Yanukovych takes Khoroshkovsky off High Council of Justice
According to the President’s website, Valery Khoroshkovsky has been removed from the High Council of Justice “at his own request”.
Khoroshkovsky, who is also the Head of the Security Service [SBU] and owner of the biggest media holding in Ukraine, was appointed to the Council by President Yanukovych at the end of May.
The television channel TVi even fought against this appointment in the courts, after the President ignored all calls to remove him. TVi asserted that the appointment was in breach of the relevant law which demands that a member of the Council have 10 years legal experience. The High Administrative Court in Kyiv rejected this on 12 August, however the promised justification part of the ruling does not appear to have been published.
In their report to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in early October, the Co-Rapporteurs on Ukraine expressed concern over Khoroshkovsky’s membership of the High Council of Justice given his post as Head of the SBU and the fact that the High Council has power over appointing and dismissing judges,
In October the Venice Commission Opinion on the first laws related to the judiciary was made public. As reported, neither the ruling coalition nor the President wished to wait for this opinion, and the laws were passed in the summer. The Venice Commission expresses concern, among other things, at the seriously reduced powers of the Supreme Court and the extended powers of the High Council of Justice.