Who judges the judges?

Criminal proceedings against Petryk I.I., the judge of the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal

The media often reports on disclosure of bribes given to the judges. However, it is possible to bring such judges to responsibilities only if they are found guilty by a court. Within the framework of the campaign CHESNO.Filter the court! we decided to investigate who will decide whether the judges who are accused of corruption offenses are guilty or not.

According to the website of the judiciary of Ukraine, on November 8, 2018, the next court session in criminal proceedings on charges of Petryk Ihor Iosypovych, the judge of the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal, will be held at the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv.

As it is seen, an indictment was sent from the register of court decisions to Pechersk District Court of Kyiv on April 26, 2017. Thus, on November 8 it will be more than 1.5 years as a case is in court and is not still resolved.

We can recall that the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine suspects the judge in obtaining unlawful benefits in the amount of 5 thousand dollars. According to the web-site Bihus.info, the money was allegedly passed for a decision in favor of BTU, LLC, which is engaged in the disposal of hazardous waste. The company sued the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, which, after verifying the company, revoked its license. Then the representatives of the company appealed to the court to challenge the decision of the Ministry. According to the journalists, the judge made a decision in favor of the company, for which he allegedly received 5 thousand dollars. In an interview of the program Our money.Court, Nazar Holodnytskyi, the head of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, emphasized that the money was found in a specially made pocket of a judge’s mantle.

Judge Petryk also became the hero of the program Our money.Court, where he demonstrated how to quickly escape from journalists who want to get a comment on criminal proceedings. Despite the fact that before that the lawyer argued that judge Petryk I.I. was ill and stayed in the hospital.

More about Judge Petryk Ihor Iosypovych can be read in his profile, which is prepared in accordance with the methodology of checking the incorruptibility of judges.

The CHESNO movement has prepared references about three judges who will consider the criminal proceeding on the charge of judge Petryk. The case is being considered by judge Smyk Svitlana Ivanivna (presiding judge), Tsokol Larysa Ivanivna and Novak Roman Vasilovich.

  1. Smyk Svitlana Ivanivna (presiding judge)

Judge Smyk is known for that in 2015 she adopted the decision to return of the indictment to the prosecutor in the case of Alla Demydovska and Andrii Makukha, judges of the Solomyansky District Court, who were charged with bribery.

According to the official website of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, in 2013 Demidovska and Makukha were allegedly caught on bribes, according to various data, from $ 5,500 to $ 7,000. The pre-trial investigation lasted more than a year, and in June 2014 the prosecutor’s office finally sent the case to court. However, a Oksana Tsarevych, the judge in the case, who is an defendant of a criminal case for a decision against Avtomaidan, returned the indictment to the prosecutor twice. Judge Svetlana Smyk did the same in 2015.

Also, according to the publication UA1, judge Smyk adopted the decision on the withdrawal of arrest from petroleum products, which served as evidence of criminal prosecution of illegal import and sale of petroleum products in Ukraine by companies ruled by businessmen Sergii Kurchenko. In the judge’s opinion, the petroleum products located at the Odessa oil refinery are no longer subject to arrest, since they are absent from this territory.

In addition, judge Smyk chose preventive measures in the form of detention in relation to:

  • the city mayor of Vyshgorod, Oleksii Momot, who was detained the SBU allegedly while receiving a bribe of 1 million EUR on April 14, 2016;
  • Iurii Krysin in the case of robbery of Kyiv gas station;
  • Oleksandr Volkov, a suspect in organizing the kidnapping of Ihor Lutsenko and the murder of Iurii Verbitskyi in 2014.
  1. Novak Roman Vasylovych (board member)

According to “Ukrainska Pravda”, Judge Novak R.V. in 2016 issued two decrees which canceled the arrest of Valerii Iesaulkova and Oleksandr Kostilov, who were the employees of PJSC “All-Ukrainian Development Bank”, on whose account the funds were placed. According to the information provided in the material, in 2015, Pechersk District Court arrested these funds in connection with the illegal lending of regional railways by the bank of the ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s – son Oleksandr.

Also, with respect to a judge, a disciplinary penalty was imposed in the form of a warning as a result of consideration of a disciplinary case by the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine. As stated in the decision, the judge significantly violated terms of consideration of complaints about the decision, actions or omissions of the investigator or prosecutor, in particular, two cases were considered three months, and one – almost a year. Moreover, the CPC of Ukraine established that complaints about decisions, actions or omissions during pre-trial investigation are considered not later than seventy-two hours after the receipt of the corresponding complaint, except for complaints about the decision to close the criminal proceedings, which are considered not later than five days since the receipt of the complaint.

In addition, according to Ukrinform, judge Novak R.V. adopted the decision according to which he took a preventive measure to the former minister of justice O. Lukash in the form of detention with the possibility of making a deposit of 5 million 115 thousand 600 hryvnias.

  1. Tsokol Larysa Ivanivna (member of the board)

Judge Tsokol considered a high profile case involving Mikheil Saakashvili, the ex-president of Georgia and leader of the New Forces Movement Party. In December 2017, the judge refused to comply with the request for a preventive measure in the form of a round-the-clock house arrest in respect of Mikheil Saakashvili, whom the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine suspects of receiving money from Sergei Kurchenko “for organizing mass protests in the cities of Ukraine, inclining citizens to acts of disobedience to the acting authorities with a view to its further displacement and occupation of positions in government and law-enforcement bodies by subordinated people”.

Also, according to the Ukrainska Pravda, Judge Tsokol considered the case of prosecuting Igor, Mosiichuk a deputy from the Radical Party, and on March 11, 2016, ordered a refusal to apply a preventive measure in the form of detention.

On October 19, 2018, the First Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Council of Justice decided to bring Judge Tsokol L.I. to disciplinary responsibility and applied to her a disciplinary penalty in the form of a petition for dismissal of a judge from office.

The application of the disciplinary penalty referred to the judge Tsokol was a source of indignation in the legal community, which associates such a decision with a possible revenge for refusing to apply a preventive measure in the form of detention