Victor Yushchenko has presided over the ninth session of the National Commission to Strengthen Democracy and Promote the Rule of Law (CDRL), according to the President`s press-office.

      In his speech, the President said he appreciated what the Commission had done recently. He said their proposals had been considered by the Secretariat, some of them issued as presidential decrees and some submitted as bills to the Verkhovna Rada. 

      Mr. Yushchenko described the Commission as “an exceptionally practical instrument to unite governmental offices, political parties and NGOs to promote democratic and legal values in Ukraine.”

      He outlined their major challenges for the next couple of years and said the greatest of them was to improve the constitution.

      “We must initiate an essentially new phase of political reform in Ukraine and create a truly balanced system of government,” he said.

      To fulfill this objective, he said, we must stick to the following principles: analyzing proposals to improve the constitutional regulation of social relations and holding professional discussions involving not only political leaders but also representatives of other social groups.

      “I have asked the Verkhovna Rada Speaker and the Prime Minister to nominate their candidates as members of the Commission,” he added.

      Mr. Yushchenko said the Commission should become “one of the important centers to formulate and ensure the discussion of relevant proposals.”

      He insisted that the Commission help Ukraine’s society develop legal culture and knowledge. Another important challenge is the improvement of the judicial system.

      “We must rapidly and professionally formulate the fundamentals of judicial reform. It must be very straightforward and easily understood by all those it affects,” he said.

      He also urged the Commission to help reform law enforcement agencies, particularly the Prosecutor General’s Office.

      “The country needs a new, modern model of law enforcement agencies, which would be consistent with the European standards and ensure the adequate protection of human and civil rights and freedoms, social and state interests,” he said.

      Commission Head Serhiy Holovaty, Deputy Secretariat Chief of Staff Ihor Pukshin, Security Chief Ihor Drizhchany and Constitutional Court Judge Viktor Shyshkin took part in the discussion.