News & Views

Constitutional News

Just-launched Center for Constitutional Design presented at a press conference

CCD founders hope it will ultimately grow into something similar to the Philadelphia Convention

The Interfax-Ukraine news agency hosted today a press conference titled “The Center for Constitutional Design as a Laboratory to Look for a Way Out of the Constitutional Crisis in Ukraine.” CCD founders presented the newly established NGO and said they hope it will become an “embryo of a Ukrainian analogue of the famous Philadelphia Convention that created the U.S. Constitution 234 years ago.”

Two of three CCD founders attended the event:

  • Known civil society activist Gennadiy Druzenko, a cum-laude graduate from the Kyiv Shevchenko National University and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, who further studied and carried out research at the Kennan Institute and the Indiana University Bloomington in the United States as well as the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Germany, and
  • Ukrainian Catholic University teacher Oleksandr Komarov, Ph.D., who graduated from the Yale Law School with a master’s degree.

The third founder, Volodymyr Kozlenko, Ph.D., could not attend. He is an attorney and the managing partner at AC Crowe Ukraine as well as the chairman of the All-Ukrainian Civic Platform “New Country” and a member of the Council on Judicial Reform.

According to the speakers, the constitutional crisis triggered by the decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine cancelling certain provisions of anti-corruption law as allegedly unconstitutional and further aggravated by unconstitutional actions of the President of Ukraine has once again demonstrated the systemic unbalances and contradictions embedded in the Basic Law. They said there is no legal solution of the conflict between the President and the CCU within the framework of the current Constitution.

The CCD founders also mentioned other systemic unbalances in the current constitutional architecture of the state, including conflicts between the central and local governments; the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea; the too powerful presidency that is splitting the country; the mismatch between economic rights and social guarantees proclaimed by the Constitution and the actual budgetary capacities; and so on.

The only way to lawfully break this dead-lock is to carry out a comprehensive constitutional reform through a full-scale inclusive constitutional process, according to the lawyers. They said the CCD, established with the purpose to facilitate the process, will focus on the following activities among other things:

  • Developing an online “constitutional construction set” that will suggest options known to contemporary constitutional design and demonstrate the logic of their interaction and their probable impact on social relations;
  • Awareness-raising activities, such as maintaining a vlog “Constitutional Den: Important Things in Plain Words,” publishing stories on relevant topics, holding workshops, discussions and round tables, etc.
  • Forming an international network of leading experts in constitutional design willing to join the drafting of a new Constitution of Ukraine when a constitutional moment comes.

The CCD founders also announced that they had already reached an agreement on collaboration under their project with two partners, namely Prof. David Clair Williams of the Indiana University Bloomington who heads the Center for Constitutional Democracy and Prof. Tom Ginsburg of the University of Chicago who is one of the leaders of the Comparative Constitution Project.

The press conference included a video address by Hanna Yudkivska, a European Court of Human Rights judge, welcoming the CCD establishment.

The material was prepared with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the project “Startup Center for Constitutional Design.” The material reflects the position of the authors and does not necessarily coincide with the position of the International Renaissance Foundation

Press Release (in Ukrainian)


28 січня 2021