The Anticorruption group of the Reanimation Package of Reforms calls on the Parliament to reject the draft law No. 6529 as such that minimizes the possibility of establishing an independent anticorruption court.
The draft law No.6529 submitted by MP Serhiy Aleksieyev from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc abolishes the necessity of establishing a High Anticorruption Court and instead provides for the establishment of anticorruption chambers in the existing courts. The draft law does not envisage any additional guarantees of a transparent and fair recruitment of anticorruption judges.
The suggested approach to the judicial proceedings related to the corruption crimes as seen in the draft law No.6529 is unacceptable. The anticorruption chambers will be administratively and financially dependent on the unreformed courts, which are trusted only by 7% of the public. There is a considerable risk that important information might leak from the chambers through the general court secretariats. A lack of any additional criteria for the selection of anticorruption judges will let the judicial and political clans keep their influence on the recruitment process. Under such an approach, new anticorruption chambers will be similar to the ordinary courts which imprisoned only five corrupted officials in 2016, having considered none of the high-profile case.
Refusal from the establishment of an anticorruption court contradicts the judicial reform. The initiative of the MP from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc which abolishes the anticorruption court – the establishment of which is one of the pillars of the reform initiated by the President – looks inconsistent.
The draft law is adverse to Ukraine’s commitments to the International Monetary Fund. According to the signed Memorandum, Ukraine shall not only set up an anticorruption court, but also introduce additional guarantees of fair recruitment of anticorruption judges, in particular, through the engagement of experts with international experience.
We would like to stress that ensuring transparent and independent recruitment of judges is the key requirement to the anticorruption courts. To this end, the recruitment panel shall engage the experts recommended by the international partners of Ukraine. This approach has been presented by the draft law No. 6011 “On the anticorruption court” which has been awaiting parliamentary consideration for four months already.
Therefore, we call on the Verkhovna Rada:
Not to include the draft law No. 6529 amending the Law “On the judiciary and the status of judges” (regarding the introduction of mandatory specialization of judges to consider corruption crimes and corruption-related offences) in the Parliament’s agenda;
To adopt the draft law No. 6011 “On the anticorruption court” in the first reading with its subsequent finalization prior to the second reading, which would include recommendations of all the stakeholders, including the international experts.