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 Сountry cannot wait for judicial reform any longer, Ukraine's president says

President Petro Poroshenko said the country could no longer wait for the judicial reform to be implemented.

He noted this when opening the discussion of the constitutional amendments on judicial reform at the 14th session of the National Council of Reforms, Censor.NET reports citing the press office of the president.

"Today is the final discussion. Following the discussion, I am going to submit the concerted draft law to the Parliament by the end of the week," the head of state informed.

The president quoted article 6 "Right to a fair trial" of the European Convention on Human Rights: "Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law".

"It is our roadmap. We have to build such a fair trial as a result of judicial reform," Petro Poroshenko stressed.

The head of state expressed his hopes that a consensus will be found today and the Parliament will approve the amendments in the first reading at the present session in order to adopt them at the next session.

Read more: Poroshenko to discuss "visa-free package" legislation with parliamentary factions today

The president emphasized that judicial reform was the most anticipated in society. "It is a guarantee of investments coming to the country, a guarantee of efficient struggle against corruption for those who have been caught on corruption to be not only detained, but also convicted. Generally, it is a guarantee of justice. Today, we must ensure it. We've already understood the value of freedom, now we are starting to understand the value of justice," the head of state emphasized.

The president expressed gratitude to the Constitutional Commission and noted that since the beginning of September, an intensive exchange of opinions had taken place with involvement of a great number of Ukrainian and international experts. The Venice Commission has provided an approving conclusion on this project twice. On October 30, the Constitutional Commission approved draft constitutional amendments on justice by an overwhelming majority of votes.

The head of state emphasized that purification and renewal of judicial corps through personal evaluation of each judge and strict control over expenditures of judges in terms of their conformity with income were the main components of the draft law. "It is, inter alia, a struggle against the so-called "gifts" that are given to judges for illegal court decisions not for beautiful eyes or graduation with honors," the president said.

Read more: Draft amendments to constitution in terms of justice approved, - Presidential Administration

According to the president, another key provision is the abolition of judicial immunity: "We should protect judges from bribes and temptations, inter alia, through the inevitability of punishment. We should defend them from political figures who will be deprived of an opportunity to motivate judges for unlawful decisions," the head of state emphasized.

In order to solve these issues, it is proposed to create a new body - Supreme Council of Justice that will be responsible for the submission of candidacy to the post of judge, approval of the decision on dismissal of a judge and transfer of judges.

"Judge will be deprived of absolute immunity. The immunity will only remain for the function of administration of justice. Judge cannot be punished for his decisions. But any misconduct, from a road accident to bribes, can be a reason for criminal liability," the president emphasized.

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Petro Poroshenko drew attention to a new reason for the dismissal of a judge - inability to prove the legality of his income sources. "It is an additional mechanism of struggle against corruption in judicial system," he said.

Members of the Constitutional Commission together with experts from the Venice Commission and public figures have elaborated effective ways to renew the judicial corps. "This is a procedure of assessing each and every judge and reorganization of courts where necessary. This is to take place in a very short period of time and the procedure of evaluation and testing must be very similar to what we saw in the creation of new patrol police and what is now being introduced in the recruitment of new employees of local prosecution offices," he said.

"The draft by the Constitutional Commission provides for the real fundamental changes; was approved by the international expert community; takes into account public expectations regarding purification of judicial corps; underwent broad public discussion in Ukraine," the president concluded.
 
 
 
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