On March 6, the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ) announced 39 finalists to the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC). These are 22 judges, 13 attorneys and 4 scientists. 27 of them will work as judges at the High Anti-Corruption Court, 12 as judges at the Appeal Chamber.
The list of winners included 8 candidates whom public organizations considered unworthy of positions at the HACC. Namely: Maslov, Bitsyuk, Voronko, Bilous, Moysak, Chorna, Tsikalo, and Oliynyk.
However, three of these candidates (Chorna, Voronko and Bilous) were checked by the Public Council of International Experts, who decided that concerns about their integrity should be removed.
“The absence of obviously dishonest candidates among winners of the competition to the HACC is the result of work of the Public Council of International Experts,” stated Anastasiya Krasnosilska, the expert of the Anti-Corruption Action Center.
Earlier, international experts vetoed 40% of candidates due to doubts regarding their integrity or professionalism.
“Instead, in the competition to the Supreme Court, which was conducted without the participation of international experts, the HQCJ overruled or ignored almost 54% of public opinions regarding the dishonesty of candidates. The HQCJ showed its disability to ensure quality selection of judges even after international experts had demonstrated the European standard of judges’ work,” adds Krasnosilska.
However, there will be a candidate with doubtful connections among winners of the competition to HACC. This is Volodymyr Tsikalo, the son of former head of the police of Lviv region.
It is the task of the High Council of Justice to block this candidate. According to the law, the Council may refuse to appoint a judge if such appointment negatively affects the trust in judiciary.
The next stage of the competition will be interviews of the HCJ with candidates. After that, the HCJ will submit the statement to the President regarding the appointment of judges to the office.
The President does not have the right to refuse the appointment of judges and should make such appointment within 30 days after the HCJ’s statement.
It is expected that the President will appoint anti-corruption judges by the end of March 2019. The court will start its work before the beginning of June 2019.
In order to ensure the independence of the High Anti-Corruption Court, it is also necessary to choose the decent head of the apparatus and employees of the court apparatus.
Today, the acting head of the apparatus of this court is Oleksiy Zhukov, former prosecutor of the PGO, who is associated with the deputy head of the State Bureau of Investigation Olga Varchenko.
The High Council of Justice has not announced the competition for the permanent position of the head of the court apparatus yet. There is risk of transferring Zhukov to the position of permanent head of the apparatus of the Anti-Corruption Court without any competition.