On March 26, Public Integrity Council (PIC) stated that it would cease participating in the qualification assessment of judges. The reason behind this was the rules set by the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine for qualification assessment and the practice of holding the first day of interviews.
Additionally, it should be noted that the subsequent actions of the HQCJ discredit not only the qualification assessment of judges, but also the judicial reform itself in general:
– Interviews schedule is too tight, which objectively does not allow adequately assessing judges;
– Conclusions of the Public Integrity Council were postponed and were not considered with reference to the unlawful provisions of the HQCJ Regulation;
– Judges who were earlier involved in persecuting Euromaidan activists can easily pass the judicial re-attestation because HQCJ decided to not take into account their previous
– Some HQCJ members, when holding their offices, took actions that cast doubt on their integrity, therefore they have obvious conflict of interest;
Procedure for assessing judges is not transparent – it’s unknown how the HQCJ members vote, which scores and what for the judges receive.
The Reanimation Package of Reforms supports the PIC actions concerning:
We believe that it is impossible to continue assessing the judges until the above requirements are implemented, and its results cannot be considered legitimate and will never result in trust. The assessment of judges without public participation directly contradicts the goal of judicial reform and the promises of the President, being its initiator. Without public participation it is impossible to ensure compliance with the requirement of Art. 127 of the Constitution of Ukraine according to which the judge must be virtuous.
The need for higher transparency of processes has been emphasized by RPR repeatedly earlier, during the competition procedure to select judges to the Supreme Court.
In addition, we emphasize that the establishment of additional requirements for the opinions of the Public Integrity Council by the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine is factitious, deprived of a legitimate purpose, as well as contrary to the requirements of Part 2 of Art. 19 of the Constitution of Ukraine, according to which the bodies of state power shall act only on the basis of the provisions of the law. At the same time, no law foresees the right of the HQCJ to set requirements for the opinions of the PIC.
Effective judicial reform is possible only if there is a real impact of the public on its results, transparent and fair procedures and virtuous bodies of judiciary governance. Participation of the public in this process, which is six times more trusted in the task of clearing the judiciary than judges from the judiciary governance bodies, is crucial for raising public trust in the court.
Therefore, we call on the High Qualification Commission to create the conditions necessary to achieve the real goals of the judicial reform taking into account the requirements of the PIC and establishing interaction between the Commission and the Council for this purpose. We believe that the process of qualification assessment of judges must be suspended until these requirements are complied with.
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