The Battle for Independence

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to establish the Anti-Corruption Court in Ukraine and make it independent from political influence? That was the key issue of the expert discussion which was held on February 16, 2017 at the initiative of Transparency International Ukraine and the Ukrainian Institute for the Future.

It is known that the creation of special anti-corruption courts is one of the requirements of the international partners of Ukraine. And recently, in February 2017, a bill that provides for the establishment of such courts was registered. Yehor Soboliev, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the co-author of the bill, called it the most important anti-corruption bill this spring.

“A critical feature of our bill, without which it is meaningless, is involvement of international partners into the selection of judges,” said Yehor Soboliev. This view is supported by Andrii Sliusar, head of fighting grand corruption programme at TI Ukraine: “The international experience of our organization shows that participation of international experts in the process of anti-corruption bodies foundation is the only guarantee of transparency in countries with high level of corruption”. And Ukraine, unfortunately, is one of them. “Additionally, foreign experts should have a right to veto decisions by the special selection committee,”  stated Anastasia Krasnosilska, expert at the Center for Combating Corruption. Oleksandr Yevseiev, analyst at the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, warned, that anti-corruption courts are usually created in highly corrupt countries, but their anti-corruption activities do not improve the situation in these countries, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International.

Nazar Kholodnytskyi, head of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Office, said that Ukrainian courts began trial proceedings in only 32% of criminal cases concerning corrupt officials. The reason behind this is their purposeful diversion to the courts, where there are not enough judges to sit a panel (anti-corruption cases should be heard in panels of three judges). Therefore, as of 2017, the Anti-Corruption Court is highly needed. “The sooner the Court is created, the sooner society will see the results of our work,” he said.

Introduction of specialized anti-corruption courts in Ukraine is one of the recommendations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Law of Ukraine “On the Judicial System and Status of Judges” as of June 2, 2016 provides for the formation of the Anti-Corruption Supreme Court within the judicial system. Recently, the international anti-corruption organization Transparency International Ukraine published its view on the need of establishment of the Anti-Corruption Court.