Creation of Administrative Court System being stalled
To Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner,
Dear Mr Hammarberg,
We represent Ukrainian civic organizations which are deeply concerned by the situation which has developed around the creation of a system of administrative courts in Ukraine. These courts should have become effective institutions for affirming the rule of law and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms from violations by the authorities.
The Law “On the court system of Ukraine” assigned three years for the formation of a system of administrative courts, from 2002 to 2005. Yet at the present time only the High Administrative Court is in place, and working with only two thirds of the judges needed. District and appeal administrative courts have been at the organizational phase for two years and cases are not been reviewed, There are no premises available, or if there are, not enough judges have been appointed to enable them to commence work. In connection with this, of continuing enormous relevance is the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europes Resolution No. 1466 (2005) on honouring of obligations and commitments by Ukraine, from 5 October 2005 with its call to the Ukrainian authorities “to allocate all necessary resources to [the judiciary], notably for the functioning of administrative courts” (13.1 of the Resolution).
We find particularly disturbing the position taken by the Head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine V. Onopenko, who on 30 November 2006, at a conference of heads of councils of judges and the heads of the judges expert committees stated that it was not expedient to create district and administrative courts since this would be a waste of funding from the State Budget. We see in this the wish of the leaders of the Supreme Court to maintain the present non-procedural control over the resolution of administrative matters which are at present reviewed by general courts, these being under the influence of the leaders of the Supreme Court.
We would therefore ask you as Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner to inform the Council of Europe of the dangerous situation which has developed as a result of procrastination over the creation in Ukraine of administrative courts and the fulfilment by Ukraine of the relevant commitments to the Council of Europe.
Centre for Political and Legal Reform
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
The Association of Ukrainian Lawyers
The Institute for Civic Society
The Laboratory of Legislative Initiatives
The Civic Network “OPORA”