President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko claimed that the reform of justice significantly improves protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms.
Petro Poroshenko emphasizes that constitutional amendments on justice that entered into force on September 30 are the foundation for the reform of justice and the Constitutional Court and significantly improve protection of rights of Ukrainians.
“It is crucial that citizens have gained the right to appeal to the Constitutional Court with a constitutional claim in case a person believes that the final court decision in his or her case doesn’t meet the Constitution. This novation significantly increases the level of protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms,” the Head of State emphasized during his speech at the international conference “Constitutional Control and Democratic Transformation Processes in Modern Society” held on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.
“This is a powerful additional mechanism successfully used in other countries,” Petro Poroshenko added noting that Ukrainian lawyers had thoroughly examined the experience and practice of other countries. The President drew attention to the need for exploring the experience of the neighboring countries taking part in the conference in order to qualitatively implement the given instrument in the applicable laws that are currently being meticulously discussed by experts.
The President stressed that the reform implemented norms that would substantially enhance the independence of the Constitutional Court – relieve it of untypical functions and expand powers.
“The Constitutional Court must strictly uphold the rule of law and the Constitution in times of reformation and implementation of vital changes. It is important to have no factionalism and backstage struggle.
Definitely, there cannot be a division between judges on somebody's quota, origin, education, specialization or on any other grounds, as state by Petro Poroshenko.
“Every judge must be able to work professionally and fairly under the letter of the law, spirit of the law and his own conscience. This applies both to consideration of affairs and decisions crucial for the country and complaints of ordinary citizens,” he added.
The President emphasized that he would submit the draft law on the Constitutional Court of Ukraine for consideration by the Verkhovna Rada immediately after its finalization and discussion. “I am not interested in the delay of this process,” Petro Poroshenko said.
The Head of State is hopeful that the implementation of novations would facilitate the restoration of justice and judicial authority. “Now, when ordinary citizens have the right to appeal to the Constitutional Court, the Court has a chance to strengthen its authority in the eyes of both experts and society. Professionalism of judges and legal flawlessness of their decisions will become guarantors of independence of the Constitutional Court and restoration of public trust,” he said.
President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio, who was also present at the Conference, welcomed the constitutional amendments on justice.
“These amendments have long been awaited. They are important for the judicial system in Ukraine,” he said noting that the law had taken into account all the recommendations of the Venice Commission.
“We are hopeful that the implementation of these amendments will be carried out in full compliance with the principles of judicial independence and judicial accountability,” he added.
The President of the Venice Commission paid attention to the struggle against corruption, which “currently remains a destabilizing factor for the judicial system”, as well as to the issue of incompetence of court decisions. In this context, he underlined the necessity of purification of the judicial power. “Those officials who would keep on rejecting the implementation of justice must not remain in the judicial system,” Gianni Buquicchio noted.
He also emphasized the importance of the electoral reform and reformation of the law regulating political parties’ activities. Gianni Buquicchio is hopeful that the process of reforms in that direction will be successful and noted that the Venice Commission was willing to assist.