The original press-release was prepared by our colleagues from the “CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary!” and published on their website.
The third week of the plenary sessions of the High Qualification Commission of Judges, when the negative opinions of the Public Integrity Council regarding the Supreme Court candidates were considered, has finished. In just three weeks, the Commission has considered 56 conclusions, while another five have been withdrawn. Thus, the final stage of the competition to fill the offices in the Supreme Court has crossed the halfway point.
Following the trend set in the first days of its meetings, the HQCJ overrules the opinions of the PIC and lets the odious candidates further participate in the competition. Over three weeks of plenary meetings, the Commission has overruled 75% of the conclusions. The most common public complaints about the candidates recognized by the HQCJ as capable of administering justice in the new Supreme Court are involvement in questionable decision-making, mismatch between their lifestyle and the declared income, incomplete or false information in the declarations of professional integrity and property declarations, decisions passed against the Maidan, and violation of judicial ethics standards. For example, the incumbent judge of the Supreme Court Tetiana Zhaivoronok behaved in a rude manner while talking with the journalist of the program “Our Money”, shouting at her and giving impudent answers when asked about her income. At the same time, the Public Integrity Council had all the reasons to doubt that the lifestyle of the judge’s family matches her declared income. However, judge Zhaivoronok continues to participate in the competition.
One of the most common infringements mentioned in the conclusions of the Public Integrity Council is that the candidates conceal the fact that they violated the human rights while considering cases, as concluded by the European Court of Human Rights. One of the candidates who did it is Anatoliy Yemets who considered the criminal case at the request of the Deputy Prosecutor General. In the case “Yaremenko v. Ukraine”, the European Court of Human Rights identified a violation of the right to a fair trial. Judge Yemets ignored the decision of the ECHR: as a result, Ukraine has lost another case in the European Court of Human Rights. Despite such violations, judge Yemets continues to participate in the competition.
Negative conclusions about another 54 candidates are yet to be considered. The upcoming plenary meetings of the HQCJ are scheduled for June 26 and 30. In particular, on Monday the Commission will consider the conclusions about Serhiy Slynko, the judge of the Supreme Specialized Court, who presided over the panel which, at the cassation level, has confirmed the political verdict against Yuriy Lutsenko condemned by the regime of Yanukovych for an allegedly illegal celebration of the Police Day at the “Ukraine” palace. On Monday, the HQCJ is also planning to consider the opinion about the Chair of the Council of Judges Valentyna Simonenko: the PIC has certain reservations regarding her income, business activities of her ex-husband, and her activities as the Chair of the Council of Judges. In the course of the competition, Mrs. Simonenko made a notorious statement against the activists, urging them not to use the judicial robes during public campaigns, as this is an appropriation of judicial powers.