Venice Commission has things to say about proposed law on judiciary


Next week the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission is expecting a visit from Ukraine’s Minister of Justice Oleksandr Lavrynovych. The meeting will mainly discuss judicial reform in Ukraine.

The preliminary conclusions from the Venice Commission are mixed. They note that a number of recommendations have been taken into account. However, as the Vice President of the Commission, Thomas Markert told the Ukrainian Service of Deutsche Welle, “there is a significant minus. The system of judge self-government seems too complicated. Also the influence of the Verkhovna Rada is too great.”

The reduced role of the Supreme Court is a “problem area”

In Strasburg they are also critical of the plans to reduce the role of the Supreme Court. “Its functions will be handed to high specialized courts and it will effectively fulfil the role of joint senate of specialized courts for the purpose of standardizing the law, while the judges of the Supreme Court will be spread out between specialized courts. We consider this arrangement problematical”. Mr Markert says that questions are aroused by the proposals to reduce the importance of the Supreme Court. The Venice Commission understands the fears of opponents of such a decision of possible political motives.

.Thomas Markert stresses that there has long been a need for judicial reform and the present draft contains many positive features. However there are risks, he warns. The Venice Commission hopes to find out more about this innovation or that and express their concerns during the meeting with the Minister of Justice. If, of course, they don’t push the law through the Verkhovna Rada before that.

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