Today, October 8, the Plenum of the Supreme Court considered the appeal of the High Council of Justice regarding the unconstitutionality of judicial reform. Judges of the Supreme Court (SC) sent the constitutional submission to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CC), which means the beginning of the revocation of judicial reform.
The submission was supported by 129 judges of the Supreme Court, and only 15 spoke against it. The Supreme Court wants the Constitutional Court to declare the HCJ law unconstitutional.
The judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine cannot independently declare a certain law unconstitutional. That is why the judicial mafia, through the Supreme Court, decided to appeal to the Constitutional Court to stop the judicial reform that has recently begun.
“There are several influential groups of judges in the Supreme Court who actually run the whole system. For years, they appointed their people to the HCJ and thus controlled the system. For them, the creation of the Ethics Council means a loss of control over the appointment of the HCJ members, and thus the inability to influence the careers of loyal judges and punish the disloyal. It seems that without changes to the law on judicial reform, the judicial mafia will not allow for reform”
- commented the AntAC expert Halyna Chyzhyk.
“The CC is undoubtedly ready to destroy this judicial reform and was just waiting for a formal appeal from the Supreme Court. After all, a year and a half ago, Zelensky's first attempt to reform the judicial system was cancelled there. Later, the CC destroyed the electronic declaration of officials. The judicial mafia will do everything to avoid any changes and cleansing. Everyone who supported the submission to the Constitutional Court is playing in their interests, but not in the interests of ordinary judges. For them, all attempts to sabotage judicial reform ended with the reform returning in an intensified and radicalized form. The same will happen this time”
- said Mykhailo Zhernakov, Chair of the Board of the DEJURE Foundation.
Earlier, members of the Council of Judges refused to delegate their representatives to the Ethics Council, which has to check the integrity of candidates and members of the HCJ. Thus, the Council of Judges sabotaged judicial reform and won some time for the Supreme Court to send a submission to the Constitutional Court regarding the unconstitutionality of the reform.
In July 2021, Verkhovna Rada adopted the laws on judicial reform, which provided for the decisive role of international experts.
Last week, international organizations assisting Ukraine in the field of judicial reform and anti-corruption delegated experts to the Selection Commission that will select members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges and the Ethics Council to cleanse the High Council of Justice. The delegated experts are the elite of the judicial and legal systems of the USA and the EU, for example, judges of the Supreme Courts of the largest US states, the Prosecutor General of Estonia and the largest federal state of Germany, the Minister of Justice and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Slovenia.
In October 2019, Verkhovna Rada started the judicial reform, in which international experts should have also taken part. This was the first attempt by President Zelensky and the Servants of the People to carry out judicial reform. However, then the High Council of Justice blocked it with its provisions, levelling the role of international experts. The international experts refused to participate in this so-called “competition” and did not nominate experts to the Selection Commission before the deadline. Later, the CC ruled on its unconstitutionality and thwarted the reform.