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BBCJ members voiced their concern on the respect for territorial integrity of Ukraine and for international law in administering constitutional justice

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Presidents of BBCJ member courts met Ukraine’s President Poroshenko in Kyiv and expressed their concern over Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the respect for international law in administering constitutional justice.

Conscious of the necessity to defend the fundamental international legal principles and standing in solidarity with its Ukrainian colleagues, members of the Association of Constitutional Justice of the Countries of the Baltic and Black Sea Regions (BBCJ) joined the so-called Batumi process—the initiative launched by the Ukrainian Constitutional Court in September in Batumi – to condemn the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation for its role in committing aggression against Ukraine, i.e. for its role in the annexation of Crimea.

During the meeting Dainius Žalimas, President of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania, emphasised that the constitutional courts do not stand aside from support to Ukraine’s independence, its territorial integrity and its European choice. “The duty of the legal community is to clearly name and condemn the criminal actions performed in annexing the Crimea,” noted D. Žalimas. He told the participants of the meeting about the so-called Batumi process, i.e., about the Joint Statement Concerning Respect for Territorial Integrity and International Law in Administering Constitutional Justice signed by representatives from the constitutional courts of European countries (among them, Lithuania, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia) during the meeting of the Circle of Presidents of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts that took place in September in Batumi (Georgia).

The Joint Statement urged condemning the clearly unlawful judgment of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation that had paved the way to the annexation of the Crimea by Russia. This document urges constitutional courts not to remain indifferent at a time when the imperative requirements of the rule of law, obliging to respect the general principles of law, the main principles of international law and the values of a democratic constitutional order, are blatantly violated. This Joint Statement is open for signature to the members of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts.

Alexandru Tănase, President of the Constitutional Court of Moldova stated that the act of aggression and gross violations of international law must not be neglected, “at least by the judicial community.” In his view, Constitutions are the most appropriate framework that define and ascertain the sovereignty in the national law of the majority of European states.

The case is known as “Batumi Process”, as Georgia heads the European Constitutional Courts during 3-year term and the decision on signing the statement has been made in Batumi.

The President of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania also familiarised Ukraine’s President with the objectives, activity and prospects of the Association of Constitutional Justice of the Countries of the Baltic and Black Sea Regions (BBCJ), founded in Vilnius on 26 October of this year, which is comprised of the Constitutional Courts of Georgia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine.

President Poroshenko reminded that Ukraine was now introducing significant constitutional amendments on decentralization and judiciary. “The key position is to make the judicial power truly independent,” Petro Poroshenko said.

In this context, D. Žalimas shared Lithuania’s experience with the participants of the meeting on how the geopolitical orientation of the state could be consolidated at the constitutional level, i.e., by imposing a constitutional prohibition for the country against its membership in the CIS and other post-Soviet organisations and introducing the constitutional imperative of the European and transatlantic integration.

Presidents of the constitutional court of Georgia – Giorgi Papuashvili, Lithuania – Dainius Žalimas, Latvia – Aldis Laviņš and Moldova – Alexandru Tănase were invited in Ukraine to participate in the International Scientific-Practical Conference on the Introduction of the Constitutional Complaint in Ukraine.