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27.10.2008

Council of Judges critical of mounting pressure on judges

   

The Presidium of the Council of Judges has made public an appeal to Ukraine’s judges in which it criticizes some of the President’s Decrees as unlawful.

The text states that the latest political crisis has yet again exacerbated destructive processes in the justice sphere, and demonstrated the legal nihilism of those in power and politicians.  “Systematic and unprecedented interference in the justice system, pressure on judges, unlawful use by those in authority of their powers to increase the dependence of the court bodies, dragging them into the political struggle, foisting illegal approaches towards resolving quarrels and disputes have become everyday occurrences.”

The Presidium considers that such demonstrations of contempt for the constitutional principles of justice and guarantees of judges’ independence have been seen in the behaviour of politicians since the President’s decree dissolving parliament.

They say that this particularly refers to the “issuing by the President in October of a number of decrees which, without providing grounds set down by the Constitution and laws, and according to procedure not envisaged by law, appointed or dismissed judges, created and dissolved courts, transferred judges from one court to another, made appointments to administrative posts in courts or dismissed people from such posts, as well as cases where National Deputies and representatives of the enforcement agencies physically blocked the District Administrative Court in Kyiv, the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal, the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine and where the work of the judges of these courts, including while in the consulting chambers, were obstructed.”

The Council of Judges believe that such actions can lead to legal instability in the country, an undermining of the legal foundations of the functioning of State power, the breakdown of the judiciary and widespread infringements of rights and liberties.

The Presidium of the Council of Judges calls on judges “to not succumb to blackmail and provocation, regardless of whom they originate from, and not allow themselves to be used in political confrontation, and refrain from passing rulings which do not have legal basis and justification in law.”

It has also sent its appeal to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and to the OSCE.

From reports published on www.unian.net and other agencies

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