Former ECHR judge leaves Constitutional Assembly in protest at about-face on EU integration
Volodymyr Butkevych, Ukraine’s first judge at the European Court of Human Rights, has resigned from the Constitutional Assembly in protest at the Government’s decision announced on Nov. 21 to suspend preparations for signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
Judge Butkevych notes that Article 85 § 5 of Ukraine’s Constitution empowers parliament to determine the principles of national and foreign policy. According to the laws on the principles of foreign policy and on European integration, changes in foreign policy priorities are solely within the competence of parliament and not of the Cabinet of Ministers. Since parliament passed no such decision, the Cabinet of Ministers’ actions were in breach of Ukraine’s Constitution and laws.
Volodymyr Butkevych’s resignation is dated 22 November, but was only announced at a meeting of the 20 members of the Assembly on 28 November. The head of the Assembly, Leonid Kravchuk and its secretary Maria Stavnichuk tried to dissuade him, but to no avail.
The former ECHR Judge was a member of the group preparing a concept framework for a new Constitution, and also chaired one of the commissions which was preparing the section of the Constitution on human rights.