Ukrainian law

Legal news in Ukraine: Verkhovna Rada approved reform of justice and law on accusers of corruption, ECtHR decision in lustration case, law on restarting National Anti-Corruption Agency’s work came into force

20.10.2019 / 17:27
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 Legal news in Ukraine: Verkhovna Rada approved reform of justice and  law on accusers of corruption, ECtHR decision in lustration case, law on restarting National Anti-Corruption Agency’s work came into force

The Verkhovna Rada upheld a controversial law on changes in judicial governance

On October 16, 2019, the Verkhovna Rada approved the Law of Ukraine «On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine on the Activity of Judicial Governments».

Major innovations in judicial governance include:

• halving the Supreme Court from 200 to 100 judges and reducing the salaries of Supreme Court judges from 75 to 55 living wages;

• reducing the composition of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine from 16 to 12 members and updating it through a competition held by the High Council of Justice. The term of office of the new Commission is 4 years.

A citizen of Ukraine, who is fluent in the state language, has a law degree and professional experience of at least 15 years, belongs to the legal profession and meets the criterion of political neutrality may be appointed a member of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine.

It should be noted that now the Commission consists of eight judges and two representatives from the State Judicial Administration, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, lawyers and higher education institutions/ After overloading lawyers and scientists will not be members of the Commission.

The competitive commission will include three members of the Council of Judges of Ukraine and three experts proposed by international organizations.

• Creation of the Integrity and Ethics Commission under the High Council of Justice. It consists of three members of the High Council of Justice and three international experts. International experts will be part of the commission for six years, each of them will be appointed for two years with the possibility of reappointment.

The commission will evaluate a member or candidate (during a special audit) who wants to become a member of the High Council of Justice and the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine. Candidates will be checked for compliance with the principles of good faith and ethical standards of judges. The commission also checks information on judges of the Supreme Court for disciplinary violations.

The Commission shall, within 30 days from the date of its establishment, verify the members of the High Council of Justice (except for the President of the Supreme Court).

The commission will be able to make a presentation on the dismissal of members of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges and the High Council of Justice. In particular, the decision to dismiss a member of the High Council of Justice is made on the proposal of the Virtue and Ethics Commission at a joint meeting of the High Council of Justice and the Commission. At the same time, the submission may be rejected at a joint meeting by a majority of participants, if at least two international experts - members of the Commission, voted for it.

• The High Council of Justice will be able to initiate disciplinary proceedings against a judge based on an anonymous report. The term for disciplinary proceedings may not exceed 60 days.

• The High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine, within two months from the date of formation of its new composition, completes the selection process for candidates for the position of local courts judges, announced by the Commission on April 3, 2017.

• The High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine shall, within two months of the formation of its new composition, select judges to cassation courts within the Supreme Court from among judges of the respective cassation courts on the criteria of professional competence, ethics and integrity.

• Judicial remuneration is established according to uniform rules for all judges regardless of the conditions for their qualification assessment.

• The Heads of the State Judicial Administration and the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, who have held positions from November 21, 2013 to May 19, 2019, now fall under the Law of Ukraine «On the Purification of Power».

Recall bill No. 1008 has been sharply criticized in the legal community. Attention was focused on the fact that the public sector and specialized experts did not involve the draft law, and the document itself did not clearly explain the need for certain changes, for example, reducing the judges of the Supreme Court.

The Verkhovna Rada introduced the concept of «accusers of corruption»

On October 18, 2019, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Law of Ukraine «On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine «On Prevention of Corruption» on Accusers of Corruption».

If the accuser (individual) is convinced that the information on corruption is reliable, then he reports this.

Information about possible corrupt officials can be submitted anonymously through the hotlines or by e-mail of anti-corruption bodies, in particular the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption or the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.

At the same time, the state should provide protection for accusers and their families, including legal protection. Accusers have the right to receive psychological assistance and are exempted from legal liability.

Accusers have the right to confidentiality - it is forbidden to disclose information about the identity of the accuser, his relatives or other data that can identify them. For disclosure of such information, a fine or removal from office is provided.

Accusers who report a corruption crime whose damages exceed 5,000 times the minimum subsistence level for able-bodied persons receive compensation.

The amount of remuneration is 10% of the monetary amount of the object of a corruption crime, but it cannot exceed 3 thousand minimum wages, that is 12.5 million UAH.

ECtHR: Lustration law violates the rights of Ukrainian officials

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in the case «Poliakh and Others v. Ukraine» in which the applicants were five Ukrainian civil servants dismissed under the Law on Lustration that was approved in 2014.

The petitioners filed for resumption of their dismissed positions.

In their complaint to the ECtHR, the applicants complained about the non-review of their claims by the national courts (citing Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights - the right to a fair trial) and their dismissal and its consequences (Article 8 of the European Convention - the right to respect for privacy) and infringement of Article 13 - the right to an effective remedy.

The ECHR unanimously found a violation of Article 6 and Article 8.

According to the judges, the dismissal of civil servants on the basis of the Law of Ukraine «On the purification of power» led to a violation of their rights.

The court stated that the lustration law applied to a very wide circle of people and led to the dismissal of the applicants only on the grounds that they had held public office for more than a year during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, or on the basis of holding posts in the communist party until 1991 of the year.

«So, this law did not take into account the personal role played by the applicants, as well as whether they were personally associated with any undemocratic activities that took place during the reign of the former president. In this regard, the Ukrainian Law on the purification of power differs from the lustration procedures that were introduced in other states of Central and Eastern Europe and which were more narrowly targeted», the decision says.

The law on restarting the work of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption came into force

On October 18, 2019, the Law of Ukraine “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding Ensuring the Effectiveness of the Institutional Mechanism for the Prevention of Corruption” entered into force.

The law changes the form of government of the National Collegial Agency to sole. The head of the department will be appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

The government must ensure that, within two months, a competition for the post of chairman of the National Agency is held.

At the same time, the powers of members of the chief of staff, deputy chiefs of staff of the National Agency are terminated ahead of schedule from the day the law comes into force.

The procedure for the formation of a competitive commission for the selection of the chairman of the National Agency is also changing – the commission will include representatives of international organizations.

The law also establishes the powers of the chairman of the National Agency.

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  • Чи підтримуєте Закон 1008 про нову судову реформу?

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