Operation of Supreme Court’s Grand Chamber to be optimized, criteria of integrity to be clarified – President’s Office dpty head Smirnov
In the near future, a bill will be sent to the Verkhovna Rada concerning the optimization of the work of the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court with a reduction in the number of judges of the chamber, it is also necessary to specify the criteria for the integrity of judges, Deputy Head of the President’s Office of Ukraine Andriy Smirnov said.
"We and our colleagues in the parliament have certain developments that will get to the parliament in the near future. First of all, after the scandal with Kniazev, they will concern the optimization of the work of the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court," Smirnov said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
According to him, the essence of this bill will be the possibility of reducing the judges of the Grand Chamber from 21 to 9 people.
"It would be appropriate for each cassation to engage two judges in the Grand Chamber (that's eight) and a secretary of the Chamber. And the Chairman of the Supreme Court should not be a member of the Grand Chamber. Because, in my opinion, this is a clear conflict of interests: the chairman of the Supreme Court is ex officio a member of the High Council of Justice (HCJ) and at the same time the Grand Chamber considers complaints against the HCJ decision," the deputy head of the President's Office explained.
Smirnov added that working communications on this bill have already been conducted with chairman of the Supreme Court Stanislav Kravchenko – "he takes this idea with absolute pleasure."
The Deputy Head of the President's Office stressed that all management decisions in the Supreme Court are now being made "taking into account the weighty professional experience of the leadership and with a deep understanding of the issues." "I also believe that it is necessary to return to the model of law enforcement work of the Plenum of the Supreme Court, which would be a guideline for the work of lower courts," Smirnov added.
As for the criteria for the integrity of judges, according to the deputy head of the the President’s Office, they should be clarified by law. "The criteria of integrity are spelled out in the Constitution and in the law ‘On the judicial system and the status of judges,’ but they are not specified, but written in broad terms. It is necessary to specify these criteria in the law on the judicial system," he said.