A working meeting on the state of implementation of judicial reform in Ukraine was held at the President's Office with the participation of the ambassadors of the G7 countries.
The meeting was opened by Head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak who stressed that judicial reform is a priority for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his team.
"I am convinced that we all have the same goal - a transparent, honest, fair judicial system that we want to build in our country. And this cannot be done if we do not communicate openly, honestly with each other and resolve any issues among like-minded people and friends of our country," he said.
Andriy Yermak believes that such meetings - both with the participation of G7 ambassadors and at the technical level - should become regular.
He noted that Volodymyr Zelenskyy is very interested in judicial reform to take place at the same pace as that of other transformations in the country.
"We understand that sometimes this is a process, sometimes it is impossible to do it faster than it is within the current legislation, but the shortest possible time for the implementation of the judicial reform is a priority for the President," said Andriy Yermak.
The Head of the Office of the President thanked the international partners and the Council of Judges of Ukraine for nominating candidates to the competition commission for the selection of members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges. He hopes that this body will start working soon.
"And I would like all the pertaining issues to be resolved on this platform. We are against any formal meetings, let's communicate openly, criticize openly. I think that we have all laid the foundation for judicial reform, and today we finally need to resolve all technical issues, doubts, misunderstandings openly, jointly, with the involvement of our international partners," Andriy Yermak stressed.
Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Law Enforcement, Head of the Commission on Legal Reform under the President Serhiy Ionushas noted that the list of candidates for the Ethics Council included well-known foreign retired judges and prosecutors with impeccable professional reputation and experience. At the same time, the pace of selection of candidates does not meet the expectations of society and the proposals of the Head of State and Parliament.
Serhiy Ionushas informed the participants of the meeting about the appeal of President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio to refrain from any actions that delay the selection of candidates and may harm the establishment of an independent judiciary in Ukraine.
The people's deputy stated that the Council of Judges has not yet identified three candidates for the Ethics Council. According to Serhiy Ionushas, if the judicial self-government fails to elect its candidates, the Verkhovna Rada will be forced to respond to this challenge.
"I would like to call on the representatives of the Council of Judges to complete all the necessary procedures for the selection of candidates for the Ethics Council as soon as possible. This is an important event that we are all waiting for," he said.
Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ukraine Melinda Simmons believes that the process of judicial reform should be accelerated, as its current pace does not contribute to the implementation of the necessary changes.
"The law we are talking about today has been elaborated for a long time, so we are now convinced that it should be implemented, not changed. It is important, in particular, for Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic ambitions, European integration, cooperation with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund," she said.
For his part, Chairman of the Council of Judges of Ukraine Bohdan Monich assured that this body, despite its warnings, continues to move in the direction of compliance with the law.
"We will comply with the law, regardless of whether any changes are made to it. We hope that by the end of October we will be able to elect our candidates to the Ethics Council," Bohdan Monich said.
President of the Supreme Court Valentyna Danishevska stressed that the judiciary strives for change, but it must not lose its agency, and the state cannot exist without the judiciary.