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10 January, 2023
Non-governmental organisations call on Ukraine's international partners not to support the reform of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine

Several Ukrainian non-governmental organisations, including NAKO, call on international partners, including the European Union, not to support the fake reform of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.
The Government of Ukraine invited international partners to nominate experts to be involved in selecting judges for the Constitutional Court. However, the proposed procedure for competitive selection needs to comply with the Venice Commission recommendations and the conclusion of the European Commission. It also poses serious threats to future dependence and establishment of political control over the institution. 
It should be recalled that in June 2022, the European Commission recommended granting Ukraine the candidate country status subject to implementing some institutional reforms. The EC claimed that reforming the procedure for the competitive selection of judges of the Constitutional Court was a number one concern and emphasised that such reform should follow Venice Commission recommendations. 
On December 13, 2022, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the law on reforming the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. However, the adopted law must comply more with the Venice Commission’s recommendations. The Venice Commission responded to this by emphasising the recommendations ignored in the final version of the opinion approved at the plenary session on December 16-17, 2022.
In particular, the Venice Commission stated that a seventh member should be added to the selection commission (Expert Advisory Group) as stipulated by the international partners' quota and that the commission decisions should be binding for the judges appointed in integrity assessment and competencies of candidates. 
After that, Ana Pisonero, the European Commission spokeswoman, said that the EU expects the adopted law to be amended, taking into account the said recommendations of the Venice Commission. However, the law entered into force, and the Government launched its implementation, sending a call to the EU and other international partners to nominate their experts. 
“We, representatives of non-government organisations, who have been guiding efforts to establish the rule of law in Ukraine for years, are convinced that without these amendments, the reform of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine is doomed to failure, and democracy and the European future of Ukraine will be under serious threat. The current law makes future judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine dependent and brings the court majority under political control. Unfortunately, independent international experts have no authority to select the most worthy candidates. Their role is reduced to filtering out the worst ones, which allows for electing politically dependent members to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine,” the statement goes.
The politically controlled members of the Expert Advisory Group will have a decisive influence on the selection of future judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. The said could be changed only if there is a seventh member under the international partners' quota, as the Venice Commission recommended.
Non-governmental organisations emphasise that a high-quality composition of the Constitutional Court is possible only if the recommendations of the Venice Commission and the EU opinion are taken into account by amending the law. 
“In the current situation, the implementation of the law in its current version will result in political dependence of the key constitutional body for years, which poses an existential threat to democracy and the rule of law in Ukraine during a full-scale war,” the statement goes.
Non-governmental organisations signed the statement calling on international partners not to support the fake reform and only to participate in its implementation once the law is in line with the Venice Commission recommendations.

Anti-Corruption Action Center
All-Ukrainian Association “Avtomaidan”
DEJURE Foundation
Anti-Corruption Headquarters
CHESNO Movement
Institute of Legislative Ideas
Independent Anti-Corruption Commission — NAKO