TI Ukraine Welcomes Passage of the Law on the High Anti-Corruption Court

Transparency International Ukraine welcomes the fact that the constitutional majority of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has voted in favor of draft law N 7440 “On the High Anti-Corruption Court.” The chapter of the global anti-corruption network confirms that the law complies with the Constitution of Ukraine as well as with the recommendations of the Venice Commission and the International Monetary Fund.

On June 7, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has voted in the second reading and overall for draft law 7440 “On the High Anti-Corruption Court.” Passage of this law is a great success for the progress of the anti-corruption reform in Ukraine. This decision will undoubtedly have positive consequences for the country’s economy, since it unblocks its cooperation with the IMF. TI Ukraine is convinced that this will be viewed as an important signal to the international partners that Ukraine fulfills its commitments and is ready to work systemically to improve the system of justice and investment climate in the country.

In the Law, all recommendations of the Venice Commission in its opinion of 10 October 2017 are taken into account, as are the remarks of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank:

  • The jurisdiction of the court has been narrowed down exclusively to the cases of top corruption under the investigative jurisdiction of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
  • Unrealistic requirements to the candidates for the positions of judges have been abolished from the final version of the Law, and the judges themselves will be provided with guarantees of financial independence as well as personal safety.
  • The minimum number of judges of the High Anti-Corruption Court is 35; ten out of them will be judges of the Appeal Chamber.
  • Institutional and functional independence of the Appeal Chamber under the High Anti-Corruption Court has been provided.

Most importantly, international experts did receive the crucial role in the judge selection process. The Public Council of International Experts (6 members) will make decisions on the candidates’ compliance with the criteria of personal ethics and integrity in collaboration with the High Qualification Commission of Judges. If the candidate fails to comply with such criteria, he or she is eliminated from further competition. Besides, votes of at least half the members of the Public Council of International Experts are necessary to make a decision.

At the same time, it should be noted that there are technical risks of stalling and manipulation of the procedure of selection of judges. For instance, participation of at least six members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges is necessary in the interview of the candidates with international experts. The Public Council of International Experts has only thirty days to analyze a candidate and appoint a joint session to establish whether he or she complies with the criteria of professional ethics and integrity. Only international organizations which cooperate with Ukraine in the area of corruption prevention and counteraction according to Ukraine’s international treaties will be eligible to nominate candidates for the Public Council of International Experts. Thus, projects of technical assistance will not be able to nominate candidates, even if they are implemented in Ukraine and work in the anti-corruption sector.

TI Ukraine emphasizes that the following steps are yet to be made until Ukraine can have independent anti-corruption judiciary:

  1. The President of Ukraine should submit and the Verkhovna Rada should pass the Law on the establishment of the High Anti-Corruption Court as per the procedure of formation of new courts required by the Constitution.
  2. Amendments should me made to the Law of Ukraine “On Judiciary and the Status of Judges” to clarify the selection and appointment process of judges of the High Anti-Corruption Court and bring it in compliance with the newly adopted Law N 7440.
  3. The High Qualification Commission of Judges should make an announcement about the selection of candidates for positions of judges.
  4. The High Qualification Commission of Judges should make the decision to establish the Public Council of International Experts.

TI Ukraine hopes for the rapid launch of the High Anti-Corruption Court and will ensure effective monitoring of this process.

Contact for media: Oleksandr ArgatHead of Communication Department

Transparency International Ukraine

Phone: + 38 093 844 24 81

E-mail: argat@ti-ukraine.org

Transparency International Ukraine is a national chapter of Transparency International, an anti-corruption NGO which operates in more than 100 countries. TI Ukraine’s mission is to limit the increase of corruption in Ukraine by promoting transparency, accountability, and integrity in both the public authorities and civil society. You can learn more about the organization’s activity on the website www.ti-ukraine.org