The Regulation on the selection of candidates for the position of a member of the Ethics Council, approved by the Council of Judges on September 21, do not meet the requirements of the law on the HCJ reform. Thus, the requirement of 15 years of experience for candidates to the Ethics Council contradicts the transitional provisions of the law on the HCJ reform, which regulate the special procedure for forming the first composition of the Ethics Council.
As a general rule, members of the Ethics Council are nominated to the Ethics Council by the Council of Judges, as well as the Conference of Prosecutors, the Council of Attorneys and the Presidium of the National Academy of Legal Sciences. Such members of the Ethics Council must have 15 years of professional experience (parts 2 and 3 of Article 91 of the Law "On the High Council of Justice").
However, for the first composition of the Ethics Rally, Law №1635-IX provides for the participation of international experts and there is no requirement for 15 years of professional experience (paragraphs 1 and 3 of paragraph 231 of the transitional provisions of the Law "On the High Council of Justice"). Literally:
"The first composition of the Ethics Council is formed of three judges or retired judges
delegated by the Council of Judges of Ukraine and three persons delegated by international
and foreign organizations…
… Candidates for the position of a member of the Ethics Council may be persons who have
an impeccable reputation, high professional and moral qualities, positive public standing,
compliance with the criteria of professional ethics and integrity.”
Not a word about 15 years of professional experience.
Instead, in its Regulation, the Council of Judges put forward to the candidates of the first
composition of the Ethics Council requirements that do not comply with the law. This
additional requirement significantly narrowed the list of potential candidates among
judges who would like to participate in the Ethics Council.
Thus, Judge Mykola Glotov, who ran for the Ethics Council under the quota of the Council of Judges and was not elected by it at the meeting on September 13, publicly announced that he would not run for the Ethics Council a second time due to requirement of 15 years of professional experience.
“This situation is very reminiscent of 2019. Then, despite Law №193-IX (draft law №1008), known as the first attempt of President Zelensky to restart judicial reform, the High Council of Justice approved a Regulation on the competition for the HQCJ, which completely levelled the role of international experts. Thus, judicial reform was thwarted.
We now see similar games being performed by the Council of Judges. It is obvious that the Council is making every effort to block the formation of the Ethics Council. The illegal requirement of 15 years of experience is aimed at narrowing the range of potential candidates as much as possible, and the set of formal requirements for the documents themselves (font size and size, etc.) is to discourage judges from applying. Within a month, the Council of Judges will triumphantly declare that few candidates have applied, and those who did submit documents are unworthy and did not get enough votes.
The conclusion is simple - the Council of Judges obviously will not delegate anyone to the Ethics Council even in October, which will block judicial reform permanently.”
- says Stepan Berko, Advocacy Manager of the DEJURE Foundation.
On February 5, 2020, the High Council of Justice failed Zelensky's judicial reform.
Then, the High Council of Justice contrary to the law approved the Regulation on the competition for the HQCJ, which levelled the role of international experts. Due to such a decision, as of today, the process of forming a new HQCJ has not even begun. In addition, the High Council of Justice did not amend its Rules of Procedure and did not nominate its delegates to the Ethics Commission. Thus, the HCJ blocked the formation of a body provided for by judicial reform.