of the martial law in connection with the invasion. On the same day, the Ethics Council announced that interviews with the HCJ candidates are postponed indefinitely, while the Competition Commission for the selection of the High Qualification Commission of Judges members announced temporary suspension of its operations.
Resignations by the HCJ members resulted in the Council’s loss of competency, since only five members currently remain in office. The lack of the Council’s competency during martial law impedes a number of important processes within the judiciary, such as transfers/secondments of judges, consent for detention or imprisonment of judges, or reallocation of budgetary expenditures for the courts. Given the Ethics Council’s indefinite postponement of interviews with the HCJ candidates, the resumption of the HCJ’s competency in the near future appears unlikely. Because of this, it is imperative for the legislature to urgently work through a mechanism for transferring a portion of the HCJ’s functions to other justice system entities, in order to ensure stable operations of the court system during the war.
In addition, given the constitutional prohibitions on restricting the right to access to justice even during martial law, judicial self-governance bodies need to develop recommendations for courts on how to administer justice under existing circumstances.