Lawyer: Only one-fifth of 331 judges were checked


The judges review doesn’t go smoothly as time frames are rather limited and the revising insitution fakes the procedure.

Kyiv, June 7, 2016. The High Council of Justice examined only one-fifth of the 331 applications for judges’ review. Only a small number of judges were brought up for disciplinary action, and the the statute of limitations for their cases will expire in six months, stated lawyer Nazar Fedorchuk at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “The High Council of Justice (HCJ) understood they needed to hear all 331 cases, and they knew it from the very beginning when cases started being submitted to them. Moreover, they knew that the statute of limitation was expiring, therefore, it was important to organize their work so that they manage to do it in time,” he emphasized. Fedorchuk believes that it is important not only to punish judges making unauthorized decisions at times of Maidan (events during the Revolution of Dignity – UCMC note.), but also identify the reasons for such decisions. Nevertheless, neither Interim ad hoc commission for the judges’ reviews created in 2014, nor the HCJ managed to do it yet.

According to Roman Maselko, a member of the “Lawyers Advisory Group” Collegium, the HCJ  staged onducting judges’ review: the procedure was staged well, but there was no content. Maselko said that the HCJ forgives judges for making one unauthorized decisions, only when it does not result in an incurrence of liability. This refers both to judges who were prohibiting Maidan protests and to Mykola Chaus, the notorious judge of Dniprovskyi court. The lawyer added that after judicial reform the HCJ will be converted into High Council of Administration of Judicature. It will become the only body able to punish judges. Nevertheless, the HCJ’s composition will remain unchanged until 2019. “Can we expect it to implement the changes envisaged by the Constitution and justify public expectations? I don’t believe it. We need to continue keeping this issue under control. As soon as public attention subsides, everything will return to the way it used to be,” said Maselko.

He added that the reform envisages the creation of the Public Council of Integrity. It must be imbued with real powers, the outcomes of its decisions must be obligatory and not advisory, and it must at least have the ability to assign its own representatives for the High Qualification Commission. “This Council can be not only a punishing sword, but also a protection for fair judges expelled by the system,” emphasized the lawyer. He also called upon electing five new members to five vacant positions at HCJ. “If there are four or five members who enjoy the confidence, twist it. This may reverse the situation in the parliament and change it into the body working for the benefit of the society,” believes Maselko.