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Conclusion of the Committee on Issues of Legal Policy: “Military courts should be liquidated gradually”.

The process of reduction of the number of military local courts was started on the basis of Edict of the President of Ukraine “On liquidation of certain military local courts and introduction of changes into the network and quantitative composition of judges of military appeal and military local courts” of 10 October 2004 No. 1262/2004.

The liquidation of military courts is a result of the coming into force, on 1 September 2005, of the Civic Procedure Code of Ukraine, which does not envisage any category of cases under the jurisdiction of military courts.

The committee considers that the following factors should be taken into consideration.

Firstly, the competence of military courts includes, along with civil cases, some categories of criminal cases stipulated by Article 36 of the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine. Besides, the draft of the Criminal-Procedural Code of Ukraine, which would settle the question about the cognizance of criminal cases to military courts, is prepared now for the second hearing by the Supreme Council Committee in charge of the questions of legislative provision of law-enforcing activities.

Secondly, part 8 of the Final and transitional provisions of the Code of administrative proceedings reads that, after coming into force of the Code of administrative proceedings, military courts should complete consideration of the appeals and complaints handed and not considered before taking effect by this Code in the cases determined by Article 17 of the Code.

Thirdly, part 1 of Article 19 of the Law of Ukraine “On judicial system of Ukraine” states that military courts belong to general courts and realize justice in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military units created in compliance with laws.

According to items 1 and 2 of part 3 of the Final and transitional provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On judicial system of Ukraine”, “after coming into force of this Law military courts of garrisons should continue to function as local general courts, the regional appeal courts and the appeal court of the Navy – as appeal general courts”. The above-mentioned courts continue to realize justice in criminal and civil cases, as well as in the cases following from administrative-legal relations, which cases are referred to their jurisdiction by the procedural laws, in accordance with the order stipulated by law, until taking effect by the corresponding procedural laws stipulating new order of legal proceedings in compliance with this Law.

Fourthly, the question of further job placement of judges of military courts in case of their complete liquidation is not still solved.

Taking into account everything above-said, the question about the final and complete liquidation of military courts can be solved only after introduction of proper procedural codes, which would not envisage the cases cognizable to military courts.

On the basis of these arguments the Committee resolved:

1. To inform immediately the President of Ukraine and the Head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine about the situation that has formed in connection with liquidation of military courts.

2. To recommend the President of Ukraine and the Head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine to realize the liquidation of military courts stage-by-stage taking into account the regulation by procedural codes of the question of cognizance of cases to military courts.

22 September 2005

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