According to the opinion poll conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, in August 2015, the level of mistrust of the prosecution reached 67% and tends to increase even more. At the same time, Prosecutor General of Ukraine Viktor Shokin not only fails to give impetus to the prosecution reform, let alone investigation of shootings on Maidan and corruption of the former authorities, but also ignores the appeals of both Ukrainian citizens and the international community to do this. Furthermore, he systematically impedes the activity of those employees at his Office who do combat corruption and take care of the reforms. Thus, the powers of Deputy Prosecutor General David Sakvarelidze have been significantly restricted in part of reform management. While the other Deputy Prosecutor General, Vitaliy Kasko, is not only impeded in his combat against internal corruption in the prosecution, but also defamed by the controllable politicians and ‘public activists.’
Notwithstanding such violent opposition and permanent slow-down of reforms, the team of Kasko and Sakvarelidze managed to attain some success, especially as to organization of competition for the offices in prosecution. Their achievements also include the following:
– for the first time in Ukraine’s history, senior positions at the local prosecution offices will be given to people who would pass an equal, transparent, and objective selection instead of using instruments of corruption to climb the career ladder. It caused a huge stress for the system, conveying a message that changes, albeit not that fast, are still unavoidable;
– there is a good chance that senior positions at the local prosecution offices will be held by persons who had not headed prosecution offices in districts or towns. Most current heads of the local prosecution offices failed to enter the shortlist of 16 candidates to the prosecution offices in the corresponding regions. For example, no incumbent head of Kyiv city prosecutor’s office No. 4 (Dniprovskyi district) entered the shortlist. The same is true for Kharkiv local prosecutor’s offices No. No. 4 and 5 (Moskovskyi, Kominternovskyi, and Chervonozavodskyi districts). Several former heads of the prosecutor’s offices have been shortlisted for each of the district prosecutor’s offices in big cities. However, during the interview stage, they will compete against other, competent candidates, so there is a high probability that only a small number of them will be recommended for the office by the selection commissions.
If the incumbent Prosecutor General keeps his promises concerning the reform, in January, a similar competition for the offices at the regional (oblast) prosecutor’s offices, and then – at the General Prosecutor’s Office, will be launched.
The team of reformists has to withstand an enormous pressure both from within the system, and from the outside. Therefore, we, as representatives of the public, not only guarantee control over all the things done by the Prosecution, but also demand that its heads stop pretending that they are busy working and allow the reformists’ team to bring the changes in the prosecution to the logical conclusion. We will inform not only the Ukrainian society, but also the international community about any instances of pressure, defamation, or threats to life and health of the reformists employed at Prosecutor General’s Office or their family members. The reformists in power shall not be persecuted in Ukraine for a proper execution of their official duties.