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Do courts need an anti-corruption chamber?

Related imageOn July 13, 2017, the Ukraine-EU summit ended in Kyiv. After the summit, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker unexpectedly voiced the EU's renewed position on judicial reform in Ukraine - they say the EU agrees to establish an anti-corruption chamber in the courts in Ukraine instead creation of a separate anti-corruption court.

The then statement of the President of the European Commission at that time already had a legal basis. On May 31, Serhiy Alekseev, a Verkhovna Rada deputy from the BPP, registered bill №6529 "On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine" On the Judiciary and the Status of Judges "(on the introduction of mandatory specialization of judges in the consideration of corruption and corruption-related offenses)".

For the rapid introduction of anti-corruption specialization in existing courts Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko also spoke.

Obviously an idea creation of a separate anti-corruption court postponed indefinitely.

At the same time, the bill №6529 can find support at the autumn session of the parliament. Let's find out what the author of the bill suggests.

(Click to enlarge)

Anti-corruption specialization of judges.
Judges specialize in corruption offenses and administrative corruption offenses in local general courts and appellate courts. A separate chamber for the administration of justice for corruption crimes is being set up in the Criminal Court of Cassation.

The order of appointment.
Competitive selection for the local general court. The bill does not provide for the procedure and terms of its holding. For the Court of Appeal, judges are elected from among the current judges by a meeting of judges for a term not exceeding three years with the possibility of reappointment. The procedure for appointing judges is also not defined for the Court of Cassation.

Number of anti-corruption judges.
At least 3 judges for local general courts and 5 judges for appellate courts. The exact number of judges of a local general court is determined by the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine, and the number of appellate judges is determined by the general meeting of the court.

Load other things.
An anti-corruption judge of a local general court is exempted from hearing other cases, except in the case of his election as an investigating judge. Anti-corruption judges of other instances are not exempted from considering other cases.

Getting Started.
In the local general court - after determining the number of anti-corruption judges in the relevant court and appointing at least 2 such judges. Prior to the enactment of the law, the number and composition of judges shall be determined separately for each court by a meeting of judges of that court. Corruption cases accepted for proceedings continue to be carried out by judges appointed by the assembly of judges.

How will the №6529 bill work in the current judicial system?

I will give an example.

All court cases are considered in the Halych District Court of Ivano-Frankivsk Region only 4 judges. Imagine that the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine will additionally open 3 positions for anti-corruption judges. If 2 corruption cases appear in Halyts'kyi district in 1 year, it will be a success.

All year round, 3 anti-corruption judges will wait for law enforcement to send at least one case to court! The rest of the time they will be out of work.

At the same time, the average workload on their colleague without anti-corruption specialization will be 78 court cases.

There is no logic. And this is just one example.

At the same time, the bill does not solve the main problem - professional and prompt consideration of corruption cases. According to the author, the most high-profile cases will be considered by current judges who do not have sufficient guarantees of security and financial independence.

The bill also does not solve the problem of high workload on judges. The exception is judges of local courts who are not investigating judges. However, taking into account the number of vacant judicial positions in 25%, such a concession will not save the rest of the judges from the high burden.

Also, the bill does not provide for amendments to the Criminal and Administrative Procedure Code. Only due to changes to the procedural codes will corruption cases be able to be divided into anti-corruption judges.

Whose interests is protected by such an under-reform of the anti-corruption court? Definitely not the interests of society.

Published on the site "Ukrainian Pravda"


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