MPs of the Law Enforcement Committee suggest to roll back the reform of the Prosecutor’s Office

Members of Parliament from Servant of the People, Opposition Platform For Life, European Solidarity and the Group Dovira have registered the draft law that, in fact, provides benefits to current and former prosecutors at the competition to the Prosecutor General’s Office, regional and district prosecutor’s offices. In practice, this means that reform of the prosecutor’s office, implemented by the adopted law in September, will be neutralized.

Thus, the draft law states: “The prosecutor of the Prosecutor General’s Office may be a citizen of Ukraine who has a law degree, minimum six years of experience in the field of law, or minimum three years of work in district prosecutor’s office, or minimum five years of work in regional prosecutor’s office and speaks the state language fluently”.

Today, the current law states that the prosecutor of the Prosecutor General’s Office may be citizen of Ukraine who has the law degree, minimum of five years of experience and speaks the state language fluently. That means that there is no mention of any previous work at the prosecutor’s office.

Similar benefits are at the competition for employees of the prosecutor’s office at district (work at the prosecutor’s office for at least one year) and regional prosecutor’s offices (work at the district prosecutor’s office for at least two years).

 “Such draft law is only intended to roll back the reform of the prosecutor’s office, which was launched in September. After all, the first stage of the reform showed that many prosecutors from the system failed to pass the certification. Some have failed even at the stage of legislative tests. So, it is obvious that even if such people have experience in the prosecutor’s office, they do not fit there”, comments Olena Shcherban, the board member of the Anti-Corruption Action Center.

Moreover, the draft law suggests to return to the institute of assigning class rank to prosecutors. This institute was abolished along with the abolition of previous law which regulated work of the prosecutor’s office. It was considered as remnant of the Soviet prosecutor’s office, which did not conform to European standards of the prosecutor’s status.

It is ironic that out of 13 initiators of the draft law, the majority voted in favor of restart of the prosecutor’s office in September, according to which there were no privileges for prosecutors during the recertification and competition.

The main committee, which will consider this draft law, will be the law enforcement committee. It is headed by the MP Denys Monastyrskyi, who is related to the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov.

Monastyrskyi himself told journalists during the interview this week that the dismissal of prosecutors in the context of transformation of the PGO into the Prosecutor General’s Office could have negative consequences, and many worthy staff members of the Prosecutor General’s Office lost their positions by failing the recertification.

Several other MPs in this committee are related to Avakov. Namely, representative of the Servant of the People Oleksandr Bakumov (one of authors of the draft law) and members of the Opposition Platform For Life Ilya Kiva and Grygoriy Mamka (also one of authors). We should note that the President Volodymyr Zelenskyi supported the reform of the prosecutor’s office. He stated that the real reform is initiated in Ukraine for the first time since its independence. He expressed confidence that after the recertification of prosecutors, the country will receive honest, publicly oriented prosecutor’s office, which will set an example for other law enforcement agencies

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