Today, on September 4, non-government organizations DEJURE Foundation, AutoMaidan and the Anti-Corruption Action Centre released “Register of the High Council of Justice Failures”. The final product is a collection of cases when judges were put under pressure for disobeying the politicized system and impunity of those who actually put pressure on judges. The most striking testimony in favor of the fact that the judicial branch of power will never be truly independent without the HCJ reboot.
Instead of independent professionals, we get government pre-approved officials who fail to meet the integrity and professional ethics criteria. Instead of those lacking integrity being dismissed we get independent judges under pressure. This is the current picture of the High Council of Justice members and activities.
The Register includes:
● evidence on the lack of integrity of HCJ members;
● stories of judges, showing integrity which resulted in pressure or even persecution on the part of the HCJ (including stories of judge Larysa Holnyk who revealed shady dealings; judge Viktor Fomin who heard high-profile cases; judge Larysa Tsokol who refused to detain Mikheil Saakashvili as a preventive measure; judge Vitalii Radchenko who allowed the NABU detectives to search the District Administrative Court of Kyiv Head’s home and office);
● Story of appointing 44 judges with no integrity to the highest judicial instance – the Supreme Court.
These and other cases remove any doubt of the fact that the current HCJ members prevent the real cleansing of the judges’ corps, therefore the High Council of Justice needs a reload, including the names as well as the whole approach to its formation.
“On August 29, the President of Ukraine registered law draft, which provides for reload of the High Qualification Commission of Judges – another important body of the judicial branch – with the involvement of international experts. This week the law draft will be reviewed at the Committee on legal policy hearing. This is an important step, however, its implementation will be no more than a half-measure, – stresses Mykhailo Zhernakov, head of the board of DEJURE Foundation. – Whereas neither the reform of the HCJ nor that of its formation procedure, is not provided. This is not a mere drawback, it is a guaranteed failure of the reform itself”.
All the material collected in the Register must be the indisputable ground for reforming the High Council of Justice as a prerequisite for genuine judicial reform, and not just for show. In doing so, the restart of the HCJ should take place not only through a change of names, but also through a change in approach to the formation of the Council.
«Our site is a constant reminder to the President and Parliament of the need to restart the HCJ. Meanwhile, we are already being offered a tool to control the integrity of the HCJ members. Such an instrument is an ethics committee, the creation of which involves a presidential bill. However, such a commission will only be effective if a decisive role is played by international experts, who will have the authority to dismiss the unworthy members of the HCJ», – says Halyna Chyzhyk, expert of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre, member of the Public Integrity Council.
“Register of the High Council of Justice Failures” is prepared jointly by DEJURE Foundation, AutoMaidan and the Anti-Corruption Action Centre. The web-version of the product is prepared with the financial aid of the Embassy of the Netherlands under the MATRA programme. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the DEJURE Foundation, AutoMaidan and the Anti-Corruption Action Centre and do not reflect the position of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in any way.