Regarding the NACP's Pressure on the Constitutional Court of Ukraine: Statement of the Bar Council of Ukraine

Advocacy
12:47 Wed 12.06.24 175 Reviews
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On June 11, the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption published a news item on its website entitled «Should members of the Qualification and Disciplinary Commissions of the Bar Declare: Whose Side Will the CCU Take?», in which it called on the public, journalists and international partners to closely monitor the consideration by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine of the complaint filed by Oksana Bukhtoyarova, a member of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Qualification and Disciplinary Commission of the Bar of the Zakarpattia Region, regarding the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Law of Ukraine «On Prevention of Corruption». The CCU hearing on this case is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on June 12, 2024.

Along with presenting the agency's position on the impossibility of satisfying the constitutional complaint, Deputy Head of the NACP Yaroslav Lyubchenko stated that members of the High Qualification and Disciplinary Commission and members of the disciplinary chambers of the QDCB, who decide on the disciplinary responsibility of current lawyers, must submit declarations. He stated that there are very high corruption risks in this area, and the positions of the commission members have a high level of influence and, at the same time, discretion without clear criteria for its application.

The Ukrainian National Bar Association has repeatedly expressed its position on the issue raised in the constitutional complaint of O. Bukhtoyarova in forms that respect both the status of the Constitutional Court and the principles of constitutional justice.

Taking into account the provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine «On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine», the Bar Council of Ukraine:

  • assesses the public statements of the NACP leadership, as well as the fact of placing the publication immediately before the session of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, as a manifestation of direct pressure on the judges of the only body of constitutional jurisdiction;
  • draws attention to the fact that a judge of the Constitutional Court exercises his/her powers exclusively under the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine «On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine», based on the rule of law. Influencing a judge of the Constitutional Court in any way is prohibited (Article 24 of the Law of Ukraine «On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine»);
  • notes that the Constitutional Court a priori cannot «take sides», as the NACP formulates the issue in its statement of June 11. After all, the Constitutional Court is not a court of facts, but a court of law! The body of constitutional jurisdiction decides on the compliance of the laws of Ukraine with the Constitution of Ukraine and provides official interpretation of the Constitution of Ukraine. Putting the question in the format of «whose side will the CCU take» may indicate a high level of legal nihilism in the approaches to the NACP's activities, which denies the social value of law - the basis of the Constitutional Court's activities;
  • reminds us that a constitutional complaint is the newest guarantee of protection of citizens' rights. And the accusatory bias demonstrated in the NAPC's publication shows a lack of understanding of the European legal culture at a time when Ukraine is at the beginning of negotiations on accession to the EU, where the rule of law is a key value.
  • expresses its belief that the Constitutional Court, despite the fact of pressure, adheres to the requirements of Article 147 of the Basic Law of Ukraine, according to which the activities of the Constitutional Court should be based on the principles of the rule of law, independence, collegiality, transparency, validity and binding nature of its decisions and conclusions.

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