International cooperation of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine
International cooperation plays an important role in the development and strengthening the institutional capacity of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, since the scale and effectiveness of international relations is an inalienable attribute of the quality of the activity of any state institution, as well as an indicator of the degree of involvement of the institution into the international professional community. In addition, international cooperation provides the opportunity to apply the best world experience and to elaborate a promising development model.
As for today, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine has established and maintains fruitful relations with bodies of constitutional jurisdiction of many foreign countries, international organisations, funds and programs and is an active member of the international constitutional community.
The Court has been a full member of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts since 2000, and participates actively in its congresses.
The Court has been involved in the work of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice since 2009, having joined the Organisation in September 2011 among the 30 founding courts.
In 2015, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine became one of the founding courts of the Association of Constitutional Justice of the Countries of the Baltic and Black Sea Regions (BBCJ); during 2017, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine presided over this organisation.
The Court actively cooperates with international organisations: the Council of Europe (European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), European Court of Human Rights), OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine, foreign governmental funds, in particular the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation, etc.
In order to deepen bilateral relations, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine has concluded a number of Memoranda on development of co-operation between bodies of constitutional jurisdiction.
The usual practice is the meetings of the Court’s leadership with the heads of diplomatic missions and international organisations accredited in Ukraine.
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine also regularly organises international conferences, workshops, seminars on topical issues of constitutional justice.
The cooperation of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine with the Office of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine (before July 13, 1999 – OSCE Mission in Ukraine) was launched in December 1996 and includes assistance in the organisation of conferences (seminars, workshops, etc.) on constitutional justice; ensuring the participation of representatives of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in international events on constitutional jurisdiction and the activities of constitutional courts of other states; expansion of contacts with bodies of constitutional jurisdiction of other states; publication of materials of international events organised by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, etc.
Systemic assistance provided by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine for many years in designing and developing the Constitutional Court’s website, the purchase of appropriate equipment, connection to the Internet and further modernisation of the Court's website is also noteworthy.
The new stage of relations between the two institutions was the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation on 16 July 2014 between the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine.
The purpose of the Memorandum is to promote international standards in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms, rule of law and democratic development, strengthening the institutional capacity of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and its Secretariat. The document provides for the development and implementation of joint projects, joint events, meetings, seminars, round tables, conferences, training programs, educational campaigns, etc.
From 2015, the cooperation between the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the Coordinator had been implemented in the form of annual projects under the general title "Support to the reform of constitutional justice". Within its framework special attention is paid to the introduction of a constitutional complaint institute in Ukraine.
On October 26, 2015, in Vilnius, the Presidents of the Constitutional Courts of Georgia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine signed the Declaration on the Establishment of the Association of Constitutional Justice of the Countries of the Baltic and Black Sea Regions (BBCJ).
The initiative to create the Association belonged to the President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova Alexandru Tănase. The idea of creating such an association arose in the course of numerous meetings and discussions among judges of constitutional courts from these regions, during which similarity in the nature of the problems facing the bodies of constitutional jurisdiction had been revealed. The countries of the region have a common historical past and, thus, face similar challenges on the way to the establishment of democratic states based on the rule of law and respect for human rights and freedoms.
According to the Statute, the Association aims are promoting the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, guaranteeing democratic principles and values, ensuring and implementing principles of the rule of law, promoting the independence of Constitutional Courts in the exercise of constitutional justice, cooperation and exchange of experience among its members.
A member of the Association can only become a constitutional court or equivalent institution of a sovereign state member of the European Union or an Eastern Partnership program of the countries of the Baltic and Black Sea regions willing and able to promote the principles proclaimed in the Declaration on the Establishment of the Association and the achievement of the Association's goals and has submitted an appropriate written application and motivation letter. Membership is granted only to one institution of a state.
From the first days of operation, the Association sought to establish itself as a real regional forum for a regular, broad and multilateral exchange of ideas and experience, enriching practices, converging positions, and supporting each other. During this time, the Association adopted a number of statements in support of the constitutional courts with regard to interference in their activities and the pressure that was exerted on them.
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine presided in the Association in 2017. Within the framework of its presidency, the Second Congress of the Association of Constitutional Justice of the Countries of the Baltic and Black Sea Regions "The role of constitutional courts in interpreting the provisions of national constitutions in the context of the generally recognised principles and norms of international law and EU law, judgments of international courts" was held in Kharkiv on June 1-2, 2017.
Based on the results of the Congress, the Resolution was adopted and sent to the World Conference on Constitutional Justice, the Conference of European Constitutional Courts, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of European Justice.
On the initiative of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the official publication "The Journal" was established and the General Assembly resolutions were introduced.
Council of Europe
Since the beginning of its activity, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine has been actively cooperating with the Council of Europe and its bodies.
During these years, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, together with the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), has organised about 20 joint international events on topical issues of constitutional justice.
At different times, judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine were members of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission). Today, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Serhii Holovaty represents Ukraine in the Commission.
In addition, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Viktor Horodovenko is a member of the Consultative Council of European Judges.
Representatives of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine regularly participate in the events on the occasion of the opening of the judicial year in the European Court of Human Rights.
Recently, cooperation with the Department for the Execution of Judgements of the European Court of Human Rights of the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe, the European Committee of Social Rights has strengthened.
Given the introduction of a new mechanism for the protection of human and citizens’ rights and freedoms in Ukraine, i.e. the institution of a constitutional complaint, the interaction of the national body of constitutional jurisdiction with the European Court of Human Rights acquires special significance.