The draft law eliminates the influence of international experts on the selection of the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ) members. Instead of a decisive role in the selection procedure, international experts will have only an advisory function, and all power in the selection procedure will be granted to the notorious High Council of Justice (HCJ).
“Once again, the parliament prefers a "compromise" with the judicial mafia instead of deep and effective reform. The draft law in its current form can only fill the courts with two thousand judges of low integrity,
The best way out of the situation is the failure of the draft law in the second reading, as it is almost impossible to change it with amendments”
says Stepan Berko, Advocacy Manager of the DEJURE Foundation
The key provisions of the draft law are as follows:
- The competition to the HQCJ will be conducted by the HCJ, not the Selection Commission. Although the Selection Commission will check candidates for integrity, its opinions will be of a recommendatory nature only;
- Half of the new HQCJ composition will consist of judges or retired judges, the HCJ will be able to impose additional restrictions on independent candidates in the competition regulations (like it did sabotaging the implementation of the Law №193-IX);
- International experts will participate in the Selection Commission only once, and only if the HCJ allows it, for a period not exceeding one year after the formation of the first composition of the HQCJ. International experts will then be replaced by Ukrainian "independent" prosecutors, lawyers, and scholars (delegated by the Council of Prosecutors, the Bar, and the Presidium of the Academy of Legal Sciences);
- Even if an effective Selection Commission is established, it will be completely dependent on the HCJ - its work will be supported by the HCJ Secretariat.
Previously, due to the negative opinion of the Venice Commission, in November 2020 the parliament did not support the first version of the draft law №3711 and sent it to the Legal Committee for revision.
Instead of taking into account the opinion of the Venice Commission and improving the draft law, the members of the Legal Committee proposed amendments that contradict both the international obligations of Ukraine and the election promises of the "Sluha Narodu" party.