President Viktor Yanukovych took part in a meeting of the Working Group on Judiciary Reform. At the meeting Minister of Justice Olexander Lavrynovych pressented the Draft Bill “On Ukrainian Judiciary and the Status of Judges”.

Opening the meeting President Yanukovych said that the draft bill is aimed at making judiciary more open to people and ensuring that it is more professional and defends human rights better, presidential press office reported.

From his part, Minister Lavrynovych said that at last the long work on preparation of the bill is complete. "Today we are to consider results of our common work on the new Law on Judiciary of Ukraine, which also contains a package of alterations to other laws. In particular, these are alterations to all four procedural codes, the laws “On the High Council of Justice”, “On Remuneration of Labor” and several others that are relevant to the new law on judiciary," he said.

Speaking about main tasks and objectives of this reform, Oleksandr Lavrynovych said that it must improve access of citizens to the judiciary. According to him, this could be achieved without altering the system of first instance courts, which according to procedural code, have the authority to consider cases of different jurisdiction. “These are cases, primarily in the field of administrative justice, that until now were considered only in specialized district courts," he said.

According to Minister Lavrynovych, the reform also had a goal to overcome trial litigations and the problems with violation of reasonable terms for consideration of cases, Ukraine has in the European Court of Human Rights.

"Our suggestions, we present today, are to be reflected in all procedural codes and in the law itself. They apply to the time in which complaints are to be considered, reducing it to 30 days, and also provide abandoning the practice, when cases were submitted for a new trial in a first instance court, if the appellate court canceled the decision. Similarly, we propose banning re-cassation in Ukraine. Thus, we make substantial steps to ensure that judicial decisions are adopted within reasonable time and are constant," said Minister Lavrynovych.

"We had a long debate about what the judicial system should be like and our final decision was a compromise that allows significant improvement of the system without major changes in the system of first instance or appellate courts.

The changes modify only the system of third instance courts and by creating one high specialized court, which would consider civil and criminal cases as a cassation court, we make the whole system equal – the first instance, appellate level and High Cessation Court all work in all jurisdictions. At the same time, the Supreme Court, as judicial body of the highest authority, has all the powers to ensure unity of judicial practice," said Oleksandr Lavrynovych.

"I will fulfill my duty and in response to your suggestion I’m going to submit this bill as urgent for its further consideration by the Verkhovna Rada," said the President in his turn.

Yanukovych emphasized that elaboration of this bill was aimed, above all, at building balanced, effective, independent judiciary in Ukraine.

"We strengthened judicial self-government and significantly reduced the impact of centralization and administrative pressure on judges," he said, reminding that while preparing the bill the experts examined modern European judicial system that meets the highest standards of human rights protection. Cooperation with the Venice Commission has proven that we had chosen the right path, said Viktor Yanukovych.

"I believe that this bill may be considered as base and can be voted. And then we will see if there are any flaws, or maybe there is something we did not take into account, and there is an opportunity to correct it together with lawmakers," noted the President. He also stressed that he understands that the bill deprives him of some authorities and accepts that.

"I hope we all will see this system working already this year," said Viktor Yanukovych.

The President thanked those present for effective cooperation and fruitful work on the bill, which he praised as well balanced.


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