Constitutional Court of Ukraine

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Constitutional Court of Ukraine
Established 1996
Country Ukraine
Location Kiev
Composition method Presidential, Parliamentary and Congress of Judges nomination
Authorized by Ukrainian Constitution
Judge term length 9 years, obliged to resign at age 65
Number of positions 18
Website Constitutional Court of Ukraine
Chairman of the Constitutional Court
Currently Yuriy Baulin[1]
Since March 18, 2014[1]
Lesser Coat of Arms of Ukraine.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Ukraine

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Конституційний Суд України) is the sole body of constitutional jurisdiction in Ukraine. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine interprets the Constitution of Ukraine and decides whether laws and other legal acts are constitutional.

The Court initiated its activity on October 18, 1996. The first Court ruling was made on May 13, 1997.

On urgent matters the Constitutional Court rules within weeks but on matters deemed less urgent it can take months or even longer.[2]

There have been political accusations of attempts to bribe and blackmail Constitutional Court judges in order to get a favourable ruling.[3][4][5][6]

Mission and authority[edit]

The authority of the Constitutional Court is derived from Ukraine's Constitution - Chapter XII

The Court:

  • on the appeal of the President, no less than 45 members of the parliament, the Supreme Court of Ukraine, the Ombudsman, or the Crimean parliament, assesses the constitutionality of:
  • officially interprets the Constitution and laws of Ukraine
  • on the appeal of the President or the Cabinet, provides opinions on the conformity with the Constitution of international treaties
  • on the appeal of the parliament, provides an opinion on the observance of the procedure of impeachment of the President
  • provides an opinion on the compliance of a bill on introducing amendments to the Constitution with the restrictions imposed by the Constitution.

The Court's rulings are mandatory for execution in Ukraine, are final and cannot be appealed. Laws and other legal acts, or their separate provisions, that are deemed unconstitutional, lose legal force.

Structure[edit]

The Court is composed of 18 judges, appointed in equal shares by the President, the parliament, and the Congress of Judges.

A judge must be a citizen of Ukraine and must have:

  • attained the age of forty;
  • a higher legal education and professional experience of no less than 10 years;
  • resided in Ukraine for the last twenty years;
  • command of the state language

Judges are appointed for 9 years without the right of reappointment; moreover each judge is obligated to retire at the age of 65 if this age comes before the end of the 9-year period. The President and parliament are required to fill a vacant position within one month and the Congress of judges has three months to do so. But the appointment comes into effect only after oath of the new judge in the parliament; therefore sometimes it is a problem to become a judge of the Constitutional Court if many members of parliament do not want this (for example, they can physically disturb to hold a meeting of the parliament, that is usual in Ukraine).

The Chairman of the Court is elected by secret ballot for a single three-year term from and by the members of the Court. The current Chairman, Anatoliy Holovin.

List of judges[edit]

Constitutional Court in Kiev
  • President's quota:
    • Volodymyr Kampo (Володимир Михайлович Кампо) since August 4, 2006
    • Dmytro Lylak (Дмитро Дмитрович Лилак) since August 4, 2006
    • Viktor Shyshkin (Віктор Іванович Шишкін) since August 4, 2006
    • Yurij Baulin (Юрій Васильович Баулін) since June 3, 2007
    • Sergij Vdovichenko (Вдовіченко Сергій Леонідович) since June 3, 2007
    • Yurij Nikitin (Юрій Іванович Нікітін) since June 3, 2007
  • Parliament's quota:


  • Congress of judges' quota:
    • Vasyl Bryntsev (Василь Дмитрович Бринцев) since August 4, 2006
    • Vyacheslav Dzhun' (В’ячеслав Васильович Джунь) since August 4, 2006
    • Anatoliy Didkivskyy (Анатолій Олександрович Дідківський) since August 4, 2006
    • Ivan Dombrovskyy (Іван Петрович Домбровський) since August 4, 2006;
    • Yaroslava Machuzhak (Ярослава Василівна Мачужак) since August 4, 2006
    • Andriy Stryzhak (Андрій Андрійович Стрижак) since August 4, 2006 (appointed to the court in 2004, but not sworn in until 2006[7])

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe[edit]

Ukrainian Parliamentary Election, 2007[edit]

On April 19 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution in consideration of a report titled Functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine. (Items 13 and 14) [8] stated:

The Assembly deplores the fact that the judicial system of Ukraine has been systematically misused by other branches of power and that top officials do not execute the courts’ decisions, which is a sign of erosion of this crucial democratic institution. An independent and impartial judiciary is a precondition for the existence of a democratic society governed by the rule of law. Hence the urgent necessity to carry out comprehensive judicial reform, including through amendments to the constitution.

The Assembly reiterates that the authority of the sole body responsible for constitutional justice – the Constitutional Court of Ukraine – should be guaranteed and respected. Any form of pressure on the judges is intolerable and should be investigated and criminally prosecuted. On the other hand, it is regrettable that in the eight months of its new full composition, the Constitutional Court has failed to produce judgments, thus failing to fulfil its constitutional role and to contribute to resolving the crisis in its earlier stages, which undermines the credibility of the court. There is an urgent need for all pending judgments, and in particular the judgment concerning the constitutionality of the Presidential Decree of 2 April 2007, to be delivered. If delivered, the latter should be accepted as binding by all sides.

The associated explanatory report under the sub-heading of Pressure on the courts expressed concern that

"Several local courts have made decisions to suspend the Presidential Decree only to then withdraw them, allegedly under pressure from the presidential secretariat." (item 67)

In emphasis the report (item 68) stated

This is a worrying tendency of legal nihilism that should not be tolerated. It is as clear as day that in a state governed by the rule of law judicial mistakes should be corrected through appeal procedures and not through threats or disciplinary sanctions

On April 30, on the eve of the Constitutional Court's ruling on the legality of the president's decree dismissing Ukraine's parliament, President Yushchenko, in defiance of the PACE resolution of April 19 intervened in the operation of Ukraine's Constitutional Court by summarily dismissing two Constitutional Court Judges, Syuzanna Stanik and Valeriy Pshenychnyy, for allegations of "oath treason."[9] His move was later overturned by the Constitutional Court and the judges were returned by a temporary restraining order issued by the court.[10]

On May 16,Viktor Yushchenko, for a second time, issued another decree dismissing the two Constitutional Court Judges Syuzanna Stanik and Valeriy Pshenychnyy.[11]

On May 17, the Constitutional Court Chairman Ivan Dombrovskyy resigns and is replaced by Valeriy Pshenychnyy.

On May 23, The Constitutional Court of Ukraine acted to prevent the president's undue influence on the court system.[12] The court's ruling was made after Viktor Yushchenko unduly sought to influence the court by illegally firing two Constitutional Court judges Valeriy Pshenychnyy and Syuzanna Stanik for allegations of "oath treason.".[9]

On July 20 Susanna Stanik won an appeal against the President in the Shevchenko district court of Kyiv. The Court ruled the President's actions illegal and reinstated Ms Stanik's entitlement as a member of Ukraine's Constitutional Court. According to the ruling, the President is obliged to cancel his decree on discharge of Mrs. Stanik.."[13] The other two judges who were also illegally dismissed had previously tendered their resignations and as such were not subject to the courts order.

Following the president's intervention the Constitutional Court still has not ruled on the question of legality of the president's actions.

Stepan Havrsh, the President's appointee to the Constitutional Court, in prejudgment of the courts decision and without authorization from the Court itself, commented in an interview published on July 24

I cannot imagine myself as the Constitutional Court in condition in which three political leaders signed a political/legal agreement on holding early elections, which also stipulates the constitutional basis for holding the elections... How the court can agree to consider such a petition under such conditions.[14]

Olexander Lavrynovych, Ukrainian Minister for Justice, in an interview published on August 3 is quoted as saying

According to the standards of the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine, these elections should have been recognized invalid already today. But we understand that we speak about the State and about what will happen further in this country. As we've understood, political agreements substitute for the law, ... The situation has been led to the limit, where there are no possibilities to follow all legal norms.[15]
  • On March 25, 2008 Ukraine's Supreme Administrative Court ruled the President's dismissal of Suzanna Stanik as a Constitutional Court judge illegal. Ms Stanik's position has been reinstated. The decision is final and not subject to further appeal [14]
  • On April 3, 2008 Stanik was dismissed fro the Court by the order of the President.[16]
  • On April 28, 2010 President Viktor Yanukovych reinstated Stanik as Constitutional Court judge.[17] She resigned the next day.[18]

Famous and notorious rulings[edit]

  • December 29, 1999: the Court interpreted the Constitution as unconditionally ruling out capital punishment; this is the date when Ukraine de jure abolished capital punishment after a long period of a de facto moratorium [1]
  • November 14, 2001: the Court outlawed the institution of propiska [2]
  • December 25, 2003: the Court allowed Kuchma to run for presidency for the third time (Kuchma chose not to run) [3]

Court Contacts[edit]

Citizens of Ukraine, noncitizens, people without citizenship and legal entities can only ask the Court for interpretation of the Constitution and laws of Ukraine. A written request can be submitted in person or by mail. Court's address is 01033, Ukraine, Kiev, vyl. Zhylyanska, 14. Contact phone is (+380-44)238-1317.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Yuriy Baulin elected chairman of Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine (18 March 2014)
  2. ^ Yanukovych to call vote if coalition ruled illegal, Kyiv Post (March 1, 2010)
  3. ^ Tymoshenko: Yanukovych entourage aims at recognizing legitimacy of coalition before president's trip to U.S., Kyiv Post (March 29, 2010)
  4. ^ How Ukraine Became a Market Economy and Democracy by Anders Åslund, Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2009, ISBN 978-0-88132-427-3 (page 219)
  5. ^ Yanukovych allies: Tymoshenko trying to pressure court, Kyiv Post (March 30, 2010)
  6. ^ Yulia Tymoshenko: pressure from the authorities won’t force me to change my position, Official website of Yulia Tymoshenko (April 7, 2010)
  7. ^ Fate of nation in hands of Constitutional Court, Kyiv Post (August 17, 2006)
  8. ^ PACE (2007-04-19). "Functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine". PACE. 
  9. ^ a b "Yushchenko dismissed CCU judges". for-ua. Retrieved 2006-05-17. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Stanik and Pshenychnyy returned to CC". Korrespondent. 2007-05-17. 
  11. ^ "Stanik and Pshenychnyy again became ex-judges of Constitutional Court". Korrespondent. May 16, 2007. Retrieved 2006-05-17. 
  12. ^ "Constitutional Court of Ukraine restricts president's influence on courts". Ukrainian National Radio. 2007-05-23. 
  13. ^ "Stanik Back Into the CC". Retrieved 2006-07-20. 
  14. ^ a b "Constitutional Court Judge Havrysh Doubts Constitutional Court Will Consider Petition On Constitutionality Of September 30 Rada Elections". Ukrainian News agency. 2007-07-24. 
  15. ^ "Lavrynovych: Early elections should have been already recognized invalid today". Inter-Media, ForUm. 2007-08-03. 
  16. ^ Order of the President of Ukraine № 297/2008 (in Ukrainian)
  17. ^ Yanukovych reinstates Stanik as Constitutional Court judge, Kyiv Post (April 28, 2010)
  18. ^ Yanukovych dismisses Stanik as Constitutional Court judge, Kyiv Post (April 29, 2010)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°26′03″N 30°30′51″E / 50.43417°N 30.51417°E / 50.43417; 30.51417