This week the President issued several decrees that will have a long-term impact. In particular, he replaced the Head of Kherson Oblast State Administration and thus traded a civil service position for his candidate’s victory in a single-mandate district in the interim parliamentary election. In addition, one of his decrees will probably result in yet another failure to select a representative from Ukraine to be appointed as a judge of the European Court of Human Rights.
New Head of Kherson Oblast State Administration appointed
Who is affected: inhabitants of Kherson oblast, Ukrainian citizens, government bodies, local governments, the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet, and the President.
Summary of the decrees: Serhii Kozyr is dismissed as the Head of Kherson Oblast State Administration and Hennadii Lahuta is appointed in his stead.
What is wrong:
- Serhii Kozyr from Servant of the People party and Hennadii Lahuta from Party of Ihor Kolykhaiev We Are to Live Here! are both candidates running for the vacant parliamentary seat in a single-mandate district #184 with a center in Kahovka, Kherson oblast
- right after his appointment as the head of state administration, Hennadii Lahuta announced that he withdraws his candidature
- politicians in power made an agreement with the candidate: he received a position of the head of oblast state administration in exchange for his withdrawal from running for the parliament. While civil service positions are traded in such a fashion, the quality of the service’s work and implementation of government policies in regions will hardly improve.
- Ihor Kolykhaiev, an MP elected in district #184, was elected the mayor of Kherson and stepped down as an MP
- according to Civil Network OPORA, Hennadii Lahuta is still registered as a candidate: his registration cannot be canceled since he should have submitted his withdrawal to the Central Election Commission before October 18
- the election in district #184 will be held on October 31.
New competition for the position of a judge of the European Court of Human Rights from Ukraine started
Presidential decree #550/2021 of October 26, 2021
Who is affected: citizens of member countries of the Council of Europe, businesses, domestic and foreign government bodies and local governments.
Summary of the decree:
- appoints a new selection committee
- updates the competition procedure:
- allows online participation in committee’s meetings
- shifts the responsibility of defining the format of interviews and the procedure of evaluating the candidates on the selection committee.
Why this is important:
- this is the third competition for the position. Twice before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) rejected candidates proposed by Ukraine and urged to conduct another competition
- Yevhen Zakharov, the Director of Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, explains the rejections as follows:
- Ukrainian authorities are trying to get a loyal judge in the ECHR
- competitions were not compliant with the requirements of the Council of Europe
- there were no consultations with the Advisory Panel of Experts of the Council of Europe
- Ukraine is represented in the European Court on Human Rights by judge Ganna Yudkivska whose mandate expired back in June of 2019.
What is right: the committee includes representatives from universities, an attorney, and a judge.
What is wrong: the competition procedure can still fail to comply with the requirements of the European Council. In particular, it lacks well-defined criteria for evaluating candidates and determining the winners. As a result, the competition can be rigged and non-transparent.
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