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25
January
2023

Venice Commission refuses to participate in selection of judges of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court until two recommendations on its reform law implemented

KYIV. Jan 25 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) will not nominate its candidates for members of the Advisory Group of Experts until the implementation of the two remaining recommendations to the law on the reform of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU) adopted on December 13, 2022, according to the response of Chairman of the Venice Commission Claire Bazy Malaurie

to Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk.

“The rapporteurs have completed their analysis, which is attached to this letter; they conclude that while most key recommendations contained in the opinion of December 2022 have been followed, two core recommendations – concerning the powers of the AGE and its composition – have not been met in the adopted law. Today, the Bureau of the Venice Commission has decided that, in light of this conclusion, the preconditions for the nomination of candidate members of the AGE by the Venice Commission are not fulfilled. As a consequence, at this stage I cannot follow up to the relevant request, which I received on 29 December 2022,” a letter dated January 25, published on the website of the Venice Commission, says.

At the same time, she offered the head of the Ukrainian Parliament assistance in the preparation of relevant legislative changes. “I trust that it is possible to align the Law to these two outstanding recommendations and wish to assure you that the Venice Commission is ready to assist in the preparation of the relevant legislative amendments, should you so wish, within a short timeframe, as we are aware of the urgency of the matter,” Bazy Malaurie

stressed.

She noted that the Venice Commission attaches great importance to providing the CCU with reliable guarantees of independence and therefore “has accepted not only to provide its expert opinion on this mechanism, but also its exceptional direct involvement in the composition of the Advisory Group of Experts (the AGE).” “Such direct involvement, in turn, explains why the Venice Commission needs to be convinced that the features of this mechanism may enable it to achieve its aim of providing the most independent and best candidate judges, while respecting the institutional balance as well as Ukrainian sovereignty under its Constitution. The participation of the Venice Commission in the AGE is therefore conditional upon the compliance of the composition and functioning of the AGE with the Venice Commission’s recommendations,” the Chairman of the Venice Commission explained.

Bazy Malaurie thanked Stefanchuk for his understanding and stated that she counts “on our continued excellent co-operation.”

As reported, Bill No. 7662 on the Constitutional Court was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on December 13 by 245 votes, and on December 20 it was signed by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.