President Victor Yushchenko on Monday took part in a ceremony to present state awards to the nation’s top lawyers and said the National Security and Defense Council would soon discuss how to reform criminal justice in Ukraine. “I am convinced such reforms will be introduced very soon and this will be a step towards the rule of law and stabilization,” he said, president's press office reported.

Yushchenko said Ukraine’s judiciary faced quite many problems. It is important to revisethe constitution, make everybody equal before the law and fight corruption, he added.He said the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe regarded Ukraine’s “dull and untimely” constitutional reform of 2004 as the main cause of its recent political crisis. He described the country’s system of government as “profoundly unbalanced.”

The president said each Ukrainian citizen should be interested in constitutional reform, adding that it is aimed at stabilizing the system of government to improve “humanitarian, social and economic life” in the country. He suggested holding public debates onhow to form Ukraine’s government and involving the Verkhovna Rada in this discussion. “I guarantee only one thing: nobody will pass a new constitution and constitutional amendments in parliament without debates, as it was done in 2004.”

Yushchenko said the abolishment of legislative immunity would help fight corruption and added that Ukraine needs a special organization to control officials. He called on the lawyers to support these initiatives: “I am convinced you are those people that are incharge of the implementation of these tasks. ... I want to see partners in you, partners that will serve the law and the Ukrainian state. I will demand that you work honestly for the sake of this nation, be patriots and have no fear that you implement one of the nation’s key policies.”


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