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On the dissemination of inaccurate information by the Public Council of Integrity

On the dissemination of inaccurate information  by the Public Council of Integrity

The Public Integrity Council exceeds its powers within the Supreme Court Competition and requires this from the President of Ukraine. As a result of the judicial reform, all political institutions have lost the opportunity to influence the appointment or dismissal of judges. Nowadays, the dismissal/appointment of judges belongs exclusively to the powers of the High Council of Justice.

The President can only sign a decree appointing judges to the office, and he cannot return it or not to sign. The President should not be encouraged to take unlawful actions. If the PIC members consider that they have not coped with the task assigned to them during the Competition, they have the right to withdraw from the Council and give the opportunity to other experts to work.

Such statements may mean that an experiment in providing civil society body with functions on influencing the outcome of a competition may not be successful. No wonder that in any country in Europe there is no public body that would affect the administrative-power procedure for evaluating judges. It is understood in Europe that PR-actions could not be confused with the respect to the court. One cannot abuse the powers and disgrace the reputation of future judges while beginning the judicial reform and building a court from a blank sheet. Such a situation may lead to the fact that in the future the PIC will begin to control what decisions are made by the new Supreme Court judges.

The Public Integrity Council is the body that should help to analyze the candidate's profile. It cannot act as the last instance and decide who is honest and who is not. PIC is just one of the tools of the competition.

The High Qualification Commission selected 120 winners as a result of a complex public competition, and the High Council of Justice recommended 111 of them.

At the same time, the PIC makes an ultimatum – to agree with all the conclusions and to “remove” those candidates whom the Public Integrity Council does not like. Members of the PIC behave like a competition depends entirely on their thoughts, but other factors - exam, tests, interviews, psychological tests are irrelevant. We would like to remind that the PIC prepared 146 opinions on candidates to the Supreme Court. Only 30 candidates with such conclusions became the winners of the competition, refuting the negative opinions’ arguments and demonstrating the ungrounded nature of the charges against them.

Experts from the Council of Europe and the European Union have produced several critical reports on the quality of the PIC work, while representatives of the PIC completely ignore them.

According to a report prepared jointly with the Council of Europe by leading Ukrainian lawyers, in 17 cases the PIC used unverified sources of information. In at least 21 cases, the PIC has made a reassessment of judicial decisions of candidates, which is not included in the PIC authority. In 20 cases, inappropriate information was used, and in 17 - information that is not subject to verification. There were also four cases of unequal approach to assessing specific facts and circumstances.

The report of the Council of Europe experts on the PIC Regulation states:

The PIC only assists the HQC in matters relating to the qualification assessment of judges, but the PIC cannot make a final decision on the integrity or professional ethics of a separate judge;

The PIC may provide an opinion on the professional ethics and integrity of the judge, and not on the justification of his/her decisions or actions;

A negative opinion should always be based on proven data only.

It should be noted that the Commission acted exclusively in accordance with the methodology approved prior to the start of the competition, and made public all the relevant final decisions. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Council of Europe and international observers highly appreciated the quality of the Commission's first competition to the Supreme Court.

We call on all civil society to thoroughly check the facts.

 

Press-service of the HQCJU

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