Civil society demanding to stop appointment of dishonest judges

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High Council of Justice

President of Ukraine

Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Article 127 of the Constitution stipulates that only competent and trustworthy citizens shall be appointed to the position of a judge. In order to establish compliance with these criteria, a special procedure was introduced – qualification assessment of judges with the participation of the Public Integrity Council (PIC). Only judges, who have passed the qualification assessment, can be appointed to office indefinitely.

The civil society has many complaints about the results of such an assessment, but so far the procedure has been at least formally followed.

Now, however, the High Council of Justice (HCJ) has decided to grossly violate these unambiguous norms of the Constitution and to appoint individuals, who have not even passed the mandatory evaluation procedure, as judges. This already has signs of a crime.

In November and December, the HCJ submitted a motion to the President to appoint for an indefinite period the judges, on whom the PIC issued negative conclusions. According to Art. 88 of the Law “On the Judiciary and the Status of Judges”, in the presence of a negative opinion of the PIC, at least 11 members of the HCJC must vote in favor, otherwise a judge is recognized as not having passed the qualification assessment. However, the HCJC did not vote on any of these judges.

A particular cynicism is that on December 3, the HCJ plans to appoint Viktor Kytsiuk, a judge of the Pechersk Court, for life, who deliberately convicted innocent people in order to intimidate and suppress protests during the Revolution of Dignity. He became a symbol of controlled perjury and arbitrariness. His appointment will be a sign not only of the reform’s complete failure but also the system’s return  backin 2013. In addition, on June 26, 2018, HCJC stopped evaluating Kytsiuk, i.e. he did not even complete the testing and did not pass the interview.

The HCJ justifies these actions by a staff shortage in the judiciary. However, it is artificially created by the HCJ itself, which has not yet completed consideration of the relevant recommendations of the HCJC on the appointment of new judges, which the HCJ received in the summer of 2019.

Considering all the above mentioned, we demand that:

  • The High Council of Justice stop grossly violating the Constitution, repeal illegal decisions and appoint only those judges who have passed the qualification assessment procedure;
  • the President leave without consideration the submission of the High Council of Justice on the appointment of judges who have not passed the qualification assessment;
  • the President and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine introduce and adopt bills that will finally ensure the reset of the High Council of Justice and launch the High Qualifications Commission as soon as possible, in accordance with the election promises and Ukraine’s international obligations.

Public Council of Integrity

All-Ukrainian Association “Avtomaidan”

DEJURE Foundation

Advocacy Advisory Panel

Center for Civil Liberties

Media Initiative Group for Human RightsCivic Lustration Committee

Kharkiv Anticorruption Center

Transparency International Ukraine

CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary! Campaign

Centre for Economic Strategy

Antivorruption Action Center

ZMINA Human Rights Centre

ACTION Human Rights Center