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Ex-Canadian judge elected head of Selection Commission for selection of HQCJ members.

Ted Zarzeczny, a retired judge at the Court of Queen's Bench for Saskatchewan, Canada, has been elected chairman of the Selection Commission for the selection of candidates for the positions of members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine (HQCJ), and Ivan Mishchenko, a judge of the Commercial Cassation Court, has been elected co-chairman of the Selection Commission.

According to an Ukrinform correspondent, this issue was discussed at a briefing after the first official meeting of the Selection Commission.

"I was elected chairman of the commission, and I would like to introduce my colleague, Judge Ivan Mishchenko, who was elected co-chairman of the commission," Zarzeczny said.

He stressed that one of the principles in the commission's work is the principle of transparency.

"We are selecting those who will select the members of the HQCJ. And I will say without exaggeration that this work is urgent. And it is very important that we carry out and complete our work properly," Zarzeczny said.

According to him, the task of the commission is "to make sure that this work is carried out properly."

"We are not here just to process information and just pick random names, like in a lottery. Our task in the Selection Commission is to ensure that the provisions of the legislation are properly applied in practice. Our commission has three international experts, and I am one of them, I am from Canada. My experience in the field of law is 51 years. [...] I participated in the work of the Public Council of International Experts, which worked on the appointment of 39 judges of the High Anti-Corruption Court. So I have experience in Ukraine. I have been to Ukraine 22 times in the past ten years and had an opportunity to communicate with almost 400 Ukrainian judges. I know what their hopes are for the development of the judicial system in Ukraine," Zarzeczny said.

He also stressed that members of the Selection Commission know "that there are issues that need to be resolved, that there are some concerns about the judiciary and the process of appointing judges."

"This is a new beginning. This is a new page in the history of the administration of justice in Ukraine. We understand the importance of our role and I can assure you that we will put all our experience, all our efforts and all our work to achieve the goals set by the Parliament of Ukraine. This will require the support of the media, the people of Ukraine, the support of civil society organizations. We plan to cooperate with all of you," Zarzeczny said.

He said that the Selection Commission consists of six members - three Ukrainian judges and three international experts, and "there is very good cooperation" between them.

"This is a great combination. Ukrainian colleagues will help us with the Ukrainian context with which we work, and foreign colleagues will be able to provide a foreign point of view, share the best practices that have been worked out in our countries," Zarzeczny said.

"I asked my colleagues how many years of experience in the field of law they have. And the total amount of years of experience in the field of law is 166 years of experience. This concerns all members of the commission. So we have something to offer. I hope we will be able to use this experience to succeed in our endeavor," Zarzeczny added.

On January 21, the Selection Commission for the selection of candidates for the positions of members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges held its first meeting.

This commission was established as a subsidiary body of the High Council of Justice to conduct a competitive selection and compile a list of candidates to be appointed by the High Council of Justice as members of the HCJC.

On November 19, 2021, the Selection Commission began its preparatory work to ensure the launch of official activities for the competitive selection.

The Selection Commission is composed of three judges nominated by the Council of Judges and three international experts nominated by international and foreign organizations.

Selection Commission members include Serhii Verlanov, Judge of the Kyiv Appellate Court, Yevgen Mezentsev - Judge of the Sixth Administrative Appellate Court, Ivan Mischenko - Justice of the Commercial Cassation Court at the Supreme Court, Robert Broekhuijsen - former Special Prosecutor in the Serious Fraud Office of the Dutch Prosecution Service, Ted Zarzeczny, retired Judge at the Court of Queen’s Bench of Saskatchewan, Canada, and Stephen Markman - retired Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, USA.

The Selection Commission is expected to select 32 candidates, who have at least 15 years of professional experience in the field of law and comply with integrity and professional competence criteria based on the results of an open and transparent competitive process. From the list of 32 candidates, the High Council of Justice will appoint 16 members of the HQCJ.

The Verkhovna Rada on July 13, 2021 passed a law resuming the operations of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges, which provides for the crucial role of international experts in the formation of the HQCJ.

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