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Council of Europe criticizes judicial reform bill adopted in first reading

The draft law could have significant implications for the independence of the judicial system
14:38, 3 October 2019

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić
Open source

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić expressed concern about the bill (№1008) adopted by the Ukrainian parliament in first reading “On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine on the Functioning of Judicial Governance," the letter reads.

According to the Secretary General, the bill puts forward changes that could have significant implications for the independence of the judicial system. In particular, it affects the status and competencies of judges, as well as relating procedures.

Letter of Secretary General of Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić
Council of Europe

“The text puts forward changes that could have significant implications for the independence of the judicial system. In particular, it affects the status and competencies of judges, as well as relating procedures,” the message says.

Letter of Secretary General of Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić
Council of Europe

Pejčinović Burić also stressed that reforms should be carried out to meet Council of Europe and international standards.

“We fully acknowledge the will of the Ukrainian Government to advance with reforms. At the same time, it is of utmost importance that it builds on the achievements resulting from reforms carried out to meet Council of Europe and international standards,” she added.

Related: Crimean Prosecutor's Office charges judge with wrongful conviction of Ukrainian journalist

As it was reported, on September 11, a number of provisions of the bill №1008 proposed by Volodymyr Zelensky were severely criticized by Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Ukraine Annika Weidemann and Canadian Ambassador Roman Vashchuk. Diplomats noted that the reduction of the number of judges of the Supreme Court is groundless, and the extension of lustration to members of the High qualification commission of judges of Ukraine is generally meaningless and ineffective. According to the ambassadors, the bill №1032 "On Amendments to Some Laws of Ukraine on Priority Measures for the Reform of the Prosecution Bodies" also needs serious revision.   

However, on the next day, the bill №1008 was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in the first reading.

Related: Kyiv District Administrative Court judges might interfere in work of state bodies; suspictions not signed

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