President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy outlined the main fields of work of the Legal Reform Commission. The Head of State stressed that Ukrainian society was tired of promises of reforms and was expecting real changes.
“Bills recently passed by the Verkhovna Rada restart very important global processes in our country. It is time for more consistent and substantive steps in the legislative sphere of Ukraine,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized, opening the meeting of the Legal Reform Commission held at the President’s Office.
According to the Head of State, the Commission should, inter alia, focus on continuing the constitutional reform of decentralization.
“In particular, it is the constitutional foundation for decentralization. Its absence complicates local self-government reform. There is an uncertain status and authority of territorial communities, there is no possibility to reform the authorities at the district and regional level. The European Charter of Local Self-Government and the world’s best practice should guide us in these issues,” he said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that the Legal Reform Commission should also work on amendments to the chapter of the Basic Law on human rights.
“Citizens should have rights that allow them to make decisions at the local level. I am speaking of plebiscites, as well as the right of citizens to participate in decision-making process at the national level,” he said.
According to the President, another priority for the work of the Commission is the legal issues of reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories. Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed the need to develop a concept of transitional justice in order to overcome the consequences of the armed conflict and achieve peace.
“It should include measures ensuring compensation to the victims of the war, prosecution of those guilty of committing serious crimes, facilitate the right to receive the truth about the developments of the conflict,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted.
The Head of State also underscored the need for a strategy of de-occupation of the temporarily occupied territories of Crimea and the east of the country, their return under Ukraine’s control and reintegration of population.
“These are answers to difficult questions: what will be the life of a person after regaining control of Crimea and the occupied parts of the east of the country, what are the principles and forms of liability – and in some cases release of liability – for cooperation with the occupation authorities,” the President said.
The Commission should also review the approach to judicial reform, as it is unacceptable that a large number of judges are “suspended” due to inefficient qualification evaluation procedures. The President believes that the manual control over the courts should be eliminated as a phenomenon and, at the same time, the credibility of the Ukrainian court should be restored.
“We can say much more, but there is one eloquent proof of the failed reform – the level of public confidence in the Ukrainian court. Ukrainians trust only Russian media less than judges. We need to change this,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed.
Another area of the Commission’s work is the legislative work over the reform of the Security Service of Ukraine. “Namely – depriving the Security Service of Ukraine of the competence to counter criminal offenses in the sphere of economy, corruption and smuggling, as well as counterintelligence protection of economic interests of the state that does not conform to European traditions,” the President said.
The Commission should also come up with ideas for reforming the prosecutor’s office as regards the implementation of effective legal mechanisms in order to coordinate the role of the Prosecutor General’s Office, ensure concerted action of the authorities and procedural independence of prosecutors.
The Commission’s tasks include developing initiatives to further humanize criminal procedural legislation, implement efficient and cost-effective investigative procedures and litigation.
It bears reminding that the Legal Reform Commission is an advisory body to the President of Ukraine. Its main task is to promote the development of the legal system of the state on the basis of constitutional principles of the rule of law, the priority of human and citizen’s rights and freedoms taking into account international obligations.