CEDEM supported the Justice Agenda

June 18, 2019

Judiciary reform, restoration of liability for illicit enrichment for official and new law enforcement reforms – this is the public agenda for next parliament. Center for Democracy and Rule of Law joined the Justice Agenda, a joint demand list of 17 NGOs for parties, who take part in the elections. The agenda is mainly focused on changes in anti-corruption, judiciary and law enforcement system.

In particular, the campaigners demand from the new Parliament to restore the liability for the illicit enrichment. Currently imposing the punishment on any official, who got their wealth by violating the law is impossible: on February 26, the Constitutional Court dismissed the criminal penalty for illicit enrichment. After it, National Anti-Corruption Bureau had to close a criminal proceeding against 65 officials. Thus, organizations demand to restore the punishment. Moreover, liability should be followed by the confiscation of illicit wealth, returning the money to the state budget.

Secondly, the participants of the Justice Agenda urge to «reload» two anti-corruption bodies, National Agency for Corruption Prevention (NACP) and Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor`s Office (SAPO). That means firing the chairmans of both offices and appointing new ones on the basis of the transparent competition. Moreover, SAPO, NACP and National Anti-Corruption Bureau must have the guarantees of their independence. The next proposition is relates to strategic level: creation of the anti-corruption policy, which determines the goals and responsibilities of authorities in this sector.

The real judiciary reform is another component of the justice imposing. For example, NGOs propose to reform the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine and High Council of Justice, – the bodies, responsible for selection and evaluation of Servants of Themis (which makes them vital for high quality work of the system). According to the plan, the civic experts have to become members of both bodies (forming a half of each of them), while the nomination of the HQCJ and HCJ members will be held by experts from international organizations.

The additional tool could be formed by implementing the idea of rehearing of the HQCJ decisions. For example, in case if the Public Integrity Council issued a negative opinion on the judge, but HQCJ gave them green light.

By the way, one more demand is a reform of a Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU), which means a transparent competitions to fill the position of judges of CCU.

Moreover, the participating NGOs call to rebuild the law enforcement branch. Thus, Security Service of Ukraine must be denied the extrinsic powers (including pretrial investigation and confronting economic crimes). In contrary, it is reasonable to create a Financial Investigation Service – new specialized body to fight against financial, tax and economic crimes.

According to the plan, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine (GPOU) also must be «reloaded». Here experts propose to reelect the Qualification And Disciplinary Commission of Prosecutors – again with the engagement of international experts and quota for civic activists in its staff. Reminder: this body appoints and fires prosecutors. The updated GPOU will have less staff with bigger salary, so the top officials will have less opportunities to put pressure on subordinates. Among the proposals is also the new and transparent appointment competition for the position of the General Prosecutor.

Among the reforms, demanded by civic organizations, are changes in the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). In case of MIA, it means a reattestation of police officials with engagement of active society. Since, as Justice Agenda marks, «The majority of old «militia» [pre-reform Ukrainian police] servants, even those who failed the professional exams, returned their posts through the trials». Meanwhile, the new Parliament must support the reattestation of all detectives in SBI territorial departments (and fire all who failed it). In doing so, the chairperson of Bureau must be appointed by Cabinet of Ministers (by now the President appoints him after the proposal of Prime Minister), and commission for appointing SBI officials must be formed in another way.

Besides, the participants of the initiative urge to defend the existing achievement – the system of international purchases of medicaments, which allows supplying the Ukrainians in need through the state budget.

The authors of Justice Agenda urge all parties, which are taking part in the elections to the Parliament, to support the proposals. The Justice Agenda participants also plan to track the reaction of the political parties. For example, on the web page of the initiative will be marked the top politics who supported the Agenda as well as parties who have not done it yet.