Press office of President Viktor Yanukovych
President: Ukraine must fulfill its commitments to Council of Europe
Speaking at the meeting of the Commission for Strengthening Democracy and Rule of Law, President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych stressed that our country must ensure fulfillment of all its commitments to the Council of Europe.
"We must fulfill this historic mission, and eventually fulfill the commitments of Ukraine before the Council of Europe. And we will start doing this together, step by step," he said, adding that the Commission will continue working until this goal is achieved.
The President stressed that it is necessary to do everything for Ukraine to meet the requirements of transition to post-monitoring dialogue with the Council of Europe.
"I understand the complexity of the task. It is difficult. But I am determined to achieve it. Resolving these issues will require our joint efforts, joint effective work of all the branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial,” he said.
He reminded that 2011 is a special year for our country and the Ukrainian people. It is the year of the twentieth anniversary of Independence of Ukraine and the fifteenth anniversary of the Constitution.
"These two anniversaries impose special responsibilities on those, who continue the work started by our predecessors. I mean the case of building independent Ukraine as a European country, which must develop by the principles enshrined in the new Constitution of the independent Ukraine of 1996," Viktor Yanukovych said, stressing that among these principles, above all, are freedom, democracy, rule of law and recognition of the main duty of the state to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Viktor Yanukovych expressed assurance that thanks to abiding by these principles Ukraine has been a member of one of the most important European institutions – the Council of Europe, for over 15 years.
"We consider membership in this organization as mere beginning of Ukraine's course towards European integration and our long-term goal – to become a member-state of the European Union. We are aware that in the core of these two European institutions lie the same values as in the Ukrainian Constitution," he said.
However, Viktor Yanukovych noted, some very important commitments to the Council of Europe have still not been fulfilled by Ukraine. In particular, that is the commitment to adopt a law on professional associations of lawyers and a new Criminal Procedure Code.
Recently, we have moved significantly towards reforming the judiciary, the President noted, but the process is far from being completed. "We will continue improving relevant legislation, based on opinions of experts and conclusions of the Venice Commission," he added.
Another important commitment, President Yanukovych said, is changing the role and functions of the Prosecutor General and bringing them in line with the Council of Europe standards. "We are still to work on that," Viktor Yanukovych said.
The President dedicated special attention to the issue of constitutional reform, which has become very acute recently.
"The need for it is stated in more than one document of the European institutions – the Parliamentary Assembly, the Venice Commission, the European Parliament. Addressing this and other important issues of strengthening democracy is our common task," he said.
President Yanukovych reminded of the infamous experience of unsystematic and non-transparent work on amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine of 2004.
"We must approach this issue systematically, based on active laws, and always with the involvement of general public. I am convinced that the new constitutional process will be based on openness, publicity and legitimacy," he said.
President Yanukovych said that the work on improving provisions of the Basic Law to make them meet the realities of modern world will be complex.
"Very soon, we will start shaping a model of the Constituent Assembly, which will be an effective consultative mechanism to coordinate the work of constitutional law experts, policy experts, politicians and the public. Together, we will go through discussions on key issues of the political system reform and approach formulation of specific provisions of the revised Constitution," Viktor Yanukovych said.
The aim of this work, he said, is creating a balanced system of European-style representative democracy, strengthening the parliamentary system, building an effective executive power, and creation of effective mechanisms of "direct democracy".
"The state and the people of Ukraine need a real democratic movement forward, without disruption, speculation or ugly, destructive political experiments," Viktor Yanukovych said.
Among other topical issues, the President also named strengthening the rule of law and justice, criminal justice reform, and introduction of effective anti-corruption legislation.
"I would like to repeat that efforts of all the members of the Commission, regardless of their political views or activities, should be focused on constructive cooperation and speeding up Ukraine fulfilling its commitments to the Council of Europe," he said.
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