G7 Ambassadors present roadmap for judicial, anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine
The ambassadors of the G7 countries presented a list of priority measures that will restore public confidence in the Ukrainian judiciary and anti-corruption infrastructure.
"These priority measures reflect a comprehensive reform that is needed to strengthen the independence, accountability and virtue of the judiciary, and to ensure the restoration of the powers of anti-corruption institutions, which meets the expectations of the Ukrainian people," the document, published on the G7 ambassadors' page in Ukraine on Monday, said.
In particular, ambassadors believe that there is an urgent need to re-establish anti-corruption laws recently declared unconstitutional, with a sound legal framework, and to ensure that candidates for key positions in the judiciary and law enforcement are appointed transparently.
"We emphasize that while it is necessary to act quickly to repair the damage inflicted by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine upon Ukraine's anti-corruption institutions, it is equally critical to ensure that these institutions emerge from this crisis with the ability to carry out their missions effectively. In this regard, the provisions aimed at restoring liability for false or unfiled asset declarations adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on December 4 do not have a sufficiently deterrent effect and thus would not be an effective tool in preventing corruption," the G7 Ambassadors said in the document.
In particular, the ambassadors advise to temporarily and minimally increase in the decision-making quorum of the Constitutional Court; postpone ongoing selection procedures for the Constitutional Court judges until new selection rules are introduced; urgently establish a clear and transparent competitive selection process for the Constitutional Court judges with the meaningful participation of internationals in vetting all candidates; strengthen disciplinary proceedings and ethical requirements for judges of the Constitutional Court; mandate impartial open deliberation of cases and voting by Constitutional Court judges.
The diplomats recommended urgently reforming the High Council of Justice as a necessary precondition for judicial reform to be effective; establish an independent Ethics Commission that is empowered to vet current High Council of Justice members and submit a motion as necessary to dismiss High Council of Justice members to appointing bodies for their final decision; introduce a new transparent selection process for High Council of Justice members that ensures high ethical and integrity standards, with a meaningful role for international participants.
The Ethics Commission will create a pool of qualified, high-integrity candidates for the High Council of Justice from which appointing or electing bodies must choose.
Recommendations were also made to ensure a transparent reboot of the High Qualification Commission of Judges, with a meaningful role for international participants, involving an independent Selection Commission empowered to establish its own internal regulations for competitively selecting High Qualification Commission of Judges members.
It is also recommended to ensure the independence of the updated High Qualification Commission of Judges with the authority to approve its own rules of procedure and internal regulations; after ensuring the integrity of the High Council of Justice members and filling the vacant posts of judges in the courts of first instance and appeal by the commission, the High Qualification Commission of Judges should be integrated into the High Council of Justice in order to reduce the number of judicial self-governance institutions.