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04.01.2006

The Constitutional system is in jeopardy without the Constitutional Court

   

 

29 December 2005

To the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Volodymyr Lytvyn

 

To the Leaders of Deputies’ Groups and Factions in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

 

The Constitutional system is in jeopardy without the Constitutional Court.

 

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) is calling upon you to take measures without delay to swear in those Judges of the Constitutional Court who have already been appointed and to ensure that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine elects its judges to the Constitutional Court.[1] 

 

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is the sole body of constitutional jurisdiction in Ukraine and is the guarantor of the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as of adherence to the rule of law, by all executive bodies.  This determines the enormous significance this institution has in democratic countries. For this reason constitutional jurisprudence, as the powerful mainstay of democracy, must not become the object of political deals and speculation.

 

The situation has arisen where the work of this body is being blocked by Parliament (the Verkhovna Rada). Those in charge in Parliament are refusing to swear in the judges who have been appointed by the President and by the Congress of Judges of Ukraine, rendering them unable to fulfil their role. This is explained in public as being due to the need to swear in all the judges at the same time, however there is no such requirement in any law of Ukraine and this effectively limits the right of other executive bodies to appoint their judges.  Parallel to this we have the situation where the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is blocking the election of their judges of the Constitutional Court

 

The Speaker of Parliament and leaders of factions should heed the recommendations of international organizations, in particular, the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, regarding the restoration of the functioning of the single body of constitutional justice in Ukraine by brooking no delay in swearing in the newly-appointed judges. The stalling of this process is entirely without justification and looks like an attempt to usurp power by limiting the constitutional rights of the President and the judiciary.

 

At the same time the leaders of political groups and factions in parliament must hold talks in order to choose  the Verkhovna Rada’s candidates for the Constitutional Court  since not electing these judges constitutes a violation of the constitutional duty of parliament and undermines the latter’s authority, the foundations of the constitutional system and stability within society. It should be noted that parliament is demonstrating the political incapability of coping with one of their main responsibilities.

 

The fact that certain political forces are unwilling to vote for candidates to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine does not constitute grounds for limiting the right of the President and the Congress of Judges to appoint judges to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

 

We consider that the fears of certain political forces of a possible review of the conditions under which Law No. 2222 from 8 December 2004 which introduces amendments to the Constitution was passed cannot be applied as an argument for blocking the work of the most important body of constitutional justice since the said amendments to the Constitution may be reviewed at any time after the Constitutional Court begins its work.

 

We therefore demand that the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Heads of parliamentary groups and factions:

Take immediate measures to swear in the judges of the Constitutional Court who have already been appointed by the President of Ukraine and the Congress of Judges of Ukraine;

Ensure that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine elects its chosen candidates for judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

 

Yevhen Zakharov,

Chairperson of the Board of the UHHRU

 

Volodymyr Yavorsky,

Executive Director of the UHHRU

 

 

A Brief introduction to the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU)

The objective in creating this Association of human rights organizations, as well as the aim of all its activities, is to safeguard the exercising of human rights and fundamental freedoms by promoting the practical fulfilment of the humanitarian “basket” of the Final Act of the 1975 Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE; the Helsinki Accords) and of other international  legal documents, as well as of all other commitments Ukraine is under as regards human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Association was founded by 15 civic human rights groups: 

The Vinnytsa city civic organization “The Vinnytsa Human Rights Group”

The All-Ukrainian Association for Political Prisoners and Victims of Repression

The Civic Committee for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties (Luhansk)

The Economic club “EOL” (Odessa region)

The Institute of Socio-Economic Issues “Respublica” (Kyiv)

The Congress of National Communities of Ukraine (CNCU)

The International Civic Organization - Centre for legal and political research “SIM” (Lviv)

The City Civic Organization “For professional help” (Poltava region)

The Sevastopol Human Rights Group

The Kharkiv Regional Association of Soldiers’ Mothers

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

The Kherson City Association of Journalists “Pivden” [“Sourh”]

The Kherson regional organization of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine

The Center for Research into Regional Policy (Sumy)

The Chernihiv Civic Committee for the Protection of Human Rights

The Monitoring Council of the Union includes prominent figures from the human rights movement of the 1960s – 1980s: Zinoviy Antonyuk, Mykola Horbal, Josyp Zisels, Vasyl Lisovy, Vasyl Ovsiyenko, Yevhen Pronyuk and Yevhen Sverstyuk.



[1] “The President of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Congress of Judges of Ukraine each appoint six judges to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine”.  (Article 148 of the Constitution)

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