The Constitutional Court of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Конституційний Суд України) is the sole body of constitutional jurisdiction in Ukraine. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine interprets the Constitution of Ukraine and decides whether laws and other legal acts are constitutional.
The Court initiated its activity on October 18, 1996. The first Court ruling was made on May 13, 1997.
On urgent matters the Constitutional Court rules within weeks but on matters deemed less urgent it can take months or even longer.
There have been political accusations of attempts to bribe and blackmail Constitutional Court judges in order to get a favourable ruling.
Mission and authority
In 2016 access to the Constitutional Court was significantly broadened. Since then all individuals and companies where there are grounds to claim that a final court judgment contradicts the Constitution can file a complaint at the court. A complaint may only be filed after all other remedies have been exhausted in the regular Ukrainian courts.
The amended Constitution of Ukraine now provides for access to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to all individuals and companies where there are grounds to claim that a final court judgment contradicts the Constitution. A complaint may only be filed after all other remedies have been exhausted in the regular Ukrainian courts.
The authority of the Constitutional Court is derived from Ukraine's Constitution - Chapter XII
The Court:on the appeal of the President, no less than 45 members of the parliament, the Supreme Court of Ukraine, the Ombudsman, or the Crimean parliament, assesses the constitutionality of:
laws and other legal acts of the parliament
acts of the President
acts of the Cabinet
legal acts of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Crimean parliament)
officially interprets the Constitution and laws of Ukraine
on the appeal of the President or the Cabinet, provides opinions on the conformity with the Constitution of international treaties
on the appeal of the parliament, provides an opinion on the observance of the procedure of impeachment of the President
provides an opinion on the compliance of a bill on introducing amendments to the Constitution with the restrictions imposed by the Constitution.
The Court's rulings are mandatory for execution in Ukraine, are final and cannot be appealed. Laws and other legal acts, or their separate provisions, that are deemed unconstitutional, lose legal force.
The Court is composed of 18 judges, appointed in equal shares by the President, the parliament, and the Congress of Judges.
A judge must be a citizen of Ukraine and must have:attained the age of forty;
a higher legal education and professional experience of no less than 10 years;
resided in Ukraine for the last twenty years;
command of the state language
Judges are appointed for 9 years without the right of reappointment; moreover each judge is obligated to retire at the age of 65 if this age comes before the end of the 9-year period. The President and parliament are required to fill a vacant position within one month and the Congress of judges has three months to do so. But the appointment comes into effect only after oath of the new judge in the parliament; therefore sometimes it is a problem to become a judge of the Constitutional Court if many members of parliament do not want this (for example, they can physically disturb to hold a meeting of the parliament, that is usual in Ukraine).
The Chairman of the Court is elected by secret ballot for a single three-year term from and by the members of the Court. The current Chairman, Anatoliy Holovin.President's quota:
Volodymyr Kampo (Володимир Михайлович Кампо) since August 4, 2006
Dmytro Lylak (Дмитро Дмитрович Лилак) since August 4, 2006
Viktor Shyshkin (Віктор Іванович Шишкін) since August 4, 2006
Yurij Baulin (Юрій Васильович Баулін) since June 3, 2007
Sergij Vdovichenko (Вдовіченко Сергій Леонідович) since June 3, 2007
Yurij Nikitin (Юрій Іванович Нікітін) since June 3, 2007
Dismissed in 2014Congress of judges' quota:
Vasyl Bryntsev (Василь Дмитрович Бринцев) since August 4, 2006
Vyacheslav Dzhun' (В’ячеслав Васильович Джунь) since August 4, 2006
Anatoliy Didkivskyy (Анатолій Олександрович Дідківський) since August 4, 2006
Ivan Dombrovskyy (Іван Петрович Домбровський) since August 4, 2006;
Yaroslava Machuzhak (Ярослава Василівна Мачужак) since August 4, 2006
Andriy Stryzhak (Андрій Андрійович Стрижак) since August 4, 2006 (appointed to the court in 2004, but not sworn in until 2006)
On April 19 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution in consideration of a report titled Functioning of democratic institutions in Ukraine. (Items 13 and 14) stated:
The associated explanatory report under the sub-heading of Pressure on the courts expressed concern that
In emphasis the report (item 68) stated
On April 30, on the eve of the Constitutional Court's ruling on the legality of the president's decree dismissing Ukraine's parliament, President Yushchenko, in defiance of the PACE resolution of April 19 intervened in the operation of Ukraine's Constitutional Court by summarily dismissing two Constitutional Court Judges, Syuzanna Stanik and Valeriy Pshenychnyy, for allegations of "oath treason." His move was later overturned by the Constitutional Court and the judges were returned by a temporary restraining order issued by the court.
On May 16,Viktor Yushchenko, for a second time, issued another decree dismissing the two Constitutional Court Judges Syuzanna Stanik and Valeriy Pshenychnyy.
On May 17, the Constitutional Court Chairman Ivan Dombrovskyy resigns and is replaced by Valeriy Pshenychnyy.
On May 23, The Constitutional Court of Ukraine acted to prevent the president's undue influence on the court system. The court's ruling was made after Viktor Yushchenko unduly sought to influence the court by illegally firing two Constitutional Court judges Valeriy Pshenychnyy and Syuzanna Stanik for allegations of "oath treason.".
On July 20 Susanna Stanik won an appeal against the President in the Shevchenko district court of Kyiv. The Court ruled the President's actions illegal and reinstated Ms Stanik's entitlement as a member of Ukraine's Constitutional Court. According to the ruling, the President is obliged to cancel his decree on discharge of Mrs. Stanik.." The other two judges who were also illegally dismissed had previously tendered their resignations and as such were not subject to the courts order.
Following the president's intervention the Constitutional Court still has not ruled on the question of legality of the president's actions.
Stepan Havrsh, the President's appointee to the Constitutional Court, in prejudgment of the courts decision and without authorization from the Court itself, commented in an interview published on July 24
Olexander Lavrynovych, Ukrainian Minister for Justice, in an interview published on August 3 is quoted as sayingOn March 25, 2008 Ukraine's Supreme Administrative Court ruled the President's dismissal of Suzanna Stanik as a Constitutional Court judge illegal. Ms Stanik's position has been reinstated. The decision is final and not subject to further appeal
On April 3, 2008 Stanik was dismissed from the Court by the order of the President.
On April 28, 2010 President Viktor Yanukovych reinstated Stanik as Constitutional Court judge. She resigned the next day.
December 29, 1999: The Court interpreted the Constitution as unconditionally ruling out capital punishment; this is the date when Ukraine de jure abolished capital punishment after a long period of a de facto moratorium.
November 14, 2001: The Court outlawed the institution of propiska.
December 25, 2003: The Court allowed Leonid Kuchma to run for presidency for the third time; Kuchma chose not to run for re-election.
October 1, 2010: The Court determined the 2004 amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine unconstitutional, repealing them. On February 21, 2014 parliament passed a law that reinstated these December 2004 amendments (of the constitution).
Citizens of Ukraine, noncitizens, people without citizenship and legal entities can only ask the Court for interpretation of the Constitution and laws of Ukraine. A written request can be submitted in person or by mail. Court's address is 01033, Ukraine, Kiev, vyl. Zhylyanska, 14. Contact phone is (+380-44)238-1317.