Ukraine's Parliament Passed Law on Selection of Judges for Constitutional Court Needed for Opening EU Accession Negotiations

Thursday, 27 July 2023

The Verkhovna Rada has adopted the draft law No. 9322 in the second reading. It introduces changes to the procedure for selecting judges of the Constitutional Court, in order to meet the criteria by the European Commission on Ukraine's EU accession.

As MP Yaroslav Zhelezniak reported on Telegram, 293 members of parliament supported the law.

"This is an important Euro-integration initiative. It fulfils the first recommendation of the European Commission on Ukraine's EU membership," he wrote.

According to him, the document includes a provision that strengthens the role of international experts in the selection of judges:

"If the Advisory Group of Experts cannot make a decision due to an equal number of votes 'for' and 'against,' a repeated voting takes place.

In case of an equal number of votes 'for' and 'against' during such a repeated voting, the votes of three members of the Advisory Group of Experts, at least two of whom are nominated by international organisations or the European Commission 'For Democracy through Law,' are decisive," the draft law states.

The draft law was approved in the first reading on June 12.

On June 10, the Venice Commission published its assessment of the draft law No. 9322 regarding changes to the procedure for selecting judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

The Venice Commission in its decision expressed regret that its recommendation to include a seventh member in the Advisory Group of Experts was not followed. However, the Venice Commission welcomed the "significant improvements" proposed in response to its key recommendations.

The reform of the system for selecting judges of the Constitutional Court is one of the seven criteria set by the European Commission. Their fulfillment is necessary for opening EU accession negotiations.

On June 9, G7 ambassadors presented key recommendations for Ukraine to strengthen anti-corruption institutions and reform the judicial system. One of the recommendations pertains to the introduction of legislation for a transparent selection of judges for the Constitutional Court of Ukraine based on meritocracy.

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