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Constitutional Court refuses to divulge information about revoking of 2004 Constitution

02.11.2011    source:

The Constitutional Court [CCU] has refused to provide details about the number of judges who voted to reinstate the 1996 Constitution, as well as the number who voted for Anatoly Holovin as CCU President.

The publication “Delo” sent a formal information request to the CCU asking for the number of judges who had voted on 30 September 2010 for or against the revoking of the 2004 constitutional changes and return to the 1996 Constitution. It was told that this information cannot be divulged. It states in its letter that the names of those voting and procedure for the signing by CCU judges are stages in the passing of a judgement. “According to Article 9.1 § 1 of the Law on Access to Public Information, information connected with the process of passing decisions constitutes official information. Access to this information is restricted, which in the given case is dictated by the need to ensure the authority and impartiality of the justice system, implementation of norms of the Constitution, and exclude any influence on the judges. According to Article 22.2 § 1 of the Law on Access to Public Information, information about the voting when passing a judgement of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (including CCU Judgement No. 20 from 30.09.2010) cannot be provided”, the CCU Secretariat advise.

Delo notes that this means that information about the number of judges who blithely changed the political structure of a country with a population of 46 million is “official information”.

The publication was only provided with the separate opinions issued by two judges: Viktor Shishkin and Pavlo Stetsyuk.

Another main state secret

CCU also refused to inform Delo how many judges in 2010 voted for the election of Anatoly Holovin as Court President. It asserted that the Law on the Constitutional Court establishes a secret vote and therefore information about the voting is a secret which cannot be divulged.

Delo notes that this argument is rather unconvincing. According to the Constitution, the Heads of both the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court are voted for by secret ballot, yet the election procedure for the Supreme Court Head is not a secret. The results of the election of Vasyl Onopenko in 2006 were announced, with it being reported that Onopenko had received the votes of 58 of the 84 judges.

As reported at the time, on 30 September 2010 the Constitutional Court found unconstitutional the Law on Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine from 8 December 2004 No. 2222-IV citing violations in procedure for its examination and adoption.

In accordance with the judgment, announced by the Head of the Court, Anatoly Holovin, Law No. 2222-IV became null and void from the day the CCU judgment was passed.

The Constitutional Court reinstated the 1996 Constitution and called on the authorities to bring Ukrainian legislation into line with the Constitution of 1996 without delay.

On 8 December 2004 the Verkhovna Rada passed the law on amendments to the Constitution as part of a “package” together with amendments to the Law on the Presidential Elections. The latter were needed in order to hold a re-run of the second round of voting which brought huge numbers onto the streets in protest over the rigging of the elections (in what came to be known as the Orange Revolution).

The 2004 amendments curtailed the President’s powers, with a change from Presidential-parliamentary to parliamentary-Presidential form of government, introduced proportional representation and extended parliamentary mandate to 5 years.

From the report here

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