Kyiv, February 24, 2016. On February 24, the Council of Judges has adopted the Regulation on imposing control over implementing the law on resolution of conflict of interests in the work of judges. The document stipulates how judges and judicial authorities should act to resolve the conflict of interests and provides explanations to judges on the matter, stated Valentyna Symonenko, Chairman of the Council of Judges of Ukraine, Judge of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “This is the first regulation in the country on resolution of the conflict of interests in any institution. And the Council of Judges acts as a pioneer in that,” she said.
Virgilijus Valančius, “Support to Justice Sector Reform in Ukraine” EU project expert, noted that the EU project has helped the Council of Judges to elaborate this regulation and has supported it, having experience in this issue in European countries. Currently, the judges of the regions are discussing how this regulation will work in practice. “This is very important because society shows widespread distrust of the power and judiciary authorities. And this is a very good example of how the judicial community is showing that the courts and judges are ready to become open,” said Virgilijus Valančius.
The regulation on imposing control over implementing the law on resolution of the conflict of interests in the work of judges governs a number of issues. That is, these are the steps that should be taken by a judge himself/herself to prevent the conflict of interests, the steps that can be taken by a judge himself/herself to resolve the conflict, the decisions taken by the council in the context of resolution of the conflict of interests, and the steps taken by the council in the context of control over implementing the law, – explained Tetiana Chumachenko, Head of the Committee on Ethics, resolution of the conflict of interests and professional development of judges. According to her, there are some supplements to this regulation. Among them, the creation of various registers, in particular, one that contains a list of all reports of conflicts of interests. Besides, – emphasized Tetiana Chumachenko, – it has been proposed to introduce a voluntary declaration of private interests, like the one that Lithuania and other European countries have, as one of the supplements. “The purpose of this declaration – the judge has the right to voluntarily report about all his/her, so to speak, private interests – contacts, relations, where and in what area he/she has the contacts that may somehow affect his activity,” explained the Head of the Committee of Ethics, resolution of the conflict of interests and professional development of judges.
A conflict of interest is the door to corruption, reminded Yulia Zemlytska, “ Support to Justice Sector Reform in Ukraine” EU project expert. That is why it is important to prevent this. “When the private interest begins to influence the activities of people in the public sphere, and they are acting in their personal rather than in the public interests, then corruption begins,” said Yulia Zemlytska.
According to Petro Pavlichenko, “Support to Justice Sector Reform in Ukraine” EU project expert, a voluntary declaration of private interests is an important precedent in the Ukrainian realities. “We will gradually move away from the path where everything depends on the legislation, whether or not it has been introduced into the law. Instead, it will be regulated by the judiciary,” said the expert.