Venice Commission President: I hope our recommendations will be taken into account in new law on the prosecutor's office of Ukraine
An exclusive interview of President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio with Interfax-Ukraine
Question: What is the result of today's plenary session on two Ukrainian draft laws - on the public prosecutor's office and amendments to the legislation on parliamentary elections?
Answer: Two draft opinions were approved by the Venice Commission (VC) just before lunch, and we are very happy about this. The first one, concerning the prosecutor's office, was approved without any changes, any amendments, exactly as we already told the Ukrainian authorities, so that they could take into account the proposals that were submitted to the Verkhovna Rada.
So for this first item, I would like to say that a lot has been done by the Ukrainian authorities in order to improve the prosecutor system, and in particular bring the system into line with European and international standards in this field, abandoning the old concept of the Soviet Prosecutor. Some things remain to be done, as not all of the recommendations of the VC have been taken into account yet. For some of them, we might have to wait for a future - I hope - slight revision of the Constitution. But also a revision [is needed] in order to obtain better governance of the country. For the procurator, there are some other issues that could be taken into account without having to wait for the constitutional revision process. And I am pleased to see that the opposition also shares our opinion and also supports our remaining recommendations, and that there will be the largest possible consensus to fully take into account our draft opinion - we know how important it is for Ukraine to do this, in view of the upcoming summit in Vilnius.
For the draft VC opinion concerning electoral legislation, some amendments have been proposed by the members of VC which, I would say, are more favorable to Ukraine in the sense that we recognize the good will that we now see from the Ukrainian authorities, and of course this process will be longer, because there are some discussions and round tables going on, and I'm very pleased to see that the round tables include the positions of all stake-holders, including the opposition and civil society. So our purpose is to seek a good result that will lead to a unified electoral code. This will be done, I hope, next month, and we will continue to cooperate with the ministers of justice and with all of the authorities, including the Verkhovna Rada, as this issue is very important for the Vilnius summit.
Question: On the Vilnius summit: I'd like to know your opinion – is the draft legislation proposed by the Ukrainian side sufficient for the EU to sign the Association Agreement at the Vilnius summit?
Answer: This is another matter for the EU, because there are several benchmarks. At the VC we have three subjects: First – prosecutors, second – the judicial system and third – electoral legislation. Regarding the judiciary, we're very happy, because the amendments that were proposed take our recommendations into account in full. So, when they are all implemented, it will produce the result of Ukraine getting a good judicial system.
But before to continue, I would like to say this: a good law is one thing, but good implementation is another. I hope that these good amendments will be well implemented. I'm not alone in this hope, as the EU, of course, is also closely following all of this, and will continue to follow the implementation process.
On the matter of the prosecutor, there are still some remaining recommendations of the VC that were not taken into account in the draft law submitted to the Verkhovna Rada. I hope that all our recommendation will be taken into account, and I hope this will be done as soon as possible, because, as I have said, all of this is very urgent due to the time factor. It must be done in the next few days or weeks.
For the electoral process, it will take more time, but we have stressed that there is good will from the Ukrainian side, especially from the Ministry of Justice, which playing a good role in organizing these round tables. Our hope is to see, as soon as possible – maybe we have to be more patient here – a good result, and in the end, a good unified electoral code.
The abovementioned draft laws have to be adopted for the fulfillment of the EU requirements necessary for the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.