Digests

Parliamentary service, competitions in the judiciary, and military exercises: parliamentary agenda

During the first plenary week of 2021, the Parliament plans to consider draft bills concerning the system of power and international cooperation. Today in our digest: the initiatives to separate the Apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada from civil service, unlock competitions for judges’ positions, and allow international military exercises in Ukraine.


Create parliamentary service (4530)

Status: the first reading.

Who is affected: employees of the Apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada, MPs, heads of parliamentary committees, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, and the Cabinet.

What does the bill change:

  • makes parliamentary service a separate body not incorporated in the general system of civil service
  • the Head of the Apparatus and their deputies will be selected by the Verkhovna Rada’s own contest committee, the Head of the Apparatus will be dependent on the Speaker
  • the Head of the Apparatus will have a right to define special requirements for all positions within the parliamentary service.

Why this is important: after the Revolution of Dignity, civil service reform was one of the most important. Its purpose was to hire candidates via open and transparent competitions.

What is wrong:

  • parliamentary servants do not have any specific functions that make it necessary to separate them from the general system of civil service
  • the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada has powerful leverage over the Head of the Apparatus who is supposed to be professional, apolitical, and work not for the Speaker but the state and ensure high-quality work of the legislator
  • the right of the Head of the Apparatus to define special requirements for the candidates will significantly restrict citizens’ right to participate in competitions for positions in the parliamentary service.


Launch competitions for judges’ positions (4229)

Status: the first reading.

Who is affected: members of the Supreme Council of Justice, candidates for judges’ positions, and Ukrainian citizens.

What does the bill change: until the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine (HQCJ) is formed — a specialized body for appointing judges, — the bill temporarily allows the Supreme Council of Justice to conduct and finalize special checks, conduct and declare the results of competitions announced on August 25, 2019. 36 local judges could be appointed.

Why this is important: according to the Deputy Head of the Supreme Court Bohdan Lvov, before July 2020 69 courts of original jurisdiction can halt because of the lack of judges while appellate courts lack 40% of judges.

What is wrongthe reputation of the Supreme Council of Justice is doubtful. Only during the last year members of the SCJ have punished the judge of the High Anti-Corruption Court for the warrant of search in the “Vovk tapes” case and interfered with the investigation on the former Minister of Ecology Mykola Zlochevskyi.

What else:

  • the reason for such a significant lack of judges is that the High Qualification Commission of Judges does not work since November 7, 2019. Since then, almost no competitions for judges’ positions were conducted
  • almost a year and a half have passed while the SCJ together with international experts fails to create a contest committee for the selection of HQCJ’s members. Some analysts claim that this is intentional sabotage by the SCJ to discredit the role of international experts in the contest.


Allow foreign military forces on the territory of Ukraine (4499)

Status: passed by the Parliament.

Who is affected: servicemen of Ukraine, the United States of America, Great Britain, Romania, and Poland, the President and the Cabinet.

What does the bill change: approves the decision by the President to allow foreign military units on the territory of Ukraine to participate in military exercises. The following exercises are planned:

  • with the United States of America — Rapid Trident-2021 and Sea Breeze-2021
  • with Great Britain — Kozak Mays-2021 and Warrior Watcher-2021
  • with Poland — Three Swords-2021 and Silver Saber-2021
  • with Romania — Riveraine-2021.

What is right:

  • the Constitution demands that such decisions by the President were approved by the Verkhovna Rada
  • expanding cooperation with foreign states and military forces, better military efficiency, tactical and practical skills for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.


What else:

MPs plan to consider several other bills that we have analyzed earlier:

  1. Reform of the Secret Service of Ukraine — Reform of the SSU: bargaining one trouble for another, by Nazar Zabolotnyi.
  2. Reform of the Anti-Monopoly Committee — Anti-Monopoly Committee: a misplaced reform, by Oleh Savychuk.