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The Venice Commission Offered Ukraine Way Out of Constitutional Crisis

The Venice Commission considers that Ukraine’s Constitutional Court decision on certain provisions of the anti-corruption legislation unconstitutionality “has no clear arguments, solid foundations in international law and was adopted under the impact of a possible interests’ conflict.”

The Commission’s answers at the request of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky stated that.

The Commission members offered the Verkhovna Rada MPs a way out of the constitutional crisis, emphasising that the fight against corruption is essential. Meanwhile, it is also vital that the executive and legislative branches follow the CCU decisions, and that a court itself follows the procedures and logic of its previous decisions.

“The CCU’s constitutional role has to be respected, and the Verkhovna Rada has to implement the decision, interpreting it in the light of the country’s constitutional foundations and current international standards, protecting the public interest, such as the fight against corruption, including the judiciary,” the decision said.

The Venice Commission proposes to the Ukrainian parliament the retention of state officials’ duty to file income tax returns, have an efficient mechanism for verifying such returns, and provide for appropriate penalties for those who knowingly misrepresent false information.

It was also proposed to restore the powers of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NAPC)  to control officials except for judges, as they are not subject to the CCU’s decision.

A complaint or report mechanism may be established to oversee the NAPC’s judges. Such a body may be the High Qualifications Commission of Judges, but only after the resumption and inclusion of independent members.

Besides, to reduce the risks of possible NAPC pressure on judges, it was proposed to strengthen public supervision over the agency according to GRECO standards. It was also suggested to narrow some of the NAPC’s investigative powers.

The President of the Venice Commission, Gianni Buquicchio, call for the Verkhovna Rada to resolve the situation with the “regrettable” decision. He wrote this on Twitter.

“The Constitutional Court of Ukraine decision is a pity,” Buquicchio wrote, adding that the system of financial declarations for Ukrainian officials, including judges, are to be saved.

Bohdan Marusyak

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