|Article title||Judicial Elections as Implementation of the Principle of Democracy|
Doctor of political science, Professor, Associate, National Academy of Legal Science, Honored Scientist of Ukraine, Chief of Legal Issues of Political Science Department Volodymyr Koretskyi Institute of State and Law, National Academy of Science of Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine) firstname.lastname@example.org
|Name of magazine||Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)|
Numerous attempts to reform Ukraine’s judicial system are intrinsically based on the intention of certain political forces which came to power to subordinate the judiciary to their own interests, to make a judge dependent on the will not of the people but of the political class and of those vested with power, so that a judge could be a convenient tool in the redistribution of public wealth. Election is being replaced with appointment of judges by the bodies and officials who turn to be more and more corrupt that the preceding ones and this is legitimized by respective amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, by adoption of respective legislation, European integration requirements and standards, contests and “bona fide” commissions etc.
The purpose of the article is to show the advantages of election as compared with appointment of judges – with a view to making the principles of democracy and the rule of law firmly consolidated in Ukraine as a democratic, welfare and rule-of-law state.
It is possible to restore confidence in the government and the judiciary by switching to election of judges. At the same time, it is necessary to proceed from the fundamental “presumption” – the right of the people to elect the government, to control and change it if it does not justify such confidence.
Scientific papers demonstrate two diametrically opposite points of view regarding election of judges – “for” and “against”. Arguments “against” are confined to: 1) inability of citizens to assess the professionalism of judges; 2) elections mean that a respective propaganda campaign should be carried out and its financing can raise questions.
The benefits of election are as follows: 1) implementation of the principle according to which no branch of government may and should appoint any other branch; 2) independence of a judge is enhanced; 3) a judge becomes closer to the people; 4) it prevents social injustice, isolation of judges from citizens, aloofness, corporatism, turning of judges into the untouchables; 5) responsibility and accountability of judges to citizens is increased. Furthermore, magistrate judges as an institution have proved to be an efficient tool of out-of-court dispute resolution which removes an excessive load from courts. Besides, in a corrupt judicial system appointment of judges means legalization of usurpation. A revocable mandate is an important mechanism of control.
Thus, the principle of election should be applied to judges of all jurisdictions. The Electoral Code should define clear mechanisms and procedures for election of judges, as well as their recall. Elections are a reliable guarantee that the judiciary is selected honestly and transparently. The more so since political parties will be deprived of the right to nominate their candidates for judges. At the same time, there is a need to toughen criminal liability for offenses in this area and amend the Criminal Code of Ukraine with a view to making impossible any attempts of bribery, pressure, fraud etc. by creating a set of safeguarding mechanisms.
|Keywords||judge; guarantees of independence; appointment of judges; election of judges|
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