Chairman and Judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine took part in the XV Congress of Judges of Ukraine
On March 5, the XV Congress of Judges of Ukraine commenced its work in Kyiv. Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Stanislav Shevchuk, as well as judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Viktor Horodovenko, Oleksandr Kasminin, Oleksandr Lytvynov, Oleksandr Tupytskyi, and Natalia Shaptala took part in this Congress.
The event was attended by the representatives of the Council of Judges of Ukraine, the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine, the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine, judges of the Supreme Court, representatives of local and appellate general courts, representatives of international organisations, public organisations and mass media.
The program of the Congress provides for discussion of the issues related to the state of justice in the context of judicial reform, in particular, the execution of tasks of judicial self-government bodies regarding the independence of courts and judges, the status of organisational and financial support of the activity of courts, as well as the election of the Council of Judges of Ukraine and members of the High Council of Justice, the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine.
The Head of the Council of Judges of Ukraine Valentyna Simonenko opened the XV Congress of Judges of Ukraine with welcoming speech to the participants of the event on behalf of the President of Ukraine. As noted in the congratulation, the independence, competence and responsibility of the judiciary – the preconditions for ensuring the rule of law, access of citizens to court. Within the framework of judicial reform, due to the changes to the Constitution of Ukraine and Ukrainian legislation, the principles of the independence of the Court and the efficiency of the judiciary have been strengthened. The President of Ukraine stressed that the courts received new procedural instruments for the effective administration of justice. According to the President, for the first time in the history of Ukraine, political bodies have no influence on the formation and operation of the judiciary, and all personnel issues have been handed over to the judiciary authorities, which play a leading role in this matter.
Also, the Head of the Council of Judges of Ukraine Valentyna Simonenko congratulated the Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Stanislav Shevchuk on his election to this post and invited him to deliver a speech.
The Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Stanislav Shevchuk thanked for the opportunity to take part in the work of the XV Congress of Judges of Ukraine and addressed to its participants. "We have mutual tasks – to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution of Ukraine and effective protection of constitutional rights and freedoms", mentioned the Chairman. Mr. Shevchuk reminded that the main purpose of the Constitution is to restrict state power in order to guarantee freedom, it is the main deterrent to its usurpation, and the mission of the Constitutional Court is to protect person from the arbitrariness of state power. As Stanislav Shevchuk noticed, the long absence of a strong and authoritative constitutional court in the country is a direct way to the gradual degradation of our statehood.
The Chairman of the Constitutional Court noted that Ukrainian society gave up on this state body, and therefore the main aim of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine is to return people's trust as soon as possible, as the rule of law is based on trust and authority of Court decisions. Mr. Shevchuk also noted that if society treated the judiciary with respect and confidence, then no political force would be able to influence the activities of the courts, and the independence of the judicial system from internal and external influence would be a guarantee of the rule of law.
Stanislav Shevchuk stressed on reforming the judicial system, in particular, the introduction of a constitutional complaint in our country to protect human and citizen’s rights and freedoms. The Chairman of the Constitutional Court is convinced that the introduction of constitutional complaint will reduce the number of appeals from people to the European Court of Human Rights on violation of their rights by Ukraine, since their rights will be protected by the national judicial system.
The Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine pointed out that the Court had recently adopted Rules of Procedure, allowing the Court to proceed to the formation of Senates, Boards, as well as to launch a mechanism for consideration of constitutional complaints. Moreover, the President of Ukraine appointed two judges who took a competitive selection in accordance with the constitutional amendments, and on March 2 they swore in at a special plenary session of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, as required by the new law.
Mr. Shevchuk assured that joint efforts could build a judicial system in which the highest value would be a person, and each court decision would be adopted in accordance with the principle of the rule of law, which, in particular, implies the availability of qualitative and substantiated motivation for court decisions. He noted that the motivation of court decisions testifies to the openness of our legal system to European and international law. As examples, Stanislav Shevchuk cited several decisions adopted by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, in particular, regarding judicial control of the hospitalisation of incapacitated persons to a psychiatric institution; public religious gatherings, unconstitutionality of Article 315 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine etc.
In addition, the Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine emphasised that the basis of justice is fairness, which is the main requirement of the rule of law principle.
At the end of speech, Stanislav Shevchuk wished all participants of the Сongress inspiration and success in the work.
On behalf of the Council of Judges of Ukraine the Head of the Council of Judges of Ukraine Valentyna Simonenko congratulated the delegates of the Сongress. In her speech, she noted that the Сongress is taking place at the next stage of judicial reform, which began with the adoption of amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine in the area of justice. Now comes the stage – the implementation of these legislative norms, which is the most complicated one and depends on all of us. This large-scale work is aimed at fair justice, independent judges, effective judicial power for the well-being of people, Mrs. Simonenko stressed.
The event was attended by the President of the Supreme Court Valentyna Danishevska, who drew attention of the delegates and participants of the Congress to the fact that for the second year judicial system has lived under new rules, the legislative guarantees of our independence are received, the powers between the judicial system are clearly delineated, the procedure for their formation is established. The speaker noted that the judicial reform in the part of legislative provision, especially the provision of the judicial system, is practically completed, the next task is to make it effective.
Valentyna Danishevska noted that without a fair trial there is no democratic and legal state, so the judiciary has a huge responsibility. She stressed that only joint, diligent efforts could restore people's trust, which is a strategic goal. In addition, the President of the Supreme Court stressed that today the Congress of judges Ukraine is responsible for replenishing the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine, the High Council of Justice and the election of a new composition of the Council of Judges of Ukraine, and the professional success of the judiciary depends on how these bodies will work.
The Chairman of the Supreme Council of Justice Ihor Benedysiuk also delivered a speech. He noted that the pressure on courts and judges, in particular, from the authorities, continues, as evidenced by the statistics of the appeals of judges to the High Council of Justice on this issue. About 400 such appeals have been recorded. Mr. Benedysiuk also mentioned that work is underway to establish the Judicial Protection Service, in particular, the provisions of such a Service have already been adopted.
The work of the Congress of Judges of Ukraine continues in accordance with the agenda.