The European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) said that many of the provisions of the draft law provide a good basis for the establishment of a high specialised anti-corruption court, but made several recommendations to reduce the risk that it could be considered unconstitutional, according to the statement published on the website of the Council of Europe.
“In order to dispel any doubts about the constitutionality of the legislative procedure, the Venice Commission invites the President of Ukraine to promptly submit his own draft law on anti-corruption courts – which should be based on the Venice Commission’s recommendations. The current draft law (Draft Law No. 6011) thus needs to be withdrawn,” the Commission states.
The Venice experts believe that the key components of the current draft should be maintained, namely the establishment of an independent high specialized anti-corruption court and appeal instance whose judges are of impeccable reputation. They also stated that international organisations and donors who provide support for anti-corruption programmes in Ukraine should be given a crucial role in the court’s activity at first.
As to the alternative bill that suggests introducing mandatory specialisation of judges to consider corruption offences (draft Law No. 6529), it deviates from the current law and international obligations of Ukraine to set up a specialised anti-corruption court.
“The Commission cannot see how the appointment of specialised judges in all courts in Ukraine could be justified and be implemented in practice. It appears questionable, the Venice Commission stresses, whether the referral of all kinds of corruption-related offences to the specialised judges would be an effective tool for enhancing the fight against high-level corruption in particular,” the statement reads.