Results of the first year of Yuriy Lytsenko as a Prosecutor General – Hromadske
On May 30th Yuriy Lytsenko reported publicly in the Parliament for his first year on the position of the Prosecutor General.
Although Lutsenko reported of considerable number of detentions, indictments and verdict, his results in top-cases and in reforming Prosecutor’s General office are modest. In addition, Yuri Lutsenko, turned PGO into constant competition and conflicts with NABU.
Cases pertaining to corruption of former President Yanukovych and his allies were not filed to court. Moreover, some cases were closed down (as case against Yuriy Ivaniushchenko, which was closed under the pretext of lack of investigative activities and which resulted in lifting of the EU sanctions from Ivaniushchenko) or qualification was changed from corruption-related crimes to tax crimes (as in case of former Minister Zlochevskiy, who was investigated for illicit enrichment, but the case was turned into tax crime of legal entities allegedly related to Zlochevskiy).
Lutsenko is popularizing plea bargain agreements with corrupt officials, which allows to free the criminals in return to compensation to the state of a very symbolic amount of damages. In tax crimes such a deal allows to close the criminal case at all.
No spectacular detentions was followed by indictment (except for the case of member of the High Council of Justice Hrechkivskiy, who was caught on bribery, but indicted in attempt of fraud)
PGO repeatedly violated the rules of investigative jurisdiction, taking over cases that pertain to investigative jurisdiction on NABU. This inevitably results to the collapse of triggered cases in courts.
There are no evidence of any cleaning of the PGO from notorious prosecutors, while notorious managers of former Prosecutor General Victor Shokin continue to serve at top positions.
Yuriy Lutsenko has been in politics almost half his life and throughout Ukraine’s independence, having joined to the Socialist party in 1991. Last year, despite lacking a law degree or background in law-enforcement, he was appointed the country’s Prosecutor General. On the day of his appointment he announced that he would, “be in the Prosecutor General’s office for 1 and half to 2 years,” and immediately declared that his main task was to change the “Prosecutor General’s burial ground” and restore the Prosecutor’s office to a “real advocate of the people and state”.
Anastasia Krasnosilska, an expert from Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Centre, told Hromadske “We do not see any major successes from Prosecutor General Lutsenko.” Although PG Lutsenko promised to radically change the work of the Prosecutor General’s Office, he has not acted accordingly. Inaction on the Prosecutor General’s part has led to cases against Yanukovych and his cronies for economic crimes not being submitted to court, and lost Ukraine the opportunity to recover millions of dollars in assets frozen in the European Union. Furthermore, “hollywood style” arrests of high-profile officials have not resulted in any cases being sent to court. In the words of Krasnosilska, “Prosecutorial reform in Ukraine has failed.”