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Delegation of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine took part in the third professional meeting on constitutional law
Judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Viktor Kryvenko, Ihor Slidenko, Stanislav Shevchuk and Head of the Secretariat of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Yaroslav Vasylkevych took part in the third professional meeting on constitutional law which was held on June 21-24, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.
The program of the event included discussion of important issues related to the introduction of constitutional complaint in Ukraine, which is to become a reliable guarantee of public access to constitutional justice, and the organisation and improvement of the work of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in view of the above innovation.
The visit was organised by the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ), which facilitates regular Ukrainian-German meetings on constitutional and legal issues and exchange of scientific and methodological expertise. The Ukrainian delegation was received by: Veronika Keller-Engels (the newly appointed IRZ-Director), Wolfram Hertig (Senior IRZ Project Manager), Dr. Dieter Homig (former judge of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany), Dr. Matthias Hartwig (Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg).
The event included several working sessions which addressed the dynamics of changes in the status and the powers of the Constitutional Court in the legislation and the constitutions of Ukraine and Germany. In addition, much attention was paid to the activism and self-restraint in the context of powers of constitutional courts of the two countries. In particular, “non-classical” or modern methods of interpretation of constitution as one of manifestation of judicial activism and self-restraint in the activity of constitutional courts was discussed.
Dr. Dieter Homig spoke about the work and powers of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. He noted that the Court’s judges are elected by the Bundestag and Bundesrat no earlier than three months before the expiry of the term of office of their predecessors. In case of early termination of judge’s authorities, his successor is elected by the appropriate body within one month.
Dr. Dieter Homig also said that any professional activity in Germany is incompatible with judicial authority, except for teaching law in higher educational institutions. The activity of a judge is of primary importance as compared to teaching in higher educational institution.
The former judge touched in detail upon withdrawal and self-withdrawal of judges of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. He stressed that withdrawal of a judge should be substantiated and the withdrawn judge should express himself thereon. “Expressing of a scientific opinion by a Constitutional Court’s judge during the extra-judicial activities, as well as before his election to the office of a judge, regarding legal issues which may be important for any constitutional proceedings in future can not be considered as the conflict of interest”, noted Dieter Homig.
Judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Viktor Kryvenko, Ihor Slidenko, Stanislav Shevchuk provided an introductory overview of the state of constitutional reform in Ukraine and key areas of the planned professional talks. They stressed that the topic of the meeting had particular relevance in view of the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine (on justice)" on June 2, 2016, which provides for the reform of the national judiciary, including the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.
Judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine informed the participants about the changes to the powers of the domestic body of constitutional jurisdiction, procedure of appointment and dismissal of judges and guarantees of their independence and integrity.
Presentations and questions of the Ukrainian delegation aroused great interest and lively discussion with German colleagues. During the seminar participants exchanged views on topical issues and expressed their views on future changes in the constitutional jurisdictions of both states.
Given their own experience, the German colleagues made recommendations on possible problems of the improvement of the activity of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine related to the introduction of constitutional complaint as an effective mechanism to ensure access to constitutional justice.