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41% of Ukrainians are ready to entrust the formation of the Anti-Corruption Court to Western experts – survey

Kyiv, January 11, 2018.

Eighty percent of Ukrainians consider the fight against corruption to be unsuccessful so far, 46% – that this fight is completely failing. According to a public opinion poll, mass media, NABU, and anti-corruption NGOs are the most active fighters against corruption in Ukraine – they got 26%, 24%, and 21% respectively. Forty-two percent of Ukrainians are ready to entrust the formation of the Anticorruption Court to representatives of anti-corruption NGOs, 41% – to experts from Western countries. These statistics were presented by Iryna Bekeshkina, director of Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, at a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

At the end of December 2017, President Poroshenko submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a bill on the Anti-Corruption Court. The submitted bill contains shortcomings that offset the possibility of creating an effective independent body, noted Mykola Khavroniuk, director for research development, Center for Political and Legal Reforms. Among the main shortcomings is the inability to find candidates for the judges’ position of the Anti-Corruption Court in accordance with the prescribed criteria. Moreover, the number of judges of the Court is not defined. Due to the draft law, the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine can cancel the decision of the Public Council of international experts without any reasoning. In addition, the draft law states that international experts should work free of charge. “The Council of these experts can work at the expense of international donors, but at the same time it is indicated that experts work for free,” said Mykola Khavroniuk.

According to the Venice Commission’s recommendations, international experts should play a key role in the formation of the Anti-Corruption Court, emphasized the director of the DEJURE Foundation Mykhailo Zhernakov. “In the bill, this role is neglected. In fact, the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine can not only select experts but also stop their activities. All power is once again given to judges elected by the judges, and judges are the people whom the society trusts the least”, – said Mykhailo Zhernakov. According to the recent poll, only 2% of Ukrainians see courts as the main “fighters against corruption”.

Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, executive director of Transparency International Ukraine, is convinced that in Ukraine there has to be a consolidated position of Ukrainian society, a constant coverage of the issue in the mass media, and clear requirements from international partners regarding the Anti-Corruption Court and the relevant draft law. “I am very grateful to our international partners who in a delicate manner, but clearly enough have expressed the view that this bill does not satisfy the commitments Ukraine had taken not only before its citizens but also before the International Monetary Fund. It does not meet the recommendations of the Venice Commission, does not meet the recommendations and vision of the European Union. If we have a common position – we can make this bill better. But the process of implementation is another challenge,” summed up Yaroslav Yurchyshyn.

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