Strasbourg, 14 February 2002

CCJE (2002) 20
English only

Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)

Questionnaire on the conduct, ethics and responsibility of judges: reply submitted by the delegation of Ukraine

Questionnaire on the conduct, ethics and responsibility of judges

1. Ukrainian laws declare the statutory obligations by which judges are bound. According to Article 6 of the law of Ukraine “About the status of judges” judges are obliged to:

-comply with the Constitution of Ukraine and the Laws of Ukraine when administering the law, provide full, thorough and objective consideration to all of the cases complying with the established by law deadlines;

-comply with the requirement, established in article 5 of this Law, of professional discipline and with the agenda of the court;

-not divulge the information that is of government, military, professional, commercial or bank secret, the secrets of the citizen’s personal life, other information that they found out at the closed court meeting;

-not do anything that would blacken his or her reputation as a judge or that would put under doubt his or her objectivity, impartiality and independence.

2. “The Code of Judges’ Professional Ethics” was adopted in Ukraine.

2.1. “The Code of Judges’ Professional Ethics” was drafted on the 15th of December, 1999 by the 4th Congress of the Ukrainian Judges and was adopted on the 24th of February, 2000 by the temporary Council of the Ukrainian Judges. This code was compiled by the Council of the Ukrainian Judges with reference to the experience on this matter of the judicial concord of Canada, the Russian Federation, the USA and other countries. The proposals from regional councils of judges and from judges personally were also brought to attention.

2.2. According to the regulations of this code a judge has to be an example of obedience to law, behave according to the oath that he took and exercise his duties so as to stengthen trust of the citizens into independence, truthfulness, impartiality and fairness of the court. The responsibilities of a judge in exercising his/her functions, in his/ her personal life are covered in almost all of the articles of “The Code of Judges’ Professional Ethics”, which is added as an enclosure to these answers.

2.3.While discussing “The Code of Judges’ Professional Ethics” at the 4th Congress of the Ukrainian Judges it was noted that the provisions of the code could not be considered to be additional reasons for disciplinary sanctions for judges. That is why the provisions of this code are aimed at solving ethical questions connected to the status of judges. This regulations can’t be used as reasons for disciplinary sanctions for judges and cannot determine level of their guilt. But judges may follow these provisions in their professional and civil activities and in their personal lives so as to strengthen independence and impartiality of judiciary and its authority in the society.

3. There are no apparent incompatibilities between the duties of a judge and other functions or other professions. It became really evident after adoption of several laws in June 2001 that regulate judiciary and everything that is connected with it. Earlier judges had some incompatible to them responsibilities such as gathering evidence and supporting charges which are now fully given to public prosecutors.

4. According to the current procedural codexes of Ukraine impartiality of judges can be put under question if he is a relative of a defendant, personally interested in the case, exercises his duties in a way that puts under doubt his impartiality.

5. According to the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine “About the Status of Judges” judges can incur criminal liability for committing a crime but they cannot incur civil liability for acts committed in the performance of their duties.

5.1. Judges can incur criminal liability only if they committed a crime. According to Article 126 of the Constitution of Ukraine and Article 13 of the Law of Ukraine “About the Status of Judges” a judge cannot be detained or arrested before being convicted by court without agreement by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Supreme Council).

5.2. Procedure of incuring criminal liability by judge is discussed in the Criminal Codex of Ukraine and it does not differ very much from that for regular citizens. The only difference exists when a judge needs to be detained or arrested before being convicted by court. In this case the General Prosecutor of Ukraine turns to the Verkhovna Rada which at the plenary meeting votes for or against the detention or arrest of a judge.

5.3. According to Article 13 of the Law of Ukraine “About the Status of Judges” the competent institution is the Court of Appeal. The court where such case will be examined is determined by the Head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine or by his deputy. The case cannot be examined by court where a defendant worked as a judge.

5.4. According to Article 38 of the Law of Ukraine “About the Status of Judges” a judge stops to exercise his duties as soon as he is presented with his charges, although he is still getting his salary. If a judge is convicted he can be punished by any sanctions that are described in the Criminal Codex of Ukraine. According to Article 15 of the Law of Ukraine “ About the Status of Judges” a judge is dismissed from his position if he is convicted.

6. The question of disciplinary proceedings against judges is discussed in several laws of Ukraine and they determine that judges can be subject to disciplinary sanctions.

6.1. According to Article 31 of the Law of Ukraine “About the Status of Judges” judges can be subject to disciplinary proceedings for violation of:

- the legislation at the time of examination of legal cases;

- requirements made especially for judges (a judge cannot be a member of a political party or a professional union, take part in any political activities, hold simultaneously another paid job, do another paid work, except for teaching and creative work);

- their duties, particularly:

· complying with the Constitution of Ukraine and the Laws of Ukraine when administering the law, providing full, thorough and objective consideration to all of the cases complying with the established by law deadlines;

· complying with the requirement, established in article 5 of this Law, of professional discipline and with the agenda of the court;

· not divulging the information that is of government, military, professional, commercial or bank secret, the secrets of the citizen’s personal life, other information that they found out at the closed court meeting;

· not doing anything that would blacken his or her reputation as a judge or that would put under doubt his or her objectivity, impartiality and independence.

6.2. The procedure of disciplinary proceedings differs according to the authority that imposes disciplinary sanctions. That is disciplinary procedures are imposed on judges of local courts and courts of appeal by qualified committees of judges from corresponding courts. And disciplinary procedures are imposed on judges of higher specialized courts and the Supreme Court by the Highest Council of Justice.

According to Article 30 of the Law of Ukraine “ About qualifying committees, qualifying certification and disciplinary responsibilities of judges of courts of Ukraine” from the 2nd of February, 1994 disciplinary procedures imposed on local courts and courts of appeal include:

- checking the data about the disciplinary violation of a judge;

- disciplinary procedure;

- examination of a disciplinary case.

If after checking the data about the disciplinary violation of a judge the evidence was found to impose disciplinary sanction the head of the corresponding disciplinary committee orders to do so. According to Article 34 of the Law of Ukraine “About qualifying committees, qualifying certification and disciplinary responsibilities of judges of courts of Ukraine” a qualifying committee of judges examines a disciplinary case in the period of ten days after it was started. Examination of the disciplinary case does not go beyong the charges given in the decision about starting a disciplinary case. The decisions in the disciplinary committee are made by the majority of member of the qualifying committee present at the meeting.

According to Article 37 of the Law of Ukraine “About the Highest Council of Justice” from the 15th of January, 1998 disciplinary sanctions imposed on judges of the highest specialized courts and the Supreme Court of Ukraine include:

- - checking the data about the disciplinary violation of a judge;

- - disciplinary procedure;

- examination of a disciplinary case;

- making a decision.

If there is an evidence of disciplinary violation of judges of the highest specialized courts and the Supreme Court of Ukraine disciplinary sanctions are imposed by the resolution of the Highest Council of Justice over the period of ten days after the receipt of information about the disciplinary violation of a judge.

The Highest Council of Justice examines the disciplinary case at the nearest meeting of the Highest Council of Justice after the receipt of the conclusion and materials of teh checking.

The decisions in a disciplinary case are made through the secret voting by the majority of members of the Highest Council of Justice without the presence of the defendant.

6.3. According to Article 32 of the Law of Ukraine “About the status of judges” the qualifying committees of the Ukrainian judges can impose the following disciplinary sanctions on judges:

- reprimand;

- demotion in qualification.

According to the consequencs of sanctions the qualifying committee of judges can make a decision about sending a recommendation to the Highest Council of Justice to dismiss a judge from his position.

6.4. According to Article 37 of the Law of Ukraine “ about the Highest Coucil of Judges” the Highest Council of Judges can impose the following disciplinary sanctions on judges:

- reprimand;

- demotion in qualification.

The Highest Council of Judges can make a decision about the incompatibility of a judge to his position and send this decision to the authority which appointed or elected a judge.



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