The First Scientific and Practical Conference on the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Constitution of Ukraine Was Held with a Discussion on Constitutional Values

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The First Scientific and Practical Conference on the Occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Constitution of Ukraine Was Held with a Discussion on Constitutional Values

Today, June 14, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of Ukraine, a scientific and practical online conference “Constitutional Values ​​in Official and Academic Constitutional Doctrines” was held.

The event was organised by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in co-operation with the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University with the support of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine.

The conference brought together judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, former judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, members of the Research Advisory Council of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, representatives of the scientific and academic community, foreign experts and legal practitioners.

Opening the event, Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Serhiy Holovaty stressed that the topic of the conference in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of Ukraine is topical and significant.

In his speech, the Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine analysed the historical preconditions for the adoption of constitutions. He noted that the adoption of a constitution in any state is a response to a certain historical situation. In this context, Serhiy Holovaty stressed that traditionally the adoption of constitutions took place mainly as a result of the revolution or victory in the war. As an example, he cited two classical constitutions, which, in fact, form the basis of the phenomenon known in the world as “constitutionalism”, in particular, the constitutions of the United States and France.

The peculiarity of the Ukrainian Constitution, according to Serhiy Holovaty, is that its birth is connected with the first and the second. The adoption of the Constitution of Ukraine meant the liberation of the Ukrainian state from external imperial domination and the acquisition of internal freedom by the Ukrainian people.

Serhiy Holovaty also noted that Ukraine is one of the youngest states in the world and, accordingly, one of those states with the youngest constitution. At the same time, he stressed that the roots of original Ukrainian constitutionalism go back to a time when there were no constitutions in the world.

Summing up his speech, Serhiy Holovaty pointed out that the Constitution of Ukraine was adopted at a certain historical moment, therefore it carries the spirit and letter of that time. Thus, today there is a need to analyse Ukrainian constitutional values, as well as to summarise how far we have come in their assertion.

On behalf of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, the President of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, Head of the Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law of Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, member of the Research Advisory Council of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Professor, Full Member of  National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine Oleksandr Petryshyn addressed the participants.

He stressed that the conference is the beginning of a series of scientific events and a powerful impetus to unite forces and find approaches to address issues related to the Constitution, constitutional norms, values, ​​etc.

Oleksandr Petryshyn noted that the President of Ukraine has established a commission on legal reform to scientifically and legally support reforms, which works in the most important areas, in particular, preparation of proposals for amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, development of legislation on the organisation of the judiciary and the administration of justice, the development of legal education, the reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories.  “Most of these issues are certain challenges for the current constitutional model of organisation and functioning of state power and state and legal institutions, for established forms of relations between the state and society, and thus the role of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in the substantiation and argumentation of its future decisions on the constitutionality of these reforms is growing,” he said.

The President of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine wished fruitful results in solving the urgent problems of the development of constitutionalism, strengthening the constitutional foundations of Ukrainian statehood, the basic provisions for the functioning of constitutional institutions.

Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs of Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Chairman of the Research Advisory Council of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine  Yurii Barabash and National Legal Adviser to the OSCE Project Co ordinator in Ukraine Oleksandr Vodyannikov stressed the importance and relevance of the conference on constitutional values.

Oleksandr Vodyannikov assured that the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine would support the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the scientific community in their efforts to build constitutionalism, human rights and the rule of law in our state.

During the first session of the scientific conference, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Candidate of Law, Associate Professor Viktor Kychun presented a report “From Freedom as a Constitutional Value to Democracy and Progress”.

The judge pointed out the importance of the chosen topic of the event for scientific discussion. In his opinion, the concept of “value” is what is significant for a person or society. Today, the speaker noted, there is no established or unified view on the definition of “constitutional value”. He presented his vision of constitutional values ​​through the prism of the works of scholars.

Emphasising the fundamental constitutional principles, including freedom, equality, justice, human dignity, rule of law, tolerance, the judge singled out freedom, which, in his opinion, is the main constitutional value.

To speaker’s mind, in pursuance with some constitutional scholars, constitutional values ​​are not only positively enshrined significant phenomena, but also those phenomena that are important for an individual and Ukrainian society stem from the very idea - the spirit of the constitution. Accordingly, Viktor Kychun noted, “constitutional values ​​are not only those phenomena that are directly enshrined in the text of the Constitution itself, but also those that follow from the ideology of the constitution”. He added that the constitutional values ​​are what appears in the process of interpretation of the Constitution by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

According to the judge, the position of expert in the field of constitutional law Vsevolod Rechytsky is correct in this context, whereby in order for Ukraine to become a more successful state, there must be social progress, it is necessary to understand and rethink the reformulation of constitutional values.

Head of the Department of Theory of State and Law of V.M. Koretsky Institute of State and Law of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Head of the Center for Legal Research on Gender Policy at the Institute of State and Law at  V.M. Koretsky Institute of State and Law of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Member of the Research Advisory Council of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Professor, Full Member of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine Natalia Onishchenko stressed that significant events for the Ukrainian people are the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of Ukraine and the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence.

Ukraine has emerged as a democratic, independent, distinctive state that evokes the respect of the peoples of the world and the interest of strategic partners, said Natalia Onishchenko.

Presenting her report on “The Right to an Adequate Standard of Living in the Context of Constitutional Values ​​(Doctrine)”, she noted that in the combination of social rights and social interests, the right to an adequate standard of living (clothing, food, housing) is one of the main social rights, and minimum health standards are equally important. The right to a sufficient standard of living is an evaluative category; each person has his own idea of ​​a sufficient standard of living, therefore the understanding of “right”, in her opinion, must be defined.

She also touched upon the issue of the national legal system, noting that it is a combination of social and legal principles, which, in fact, are responsible for human well-being.

Head of the Department of Procedural Law, Faculty of Law, Yurii Fedkovych National University of Chernivtsi, Member of the Research Advisory Council of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Professor Oksana Shcherbaniuk delivered a report on “National Constitutional Courts in European Constitutional Democracy”.

In particular, the professor pointed out that the analysis of the acts of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine allows to conclude about the application of best practices, as well as the proper substantiation of the Court's decisions. According to her, the body of constitutional review of Ukraine occupies an important place in the European constitutional democracy.

Inna Spasybo-Fatieieva, Professor of the Department of Civil Law of Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Member of the Research Advisory Council of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, spoke about the doctrine of property rights in modern Ukrainian society.

She noted that the right to property is important for everyone and that other human rights and freedoms depend largely on the opportunities provided by this right.

In her report, Inna Spasybo-Fatieieva described in detail the issues of legal regulation of property rights, noting, in particular, the problematic aspects. The speaker cited the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, which resolved some problematic issues in this area.

Professor of the Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law of the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Professor Stanislav Pohrebniak focused on the doctrinal aspects of good governance as a constitutional value.

In his speech, the professor analysed some legal positions of the Supreme Court, and stressed their correctness, in particular, that one cannot refrain from benefiting government agencies from illegal actions or avoid performing their duties; inconsistencies in the actions of public authorities or non-performance of duties should not have adverse consequences for business entities; mistakes made by public authorities should not be corrected at the expense of an individual. The speaker also noted that the activities of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine are related to the activities of the Supreme Court, as the decision of a body of constitutional jurisdiction may change the legal situation that existed before the decision, most often referring to social benefits. He pointed out that in this context there is a legal position of the Supreme Court, namely: according to the principle of good administration based on the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the state must act in a timely and consistent manner to prevent mass appeals to the Court.

The second session of the scientific event began with a speech by Matthias Hartwig, Dr. iur., Senior Research Fellow of Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law “Corruption as an issue of constitutional adjudication”.

In his speech, Matthias Hartwig spoke about the extent to which corruption violates fundamental rights; state anti-corruption responsibilities required by the constitution; anti-corruption boundaries; the role of the body of constitutional jurisdiction in the fight against corruption.

The speaker noted that corruption is a criminal offense, while citing examples of corruption that lead to violations of constitutional human rights and are therefore subject to protection in constitutional courts.

He believes that constitutional courts should play an important role in the fight against corruption in order to guarantee the fundamental human and citizen’s rights, which should be the ultimate goal of all decisions of constitutional courts.

Associate Professor of the Department of Constitutional Law of Ukraine of Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Candidate of Law Liubomyr Letnianchyn spoke about the decisive role in the system of constitutional values, including freedom and human dignity.

In his speech, the speaker focused on the latest case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the legal positions of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, defined in its decisions on constitutional values.

Head of the Department of Constitutional Law of Ukraine of Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Member of the Research Advisory Council of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Doctor of Philosophy, Associate Professor Tetiana Slinko spoke about freedom of speech as a constitutional value.

The speaker focused on European standards for freedom of speech as a constitutional value, and also analysed the provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine in this context.

The event was moderated by Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs of the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Head of the Research Advisory Council of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine Yuriy Barabash and Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Doctor of Law, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine Victor Kolisnyk.

In conclusion, the participants expressed the hope that the opinions delivered during the event will be taken into account in the formation of new doctrinal approaches to resolving the problems.

A video of the conference is available on the Court's official YouTube channel.

 

Developed with the support of OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine
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