Rada passes judiciary-related changes to Constitution in first reading
Bill No. 3524 on constitutional amendments related to the judiciary was supported by 244 lawmakers on Tuesday, February 2.
Addressing the parliament members before the voting took place, presidential envoy in parliament and MP from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction Stepan Kubiv said that the fair and unbiased court is an important guarantee of ensuring rights and freedoms of every Ukrainian citizen and building the state.
"Among Ukrainian society's priority requirements today are the formation of the independent judiciary, the strengthening of their accountability and the appointment of new judges.
On November 25, 2015, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tabled in parliament an urgent bill on constitutional amendments related to the judiciary, which was registered under No. 3524. During debates on the bill, it was noted that it was inappropriate to remove a clause from the Constitution of Ukraine which authorizes the Verkhovna Rada to hold a no-confidence vote on the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. Poroshenko finalized the bill with due regard and tabled it in parliament on January 26, 2016.
"The finalization of the said bill with due regard to the abovementioned circumstances was predetermined by the need to reach a political consensus on allowing parliamentarians to hold a no-confidence vote on the Prosecutor General of Ukraine," Kubiv explained.
In his words, the finalized document not only authorizes the Verkhovna Rada to approve the appointment and dismissal of the Prosecutor General by the President, but also to vote on no-confidence in the Prosecutor General, which will be followed by the Prosecutor General's dismissal.
"Thus, under the updated bill, the early termination of the Prosecutor General's tenure will be regulated not only by laws, but also the Constitution. As for other clauses [of the finalized bill], they have not changed," Kubiv said.
He claims that the bill ensures the independence of the judiciary, an increase in the professional level of judges, an improvement in the basis of legal proceedings, and provides constitutional authority to prosecutors, lawyers, and officers of the court.
"So I'd like to draw attention to the importance of the implementation of these changes for Ukrainian society, because they will not only contribute to achieving the declared goals, but will also create independent conditions for a fair trial for everyone," he said.
Chairman of the parliament's committee on legal policy and justice, MP from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction Ruslan Kniazevych said that his committee recommended at its meeting on February 2 that the parliament should preliminarily pass the finalized bill on amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine (on the judiciary), registration number 3524, which was tabled by the president as an urgent document.
Ukraine's Constitutional Court recognized that the bill complied with Articles Nos. 157 - 158 of the Constitution of Ukraine, he said.
Answering a question about the re-assessment of the judiciary, Kniazevych said it would begin two weeks later.
"The process of the [judiciary] re-assessment will begin under the previously adopted law on the right to a fair trial. As early as on February 15, the re-assessment will begin officially. The first to undergo the revaluation will be the judges whose tenure is expiring. Then all other judges will have appraisal interviews as scheduled," he added.