KYIV — 4 November, 2015. The Ukrainian Bar Association (UBA) sent an open appeal towards the inadmissibility of collective judges dismissal.
30 October 2015, at the meeting of the Constitutional Commission the head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Volodymyr Hroisman suggested an idea of a "substantial and qualitative" renewal of the judicial manpower by means of firing of 547 judges that are waiting for an indefinite term assignment and a further public competition for these vacancies.
3 November 2015, he ordered the dedicated committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to handle the mentioned initiative regarding the renewal of the judicial manpower and propose the suggestions on its realization at the legislative level.
The Ukrainian Bar Association fully supports the idea of the judicial manpower renewal and the necessity of the judicial reform. At the same time, we think that judges should be brought to responsibility exclusively according to the Law.
The Ukrainian Bar Association considers any forms of collective responsibility, including the dismissal of judges in a way suggested by Volodymyr Hroisman, to be unacceptable and violating the rule-of-law principle.
Such an approach to judicial power renewal violates the standards of court independence. For instance, an assignment to a position on a permanent basis may be suspended only if a disciplinary or criminal proceeding is initiated against a judge or if a judge cannot perform their duties anymore.
Respecting the constitutional principle of individual responsibility, we suppose that a judge may be dismissed only if they commit a crime or break an oath, particularly during the Revolution of Dignity. However, such episodes should be reviewed by the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, not the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
The court and judges independence cannot become a target of any political manipulations and rebukes about the court or separate judges work cannot be used as an instrument of pressure on them.
Not for the first time, the Ukrainian Bar Association draws attention of the professional community to this issue. For example, 4 June 2015, the Ukrainian Bar Association sent an open appeal to the head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the head of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine regarding the current situation of judges not being elected for indefinite term.
We must admit the the appeal was left without adequate reaction.
Taking this into account, the Ukrainian Bar Association encourages Ukrainian People's Deputies and the President of Ukraine, as the Constitution Protector, guarantee the accordance to law during the election of judges for indefinite term.