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The President has endorsed unlawful limitations of the constitutional powers of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine

07.08.2006 | www.helsinki.org.ua
Volodymyr Yavorsky

On 4 August President Yushchenko signed the only just passed parliamentary law on introducing amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine”

These amendments state:

“1. Point 1 of Section IV § 3 ““Final and transitional provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” (Bulletin of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 1996, № 49, p. 272) after the words “laws of Ukraine”, to supplement with the words “besides the laws of Ukraine on introducing amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine which have already come into force”.

Thus Parliament (the Verkhovna Rada) and then the President restricted the powers of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine which are, however, defined not by this law, but by the Constitution, in the following:

Article 147 § 2: “The Constitutional Court of Ukraine decides on issues of conformity of laws and other legal acts with the Constitution of Ukraine and provides the official interpretation of the Constitution of Ukraine and the laws of Ukraine.

Article 150

The authority of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine comprises: 1) deciding on issues of conformity with the Constitution of Ukraine (constitutionality) of the laws and other legal acts of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

It is thus evident from the text of the Constitution itself that the powers of the Constitutional Court are clearly defined and allow for no exceptions.

It is obvious that the law passed on 4 August emerged after consultations between the political factions and was the result of a political deal. It is also not difficult to deduce that the initiator of such a law was the Socialist faction which yet again demonstrated its legal illiteracy and ignorance.

It is staggering that the President should have agreed to such a manifestly dubious legal step. Particularly given that, at the submission of a group of Deputies, the Constitutional Court may declare these very changes to be unconstitutional.

It is to be regretted that the list of those who may put forward a constitutional submission in Ukraine is limited. This instance, more than ever, illustrates the need to allow individuals to make constitutional submissions, which would not be hostage to similar political deals.

In general we would ask how it is even conceivable that compliance or non-compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine should be made a matter of political agreements

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

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