Kyiv, March 18, 2016. Inter-faction group EuroOptimists registers a draft law that suggests changing the ways to forming of the Office of the Prosecutor General, said Olena Sotnyk, MP, member of EuroOptimist inter-faction group speaking at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We suggest that the agency staff is not from the Office of the Prosecutor General but comes from outside of the prosecution system. The draft law is called to change the selection principle and select to the Prosecution Council five people who would represent reputable organizations including civil society and human rights organizations. They need to be selected on competitive basis in a transparent way and be actually exercising external public control over the agency’s activities,” said Sotnyk. She noted that the MPs EuroOptimists members will be demanding to consider this draft law at the council meeting on March 28. Otherwise the “prosecution reform will be blocked once and for all” as local bodies of the Prosecutor’s Office will start working on April 15.
The MP recalled that the prosecution reform started already in summer 2015, when the main target was to renew local prosecution offices and hire new people through transparent competition. “Right after adoption of the new law Mr. Shokin signed a resolution that actually completely ruined the selection principle called to get new people to local prosecutor’s offices. Contrary to the legislation he actually blocked an opportunity to apply on competitive basis for people who do not have working experience as prosecutors and thus has completely ruined the reform of local prosecutor’s offices,” said Olena Sotnyk adding that not a single new person from outside of the system has got into the prosecution system. The MP also emphasized the pressure that is being exercised upon the representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office responsible for reforming. It includes the case of opening a probe into abuse of money that the U.S. provided to conduct the reform, in particular for selection testing to local prosecutor’s offices. “This money has never reached the accounts of the Prosecutor’s Office, this money was directed to the funds and organizations responsible for concrete stages of testing process,” said Sotnyk. That’s why the MPs call on the Prosecutor General to explain what the grounds for opening a probe are.
“Unfortunately 84 percent of heads of regional and local prosecutor’s offices are the same people as before. At the same time they have allegedly undergone reforming […], as a result instead of the prosecutor’s self-governance we may get crystallization of the shameful practice when prosecutors were appointing themselves in a non-transparent closed way and we had no idea who those people are. What we got was the uncontrolled anti-corruption system,” said Mustafa Nayyem, MP, member of EuroOptimists group. He said he is concerned with the fact that the Head of Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) had rescheduled the issue of considering resignation of the Prosecutor General to March 29, taking into account that respective resignation notice of Viktor Shokin was submitted over a month ago. “Mr. Shokin and his post are subject to a bargain within negotiations on coalition, government and the new composition of the Cabinet of Ministers,” the MP emphasized. According to Mustafa Nayyem these processes may lead to appointment of the next Prosecutor General based on political motives. He called on the President and political forces to publicly consider candidates to this post. EuroOptimists group same as the families of Heaven’s Hundred (fallen Euromaidan activists) supported the nomination of Serhiy Horbatyuk, current head of special investigations department at the Office of the Prosecutor General.
“We are suggesting the candidates that are acceptable to the society, that have certain level of trust and that as we hope will be delivering service with dignity,” emphasized Oksana Yurynets, MP, member of EuroOptimists group.