Kyiv, October 24, 2014 – Ukraine has chosen candidates to the Civic Lustration Council within the structure of the Ministry of Justice. The Civic Lustration Council was established to hear public complaints about alleged abuse of power by Ukrainian officials. This was stated at Ukraine Crisis Media Center by Pavlo Petrenko and Yegor Sobolyev, the Minister of Justice of Ukraine and Head of the NGO Civic Lustration Committee, respectively. The selected candidates are civic activists with experience in anti-corruption activities, and will undergo background checks on their own history before their official appointment. A handful of nominees to the Council were then introduced to the public.
Lustration is already starting to go into effect in Ukraine, said Minister Petrenko. “People were already dismissed based on Article 3 according to the law.” The Minister expects that corrupt officials in the police forces may be dismissed next. The creation of the Civic Lustration Council will be a further step in the right direction, insuring that Ukrainian public officials are held accountable to the public. The activist nominees to the Council have “many years of experience in combating corruption,” stated Sobolyev. Once the nominees pass inspections, they will take their seat on the Council and take complaints from the public about officials.
Both speakers stressed that journalists play a key role in both examining the nominees to the Council and monitoring the body’s future work. “We suggest that all concerned citizens and journalists perform a check-up on them,” said Petrenko. “If there are any questions to the Council we will take these questions next week,” he stated. In addition, Petrenko said that the doors are not closed for applications to the Council. The Ministry of Justice has received more than 500 applications and is still looking for more. “The more experts we have,” Petrenko said, “the more they get nationwide trust.”
Minister Petrenko stated that the creation of the Civic Lustration Council is long overdue, and should have been done 20 years ago following Ukraine’s independence. People’s frustrations are evident with the proliferation of vigilante justice against politicians and officials who are perceived as corrupt. “I cannot say this is a good phenomenon, but it is a phenomenon that is the result of the demands of society,” he said. “If we don’t do this the situation would become even worse.”
With the creation of the Council, “every Ukrainian can become a real people’s controller and check on the assets of the official that lives next to them,” stated Petrenko. The process of lustration will continue to ensure the fair and transparent governance of Ukraine, and will eventually reach every level of Ukrainian government.