Archive for March 1st, 2013


Remember the Constitutional Assembly?

March 1, 2013

Although I have mentioned it several times since its creation, it is easy to forget the Constitutional Assembly in Ukraine.

For those who forget, it was an idea proposed by Arseniy Yatseniuk to President Yanukovych, creating a panel of acadmeics, legal experts, and of course representatives of the political parties, to go through the Constitution of Ukraine and make amendments where appropriate – or where obvious errors and/or conflicting statements exist, deal with it.

It followed that President Yanukovych created the Constitutional Assembly in May 2012, headed by ex-President Kravchuk, with Yuri Shemshuchenko  as deputy chair.  The Constitutional Assembly consists of 94 learned and scholarly individuals – plus a number of less than learned and less than scholarly politicians from across the political spectrum.

Anyway, after 9 months, the first recommendations of the Constitutional Assembly are now on their way to the Venice Commission for their perusal and input.  These recommendations relate to judicial system and principles of justice.

Quite what ground will be covered by the next recommendations of the Constitutional Assembly and in what constitutional sphere it will dabble, I’m not sure – and for now it is irrelevant.

What is relevant is that the Constitutional Assembly has actually arrived at some recommendations and has sent them to the Venice Commission prior to their submission to the President – which is expected some time in May.

The presumption thereafter must be that is will make its way to the RADA, and assuming there are no major changes to the proposals made by either the Constitutional Assembly and the Venice Commission by those within the Presidential Administration, should we anticipate the necessary broad cross-party support required to make the necessary constitutional changes?  After all, if there are no major changes, then all parties have had a hand in, and are aware of, the recommendations already.

To be fair, it is not as though the Constitutional Assembly has been tasked with a new or ground-breaking task.  There are lots of constitutions in existence from which they could draw lessons and models – reinventing the wheel does not need to be particularly arduous when there are so many blueprints and working models already does it?

Whether any of these suggestions remove the barrier to ratifying the already signed Rome Statute (Римским статутом) I suppose I will have to wait and see – although I doubt it, and thus that battle must remain joined for a while longer yet.

Nevertheless, the Constitutional Assembly has produced something for external and internal consideration with regards to a fundamental document in Ukraine – in short it is starting to deliver on what it was set up to do – unlike many things in Ukraine to be frank – so it is with bated breath we shall now see whether its recommendations are actually accepted by the Venice Commission and latterly applied to the existing constitution – more or less without serious and or/biased manipulation amendment (source of amendment considered) .

It will be interesting to see what eventually happens considering these are the first – of what we must presume will be several – recommendations.

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