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Legal news in Ukraine: Decree on dissolution of the parliament is constitutional, President liquidated the Council on judicial reform, amendments to the Constitution, Extraordinary congress of judges

23.06.2019 / 10:57
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Legal news in Ukraine: Decree on dissolution of the parliament is constitutional, President liquidated the Council on judicial reform, amendments to the Constitution, Extraordinary congress of judges

The Constitutional Court found that Decree of the President dissolving the Verkhovna Rada is constitutional

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine upheld the decision in the case on the constitutional petition of 62 people’s deputies of Ukraine on the constitutionality of the Decree of the President of Ukraine «On early termination of powers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the appointment of early elections» dated May 21, 2019, No. 303/2019.

The Constitutional Court stated that the Presidential Decree complies with the Constitution of Ukraine.

The court notes that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (VII convocation) on February 21, 2014, introduced amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine. In particular, Article 83 is supplemented with provisions on the coalition of parliamentary factions. According to the changes to Article 90, the President of Ukraine has the right to terminate the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine ahead of schedule in case of non-fulfillment of this article’s requirements.

However, the Verkhovna Rada of the VIII convocation, elected at the extraordinary elections on October 26, 2014, during the term of its powers «did not provide in the rules of procedure of the parliament legal regulation of the termination of parliamentary factions’ coalition. It is associated with the beginning of the one-month term for the formation of a new coalition and the constitutional right of the President of Ukraine to terminate the powers of the parliament ahead of time if such a coalition is not formed».

Therefore, a constitutional conflict arose between the President of Ukraine and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine regarding the grounds for early termination of the powers of parliament. The conflict has no legal solution, since the procedure for terminating the activities of the deputy coalition is not defined either in the Constitution or in the Rules of Procedure of the Verkhovna Rada, contrary to the requirements of Article 83 of the Constitution of Ukraine.

At the same time, the people are the bearer of sovereignty and the only source of power in Ukraine. The people exercise power directly and through government bodies and local governments (Part two of Article 5 of the Constitution of Ukraine). This fundamental provision is specified by the prescription of Article 69 of the Constitution of Ukraine that the popular will is exercised through elections.

The Constitutional Court stated that «the resolution of the constitutional conflict by the people through holding early elections to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine meets the requirements of the second part of Article 5 of the Constitution of Ukraine».

On May 23, 2019, the «Uryadovy Kuryer» issued a decree of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the pre-term termination of the powers of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the eighth convocation and the appointment of early elections on July 21.

The President abolished the Council for Judicial Reform and created the Commission

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy By his Decree of June 21, 1019 set up a Law Reform Commission as an advisory and advisory body to the President of Ukraine.

Moreover, the Decree abolishes the Council for Judicial Reform and the Constitutional Commission.

The main task of the Legal Reform Commission is to promote the further development of the legal system of Ukraine based on the constitutional principles of the rule of law, the priority of human and civil rights and freedoms, taking into account Ukraine’s international obligations.

The priority areas of Commission work are:

preparing and submitting to the President of Ukraine proposals for amending the Constitution of Ukraine and the laws of Ukraine aimed at ensuring the implementation of constitutional norms and principles, namely the priority of protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of man and citizen,

further development of legislation on the organization of the judiciary and the administration of justice,

improvement of legislation on criminal liability and criminal procedure legislation of Ukraine,

reforming law enforcement agencies,

creation of conditions for reintegration into the single constitutional space of Ukraine of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the population living there.

The government has prepared amendments to the Constitution

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine presented the draft law «On Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine (regarding the territorial organization of power)».

The draft amends Articles 85, 92, 116, 118, 119, 120, 123, 133, of the Constitution of Ukraine, which provide for:

consolidation of a clear administrative-territorial system (community, district or county, Kiev and Sevastopol region),

securing an effective system of local self-government (community council, chairman of the society; district and regional councils),

regional councils can create their executive bodies from January 1, 2026.

ensuring the material and financial basis of local self-government:

territorial ubiquity of local government is introduced;

the commensurability of financial resources and powers is guaranteed;

the change of powers of local self-government is carried out with simultaneous corresponding changes in the distribution of financial resources;

the state compensates the expenses of local self-government caused by decisions of the state power;

the introduction of the institution of the prefect in the executive branch:

heads the prefecture, represents the executive power in the relevant territory;

coordinates the activities of territorial bodies of central executive bodies and ensures the implementation of state programs;

supervises the activities of local governments and territorial bodies of central executive bodies;

appointed and dismissed by the government.

The bill also refers to the mandate of the Central Executive Committee for the appointment of regular and extraordinary local elections, and to the powers of the Cabinet of Ministers - the formation and liquidation of communities, as well as the establishment and change of their boundaries.

Extraordinary Congress of Judges will be held in late October

The Council of Judges of Ukraine appointed an extraordinary congress of judges on October 24-25. This decision was made on June 21, 2019 at the meeting of the Council.

During the Congress, the judges plan to elect two members of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine and three judges of the Constitutional Court.

Contest in the Constitutional Court will begin on June 24. Candidates will be able to submit documents until July 23.

We will note, powers of Constitutional court’s three judges expire in September.

Earlier, the chairman of the Council of Judges Oleg Tkachuk said that the Presidential Administration tried to exert pressure on judges, demanding to disrupt the meeting of the Council of Judges.

He noted that such a situation «does not coincide with the principles of democracy, shows a real threat to the judiciary and may undermine its credibility as an impartial arbiter in social, political, economic disputes».

Tkachuk plans to appeal to the President of Ukraine, the Prosecutor General and the Director of the State Bureau of Investigations to require urgent measures to stop and prevent the pressure of the Office of the President of Ukraine on judges and judicial authorities, as well as to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The next extraordinary meeting of the Council of Judges will be held on July 5.

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