Last week Secretary of the Civic Lustration Council within Ministry of Justice Tatiana Kozachenko and Head of the board of the NGO “Civic Lustration Committee” Oleksandra Drik held a briefing and publically addressed the existing and upcoming problems with the Constitutional Court, stating that problems paralyzing the work of the Constitutional Court must be immediately resolved. Experts urged President Poroshenko to devote more attention to the problem and to urgently fire Constitutional Court Judges for violation of oath.
«President Poroshenko’s refusal to comply with his obligation has blocked the government cleansing from lustrated and corrupt officials, it provokes impunity, and thus, threatens the constitutional order” – said Drik.
To substantiate the statement Drik has presented 10 facts:
After 2 years of Presidency Poroshenko hasn’t fired the Constitutional Court judges appointed through presidential quota despite the requirements of the Parliament’s recommendations to dismiss them for oath-breaking. President Poroshenko himself being an MP at that time, voted for their dismissal.
This has brought us to a point when 3 years after Euromaidan one third of the current Constitutional Court are the same people who assisted Yanukovych in 2010 in usurpation of power. And those Judges are now the ones ruling on the key Laws – “On Government cleansing”, “On prevention of Corruption” (e-declarations), changes to the Constitution, so on.
Constitutional Court is blocking lustration. CC for more than two years now is unable to rule on constitutionality of some Law regulations. This has resulted in temporary halt of all of the argued lustration cases in the general jurisdiction courts.
The Venice Commission has clearly stated in its Opinion on the Law on Government Cleansing that Judges that are not holding trials with the formulation “until the CC ruling” are blocking the Government cleansing proses in Ukraine. And CC judges should also be subjects to lustration checks.
Constitutional Court broke the Law by postponing for more than a year the hearing on constitutionality of the provisions of the Law "On prevention of Corruption" in the part of e-declarations. 48 MPs — mostly allies of escaped former President Viktor Yanukovych — appealed to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine with the request to rule as unconstitutional, and thus cancel key provisions to the Law “On prevention of Corruption” in the part of e-declaration along with the 366-1 Article of the Criminal Code, that provides punishment for stating false information in declarations. This has been Sword of Damocles for e-declarations, even though President is taking credit for the Law.
- Prosecutors general office of Ukraine after 3 years of investigations has not tuned the case over to the court despite establishing evidences of criminal violations by the CC judges that resulted in usurpation of power by Yanukovich: through pressure on the Constitutional Court, Yanukovych took control over the parliament and the government. As a result of the constitutional overturn, a factual usurpation of power took place.
Constitutional Court Judges were a part of the Black accounting of he Party of Regions.
When CC was ruling on the constitutional reform initiated by Poroshenko, most of the judges submitted separate opinions. Descriptive words used by Judges were: “threat”, “danger” and so on. This can testify to Judges being pressured by the President’s Administration while ruling on the constitutionality of the changes to the Constitution initiated by Poroshenko.
Judges of the CC cannot elect the Chairman of the Court. On the 18 of May CC Judge Volodymyr Moysik did not get enough votes during the secret ballot. Duties of the Chairman are now being fulfilled by the oldest judge Yuriy Baulin – one of the two judges that were not fired by Poroshenko. His authority expired on the 3rd of June 2017.
Short-sided way of the constitutional reform prohibits appointment of the new judges because they need to be appointed through competitive examination, procedure that is decided on and regulated by the law that has not yet been adopted. According to the law – there should be 18 CC Judges. Now there are 13, for 2 of the Judges authority expired on the 3rd of June. Now CC is to function with only 13 CC Judges. This can paralyze the work of the constitutional jurisdiction.
“President needs to fire CC Judges, and not allow those under criminal investigation quietly retire. Law “On the Constitutional Court” needs to be urgently adopted. Moreover, criminal investigation needs to be either closed and then our authorities need to take responsibility for that decision or GPU needs to finish the investigation and bring it to trial with guilty verdict. Judges of the Constitutional Court should all be subjects of lustration checks” – stated Kozachenko during the briefing.