Poroshenko signs law on High Council of Justice

Дата: 03 January 2017
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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has singed the law on the High Council of Justice during a meeting with Chairman of the High Council of Justice Ihor Benedysiuk and Presidential Administration Deputy Head Oleksiy Filatov.

As reported by the president’s press service.

Poroshenko noted that year 2016 became important in decisive actions to reform the judicial system. Constitutional changes in terms of justice were adopted and came into effect, a new body was established – the High Council of Justice (HCJ).

“The body, which will remove the political element from the judicial system, will assume the function of appointing judges from the Verkhovna Rada. The High Council of Justice will be responsible for disciplining and dismissing judges”, – said Poroshenko.

The president said the law, titled “On the High Council of Justice,” received positive reviews from the European Union’s Venice Commission and partners from the USA and the EU.

The President thanked the Verkhovna Rada, which listened to his proposal, supported this law and approved in those terms, which make it possible for the High Council of Justice to come into effect in 2017.

The law as adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on December 21.

In addition, Poroshenko signed the law on introducing changes to Ukraine’s Budget Code, which, regulate the issue of financing the High Council of Justice.

As a reminder, on December 29, non-governmental organization Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR) stated that during the voting on the law on High Council of Justice of Ukraine on December 21 additional guidelines were included. These guidelines were not considered in the first reading and do not relate to the subject of regulation of the relevant law.

The RPR states that investigative subdivisions in the field of penal service must be created and based on the transitional provisions of the law on the High Council of Justice. This means that investigative divisions will be created in the Ministry of Justice of (the State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine is in the process of liquidation and its powers will be passed to the Ministry of Justice) in addition to the current militarized operational subdivisions, security subdivisions as well as special forces unit.

According to the RPR, this step of the legislator, in particular, will lead to a long legal collapse of investigation of crimes in the places of detention, since from the moment of coming into effect of the law no one will be able to investigate crimes that are committed in prisons, as full-pledged investigative subdivisions of the Ministry of Justice won’t be created for a long time.

In addition, the institution of investigators of the Ministry of Justice can cause the coating of crimes committed by the employees of the State Penitentiary Service, since the investigations will be carried out by the investigators of the same service. There is also possibility of violation of the principles of an independent, transparent, and effective investigation of the cases of tortures in the places of detention. The principles that are defined in the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and recommendations of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

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