Protesters demonstrate against judges of the Kyiv Administrative District Court on July 30, 2019.
Photo by Volodymyr Petrov
Chargé d’affaires a.i. of Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine Annika Weidemann and Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Waschuk have welcomed the intention of the Ukrainian parliament and the government to swiftly advance the reforms in the judiciary and the prosecutorial system, but criticized some provisions of bill No. 1008 amending some laws of Ukraine on the activities of judicial self-government bodies.
“We welcome the intention of the Parliament and the Government to swiftly advance the reforms in the judiciary and the prosecutorial system. We also commend your plans to widen the role of international experts in the judicial selection and ethical oversight processes, a tool that has proven effective in the selection of judges to the Higher Anti-Corruption Court,” the ambassadors said in a letter, a copy of which Interfax-Ukraine has, sent to heads of parliamentary committees on legal policy Iryna Venediktova and on law enforcement Denys Monastyrsky.
At the same time, pointing at the flaws of bill No. 1008 amending some laws of Ukraine on the activities of judicial self-government bodies submitted to parliament by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the diplomats pointed out inappropriateness of reduction of the number of Supreme Court judges and the application of lustration to members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ).
“Any reduction of the number of Supreme Court judge should be based on a thorough analysis of its current structure, workload, and jurisdiction. Enhanced procedural filters and optimisation of the court structure could allow a gradual reduction of its workload and thus permit cutting the number of judges, while at the same time respecting international standard on the independence of judiciary. A reboot of the High Qualification Commission and the creation of the new Ethics and Integrity Commission will remain ineffective, unless also the High Council of Justice is reformed,” the ambassadors said.
They paid attention that modalities for the involvement of international experts should be further reviewed to ensure their effectiveness, in particular as regards the international experts’ decision-making powers in the JQCJ Selection Commission and in the HCJ Integrity Commission.
The EU and Canadian ambassadors also said that bill No. 1032 amending some laws of Ukraine on priority measures for reform of the prosecutor’s office should be further elaborated and complemented with additional transparency and accountability provisions that are commensurate to the extensive powers exceptionally vested in the Prosecutor General, in order to ensure that the execution of these powers is effective and compliant with European standards and constitutional principles.