Ukrainian law

Legal news in Ukraine: Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on impeachment and dismissed Central Election Commission, bills on judicial administration, reform of the prosecutor's office and jurisdiction of Anti-Corruption Court passed first reading

14.09.2019 / 09:30
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Legal news in Ukraine: Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on impeachment and dismissed Central Election Commission, bills on judicial administration, reform of the prosecutor's office and jurisdiction of Anti-Corruption Court passed first reading

The Verkhovna Rada approved the law on the presidential impeachment procedure

On September 10, 2019, the Verkhovna Rada approved the Law of Ukraine «On a special procedure for removal of the President of Ukraine from office (impeachment)».

The impeachment procedure can be initiated by the majority of the people’s deputies of Ukraine from the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada, that is at least 226 people’s deputies. An appropriate resolution must be introduced for this. The resolution should be supported by the same number of votes.

A special temporary commission of inquiry will be formed for the investigation, which will include the People’s Deputies of Ukraine (proportionally from the parliamentary factions and groups), a special prosecutor and special investigators. The Commission will prepare conclusions and proposals on the investigated circumstances regarding the President’s committing treason or other crime.

The plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, at which these conclusions and proposals will be considered, will be open (except when information containing state or other secret protected by law is made public). The plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, at which these conclusions and proposals will be considered, will be open (except when information containing state or other secret protected by law is made public).

At this meeting, the Verkhovna Rada should decide on the accusation of the President of Ukraine (the decision should be supported by at least two thirds of the people's deputies).

If Parliament approves it, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine decides to apply to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (to obtain an opinion on compliance with the constitutional procedure) and the Supreme Court (to obtain a conclusion that the acts, in which the President of Ukraine is accused, contain signs of treason or other crime).

The majority of people's deputies from the constitutional composition of the Verkhovna Rada should vote for the decision.

A decision on impeachment will be taken only if the findings of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the Supreme Court сonfirm compliance with the requirements of the Constitution and laws of Ukraine. The corresponding decision will be considered adopted if at least three-fourths of the deputies (338 deputies) of the constitutional composition of the parliament vote for it.

In case of «failure» of the impeachment procedure, the presiding officer on behalf of the parliament must apologize to the President of Ukraine.

If the impeachment decision is not taken, the speaker, on behalf of the parliament, must apologize to the President of Ukraine.

People’s deputies terminated the powers of the Central Election Commission’s members

The Verkhovna Rada approved the Resolution «On Early Termination of Powers of All Members of the Central Election Commission», which shall came into force on the day of its adoption.

According to the representative of the President of Ukraine in the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk, dissolution of the Commission was initiated because of «repeated cases of unlawful actions and inaction of the Central Election Commission».

All members of Commission were dismissed.

It should be noted, the Commission’s term of powers is 7 years. The last Central Election Commission composition was approved by people’s deputies on September 20, 2018.

Prosecutor reform bill passes first reading

On September 10, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted draft Law No. 1032 «On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding Priority Measures for the Reform of Prosecution Authorities» as the basis.

The project will be prepared for a second reading in a shorter time.

The draft law introduces amendments, in particular, to the Law of Ukraine «On the Prosecutor's Office».

According to the changes, the Attorney General is entitled to liquidate and reorganize the district and regional prosecutor's offices.

The project involves the liquidation of military prosecutor's offices. It should be noted that veterans of the military prosecutor's office and military justice opposed this initiative and addressed an open letter to the leadership of the state and the Prosecutor General.

The draft law reduces the number of prosecutors by one third: from 15,000 to 10,000.

The Prosecutor General will be able to, among other things, approve the system of assessing the quality of work of prosecutors, regulate the workload of prosecutors, establish the procedure for reviewing complaints about the improper work of prosecutors occupying an administrative position.

The bill on the work of the judiciary is being prepared for second reading

On September 12, the Verkhovna Rada adopted draft Law No. 1008 «On Amending Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Activities of Judicial Administration» as the basis.

The project was criticized by both Ukrainian and international experts.

In particular, the High Council of Justice approved an advisory opinion on the bill.

Thus, the High Council of Justice finds it inappropriate to apply a lustration mechanism without a proper justification as to why a person who does not pose a threat to democracy for a long time may suddenly become such a threat that makes it necessary to ban public office. This situation raises doubts about the actual purpose of the lustration.

The exclusion of the rule that amendments to the Law of Ukraine «On Judiciary and Status of Judges» can be made exclusively by the Laws on Amendments to the Law of Ukraine «On Judiciary and Status of Judges» is a threat to the independence of the judicial branch.

Amendments to the second part of Article 21 of the Law of Ukraine «On the High Council of Justice» will lead to a significant inequality between the remuneration of the members of the High Council of Justice.

The creation of the Integrity and Ethics Commission as a collegial body, in the opinion of the High Council of Justice, will violate the independence of a member of the High Council of Justice and interfere with its activities.

The bill on Anti-corruption court's jurisdiction was adopted as a basis

The Verkhovna Rada adopted on the basis of Bill No. 1025 «On Amending the Law of Ukraine «On the High Anti-Corruption Court» (on the beginning of the work of the court)». The project will be prepared for a second reading in a shorter time.

According to the law, the Anti-Corruption Court will only consider corruption cases, the investigation of which began from the day the Court was launched and the cases, the investigation of which has begun and is now being investigated by the NABU.

It is also provided that to the Anti-Court are transferred all criminal proceedings, the investigation of which has been completed by anti-corruption prosecutors and the trial of which has not been completed before the start of the High Anti-Corruption Court’s work.

The Anti-Corruption Court began work on September 5, 2019.

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