The Supreme Court stepped away from declassification of declarations of SBU officials
The Supreme Court forwarded the case regarding classification of declarations of the Security Service officials for the new round of consideration. It has partially satisfied the appeal of the Anti-Corruption Action Center.
The Supreme Court stated that previous court instances wrongfully found legal recognition of SBU leadership declarations as state secret and submitting declarations to closed system of unknown origin instead of e-declarations registry. However, instead of forcing the SBU to act in accordance with the law, the court forwarded the case regarding this issue for the new round of consideration.
“By its decision, the Supreme Court is forcing us to pass all court instances once again. It would delay the consideration of the case for at least two more years. We have been suing the SBU for almost the same amount of time. We consider such court decision to be illegal. It was made deliberately to complicate our further appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. New consideration of these issues automatically does not allow us to appeal to the ECHR. And the SBU leadership will continue to hide their declarations”, explains Olena Shcherban, the AntAC’s lawyer.
“It is interesting that one person from the panel of judges had different opinion regarding this case. Details of his opinion, as well as arguments of other judges, we will be able to see when we receive the full text of the decision. It will be published in the Unified State Register of Court Rulings”, — adds Shcherban.
The SBU illegally classified even public information about their leadership and officials. Their names and positions are well known to public and are mentioned in official documents, for example, in the Presidential Decrees.
We should note that activists ask to open only declarations of the leadership of the SBU, whose names are well-known. They do not demand to declassify declarations of secret agents or people who fight in the East of Ukraine.
The Anti-Corruption Action Center believes that leadership of the SBU blatantly violates the law when hiding their declarations.
Currently, officials like the first deputy head of the Foreign Intelligence Service Serhii Semochko are released from submitting open declarations. He was holding leadership positions in the SBU for many years and his real estate worth around 8 million USD was disclosed by journalists. It is interesting that the latter headed the SBU Economic Counterintelligence Unit and the SBU Department in Kyiv and Kyiv region before his work in the Foreign Intelligence Service.
Scandalous first deputy head of the SBU Pavlo Demchyna, who is accused of illicit enrichment, also avoids submitting the declaration.
During 1999-2015 Demchyna and the person with whom he has been living together since 2011 had total income of about 2.8 million UAH. At the same time, NABU states that expenses in the same period of time amounted to at least 4.83 million UAH, including 4.1 million UAH spent on cars.
However, it is impossible to prosecute Demchyna, for example, regarding false statements in his declaration, because he had not submitted it as well as other employees of the SBU.
Hiding behind the service in the SBU, Oleksandr Kuts, the head of Donetsk Regional State Administration, appointed in June, had not submitted his asset declaration.
The similar situation happened during the appointment of the head of Zaporizhzhya Regional State Administration Kostiantyn Bryl. He served as counterintelligence officer in the SBU, and using his position wanted to release himself from submission of the declaration.
Only after activists’ lawsuits and appeals to the President and the NACP, Bryl had submitted the declaration. He turned out to be not a poor man as for the person who has been working all his life in state agencies.
We should recall that in 2017, the AntAC filed the appeal against the SBU regarding classification of information at declarations of its officials. In January 2018, the Administrative Court of Appeal of Kyiv confirmed SBU leadership’s right not to submit declarations.