KYIV (Reuters) -The Ukrainian parliament approved a draft law on Tuesday that would re-establish a special commission on appointing judges, and lawmakers said the wording of the law was in line with the suggestions of Western donors.
The commission vets prospective judges to make sure they are respectable citizens and qualified to do their jobs, but its work was suspended by a Constitutional Court ruling in 2019.
The U.S. embassy in Ukraine, which had expressed concerns over the original version of the bill, welcomed the approval as “an important step forward toward comprehensive judicial reform”, adding it looked forward to the final text of the law.
Ukraine’s foreign allies wanted their representatives to be involved in the re-establishing of the commission to ensure the process was transparent and honest. They also wanted their representatives to have the deciding vote on the panel against candidates they thought were unsuitable, which the original draft did not include.
During the second, final, reading, parliament approved an amendment to the bill that gives international experts a deciding vote in the selection of candidates for the qualification commission.
The United States stands ready to support Ukraine to implement the law and “realize this historic opportunity to renew Ukraine’s judicial system on behalf of the Ukrainian people,” the U.S. embassy wrote on Twitter.
Ukraine has committed to judicial reform as a way of tackling entrenched corruption and creating a more transparent and predictable environment for investors.
Almost 79% of Ukrainians do not trust courts and judges, according to survey conducted by think-tank Razumkov Centre in March. Only 12.4% said they trusted the courts and judges.
(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Editing by Jon Boyle, Chizu Nomiyama and Gareth Jones)