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You're reading: People First: The latest in the watch on Ukrainian democracy

Meanwhile the Venice Commission has given a very critical evaluation of the draft law on parliamentary elections claiming that many provisions require improvement. The authors of the law appear to have disregarded the prior recommendations of the Venice Commission and OSCE, particularly in the case of provisions for protest against election results and the prohibition of candidates with criminal convictions. Aside form these issue the commission generally considers the law to be unnecessarily complicated and thus difficult for the electorate and election commissions to interpret.

At the same time judicial reform is gradually taking place in Ukraine. The law on court organisation and the status of judges was recently approved and introduced and the High Council of Justice of Ukraine has been given the authority to appoint judges to administrative positions. But in order to meet the requirements of the Judges’ Charter in Europe and established European standards. The judicial system of Ukraine still needs considerable reform. Yet the Ukrainian authorities remain thoroughly optimistic regarding the judiciary reform. Minister of Justice Oleksandr Lavrynovych professed to the President of the European People’s Party Wilfried Martens that reform of criminal law is Ukraine’s last unfulfilled obligation to the Council of Europe.

The International community however seems more concerned with the on-going high-profile legal cases that have recently drawn into question the reliability of Ukrainian judges and the democratic principles of the government. The cases to receive the most attention are that of Ex Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and former Interior Minister Yury Lutsenko.

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