28 June 2013
On June 28 Ukraine celebrates the Constitution Day. The Constitution, adopted in June 1996, proclaimed the legal principles of Ukraine’s independence, envisaged its sovereignty and territorial integrity. With this step Ukraine set out to stabilize its social, political and economic situation.
The 1996 Constitution was welcomed by the international community, including the Venice Commission, as one of the most advanced ones. It provides for a clear presidential-parliamentary government based on an effective system of checks and balances.
However, in the course of time it became obvious that an overall constitutional reform was needed to introduce the evermore urgent transformations in the key spheres of the life of society.
Respectively, the “constitutional process” is the key part to the comprehensive modernization effort initiated by the President of Ukraine. Introducing the necessary amendments to the Constitution we make sure that today’s reforms go in line with democratic standards and values.
The President’s decision to support the grassroots initiative of establishing the Constitutional Assembly proves his determination to modernize Ukraine’s political system. The Assembly is deemed an effective mechanism of involving the society in the state-building processes. Prominently, on May 17, the President of Ukraine signed the Decree on the Constitutional Assembly enacting this organ’s statute and naming its members. The document duly took into account the recommendations offered to this end by the Venice Commission. On June 20 the Assembly commenced for the first time under participation of the President of Ukraine, as well as the heads of the parliamentarian factions, representatives of the European Commission, Council of Europe, OSCE, UNO and other international organizations.
The Decree defines the Constitutional Assembly as a special auxiliary body under the President of Ukraine set up in order to prepare proposals on amending the Constitution.
The amendments are to be drafted under consideration of the amassed experience of the Constitution’s implementation, the latest international trends and practices in the constitutional process, as well as the results of the public debates with the participation of the international legal experts. In particular, we look forward to welcoming representatives of the Council of Europe in the Constitutional Assembly.
The Constitution is to be amended strictly within the legal framework stipulated by the Constitution’s Section XIII and on the principles of transparency, general accessibility, democracy and non-interference of representatives of the state.
The constitutional process in Ukraine is ultimately aimed at effectively guaranteeing human rights and freedoms, building a balanced representative EU-shaped democracy, enhancing parliamentarism and providing for an effective system of check and balances.
In order to achieve this goal the Ukrainian authorities are ready to continue an open dialogue with all interested international partners, in particular with experts of the Council of Europe and Venice Commission.