The Minister of justice of Ukraine Pavel Petrenko said that the Council of Europe Commission «democracy through law» (Venice Commission) approved the recommendations on changes to the Constitution of Ukraine in part of judicial reform. He reported about it in Facebook.
«The Venice Commission endorsed the recommendations concerning judicial reform, and, among other things, allowed the Ukrainian government to restart the judicial system through the formation of new vessels and the recruitment of judges», — said Petrenko.
As reported in the press service of the President, in the final opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft notes that «the latest version of amendments to the Constitution are very positive and well prepared, and deserves full support.»
Commenting on the final opinion of the Venice Commission, Deputy head of the presidential Administration of Ukraine and Secretary of the Constitutional Commission Oleksiy Filatov has noted: «by Supporting all the key proposals of the Constitutional Commission, the Venice Commission confirmed the conformity of the project with European standards. The final conclusion is a significant contribution to the further development of judicial reform, which is based on the principle of the rule of law and not on an ad hoc or populist political considerations. We are grateful to the experts of the Venice Commission for this high rating and I hope that in the near future, the finalized draft amendments to the Constitution will be adopted at the plenary meeting of the Constitutional Commission and submitted by the President to the Verkhovna Rada».
According to the press service of the President, in conclusion, the Venice Commission welcomed, in particular, the abolition of probationary periods for judges, the abolition of «breach of oath» as grounds for dismissal of judges, the introduction of competitive procedures in the appointment of judges, formation of the High Council of justice so that a majority of judges elected by judges, the reform of the Prosecutor’s office and to guarantee its independence (primarily in connection with the deprivation of the Verkhovna Rada powers by the expression of distrust to the Prosecutor General), as well as the deprivation of the Prosecutor’s powers of General supervision, the introduction of constitutional complaint, etc.
The Venice Commission welcomes that, following its recommendations, the developers of the bill have seized the powers of the Verkhovna Rada on the appointment, and the President about dismissal of judges, and transferred them to the High Council of justice. At the same time, the Venice Commission recommends to state explicitly that the High Council of justice has the authority also by the transfer of judges and their promotion, although the President may, during the transitional period to have a role in this process for reasons of national security.
Also, the Venice Commission notes that «only serious disciplinary offences can entail dismissal of judges of the constitutional Court».
The Venice Commission noted that the dismissal of all judges except in exceptional cases such as change of the constitutional system, does not meet European standards and the rule of law. At the same time, this does not exclude the updates of the judiciary through the mechanisms of the reorganization of certain courts, as well as evaluation all judges are in compliance with the criteria of professionalism, ethics and integrity that coincides with the position of the Constitutional Commission.
In addition, the Venice Commission welcomed the constructive cooperation with the Constitutional Commission and noted that «after so many attempts over many years to reform provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine on justice, it is time to conduct a long-overdue reform to finally move towards achieving an independent judiciary. The Venice Commission considers that constitutional change is an important step towards achieving this goal.»
As reported, on 4 September, the Constitutional Commission supported the bill on amendments to the Constitution regarding judicial reform and decided to send it to the Venice Commission for an opinion.
President Petro Poroshenko said that within two weeks after obtaining the opinion of the Venice Commission will submit to the Verkhovna Rada the draft amendments to the Constitution in the part of the judicial reform.
The Venice Commission has approved changes to the Constitution in the part of the judicial reform 23.10.2015