31 October 2020

The current situation related to the Constitutional Court’s decision to abolish e-declarations system, and the presidential bill on the termination of powers of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine highlighted two major problems that deal a heavy blow to the foundations of statehood: firstly, the interference of the Office of the President in the activities of the judicial branch, and, secondly, the interference of foreign states in the internal affairs of Ukraine.

The foundation for the current conflict was laid by Petro Poroshenko’s regime, by his so-called reform of justice and judicial system. The parliament lost its power to dismiss judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine for violation of their oath precisely as a result of changes to the Constitution in 2016. In the course of the so-called “lustration,” many professional lawyers were dismissed, hundreds of courts were dissolved, and “manually managed” puppet judges loyal to the authorities were appointed. Ten out of fifteen judges of the current Constitutional Court of Ukraine were also appointed by Petro Poroshenko’s regime. The politicization of the constitutional justice system is the main reason why the incumbent Constitutional Court, for example, has been unsuccessful in considering the constitutional petition on termination of lustration for more than six years, and the language law petition for more than a year.

I believe that ignoring the problems and unwillingness to rectify imbalances made by Petro Poroshenko is a strategic mistake of the new leadership. The inheritance of the traditions of legal nihilism and the prevalence of political expediency over the rule of law will lead the ruling authorities to the same result as Petro Poroshenko’s regime. The problem of the President is that he confided too much in part of his inner circle. This uncontrolled confidence can cast a long shadow on the ratings and reputation of the President, as well as can lead to revenge of the forces professing war, hatred and confrontation in our society.

The position on this issue expressed by some foreign diplomats – ambassadors of the Group of Seven, who are trying to lecture Ukrainian politicians by openly interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, and trying to replace political institutions, is absolutely unacceptable. It is obvious that such a practice, as well as foreign interference in political processes, would hardly be welcomed in the United States, the UK, Canada or any other country.

When proposing solutions as a way out of the crisis, the President of Ukraine should remember that he is primarily the guarantor of the Constitution, and his legislative initiatives should strengthen the constitutional order, and not be a threat to it.

A reasonable way out of this situation would be a well-balanced bill on the electronic declarations system.

I call on all the branches of power to return to the framework of the Basic Law and to align their actions with the interests of the Ukrainian society, citizens and the state.

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