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Ukraine - Follow-up to the Venice Commission opinion

30/01/2004 - 03/02/2004


In the course of its January 2004 session, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) said it may challenge the credentials of the Ukrainian parliamentary delegation – and subsequently recommend the suspension of Ukraine from the Organisation – if further attempts are made to push through political reforms “by amending the Constitution in a manner which is not prescribed by law and by unconstitutional means”, or if Ukraine should fail to guarantee free and fair elections on 31 October 2004.

Following an urgent debate on the issue on 29 January, while adopting a report by the Monitoring Committee of the PACE, the Assembly inter alia deplored the fact that none of the recommendations of the Venice Commission had been taken into account and urged the authorities to improve the draft laws under debate by doing so now.

In its Resolution 1364(2004) “Political crisis in Ukraine” PACE stated:

“…9. The Assembly refers to the opinion of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (“Venice Commission”) adopted on 13 December 2003 which welcomed the efforts made for the reforming of the system of government to bring the Ukrainian system closer to European democratic standards but concluded that “the precise solutions chosen in the various drafts do not yet seem to have attained that aim and introduce other amendments to the Constitution that would appear to be a step backwards”.

10. The Assembly deplores the fact that none of the recommendations of the Venice Commission have been taken into account in the course of the revision of the three Draft Laws (n° 3207-1, 4105 and 4180) by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine nor by the ad hoc parliamentary Constitutional Committee before submitting the Draft Law N° 4105 for discussion in the Verkhovna Rada. The Assembly therefore urges the relevant Ukrainian authorities to take into account all recommendations made so far by the Venice Commission and to continue to hold an open and effective dialogue with the Commission with a view to further improving the draft laws currently under debate. “

As a consequence, the Ukrainian parliament decided on 3 February to withdraw two proposals: the indirect elections of the president by the parliament and the 10-year limit of the term of office for judges.
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