Ukraine: Effectiveness and independence of the judiciary must be bolstered

The ICJ today called on the Government of Ukraine to strengthen its judiciary and its independences before the UN Human Rights Council during the dialogue with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for his update on the situation of human rights in Ukraine.

The statement reads as follows:

“Mr President,

The unlawful invasion of the Russian Federation, constituting aggression under international law, has carried devastating consequences for the lives of all persons in Ukraine.

Yet, the justice system of Ukraine, while beset with some longstanding institutional weaknesses, has demonstrated resilience and ability to adapt to this extreme situation of crisis. It has continued functioning despite the ongoing hostilities and the occupation of parts of the country.

Nonetheless, the judicial self-governance bodies must again become operative and their composition and procedures should serve to ensure an independent and fair governance of the judiciary.

In consultation with the judiciary the government should act to restore the budget of the courts to normal levels sufficient to ensure the effective administration of justice.

Use of videoconferencing and remote hearings should not undermine the fairness of the proceedings.

It is welcome that most of the judicial powers granted to prosecutors in regard to detention have recently been removed, but the remaining powers of prosecutors to authorize extensions of detention are incompatible with rule of law principles.

Co-operative international support for the Ukrainian judiciary should increase to help the justice system investigate and prosecute crimes under international law committed during the conflict in fair trials, and to rebuild and strengthen an independent justice system.

I thank you.”

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