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Караємо зашкварених мажоритарників

Holding those responsible for syphoning money from procurements.

Watchdogging for public procurement of drugs.

Map Ukrainian Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)

Foreign partners condition Ukraine to fight corruption. We are monitoring how Ukraine implements these obligations.

Exploring corruption and learn to fight it.

Helping to return the money stolen by corrupt officials back to Ukraine.

Cases of Sedletska, Herman and “backpacks”. How “lap” judges with experience have become useful to current authorities

The corrupt judicial system is one of the biggest obstacles to Ukraine’s prosperity. After the Revolution of Dignity, Ukrainians relied on judicial reform, but four years later, it have not brought significant progress in clearing up the judiciary: only 12% of Ukrainians trust judges.

The judges who made illegal decisions regarding activists of the Euromaydan have opaque assets, are re-elected to the Supreme Court and other courts for the indefinite period. Therefore, the possibility of bringing them to justice for committed violations in the past or now, tends to zero.

Selective justice has specific “faces”. Ukrayinska Pravda tells about judges who made decisions in favor of the government in the 2000s, during the time of Yanukovych and today. Unfortunately, this list can be continued.

From the assistant of Kivalov to the head of the District Court

Pavlo Vovk

During past government:

Before the start of career of the judge, Pavlo Vovk worked at the Prosecutor’s Office and was also the assistant to the Member of Parliament and curator of judiciary system of the time of Yanukovych – Serhii Kivalov.

In December 2013, Vovk made a huge favor to five judges of the District Administrative Court, and highlighted an interesting scheme. Upon Vovk’s appeal, 5 corporate apartments which were provided to judges, were removed out of the list of corporate apartments, and then privatized.

During current government:

In spring 2016, journalists recorded the meeting between judge Vovk and the Member of Parliament Oleksandr Granovskyi (the Poroshenko’s Block party).

The District Administrative Court of Kyiv, the head of which is Vovk, is making decisions where one of the parties is government. And Granovskyi is a close associate of the Member of Parliament Ihor Kononenko, who is the partner and friend of the President Petro Poroshenko. Granovskyi is also informally called the curator of government in the Prosecutor’s Office and in the courts.

Vovk states that it was the working meeting regarding the issue in the District Administrative Court. According to him, only 16 out of 51 judges had the authority to make decisions.

However, just before the meeting, in April 2016, the Administrative Court resumed to the positions two prosecutors from the notorious Bald Birds group, who were dismissed after the scandal in 2015.

Despite involvement in political circles, inconsistency of income and expenses with declarations of income and fictitious divorce, Vovk attempted to receive the position in the new Supreme Court untill July 2017, but at the last moment he withdrew his candidacy.

Moreover, the NABU staff conducted search at Vovk’s place, but he still heads the District Administrative Court.

The judge who gave the green light for “Berkut” to disperse the Maydan

Yevhenniy Ablov

During past government:

Yevheniy Ablov is the judge who in December 2013 ordered “Berkut” to disperse the Maydan in order to clean the streets from barricades for the installation of Christmas tree, which led to bloody confrontation.

Earlier, in August 2011, Ablov was the member of the board, which imposed a ban to opposition political parties and public organizations to hold rallies in the center of Kyiv on Independence Day.

In the same year, the judge allowed the Kyiv City State Administration to destroy trees and shrubs for Euro 2012.

The academician Borys Paton tried to protect them, but unfortunately the green park was destroyed because of building the substation for the NSC Olimpiyskyi.

By the way, Ablov is one of those 5 judges who have privatized corporate apartments in new buildings of Kyiv. However, he has sold it for 9,1 million UAH one year later.

During current government:

Over past years, Ablov has considered the most resonant cases in the District Administrative Court.

For example, in fall 2017, judicial panel of three judges, led by Ablov, helped former head of the State Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov to shift responsibility for providing installments to Onyshchenko’s companies to local tax authorities. It also turned out that the case was distributed among Ablov’s threesome with violation, and consideration itself was hold in writing mode without involvement of anti-corruption authorities.

In July 2017, the panel with Ablov recognized the procedure for procurement of “Avakov’s backpacks” and its results legal. Moreover, the judge made the decision surprisingly too fast.

Whether this is the coincidence or not, but after these decisions, Ablov’s son, a student of Odessa Law Academy, 1996 year of birth, registered following cars Toyota Land Cruiser and the Porsche Panamera.

The High Council of Justice was supposed to dismiss Ablov for dispersal of the Maydan last year. But this did not happen. So, now Ablov is up for tenure of the head of Mykolaiv Territorial Department of the State Bureau of Investigations.

Made decisions regarding protesters, now is making decision regarding Yanukovych

Vladyslav Devyatko

During past government:

Judge Devyatko began to act as the head of Obolon court in January 2014, in the midst of events at Maydan. The reason is sudden resignation of his predecessor Iryna Mamontova.

While she was the head, there were no decisions regarding deprivation of rights of “Automaydan activists” or arrests of activists of Euromaydan.

Later, Mamontova testified to the Prosecutor’s Office that there had been calls from the Presidential Administration, that she should have made operational decisions regarding Automaydan on deprivation of rights, rather than fines.

In January 2014, when the head was Devyatko, Obolon court imposed precautionary measure regarding 19 Maydan activists which were arrested on January 22-23.

The court imposed house arrest only for two of them, the rest were held in custody.

During current government:

Devyatko had to be punished for arrests of activists. The respective appeal was considered in the High Council of Justice, several times the case was postponed, and in spring 2017, the time for prosecution had expired.

In the same spring, the judge received the case against Yanukovych, which was controlled by the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko. In addition to state treason and conducting of aggressive war, Yanukovych was also the subject of “Maydan’s cases”. In particular, it was related to violence against protesters in November-February 2013-2014.

It is ironical situation that Devyatko who should make the decision regarding the escaped President, at his time had detained people who were rallying against Yanukovych.

Expert of judiciary group of the Reanimation Package of Reforms and attorney Roman Maselko believes that the judge received the following indulgence: “The service to the new owner began at the price of the conviction of the previous one”.

In spring 2017, Devyatko opened the loud case regarding former fighters of special trophies of Tornado police. The case was investigated by the Military Prosecutor’s Office under the control of Anatolyi Matios. He personally promised to punish “tornadoes”. Devyatko sentenced convictions to all 12 subjects of the case.

Escaped punishment thanks to the PGO

Volodymyr Babenko

During past government:

During Maydan’s time, 60 activists were illegally detained and arrested only in Cherkasy.

Then the leadership of the Appeal Court of Cherkasy oblast gave instructions for the heads of district courts to arrest protesters.

Several judges of Cherkasy oblast also evidenced on individual pressure on them.

But the loudest scandal regarding the head of the court took place in December 2013.

Babenko demanded the judge of the Appeal Court of Cherkasy oblast Serhii Bondarenko to make the illegal decision, and then began to persecute him for refusal.

To punish the head of the court for criminal actions, Bondarenko sent appeals to all authorities: the Prosecutor’s Office, the High Qualification Commission of Judges, the Council of Judges of Ukraine. However, there were no results.

During current government:

In June 2015, due to publicity, the Council of Judges finally recorded illegal actions of Babenko.

But the Prosecutor’s Office of Cherkasy oblast had not seen the crime in his actions. The case was closed and forwarded to the Department of Special Investigations of the PGO.

After several changes of investigators and forensic evaluations, which lasted for several months, they have gathered evidence of suspicion regarding Babenko. But no one was able to sign it in the PGO, and Lutsenko himself had not seen the crime in Babenko’s actions.

Since then, there is no progress.

According to Maselko, the reason is one – they use discredited and dependent judges for their own purposes. As, the heads of the Appeal Courts themselves play the key role in consideration of appeals of secret investigative actions.

It is also known that Babenko is involved in embezzlement of property of the court. A 3.600 square meters court house, on which one million USD of budget funds were spent, was given for 89.5 thousand UAH to the private company Cherkasyzalizobetonbud in 2015.

From Arbuzov to Sedletska

Vyacheslav Pidpalyi

During past government:

There is little known about actions in favor of former government on the part of the judge Pidpalyi till 2014.

However, during the new government, he regularly makes important decisions regarding the surrounding of former President Yanukovych, that are beneficial to past government.

Read more about them.

During current government:

In autumn 2014, the PGO sent the appeal to Pechersk District Court with a repeated appeal regarding arrest of accounts and property of former NBU head Serhii Arbuzov and his wife Iryna.

But it turned out that 3 days before this, the judge Pidpalyi had abolished all arrests concerning Arbuzov’s family members, and his decision could not be appealed. The ground for withdrawal of arrest of accounts was the fact that Arbuzov was not reported of suspicion.

Few months later, Pidpalyi returned almost 2 million USD to the family of former Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Mykola Prysyazhnyuk. They were seized during the house search of his sister. The former Minister escaped from Ukraine in February 2014, and now he is wanted.

The Member of Parliament, Secretary of the Committee on Corruption Prevention and Counteraction Dmytro Dobrodomov suggested that money returned to Prysyazhnyuk will not be superfluous: “Apparently, the investigative judge Pidpalyi V.V. also received benefit. How else could you explain the reason of such decision?”

Another surname from Yanukovych’s environment, who turned out to be related to Pidpalyi, was former head of the Presidential Administration Andriy Klyuyev.

Pidpalyi returned the appeal to the PGO regarding permission for special pre-trial investigation concerning Klyuyev, who is suspected of seizing state funds due to abuse of office. For this, the second disciplinary chamber of the High Council of Justice opened the case against the judge. Allegedly, he is slowing down the pre-trial investigation.

Finally, on August 27, 2018, Pidpalyi gave access to the PGO to information from the telephone of the journalist and editor-in-chief of Schemes Investigations Program Natalya Sedletska during 17 months.

“It is a small world. And those who have power want to have influence on everyone, including independent journalists. That is why for such “influence” they choose judges who are already on the hook,” – said the chief expert of the Anti-Corruption Group of the RPR Oleksandr Lemenov.

The judge of Herman and “diamond prosecutors”

Olena Pervushyna

During past government:

In 2007, Olena Pervushyna was transferred to Holosiyivskyi District Court, where she immediately becomes the head.

Usually, this happens when the judge is transferred by agreement that she will become the head, according to authors of PROSUD.

According to the law, one and the same person cannot be the head of the court for more than two terms, but Pervushyna headed the court four times in a raw.

During current government:

After Euromaydan, it was Pervushyna who examined judges of Holosiyivskyi District Court, who made illegal decisions regarding activists. Surprisingly, they all passed examination successfully.

Pervushyna stated that criteria of lustration could not be applied to them, although according to conclusion of the PGO they should have been dismissed.

Later, the judge opened the criminal proceeding against public activists for allegedly persecution of her.

PROSUD recorded the undeclared car of Pervushyna, and after that representatives of the Military Prosecutor’s Office and the SBU came to search one of the activists. Pervushyna is closely related to the head of Military Prosecutor’s Office, according to PROSUD.

In addition, Olena Pervushyna often considers the most resonant cases. She is one of the judges in the case of “diamond prosecutors” Shapakin and Korniyets, which lasts since 2015. She also became the member of the panel of judges who imposed arrest to the Military Intelligence Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia to Yevheniy Yerofeyev and Oleksandr Aleksandrov in 2016.

Today, Olena Pervushyna is related to the case of Borys Herman, who is accused of organizing the attempted murder of Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko.

It is interesting that Holosiyivskyi court formed the composition of the panel for two times. Herman’s case was forwarded to the court on August 16, then the system conducted the first auto-distribution. It selected following judges – Oleksandr Boyko and Dmytro Valigura. The rest of judges were excluded from the auto-distribution, and the third member of the panel was not selected.

On the next day, Pervushyna returned from vacation and took part in auto-distribution of the case. The system chose her as the head, and Boyko and Valigura were members of the board.

Pukach was released and Pavlychenkos were convicted

Stanislav Kravchenko and Serhii Slynko

During past government:

Judges Serhii Slynko and Stanislav Kravchenko, who worked at the Court of Appeal of Kyiv, in 2003 released from custody the suspect of murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze Oleksiy Pukach on recognizance not to leave.

This gave Pukach the opportunity to escape and hide until July 2009.

Judge Slynko was the member of the panel of judges, who considered the case of current Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko at the cassation instance.

In such a way, the court confirmed the decision on his imprisonment. Later, the case became internationally known and condemned by the European community.

Also, Slynko confirmed the sentence to life imprisonment and 13 years of imprisonment for Dmytro and Serhii Pavlychenko.

Later, Pavlychenkos were also recognized as political prisoners.

In 2008, above-mentioned Kravchenko was related to the court decision of the Court of Appeal of Kyiv, which was considered by the European Court of Human Rights.

As a result, the court approved violation of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

During current government:

Despite negative opinion of the Public Integrity Council and opaque assets, in autumn 2017, Slynko and Kravchenko were winners of the competition to the new Supreme Court.

Technically, they were called the best among all judges who will be the last authority in criminal cases.

In December 2017, Kravchenko became the head of the Cassation Criminal Court. And in August 2018, Petro Poroshenko appointed Slynko as the judge of this court.

He, in particular, will make final decisions in cases of the Anti-Corruption Court.

***

Not one of the above-mentioned judges received a favorable opinion from the Public Integrity Council.

Almost all of them have opaque assets and problems with declarations. Half of these judges are related to decisions against activists of the Euromaydan.

Two of them have already got into the new Supreme Court and, despite all violations, have not been punished or suspended. On the contrary, they received even more influential positions. 

The question is: who allows them to decide fates of Ukrainians?

 

Kateryna Esmanova, for UP