Final plea to not appoint discredited judges to Ukraine’s Supreme Court
The Public Integrity Council, Rehabilitation Package of Reforms [RPR] and a number of other civic organizations have issued urgent appeals to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and the High Council of Justice. They warn that there can be no hope of real reform of the Supreme Court if the President and HCJ accept the results announced by the High Qualification Commission of Judges [HQCJ] for Ukraine’s first ever competition for 120 Supreme Court judges.
As reported, 30 of the 120 successful candidates according to the HQCJ are people who received negative assessments from the Public Integrity Council due to serious doubts about the candidates’ past record, possible corruption, implication in politically motivated rulings, etc.
While the Public Integrity Council wrote only to the President, RPR have addressed their call to both Poroshenko and to the High Council of Justice. Their message is essentially the same, namely that one cannot hope to achieve judicial reform by appointing discredited judges.
The law states that HCJ does not have to agree to the appointment of a specific candidate if there are reasonable doubts as to the person’s integrity or professional ethics, or if there are any other circumstances that could undermine public trust in the judiciary.
In the case of 25% of the candidates, one in four, there are precisely such grounds, and it is the High Council of Justice’s duty to prevent their appointment which could threaten judicial reform in Ukraine.
They stress that the President, as initiator of the judicial reform, bears political responsibility for its successful development.
Supreme Court judges have indefinite tenure, so the appointment of discredited candidates must have long-term and devastating consequences which should, RPR stresses, outweigh “short-term political advantages from the appointment of loyal judges. “