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The leadership of Ukraine poses a threat to the fulfilment of our international obligations

Who needs enemies with friends like these? Poroshenko and his administration were supposed to launch a competition for the position of judge from Ukraine in the European Court of Human Rights back one year ago. In fact, the Ukrainian side is now on the verge of violating our obligations due to the inaction of the President.

In a few days, one of the key sessions of the PACE will begin, at which there will be intentions to remove the sanctions mechanism and launch the process of the Russian Federation’s return through the report of the leader of the left group Tiny Kox. Such a story undermines the position of our delegation and creates unnecessary additional difficulties.

It is not the first time that political games become a problem in this issue. I think most lawyers remember the scandals with the selection of candidates for the position of judge of the European Court of Human Rights from Ukraine for 2007-2010. This is a story of three-year-long political games that nearly cost Ukraine its reputation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

A bit of background:

By his order, the then President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, instructed the Ministry of Justice to form a list of candidates for the position of ECHR judge from Ukraine. The competition was held, the list of three candidates was submitted. However, one of the candidates fell out with President so bad that by his next order Yushchenko withdrew the list and announced the holding of a second contest. One of the candidates even withdrew his candidacy to secure the plan and ensure repeated competition. But PACE did not like this step of the President and the need for a re-contest was not recognized. Ukraine replaced the drop-out candidate and, after long backroom disputes, it was not until April 29, 2010 that the PACE elected Anna Yudkovska to the position of ECHR judge from Ukraine.

A detailed story of the preliminary selection following the link: https://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2010/04/29/4990861/

What do we have today?

In accordance with Article 23 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, judges at the ECHR are elected for 9 years, which means that on April 29, 2019, Anna Yudkovska’s term will end.

In paragraph 14 of Recommendation 1649 (2004), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called upon all parties to the Convention to ensure that when there is a vacancy, all measures will be taken to ensure replacement and a new list of candidates will be transferred six months (!!!) prior to the replacement date.

That is, Ukraine had to submit the list of candidates at the end of October 2018.

In Ukraine, this process is governed by the Order of the President https://zakon.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/1043/2007 and depends only on the President.

The deadline for replacement is in three weeks, and we are only launching the competition in Ukraine so far.

It is already the second time in a row that Ukraine violates the deadlines for submitting a list of candidates for the position. The Minister of Justice has been corresponding back and forth with the Presidential Administration for almost a year about the need for holding a competition. But all in vain.

At the time when we need the support of foreign partners so much the leadership of Ukraine poses a threat to the fulfilment of our international obligations and the position of the Ukrainian delegation!

Olena Sotnyk
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