On April 25, RPR experts met U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Mrs Victoria Nuland, who decided to speak to civil society experts before meeting Ukrainian officials.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss the priorities of prosecution, judicial and public administration reforms. Taras Shevchenko, Co-Chairman of the RPR Board, and Oksana Nechyporenko, RPR Board member, started with an overview of current state of civil society cooperation with the authorities and pointed out that the level of transparency and public engagement of the Parliament, the Government and the Presidential Administration is increasing.
Maryna Tsapok, former head of reforms unit of the PGO and RPR expert on public prosecution reform, spoke about illegal political persecutions of Vitaliy Kasko and pressure exerted at Sakvarelidze’s team. She mentioned failure of rebooting local prosecutor’s offices and stressed that
Qualification-Disciplinary Commission and Council of Prosecutors as self-government bodies should get powers to decide on personnel issues only after the system is rebooted and new people outside the system are appointed.
Daria Kaleniuk stressed that to secure the results of work of NABU and SAPO, it is important to create a specialized anticorruption court with an international element. This element should take at least a form of participation of foreign experts in the selection panel for the anticorruption judges and preferably participation of foreign juries in considering grand corruption cases. Strong support of the U.S. in establishing such courts is crucially needed. Mykhailo Zhernakov followed Ms Kaleniuk’s speech and presented a broader overview of Ukraine’s judicial reform:
As important as it is to adopt the Constitutional amendments regarding the judiciary that bring high standards of judicial independence and self-governance, these amendments should be accompanied by the package of implementation laws describing what the new court system will look like, and how the new judges will be selected to the new courts. This will create a possibility to establish the judiciary of a new kind that will comply with the highest standards of integrity, accountability and public confidence.
In addition, experts also discussed with Mrs Nuland electoral and public administration reforms as the instruments of prevention of political corruption. Denys Brodskyi named first steps the newly appointed Government shall take, among which he pointed out formation of the National Selection Commission on Senior Civil Servants, including four representatives of Ukrainian civil society; appointment of State Secretaries for ministries based on competitive open selection process, offering attractive remuneration packages to the candidates; and development and implementation of comprehensive public administration reform and securing financial aid for the reform from the European Union.
In the end, the experts thanked Mrs Nuland, Ambassador Pyatt and representatives of the U.S. Embassy for their ongoing support and close monitoring of the reform process in Ukraine, as international pressure has, indeed, proved to be a very effective instrument of reform advocacy.