Battle looming over new law on judiciary and judge status

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July 4, 2010, 8:48 p.m. | Politics — by Staff reports

Ukrainian authorities are proposing new legislation they say will make the country's court system less corrupt, but critics say the changes will make the situation even worse.

The parliament is scheduled to convene from July 6-9 before summer recess. Among the controversial laws scheduled for adoption are amendements to the law on the judiciary and judge status.

Thomas Markert, Vice President of the Venice Commission, also known as the European Commission for Democracy through Law, told the German information agency Deutsche Welle on July 4 that while provisions in the draft law reflected many recommendations by his commission, the measure remains "too complicated." Markert added that Ukraine's parliament under the new law would have too much sway over the courts.

Few Ukrainian lawmakers have even seen the proposed changes, which may passed into law by parliament's majority coalition this week.

Ukraine's court system is widely regarded as corrupt.

Numerous Venice Commission opinions over the years have urged Ukraine to curtail the authority of the Prosecutor General's Office, which under the constitutional amendments adopted in 2004 became Ukraine's most important law-enforcement agency.

A meeting of Rada leaders on July 5 will decide whether to floor the law on the judiciary and judge status for adoption before summer recess.

Deputy head of the Presidential Administration in charge of judicial reform, Andriy Portnov, on July 2 urged speedy adoption of the law.

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