UHHRU: New Law on Prosecutor does not remove unconstitutional supervisory role


The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has issued a statement in which it warns that the amendments to the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office do not resolve the problem arising over the existence of “overall supervision” not envisaged by the Constitution.

On 10 September 2012 the President signed the Law on Amendments to Some Legislative Acts on Improving the Work of the Prosecutor’s Office.

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union notes that the law was adopted against the background of promises made over many years by Ukraine to carry out fundamental reform of the Prosecutor’s Office in order to bring the system and work of prosecutor’s offices into line with the generally accepted standards of the European community.

We would stress that reform of the Prosecutor’s Office remains an urgent task for the Ukrainian government and the law adopted can only be considered a small, overly cautious step in that direction. We would point out that this law in no way resolves the problem arising over the existence of “overall supervision” by the Prosecutor’s Office which is in breach of the Constitution which does not envisage such oversight. We are concerned that a country which calls itself law-based is, via this law, yet again legitimizing the ongoing situation where the Constitution is being flouted despite certain reduction in the boundaries and means of general supervision.

not envisaged by the Constitution

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union stresses that the existence of general supervision by the Prosecutor’s Office hampers other legal reforms, in particular reform of criminal court proceedings, a component of which is the new Criminal Procedure Code. Retention of the Prosecutor’s considerable extra-procedural powers devalues many progressive provisions of the CPC and the possibility for persecution given the Prosecutor’s Office under the pretext of Prosecutor checks to a large extent turns the CPC into mere decoration.

We call on:

The President and Verkhovna Rada to:

once again confirm that their intention to fundamentally reform the Prosecutor’s Office system and work remains unchanged;

accelerate work on reforming the work of the Prosecutor’s Office;

activate cooperation with experts from the Council of Europe and Venice Commission;

carry out further measures on reforming the Prosecutor’s Office basing this on their conclusions and recommendations.

We call on the Working Group on Reform of the Prosecutor’s Office and System of Defence Lawyers to continue its work on drawing up proposals for comprehensive reform of the Prosecutor’s Office system in accordance with generally recognized international democratic standards, taking into account  the recommendations and comments of experts from the Council of Europe and Venice Commission.

Head of the UHHRU Board Yevhen Zakharov

Executive Director Arkady Bushchenko

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