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European Commission expects Ukraine to follow Venice Commission recommendations on Constitutional Court bill

by The Kyiv Independent news desk December 23, 2022 12:08 PM 1 min read
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The European Commission (EC) expects that the Ukrainian authorities will fully take into account Venice Commission’s recommendations to the law on the Constitutional Court, Ana Pisonero, the EC spokeswoman, told Suspilne media outlet.

The law was signed into law by President Volodymyr Zelensky in a version that ignores the recommendations.

The law regulates the selection of judges into Ukraine’s Constitutional Court, which has been entangled in corruption scandals and controversies.

The reform of the Constitutional Court is one of the seven recommendations outlined by the European Commission as conditions for Ukraine’s accession to the EU.

According to Pisonero, the EC is particularly urging Ukraine to increase the number of experts who will approve or reject the judge candidates from six to seven, making sure that the seventh expert is foreign.

“The additional member (of the expert panel) should be based on the international quota to prevent a stalemate in decision-making,” she told Suspilne, adding that it is essential for strengthening public confidence in the new process of selecting judges.

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Under the current Constitutional Court bill, the expert panel will have three Ukrainian and three foreign members.

It will give the President’s Office full control over choosing candidates and the ability to handpick loyalists, according to legal experts and anti-corruption activists.

“The European Commission will closely monitor this process. Progress in judicial reform remains vital for strengthening Ukraine’s stability,” said Pisonero.

The bill was adopted by the Parliament on Dec. 13 and signed into law by Zelensky on Dec. 20. Ukraine’s civil society has criticized the move.

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