NGOs call on the President’s Office and the Sluha Narodu party to stop putting pressure on the Constitutional Court by demanding illegal actions, and wait for vacancies in the Constitutional Court to arise so that the newly appointed judges Hryshchuk and Petryshyn can be sworn in legally.
On December 16, a statement by Olena Moshenets, Deputy Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Corruption Policy and a member of the party was published on the website of the Sluha Narodu party, in which she commented on the information that the Venice Commission supported the Constitutional Court's decision not to swear in the newly appointed judges.
The ruling party MP actually accused the Constitutional Court of refusing to swear in the newly appointed judges of the Constitutional Court, Oksana Hryshchuk and Oleksandr Petryshyn, and presented this as a countermeasure to overcoming the constitutional crisis. As an argument, the politician used the sanctions imposed on Oleksandr Tupytsky by the United States as "a clear signal that any attempt to break the reforms in Ukraine will receive a tough response". Simultaneously with Moshenets' statement, blogs with identical messages were distributed by bloggers whom the Ukrainian media include in the pool of cooperation with the President's Office. Earlier, the Head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak spoke with the same theses on one of the broadcasts.
No matter how we treat Tupytsky and Kasminin, their term will expire only in May and September 2022, respectively. Swearing in judges will mean deepening the already serious crisis around the Constitutional Court.
The way out of the crisis is to adopt the draft law that provides for the new competitive procedure and the appointment of all new judges of the Constitutional Court in accordance with it.
Since we can witness an information campaign aimed at illegally forcing the Constitutional Court to swear in the newly appointed judges Hryshchuk and Petryshyn, we call on the President’s Office, the ruling party and the government's repeaters on social media to stop putting pressure on the Constitutional Court judges.
The actions of the judges of the Constitutional Court are absolutely lawful, as:
1. The Presidential decree revoking the decrees appointing Oleksandr Tupytsky and Oleksandr Kasminin is legally null and void. According to the Constitution of Ukraine, the President has no authority to dismiss judges of the Constitutional Court.
2. Society has well-founded doubts about the integrity of Oleksandr Tupytsky and some other judges of the Constitutional Court. This is confirmed by the US sanctions imposed on Tupytskys couple “for significant corrupt acts to include the acceptance of a monetary bribe while serving in the Ukrainian judiciary”. However, according to the Ukrainian Constitution, only judges of the Constitutional Court can dismiss judges of the Constitutional Court. This means that Oleksandr Tupytsky and Oleksandr Kasminin still remain judges of the Constitutional Court.
3. Oleksandr Tupytsky's term expires in five months - in May 2022, and Oleksandr Kasminin’s - in September 2022. Thus, a vacancy, for which the Constitutional Court will be able to legally swear in one of the two judges appointed by the President, will arise in May. The same opinion is confirmed by the Venice Commission in the Synopsis of December 13, 2021.
4. The appointment of new judges of the Constitutional Court in the absence of relevant vacancies in the CCU under the President's quota undermines the legitimacy of the Constitutional Court and creates a situation where 8 judges will be appointed to 6 positions. In this case, the work of the Constitutional Court will be completely blocked.
5. For a year now, the ruling party and the President's Office have been ignoring the Venice Commission's opinion on overcoming the constitutional crisis, which recommended establishing a single competitive procedure for selecting judges of the Constitutional Court to offset political influence over the CCU judges. The draft law № 4533, despite the assurances of the President's representative in the Constitutional Court Fedir Venislavsky, still does not contain such a procedure.
That is why we call on the President and the Sluha Narodu party:
1. To stop trying to put pressure on the Constitutional Court and wait for the vacancies to arise legally, as recommended by the Venice Commission;
2. To reform the selection procedure for the Constitutional Court by introducing the provisions on a single competitive procedure for the selection of judges of the Constitutional Court in the draft law № 4533.
Centre of Political and Legal Reforms
Anti-Corruption Action Centre
Centre of United Actions
Economic Strategy Center
Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre (ACREC)
Kharkiv Anti-Corruption Centre
Civic monitoring and research centre