President of the Federal Court of Justice, Bettina Limperg, President of the Supreme Court Valentyna Danishevska, IRZ General Director Veronika Keller-Engels (front, from left to right)
President of the Federal Court of Justice, Bettina Limperg, President of the Supreme Court Valentyna Danishevska, IRZ General Director Veronika Keller-Engels (front, from left to right)
Ukraine

Upon invitation of the IRZ a delegation of the Ukrainian Supreme Court, headed by its President Valentyna Danishevska, visited the Federal Court of Justice and the Higher Regional Court in Karlsruhe for expert talks on 7 August 2018. At the Federal Court of Justice Ms. Danishevska was received by her colleague Bettina Limperg, President of the Federal Court of Justice.

Dr. Eva Menges, Judge at the Eleventh Civil Panel of the Federal Court of Justice, and Dr. Ute Hohoff, Judge at the First Criminal Panel of the Federal Court of Justice, also participated in the expert talks which focussed on the consistency of case law. During the meeting President Danishevska also described impressively the current judicial reform in Ukraine, above all the establishment of the Supreme Court and the strengthening of the judiciary through the new “Law on the Supreme Council of Justice”.

In the afternoon the President of the Higher Regional Court, Alexander Riedel, welcomed the Ukrainian guests at the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe. Further participants in the talks were

  • Helmut Perron, Vice President of the Higher Regional Court;
  • Dr. Jens Martin Zeppernick, Presiding Judge at the Higher Regional Court; and
  • Dr. Julia Kürz, Judge at the Higher Regional Court.

The subjects of these talks were the independence of judges, the tasks of the presiding committee as well as the assignment of functions and the basic right to a lawful judge associated with it.

The importance of this working visit to Karlsruhe by the President of the new Supreme Court, founded in December last year, was also reflected by the participation of the Ukrainian Ambassador, Dr. Andrij Melnyk, as well as the Consul General of Ukraine in Munich,Yurii Yarmilko.

Background information: The restructuring and re-establishment of the Supreme Court was carried out in accordance with the new court constitution law adopted in June 2016, according to which the specialised Supreme Courts (Supreme Administrative Court, Supreme Economic Court, Supreme Court of Justice for Civil and Criminal Matters) were abolished and integrated as courts of appeal into the newly established Supreme Court. The administrative and economic courts of the first and second instance remain. Moreover, the independent administrative courts, which have been in existence in Ukraine since 2005, have now been integrated into the constitution through an amendment also adopted in June 2016.

For the 120 posts for judges (20 per court of appeal) at the new Supreme Court the applicants had to undergo a tough selection procedure, which was to ensure the high qualification and integrity of the judges. After the "Revolution of Dignity” in Maidan Square the trust of the Ukrainian population in the judiciary is also to be improved by this procedure. Therefore, the “Public Integrity Council” as an element of civil society had been involved in the selection procedure and gave a negative vote on some of the candidates.

Finally, on 11 November 2017 114 judges were sworn in. The new court, no longer called “Supreme Court of Ukraine” but merely “Supreme Court”, was opened on 15 December 2017.