Supreme Council of Justice – a reorganized state agency responsible for nomination of judges, starts its work in the context of the wider judicial reform in Ukraine. The Council gets new functions and will pass through a two-month transition period.
On January 12 the High Council of Justice (in Ukrainian: Вища рада юстиції, Vyshcha rada yustytsii) was reorganized into the Supreme Council of Justice (in Ukrainian: Вища рада правосуддя, Vyshcha rada pravosuddya), said Ihor Benedysyuk, Head of the High Council of Justice at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “The Supreme Court of Justice will become, on the one hand, the principal agency that will make sure judges are independent, and, on the other hand, has to take up responsibility for the state and authority of the judiciary,” he explained. It is a new constitutional body established in accordance with the transitional provisions on justice to the Constitution of Ukraine, the transitional provisions to the Law “On the judicial system and the status of judges” as well as with the transitional provisions to the Law “On the Supreme Council of Justice” that came into force on January 5, 2017. “It is now possible to implement in full all the powers foreseen by the Constitution of Ukraine as well as enact the procedures stipulated by the respective law,” explained Benedysyuk.
Starting January 12 members of the High Council of Justice obtain the status of the Supreme Council of Justice members. “Commission for reorganization of the High Council of Justice and setup of the Supreme Council of Justice has also been established. Respective action plan has been approved,” the official said. Over the next two months respective action will be taken to get the new agency through the state registration as well as to form new bodies within the Supreme Council of Justice.
Head of the Council emphasized: “There are currently no obstacles for this body to implement its functions, the number of the Supreme Council of Justice members allows to conduct this work.” The Supreme Council of Justice is an agency established as part of the wider judicial reform, it gets new powers as well. It is responsible for forming the pool of judges, it will decide on their appointment, transfer and dismissal, take disciplinary action against judges, and will be in charge of preserving independence of the judicial power as well as deciding on temporary suspension from duty of judges in criminal cases etc.
Benedysyuk thus noted that earlier on that day the Supreme Council of Justice made its first two decisions: temporarily suspended from duty judge Petryk of the Kyiv city administrative court of appeal and judge Yemelyanov of the Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine.