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Venice Commission: Appointment of judges of anti-corruption court should not contradict constitution

Venice Commission: Appointment of judges of anti-corruption court should not contradict constitution
11 of October 2017 г.
The appointment of judges of an Anti-Corruption Court in Ukraine should not contradict the Constitution of Ukraine, according to an opinion by the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), which was made public on October 10 - Ukrinform.

In its conclusion, the Venice Commission welcomed recent statements by the Ukrainian president regarding the urgency of resolving the issue of creating an efficient "special anti-corruption judicial body," which should be formed on a competitive basis from judges with impeccable reputation and must meet the standards of the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission.

The commission noted the expediency of establishing a High Specialized Anti-Corruption Court, as provided for in the law of Ukraine "On the Judicial System and the Status of Judges." The commission also noted a number of shortcomings in bill No. 6011, which is currently under consideration by the Verkhovna Rada. In particular, experts are worried about the return to political mechanisms for the appointment of judges.

In their conclusion, Venice Commission experts paid special attention to the need "to introduce additional safeguards to ensure that the procedure for the appointment of judges is independent of the executive and legislative powers."

"The fact that the Commission members are designated by political figures/institutions (i.e. the President of the Republic, the Verkhovna Rada - and the Minister of Justice, though with limited discretion) gives rise to concerns. Namely, it may undermine the process of depolarization of the judiciary; the recent amendments to the Constitution and the LJSJ [the law on the judicial system and the status of judges] excluded the legislative and executive powers (Minister of Justice) from the appointment procedure which is now led by the judicial self-governance bodies (HCJ [High Council of Justice] and HQC [High Qualifications Commission of Judges])," reads the opinion.

At the same time, the Venice Commission emphasizes in its conclusion that the procedure for the appointment of anti-corruption judges does not deviate more than necessary from the general appointment procedure in order to dispel any possible doubts about the constitutionality of the law.


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