Selection of judges to the two most important courts of the country – the Supreme Court and the High Anti-Corruption Court – started in August. In the near future, the High Qualification Commission of Judges will start a competition where it will assess the level of the candidates’ competence and integrity. It is the transparency and integrity of the competition itself that will directly influence the quality of work of the newly formed courts and whether they will live up to the expectations of the Ukrainian society.
A year ago, the public actively followed the first competition to the Supreme Court, recording violations. As the result, some of the Supreme Court judges were those who had made politically motivated decisions, failed to explain the origin of their funds and violated human rights. At the same time, numerous candidates with an impeccable reputation as well as whistleblower judges ended up at the bottom of the rating. Reanimation Package of Reforms urged the Commission to be transparent numerous times and demanded to explain the results of the competition.
To avoid a replay of the situation, it is necessary to introduce a number of changes to the assessment procedure and methodology now. It does not require any additional laws, since these changes solely depend on the will of the HQCJ.
The results of the competition can only be trusted if assessment transparency is ensured. That is precisely why the coalition of civil society organizations Reanimation Package of Reforms calls on the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine to:
1) establish the minimum eligible score for the anonymous testing and practical assignment before the results are submitted, as required by the law;
2) publish the practical assignments completed by the participants of the competition and the scores assigned to them by each member of the HQCJ;
3) define clear criteria of integrity, failure to comply with which entails termination of the competition for this participant;
4) remove criteria aimed at identification of loyal and dependent candidates from the moral and psychological evaluation;
5) prohibit decision-making by HQCJ members in the event of a conflict of interest;
6) publish scores of each candidate for each criterion according to the methodology and the decision explaining the points awarded to the candidates