The MP of the "Servant of the People" faction and the President's representative in the Constitutional Court Fedir Venislavsky hopes that his colleagues in the Parliament will support the amendments to introduce a single competitive procedure for selection of the Constitutional Court judges for all appointing bodies - the President, the Parliament and the Congress of Judges. This became known during a TV broadcast with the participation of Fedir Venislavsky and the Chair of the Board of the DEJURE Foundation Mykhailo Zhernakov on November 10.
“The Parliamentary working group has prepared a very good concept and then the draft law № 4533 on the constitutional procedure, it is ready for the second reading, and I am convinced that in the coming plenary weeks, this calendar year for sure…. we will adopt this draft law. Because both the President's Office and the President himself insist that it must be adopted immediately, and the Verkhovna Rada is ready. With the adoption of this law, we will regulate the activities of the Constitutional Court and make it impossible to manipulate certain cases through behind-the-scenes games. One of the key demands of the [Venice Commission] was the creation of the Selection Commission for all bodies - for the President, the Verkhovna Rada and the Congress of Judges. And I am one of those authors of the amendments to the second reading who proposed this competitive procedure. I am convinced that we will consider this issue at the hearing of the Verkhovna Rada, and I very much hope that my colleagues will support me and we will vote on the amendments. There should be a single selection procedure for all appointing bodies of the Constitutional Court judges”,
- said Fedir Venislavsky.
When asked by the DEJURE Chair Mykhailo Zhernakov why the "Servants of the People" further politicize the appointment of the Constitutional Court judges with an amendment that stipulates that MPs can run for the Constitutional Court without even resigning, Fedir Venislavsky said that such an amendment would be withdrawn from the final draft law.
"As for the political activities of the candidates, this issue will not be in the final version of the law, this is the position of the President. I am convinced that the final version of the law will satisfy both the expert community and our international partners, and will lay the groundwork for verifying the integrity and high professional qualities of future judges of the Constitutional Court”,
- said the President’s representative in the Constitutional Court.
“At the request of the President, the Venice Commission issued its opinion, which states that the main problem of judges of the Constitutional Court is political dependence and how they are appointed. The same was repeated by Ukraine's closest partners, the G7. Almost a year has passed since these recommendations were issued. It is necessary to finally establish a competitive selection procedure, as required by the Constitution, and not as it is now, when only parliamentary factions delegate candidates, ie candidates are politically biased from the beginning, and no one even checks formal requirements for candidates. An example is the candidacy of Yuri Pavlenko, who was delegated by the committee, allegedly holding a competition, but he did not actually meet the requirements for legal experience. It is also important not to appoint judges to vacant positions in the Constitutional Court until the introduction of a competitive selection procedure”,
- said Mykhailo Zhernakov.
On September 9, NGOs called on MPs not to support the draft law №4533 on the constitutional procedure without introducing a competitive selection of the Constitutional Court judges with the participation of international experts.
This was preceded by a meeting of the Parliamentary Legal Committee headed by Andriy Kostin, the MP of the "Servant of the People" faction, where the MPs refused to support all amendments concerning the competitive selection of judges of the Constitutional Court. Thus, the Committee decided to exclude the previously approved amendments to the competitive procedure for the selection of candidates for the position of the Constitutional Court judge, leaving it as it is today. This contradicts the second opinion of the Venice Commission of December 2020, in which the members of the Commission noted that "there is a general feeling that the appointment of judges is mostly politically motivated." Therefore, new judges of the Constitutional Court should be appointed only under a new procedure, in which international and public experts have an important role to play.
On September 23, the G7 Ambassadors expressed their concern over the draft law № 4533, which provides for the “reform” of the Constitutional Court without proper competition with the participation of international experts.
Earlier, the NGOs demanded that President Zelensky appoint judges to the Constitutional Court only after the relevant vacancies are opened in a constitutional manner. Otherwise, for a full nine years - the term of office of judges of the Constitutional Court - the legitimacy of the Constitutional Court and its decisions will be damaged.