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Recent legislative changes to judicial system of Ukraine threaten its stability and independence, - Venice Commission

Source : 112 Ukraine

Legislative changes, including halving the number of judges of Supreme Court of Ukraine, threaten independence of judiciary
23:05, 6 December 2019

Venice Commission
ukrinform.ru

The Venice Commission (VC) believes that legislative changes to the judicial system of Ukraine threaten its stability and independence. The press service of the Council of Europe reports.

In particular, the findings recall that Law No. 193 provides for new rules regarding the structure and role of judges of the High Council of Justice (HCJ), as well as the composition and status of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges, halves the number of judges of the Supreme Court and introduces strict disciplinary measures against judges.

“The Venice Commission welcomes the fact that the two judicial authorities were close to each other. It should also be noted that the government majority is apparently open to further changes to the judicial system in order to eliminate the shortcomings of the new law that was adopted according to a very quick procedure, without taking into account the views of all relevant stakeholders," – VC noted.

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Commission experts emphasize that the stability and independence of the judiciary are “inextricably linked.” The VC recalls that the reform of the selection process for judges and the new composition of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, which began its work in January 2018, was a “notable improvement over the system that existed earlier”, and all judges of the Supreme Court were recently appointed after a comprehensive evaluation process and their honesty.

“Initiating another election after the election, which will lead to major changes in the composition of the Supreme Court, sends a message to both judges and the general public that it depends on the will of the relevant majority in the parliament whether the judges of the Supreme Court will be able to stay in the office or not. This is an obvious threat to their independence," - the Venice Commission says.

The VK believes that the reform of the Supreme Court can be undertaken after its enormous burden is reduced, including through the reform of the courts of first and second instance, which should be a key area of ​​reform.

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The Commission also believes that reducing the number of judges of the Supreme Court to 100, in relation to which "sufficient justification has not been provided, is actually tantamount to a re-examination and should be abolished."

“The examination of all Supreme Court judges when there is doubt about the honesty of some of them is clearly not proportional. In addition, the reduction in the number of judges will now lead to even more lagging cases and jeopardize the functioning of the Supreme Court. The goal of reducing the number of judges may be achieved at a later stage, when the current load will be removed. A reduction in the number of judges can probably be achieved by natural reduction (retirement) or voluntary transfer, "- VK advised.

As we reported, The Venice Commission states that the Ukrainian government should strive for a balance in language policy so that the language problem does not become a source of interethnic tension in Ukraine

Legislative changes, including halving the number of judges of Supreme Court of Ukraine, threaten independence of judiciary

The Venice Commission (VC) believes that legislative changes to the judicial system of Ukraine threaten its stability and independence. The press service of the Council of Europe reports.

In particular, the findings recall that Law No. 193 provides for new rules regarding the structure and role of judges of the High Council of Justice (HCJ), as well as the composition and status of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges, halves the number of judges of the Supreme Court and introduces strict disciplinary measures against judges.

“The Venice Commission welcomes the fact that the two judicial authorities were close to each other. It should also be noted that the government majority is apparently open to further changes to the judicial system in order to eliminate the shortcomings of the new law that was adopted according to a very quick procedure, without taking into account the views of all relevant stakeholders," – VC noted.

Commission experts emphasize that the stability and independence of the judiciary are “inextricably linked.” The VC recalls that the reform of the selection process for judges and the new composition of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, which began its work in January 2018, was a “notable improvement over the system that existed earlier”, and all judges of the Supreme Court were recently appointed after a comprehensive evaluation process and their honesty.

“Initiating another election after the election, which will lead to major changes in the composition of the Supreme Court, sends a message to both judges and the general public that it depends on the will of the relevant majority in the parliament whether the judges of the Supreme Court will be able to stay in the office or not. This is an obvious threat to their independence," - the Venice Commission says.

The VK believes that the reform of the Supreme Court can be undertaken after its enormous burden is reduced, including through the reform of the courts of first and second instance, which should be a key area of ​​reform.

The Commission also believes that reducing the number of judges of the Supreme Court to 100, in relation to which "sufficient justification has not been provided, is actually tantamount to a re-examination and should be abolished."

“The examination of all Supreme Court judges when there is doubt about the honesty of some of them is clearly not proportional. In addition, the reduction in the number of judges will now lead to even more lagging cases and jeopardize the functioning of the Supreme Court. The goal of reducing the number of judges may be achieved at a later stage, when the current load will be removed. A reduction in the number of judges can probably be achieved by natural reduction (retirement) or voluntary transfer, "- VK advised.

As we reported, The Venice Commission states that the Ukrainian government should strive for a balance in language policy so that the language problem does not become a source of interethnic tension in Ukraine.

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