During the swearing-in ceremony of judges of the new Supreme Court, President Petro Poroshenko emphasized that it was an important day for the country. “The birthday of a fundamentally new Supreme Court. For the first time it was formed on the basis of the contest - unprecedentedly open, unique and transparent,” the Head of State said.
According to the President, this contest with a high level of competition was conducted under an extremely vigilant public scrutiny, with a thorough examination of the candidates by all anti-corruption bodies.
“Could someone imagine such a reboot three years ago? Today, Ukraine is already an example for other states in the implementation of standards and rules, transparency of competitive procedures, openness and involvement of the public,” he noted.
“We are opening a new page in the history of justice in our country. The Supreme Court is the last resort, the last instance where a person will come to protect the violated rights,” the President emphasized.
According to the Head of State, a truly independent court, which is being created now, did not appear after 1991. “Presidents, governments and parliaments changed. Jurisdictions were created, instances were added, but the judicial system was not truly independent and therefore did not meet the needs of society,” the President stressed.
The Head of State reminded: “We took decisive steps last year, when we changed the relevant regulations of the Constitution, laid the foundation for the independence of the entire judicial system and, above all, the Supreme Court, which is already being built on this new foundation”.
“For the first time, all political bodies, political parties, parliament were removed from the procedure of selection of judges. You remember for how long judges have been waiting in the parliament for their appointment or dismissal, how judges were summoned to give or take some kind of obligations or explanations. It is very important that the President is also removed from the formation of the courts,” the President said.
“Throughout a year, the judiciary bodies, the High Qualification Commission of Judges and the Supreme Council of Justice, in full compliance with the rules laid down by law, independently, through unprecedentedly transparent competitive procedures, with the maximum possible consideration of the position of the public involved in the selection, initially determined 120 winners of the competition. I signed a request for the appointment of 113 of them as judges of the new Supreme Court,” the Head of State informed.
“Through changes to the relevant legislation, European standards of legal proceedings are introduced. The law has already been passed that introduces the new wording or amends the procedural codes and establishes other rules of the court process - effective, fast and convenient for all its participants. New regulations envisaged by the Commercial and Civil Procedural Codes will guarantee the protection of property rights for ordinary citizens, as well as Ukrainian and international investors,” the President added.
“Consequently, the rules and people are changed in the judiciary. I want to congratulate the members of the new Supreme Court, fundamentally updated as compared to the previous one,” he said.
According to Petro Poroshenko, various experts became judges of the new Supreme Court. “Someone has a great deal of experience in the judicial system. Someone came to the post of judge after many years of advocacy activity, someone was a human rights activist, a scientist or a lecturer. Some of you dreamed of becoming a judge of the Supreme Court all his life and has been climbing up the career ladder for years. For others, the means of social mobility became available only with the judicial reform, including the amendments to the Constitution,” he stressed.
“Every fourth judge of the new Supreme Court is a lawyer or a scientist. I want to inform the society that this is unprecedented, since nobody outside of the judicial system had the right to stand for election before. Today, these opportunities are available,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized.
The President thanked judges who believed in the reform and tried their hand in an honest competition, and made sure that they would have a chance to build a new system guided by Ukrainian laws, European standards and European values.
The Head of State noted the role and the work done by the High Qualification Commission of Judges and the Supreme Council of Justice. The President thanked the scientists, advocates and human rights activists who participated in the work of the Council on the Judicial Reform, as well as people's deputies who voted for legislative and constitutional amendments.
Petro Poroshenko noted that thousands of judicial vacancies had been created, which should be filled by new judges who would meet the rigorous demands of modern society. The next step is the adoption of a number of laws on changes in the justice system. Including, the Law on the Anti-Corruption Court. “I expect the Verkhovna Rada to submit a bill, on the basis of which I will submit my proposals to the Verkhovna Rada as urgent. I want to say that simultaneously with the Anti-Corruption Court bill, I am planning to introduce a bill on the Court-Martial. We are waiting for the Laws on Advocacy, Legal Education,” the President emphasized.