Ukraine’s Council of Judges opposes renewal of judiciary

Дата: 21 September 2016
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Termination of powers of a judge after the expiration of a five-year term is not grounds for termination of employment.

The Council of Judges of Ukraine voted for this decision, Hromadske Radio reports.

The expiration of a five-year term, which a judge was appointed at prior to the entry into force of the law of Ukraine on judicial system and status of judges dated June 2, 2016, is not a legally defined basis for making a decision by the heads of courts on termination of powers of a judge by the issuance of a relevant order,” the decision of the Council reads.

In its decision, the Council also stresses that Article 119 of the law “On the Judicial System and Status of Judges” says the termination of powers of a judge is only possible on the grounds set forth in the Constitution of Ukraine.

Article 126 of the Constitution of Ukraine stipulates that the powers shall be terminated in case of:

 a judge turns sixty-five years old;

 termination of citizenship of Ukraine or acquiring citizenship of another state by a judge;

 entry into force of a court decision recognizing a judge as missing or dead, as incapable or partially capable;

 death of a judge;

 entry into force of a guilty verdict against a judge for committing a crime.

The decision notes that this list is exhaustive.

Roman Kuybida, the expert on judicial reform in the Reanimation Package of Reforms initiative, considers that such a decision of the Council of Judges demonstrates the opposite approach to the implementation of the judicial reform. He is convinced that the Council of Judges does not want the competition for judges, who were appointed for a five-year term.

The constitutional amendments and the law on judiciary stipulate that after they enter into force, the powers of the appointed judges, who worked for five years, should be terminated. However, they can take part in the competition for a position of a judge and be appointed based on the competition results,” he explains.

According to him, such a decision of the Council means that these judges will continue to receive salaries of judges. “However, they will not exercise the powers and it is unknown what competition they will participate in. The competition is always announced for a vacant position. If there is no vacant position as it is held by a judge, the question arises what competition will we have?” Roman Kuybida wonders.

If such interpretation and implementation of quite clear provisions of the Constitution and the law on the judicial system is ongoing, we will make no progress in the judicial reform and the judiciary will not be renewed. It will look more like an eyewash,” he added.

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