Weekly analytics for 7 – 13 December 2021
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The Ethics Council may proceed with performing its duties in full
On December 9, the Ethics Council approved Section III of the Rules of the Council and the Methodology for assessing the compliance of a candidate for the position of the High Council of Justice (HCJ) members and of the HCJ’s current members with professional ethics and integrity criteria.
Section III of the Rules governs the procedural aspects of assessing the candidates and current members of the HCJ (procedure for communications, interviews, assessment, deadlines for separate stages, etc.). The Rules provide that the conditions for recognizing a candidate or current member of the HCJ as not meeting the integrity criteria include not only the ability to prove non-compliance, but also the presence of reasonable doubts about compliance.
The Methodology sets forth as indicators of professional ethics and integrity the following criteria: independence, honesty, impartiality, incorruptibility, diligence, ethical compliance, and impeccable behavior in both professional activities and personal life, as well as absence of doubts about the legality of sources of property, the adequacy of a candidate’s and/or the HCJ current member’s and their family members of standards of living to the declared income, and a candidate’s and/or the HCJ current member’s lifestyle compliance with their status. The assessment takes into account information without time or territorial limits, while any opinion or assessment of a national or international body on the integrity is not pre-determined or binding for the Ethics Council.
Furthermore, if a candidate and/or a current member of the HCJ has acquired ownership, possession, or use of any property for free, the previous owner (or, in case of the transfer of property’s possession or use, the current owner) who granted such property, must have done so using legal income.
Approval of the final section of the Rules of the Ethics Council and the Methodology allows the Council to begin fully performing its duties. As reported by the CPLR experts, as its first priority, the Ethics Council intends to assess the integrity of the candidates to the HCJ that have already applied for the announced competitions, after which it will begin evaluating the current HCJ members.
It should be noted that the Congress of Scholars, which was supposed to elect the HCJ members within its quota on December 10, announced a break until it receives the list of recommended candidates from the Ethics Council. The Congress of Judges, which was previously scheduled for December 22-23, was similarly postponed. In public communications, the HCJ “accuses” the Ethics Council of these postponements, as it did not provide the list of recommended candidates. However, the postponements are not the Ethics Council’s fault, given that the dates of the respective congresses were set without taking into account the actual date of formation of the authorized composition of the Ethics Council. Due to the delays by the Council of Judges, the Ethics Council was not properly established until early November, rather than in mid-September as was required by law.