Maksym Kostetskyi, legal advisor of Transparency International Ukraine, project manager of Civil Support of the Establishment of the Anti-Corruption Court

After almost three years of shrinking, the Ukrainian economy started recovering at the end of 2015 and at the beginning of 2016.

At the same time, the GDP growth in 2016 ended up at 1.8%, the expected growth in 2017 is in the range between 1.8 and 2.5%. In the future, we have a chance to reach the annual growth of 4-5% by 2020.

The rate of recovery of the economy is extremely slow, which, in its turn, does nothing to improve the terrible situation with poverty of the population, whose income decreased enormously due to the reduction of the nominal GDP and devaluation of the national currency.

At the same time, even based on the official data of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the share of shadow economy in Ukraine makes up 40% of the overall GDP amount. It is a huge resource which does not contribute to the development of our country and which does not provide any taxes to the budget. It is a resource largely made up of corrupt payments.

What does the anti-corruption court have to do with it? The anti-corruption court will become the final link in the chain of the newly created anti-corruption bodies, which will be able to ensure unavoidability of punishment of corrupt officials. Only unavoidability of punishment and fair sanctions for violation of the criminal legislation will make a real impact on reducing the level of corruption in Ukraine, as well as on the real reduction of corruption level in the public sector, which, in its turn, will enable real growth of the economy.

Moreover, a lower level of corruption in the Ukrainian economy will improve the investment image of our country and activate foreign investments into the Ukrainian economy.

An effectively functioning independent judicial system is an integral element of any democratic country where the rule of law prevails. In Ukraine there has been a great number of systemic reforms during the past years, including those of the judiciary.

Yet, most reforms are yet to produce a tangible result. An the overall success of the process depends on the ability of the judicial system to work independently and effectively, avoiding third party influence.

The judicial reform, which started in Jue of 2016, will last until at least 2022. At the same time, the issue of holding corrupt officials accountable is urgent and has to be solved as soon as possible.

The society does not trust the current judicial system, and corrupt officials avoid being brought to justice. THat is why there is a critical need for creation of a specialized independent judicial body which would review cases investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU).

To ensure effective and unbiased proceedings on cases concerning corruption-related crimes, it is necessary to create a judicial institution based on the principles of independence and professionalism. An institution which will serve as an example for other judicial bodies – the High Anti-Corruption Court.

It is the newly created anti-corruption judicial body which will have a real impact on reducing the level of corruption in Ukraine. Which, in its turn, will improve the economic situation.

Maksym Kostetskyi, Novoye Vremia