The Venice Commission had given positive conclusions to amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine that ensure reforming of the judicial system and replacement of all judges. Such statement has been made after the Venice Commission meeting by the Minister of Justice of Ukraine Pavlo Petrenko.
The VC resolved that judicial system’s full reboot is possible only after approving amendments to Ukraine’s fundamental law. However, VC experts warned us from immediate dismissal of all judges.
Appointment of judges through public contests won’t contradict the basic EU standards. In case of a new court structure will be created, the judicial system has to be accessible to both old judges and those, who haven’t previously worked in the system. They are going to be on equal footage during the open contest and decide who will win and take the judge’s seat.
“In their conclusion, the Venice Commission stated that during the reorganization of the judicial system and the forming of the judicial system’s new model, the State has the right to re-appoint judges. Existing judges have the right to take part in this process but only due to this re-appointment there is an opportunity to update the judicial system”, - stated the Minister.
According to him, the Venice Commission practice has always been aimed at maximum protection of judicial immunity and the impossibility of dismissal of judges. They have changed their practice, understanding Ukraine’s current situation, as well as the fact that without radical changes and judicial system reboot it is impossible to implement other reforms.
Venice Commission experts have encouraged making access to courts generally accessible for the public.
“Specialized courts impede access to justice, when a citizen has to go through several appeals in order to receive court’s final decision. VC’s point of view was for Ukraine to simplify the judicial system and remove dualism of cassation instances, which are the Supreme Court and specialized courts in Ukraine”, - said Pavlo Petrenko.
The third position of the VC was the necessity to remove any political influence from other branches of power on a judge’s career.
“Neither the Parliament, nor the President must affect the career, appointment or dismissal of judges. An independent body, consisting mostly from judges, will be responsible for above stated tasks”, - the Minister pointed out.
Positive conclusions from the VC experts have become possible thanks to a consolidated position on the suggested amendments in all branches of power in Ukraine.
“Now it is up to the Constitutional commission and its members, consisting of all political parties represented in the parliamentary coalition, to form a consolidated package of amendments”, - Pavlo Petrenko said.
Ukrainian Justice Minister reminded that the Government has formed a concept of judicial reform, which then has been sent to the Constitution commission and almost all provisions, introduced in this concept, have been approved by the Venice Commission.