On 22 September, a side event “Public Participation in the Selection and Assessment of Judges. Ukrainian case” was held as…
The public calls on the President to guarantee the rule provided by the Constitution that only a virtuous person can be appointed as a judge
On 29 September, the High Council of Justice announced the final list of 111 candidates recommended for appointment for the Supreme Court judges, which it submits to the President for signature. The list contains at least 25 unscrupulous candidates, as to whom the Public Integrity Council gave negative conclusions.
These are the judges who participated in political persecution, banned peaceful assemblies during the Revolution of Dignity, made politically motivated decisions, grossly violated human rights and / or decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, opposed the clearing of the judiciary or could not explain the origin of their own wealth.
In particular, Viacheslav Nastavnyi and Serhii Slynko, who were in the panel of judges considering the case of Yurii Lutsenko at the cassation instance and sentenced him to four-year imprisonment, were among the candidates for the appointment. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament in their resolutions directly called this conviction a political persecution.
Also, the acting member of the High Council of Justice, Alla Lesko, appeared to be in the final of the competition. She helped the “Anti-Maidan judges” to avoid responsibility. Other candidates recommended for appointment to the Supreme Court, in particular, the acting judges of the Supreme Court, Larysa Moroz, Valentyna Yurchenko and Mykhailo Smokovych helped the “Anti-Maidan judges” to retain their positions. The same list includes the judges who arbitrarily banned peaceful gatherings during the Maidan, including Oleksandr Zolotnikov, Iryna Saprykina and Svitlana Pasichnyk.
A number of judges recommended for office in the Supreme Court in the final list have grossly violated human rights as established by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). These are judges are Mykhailo Hrytsiv, Stanislav Kravchenko, Oleksandr Prokopenko, Tetiana Shevchenko and Inna Berdnik. The decision of the judge Berdnik, who was a member of the Supreme Court panel, is described by the ECHR in the case of Bochan v. Ukraine 2 as “gross arbitrariness” and “denial of justice”. Other judges also tried to hide the fact that their actions led to Ukraine’s loss in the ECHR, not indicating this information in their integrity declarations.
The appointment of these and other candidates who ended up in the final of the competition, despite the negative conclusions of the Public Integrity Council and numerous appeals from the public to suspend their nomination, will undoubtedly, affect the level of trust in the judiciary in Ukraine. The admission of discredited people who served the Yanukovych regime, violated human rights and freedoms, abused the power for political motives and took dubious positions, is a betrayal of the expectations of millions of Ukrainians in improving the judiciary. In addition, it is a clear signal for the old corruption judicial system to further imitate the renewal of staffing of appellate courts and first instance courts.
The competition to the Supreme Court clearly demonstrated: The High Qualifications Commission of Judges and the High Council of Justice, most of whom comprise judges elected by judges, proved to be unable to ensure that the judiciary is cleaned from the dishonest “servants of Themis”. These bodies and their procedures require radical reforms, and the role of the civil society in the process of election and appointment of judges must be substantially strengthened.
The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, as the author and the driver of the judicial reform, bears personal political responsibility for its outcome. The President, as the guarantor of the Constitution of Ukraine, must ensure strict implementation of the requirement of Article 127 of the Basic Law that only a virtuous person can be appointed as a judge.
CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary! Campaign
Judiciary Sector Reform Group of the Reanimation Package of Reforms
Anti Corruption Action Centre