National dialogue for constitutional reform
Social tensions and the new challenges Ukraine has been faced up with demand radical changes in the system of state institutions. The most important change should be the adoption of a new constitution, which is the fundamental law of the country.
The procedure for the eleboration of the new constitution as well as later attempts to change it is replete with faults and problems. In 1996, when the constitution was being written, Ukrainian lawmakers lacked sufficient knowledge and experience to properly enshrine principles of the functioning and development of specific state institutions in the constitution. This led to a number of faults in the constitution and the incorrect regulation of many legal institutions. For example, a poor understanding of the human rights doctrine resulted in socio-economic rights being fixed in the same legal form as fundamental human rights and freedoms. The mechanism of state governance and separation of powers does not correspond to international practices. In addition, the development of local self-governance has not been properly provided for in the constitution, while regional self-governance is not mentioned in the Constitution altogether.
The existing shortcomings of the constitution have been used by many Ukrainian politicians to usurp as many powers as possible, while avoiding responsibility for that. A number of constitutional provisions has been violated and disregarded by government officials with no legal punishment for that.
The above listed problems cannot be solved otherwise than through constitutional reform. During the elaboration of a new constitution, it is possible to identify all problems that may arise from the implementation of the constitution and provide additional guarantees that will prevent abuse of power by government officials in the future.
The Geneva agreement as of 17 April 2014 provides for the creation of a road map to the deescalation of tensions in Ukraine and a platform for national dialogue on constitutional reform. In April, the Ukrainian government announced the beginning of the constitutional process with the aim of introducing amendments to the constitution. As a result, political parties presented a set of amendments to the Constitution without consulting the public.
Unfortunately, the process of elaboration of the main law of the country often takes place behind closed doors. The public is presented with a final document and has neither possibility nor right to influence this process.
- translation, publication, presentation and distribution of a textbook Constitution-making and Reform prepared by International peacebuilding organization "Interpeace";
- round tables and podium discussions with representatives of civil society and political parties on specific issues pertaining to constitutional reform;
- working meeting with members of Constitutional Assembly;
- media coverage of national dialogue on constitutional reform.
The implementation of the project will allow for:
- initiating a national dialogue on the new text of the Constitution of Ukraine, which will allow every citizen to express his/her opinion and take part in the creation of a new Constitution of Ukraine;
- incorporating socially important provisions into a new Constitution of Ukraine instead of those serving the interests of political parties.
The project is supported by International peacebuilding organization "Interpeace".
As of 25.06.2015, the ICPS has successfully carried out all activities within the first stage of project implementation. The handbook on "Constituion-making and Reform: Options for the Process" has been translated into Ukrainian and Russian, printed and presented at the final conference. The ICPS is currently looking for partners to continue with the implementation of the project.