Ukrainian Parliament passes constitutional amendments related to judiciary
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has passed the constitutional amendments related to judiciary.
Over 335 MPs voted in favor of the bill, including the coalition factions of Bloc of Petro Poroshenko and the People’s Front Party and majority of lawmakers from the Opposition Bloc faction, Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper reports.
The Samopomich faction, the Radical Party faction, MPs Yulia Tymoshenko and Nadiya Savchenko did not vote.
According to Deputy Head of the Administration of the President of Ukraine Oleksiy Filatov, who represented the bill, the constitutional amendments provide for “depoliticization and ensuring independence of the judiciary.”
According to Filatov, the issue of appointment and transfer of judges is now within the authorities of the High Council of Public Justice, created instead of the High Council of Justice. The amendments to the Constitution, according to Filatov, ensure political neutrality of members of the High Council of Public Justice.
However, under the transitional provisions, the President shall be responsible for transfer of the judges on the basis of the decision of the High Council of Public Justice for two years more.
The transitional provisions note that the High Council of Public Justice shall be established before April 30, 2019, and the High Council of Justice shall carry out its functions before the establishment.
The amendments also provide for establishment of a new Supreme Court.
The President is deprived of the right to establish courts, but the effect of this article shall come into force after the introduction of the new administrative-territorial structure, no later than December 31, 2017.
The appointment of judges for an indefinite term is also within competence of the High Council of Public Justice, not by the Verkhovna Rada as it was until now.
A judge cannot be held liable without the consent of the High Council of Public Justice. However, according to Filatov, the new changes “simplify” procedures of holding judges liable.
“The law limits judges’ immunity,” Filatov said.
“No confirmation of the legitimacy of sources of income is the basis for dismissal of a judge,” Filatov added.
The amendments introduce qualification assessment for all judges – each judge shall confirm the compliance with his office.
“The functions of the prosecutor’s Office are brought into line with the European standards,” Filatov said.
The constitutional amendments guarantee everyone the right to file a constitutional complaint with the Constitutional Court, if it is considered that the law of Ukraine, which is applied in the final judgment in the case, contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine.
“A constitutional complaint may be lodged in case if all other domestic remedies have been exhausted,” the amendments to the Constitution read.
At the same time, the constitutional amendments postpone the ratification of the Rome Statute for three years.
As reported, the human rights activists criticized the constitutional amendments related to judiciary.