Some 267 MPs out of the 381 registered in the session hall backed the relevant resolution / Photo from UNIAN

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has decided to obtain Constitutional Court conclusions on a bill introducing changes to the procedure of appointing and dismissing directors of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).

Some 267 MPs out of the 381 registered in the session hall backed the relevant decision stipulated in resolution No. 5133/P, an UNIAN correspondent reported.

The Opposition Platform - For Life, the European Solidarity and the Batkivshchyna factions did not vote.

The No. 5133 bill on amendments to Articles 85 and 106 of the Constitution of Ukraine regarding the procedure of appointing and dismissing NABU and SBI chiefs was included in the agenda of the parliamentary session and submitted to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU).

The bill proposes that Article 85 of the Constitution stipulate that the powers of the Verkhovna Rada include granting consent to the appointment to a position based on the results of a competitive selection and dismissal by the president of Ukraine of the director of NABU or the SBI.

Read alsoAnother petition for Artem Sytnyk's dismissal registered on president's websiteIt also suggests that Article 106 of the Constitution should foresee that the president, in the manner prescribed by law, shall appoint and dismiss from office, with the consent of the Verkhovna Rada, the directors of NABU and the SBI, with the selection of candidates for the position on a competitive basis.

According to the explanatory note to the bill, such a special procedure "will ensure the maximum independence of those state law enforcement agencies, without upsetting the balance of the constitutional powers of the president and the parliament of Ukraine."

President's representative to the Constitutional Court, MP from the Servant of the People Party Fedir Venislavskiy, who is one of the sponsors of the bill, said during the consideration of the issue that the procedure for the competitive selection would be developed later.

"After the Constitutional Court's positive conclusion and the adoption of the bill, a specially created, ad hoc group will develop the most effective legal mechanism for holding a competition for the positions of NABU and SBI directors," he said.

NABU row

  • On August 28, 2020, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine declared a presidential decree dated April 16, 2015, on the appointment of Artem Sytnyk as NABU Director as unconstitutional. The decision was taken on a motion filed by 51 lawmakers.
  • On September 16, 2020, the Constitutional Court ruled that certain provisions of the law on the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine are at variance with the country's Constitution. In particular, the provisions on empowering the president of Ukraine to form NABU, to appoint and dismiss its director, to appoint three persons to the commission for holding a competition for the position of the bureau's director, to appoint one member of the external control commission to conduct an independent assessment (audit) of NABU's effectiveness, its operational and institutional independence, and to approve the provisions on the Civil Oversight Council and the procedure for its formation were designated as unconstitutional.
  • On December 16, 2020, the CCU decision entered into force, invalidating the mentioned provisions of the law on NABU. At the time, Justice Minister Denys Malyuska claimed this did not change the status of either NABU Director Artem Sytnyk or the Bureau.
  • On February 15, 2021, the Cabinet of Ministers, Ukraine's government, approved for submitting to parliament a bill that grants the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine the status of executive authority, at the same time providing for the first deputy director to lead the agency during the transition period. The same day, the bill on amending some laws of Ukraine on bringing the status of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine in line with the requirements of the Constitution of Ukraine (No. 5070) was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada.
  • On February 16, 2021, the parliament registered the relevant bill. The bill provides that during the competitive selection of candidates for the position of the new NABU director, his or her powers shall be performed by the first deputy.
  • Head of the Anti-corruption Action Center (AntAC) Vitaliy Shabunin is convinced if the parliament adopts the bill with a provision on Sytnyk's dismissal, Ukraine's relations with the IMF, the U.S. and the EU will significantly worsen.
  • In turn, NABU said the adoption of government bill No. 5070 would deprive the agency of institutional independence.