CHESNO activities told about the role of the public in judicial reform at the OSCE conference

On 22 September, a side event “Public Participation in the Selection and Assessment of Judges. Ukrainian case” was held as part of the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw. The event was organized jointly by the CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary! Campaign, the Reanimation Package of Reforms, DEJURE Foundation and the Public Integrity Council.

This event has become a kind of reflection of the Ukrainian civil society on the OSCE Opinion on the Law of Ukraine on the Judiciary and the Status of Judges, which, in particular, contain new provisions on the Public Integrity Council – a new public body in the judicial system. In particular, the opinion observes that the powers of the Public Integrity Council have been narrowed to an advisory body.

During the event within the framework of the OSCE conference, Halyna Chyzhyk, representative of CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary! Campaign and Co-ordinator of the Public Integrity Council and Director of the DEJURE Foundation and member of the Public Integrity Council Mykhailo Zhernakov told about the main novelties in the judicial reform in Ukraine, presented the Public Integrity Council and provided counterarguments of the Ukrainian civil society to the OSCE Opinion on the Law on the judiciary and the status of judges. A lawyer and human rights activist from Moldova, Ana Ursaki, and an analyst at Fundacja Court Watch Polska, Martina Hoffman joined the discussion to share their own experience of a public’s engagement in judicial reforms.

During her speech, Halyna Chyzhyk emphasized that, despite the right provided by law to the Public Integrity Council to impose the so-called “veto” on dishonest candidates, there are 30 unscrupulous candidates in the final list winning the competition for seats in the Supreme Court, which is one quarter of all finalists. At the same time, it was thanks to the findings of the Public Integrity Council and civil society’s engagement that it managed to avoid a number of other unscrupulous candidates in the list of winners.

Mykhailo Zhernakov, in turn, drew the attention of the participants of the event, and in particular, of the representatives of the OSCE office, to the fact that the European standards, on which the OSCE emphasizes in its opinion, should be applied as tackled to national context and national discourse of transitional democracies, and in particular, of Ukraine.

The OSCE, in turn, conveyed the support for public participation during the selection of judges. In particular, Anna-Lisa Chatelain, a lawyer with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights stressed that the purpose of the OSCE’s recommendations is to improve the provisions of the law to increase the effectiveness of judicial reform and procedures for the selection of judges to ensure their independence and accountability to the community.

Upon results of the event, representatives of CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! and the DEJURE Foundation have agreed on further cooperation with the OSCE so that the judicial reform in Ukraine would be effective and international cooperation contributed to it as much as possible.

To recap, the representative of CHESNO.Filtrate the Judiciary! Halyna Chyzhyk spoke during the plenary session of the OSCE conference on 19 September about the situation with the competition in the Supreme Court.