The Constitutional Court of Ukraine granted the whim of certain MPs, effectively terminating the majority of the anti-corruption reform.
The Court abolished criminal liability for intentional false declaration of assets or intentional failure to file a declaration (up to two years in jail).
The court also declared the NACP powers to control and verify declarations, open round-the-clock access to the register of e-declarations and lifestyle monitoring unconstitutional. The rights of NACP commissioners and the task of authorized divisions (individuals) on corruption prevention and detection has been effectively abolished.
Reports on significant changes in the financial status of electronic declarations subjects, and the article of the Law “On Corruption Prevention” on liability for corruption or corruption-related violations have also been declared unconstitutional.
The court deprived the NACP of multiple rights, such as access to registers, drafting reports on administrative violations, issuing conclusions on violation of the anti-corruption legislation, conducting “anti-corruption” inspections in government agencies (including those connected with whistleblower protection), filing lawsuits with the court on recognizing regulatory acts as illegal, etc.
The decision comes into force from the moment of adoption and is not subject to appeal.
The Constitutional Court made this decision despite the fact that the substantiation of the MPs’ claim consisted of manipulative statements that significantly distorted the content of law and cited it selectively.
Judges of the Constitutional Court needed a mere week to conduct a “comprehensive study” of the expert positions and clarifications from a number of institutions and experts. They managed to do this even though some of the positions filed with the Court were rather voluminous, considering the nature of the case. The NACP position alone consisted of over 120 pages.
“The decision of the Constitutional Court will lead to a significant rollback in Ukraine’s anti-corruption reform. These legislative provisions were the cornerstones of the anti-corruption system, while corruption has been recognized one of the threats to the national security. In addition to the loss of accountability, thousands of officials will remain unpunished for lying in declarations,” comments TI Ukraine’s Executive Director Andrii Borovyk.
Overall, this decision of the Constitutional Court will lead to a number of critical changes — it will threaten the visa liberalization regime and the next tranche from the International Monetary Fund, which is essential for Ukraine’s survival, and invalidate the anti-corruption reform.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy has already stated that he would use his right to initiate legislation “to restore stable and most effective operation of the e-declaration system and unavoidable punishment for deliberate violation of these rules.” We urge the President to deliver on his promise immediately. The new law, however, will not impact the officials whose declarations have already been targeted.
We remind you that on August 4, MPs from the Opposition Platform for Life political party produced another constitutional petition, which was signed by a total of 47 MPs. The submission concerned the compliance of certain provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Corruption Prevention,” the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the Civil Procedural Code of Ukraine and other relevant laws of Ukraine affecting the rights and freedoms of citizens with the Constitution of Ukraine.