Contrary to the conclusion of the Venice Commission, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has approved a law criticized by judicial activists for undermining the independence of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court (CCU).
On 20 December, he signed law Parliament-approved law #7662 about the competition to select candidates for the Constitutional Court. Earlier in the day, the Venice Commission published its conclusion on the draft law, in which it stressed that:
- The Advisory Group of Experts, which will vet candidates for the Constitutional Court, should include an additional seventh member from among international experts. This seventh independent expert will allow counterbalancing political influence on the commission.
- The decisions of the Advisory Group of Experts shall be binding. Under no circumstances can a candidate who has received their negative assessment become a judge of the Constitutional Court.
The draft law adopted by the Verkhovna Rada currently provides for six Advisory Group of Experts members, three of whom are independent experts, and the rest are appointed by the President, Ukraine’s Parliament, and the Congress of Judges, and no decision can be made without the vote of the latter.
“This is a clear signal that the [Venice] Commission insists on European values and principles of the rule of law, and no one will give Ukraine a discount because of the war and other circumstances,” said Mykhailo Zhernakov, Chairman of the Board of the DEJURE Foundation.
His organization has called on international partners to not delegate members to the AGE and on Ukrainian MPs to amend the law immediately: