Democracy, Constitutional Supremacy and Legitimacy: The Case of Ukraine

Monday, 16 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Anna OSYPCHUK, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
While recent events in Ukraine attracted some scholarly attention and a number of publications were produced, in a field of Sociology few of them focus on the Constitutional Supremacy and Legitimacy, Human Rights and Judicial Reform. Thus, there is still a wide gap concerning a comprehensive sociological analysis of such issues, particularly with regard to the Constitutional (and Judicial) reform that is taking place since 2014 and changes it supposes to bring to the operation of Constitutional Court, appointments of its members, and to the overall Judicial Independence. Such analysis is not only valuable for comparing and understanding social and political process and changes in Ukraine, but for the wider discourse on democracy, constitutions and (social) transformation.

Another important aspect that I also discuss is the fact that the demands and/or appeals to the Constitution, Constitutional Rights and Supremacy, and principles of Division of Powers were one of the main themes of all significant civil protests (revolutions) in Ukraine – most particularly Student protests of 1990 (Revolution on Granite), Orange Revolution of 2004, and Maidan / Revolution of Dignity (2013-2014). I argue drawing on empirical data that underlining values and intentions which pulled people toward participation in Ukrainian revolutions are closely connected to the particular understanding of human rights and freedoms and to the vision of ideal rule of law, however removed it might have been from their actual everyday reality.

Thus I argue the need for a comprehensive sociological analysis of an ongoing Judicial reform in Ukraine and changes it will bring to the Constitutional Court and process and further to the political system and governance. Recent media discourse and professional legal discourse regarding the Constitutional and Judicial reform are analysed. I also discuss the ongoing debate if suggested reform of Constitutional Court will ensure democratic governance.