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High Council of Justice operates in a closed regime, which is contrary to the law

13.04.2020
Judiciary /
Judiciary and Status of Judges

Event

On April 9, the High Council of Justice (HCJ) amended its own Rules of Procedure, which provided for participation in Council meetings or Disciplinary Board meetings in a videoconference regime using own technical facilities of participants. This should be done with the use of EasyCon service, which was designated by the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine on April 8 as a platform for videoconferences in civil, commercial and administrative cases.

Earlier, on March 18, the HCJ reported that it "restricted access of visitors to the premises of the High Council of Justice, except for emergency medical services, couriers and service personnel of the High Council of Justice's systems and networks (in urgent cases)", which became an obstacle for media representatives and other listeners to attend open meetings of the Council and its bodies.

Part 1 of Article 30 of the Law “On the High Council of Justice” establishes a general rule that meetings of the Council and of the Disciplinary Board shall be held openly. That is, the Law guarantees the right of every person to be present at Council meetings. However, the HCJ considers all issues in a closed-door manner in the absence of any possibility for journalists and the public to access the meetings.

CPLR Assessment

Allowing all parties involved in the HCJ proceedings (and not only judges, as foreseen in the previous version of the Rules of Procedure) to participate in the meetings in videoconference regime, including through the use of their own technical facilities, is a necessary and timely quarantine measure. However, the changes made do not take into account the need to ensure the implementation of the requirement of the law on openness of the HCJ meetings and its bodies.

In the context of quarantine restrictions, the HCJ should resume online broadcasting of its meetings and meetings of disciplinary boards. The HCJ has the necessary hardware and software as it regularly broadcasted its meetings from 2015 until November 2019 (see political points of the events dated 11-18 November 2019), until it amended its Rules of Procedure, limiting broadcasting only to cases where it was required by all parties to the proceedings.

Violation of the requirement of openness undermines the legitimacy of the decisions made by the HCJ and its bodies. To address this problem in the quarantine circumstances, the HCJ needs to use the available technical capabilities to conduct online broadcasting of its meetings.

Event

On April 9, the High Council of Justice (HCJ) amended its own Rules of Procedure, which provided for participation in Council meetings or Disciplinary Board meetings in a videoconference regime using own technical facilities of participants. This should be done with the use of EasyCon service, which was designated by the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine on April 8 as a platform for videoconferences in civil, commercial and administrative cases.

Earlier, on March 18, the HCJ reported that it "restricted access of visitors to the premises of the High Council of Justice, except for emergency medical services, couriers and service personnel of the High Council of Justice's systems and networks (in urgent cases)", which became an obstacle for media representatives and other listeners to attend open meetings of the Council and its bodies.

Part 1 of Article 30 of the Law “On the High Council of Justice” establishes a general rule that meetings of the Council and of the Disciplinary Board shall be held openly. That is, the Law guarantees the right of every person to be present at Council meetings. However, the HCJ considers all issues in a closed-door manner in the absence of any possibility for journalists and the public to access the meetings.

CPLR Assessment

Allowing all parties involved in the HCJ proceedings (and not only judges, as foreseen in the previous version of the Rules of Procedure) to participate in the meetings in videoconference regime, including through the use of their own technical facilities, is a necessary and timely quarantine measure. However, the changes made do not take into account the need to ensure the implementation of the requirement of the law on openness of the HCJ meetings and its bodies.

In the context of quarantine restrictions, the HCJ should resume online broadcasting of its meetings and meetings of disciplinary boards. The HCJ has the necessary hardware and software as it regularly broadcasted its meetings from 2015 until November 2019 (see political points of the events dated 11-18 November 2019), until it amended its Rules of Procedure, limiting broadcasting only to cases where it was required by all parties to the proceedings.

Violation of the requirement of openness undermines the legitimacy of the decisions made by the HCJ and its bodies. To address this problem in the quarantine circumstances, the HCJ needs to use the available technical capabilities to conduct online broadcasting of its meetings.