Today, on December 21, the Selection Commission published a short list of 64 candidates for the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HCQJ) who will proceed to the interviews — the next stage of selection. We are glad to see many decent candidates on the list.
At the same time, the question arises why such candidates as Vitaliy Tytych, attorney of the families of the Heavenly Hundred and former coordinator of the Public Integrity Council, or Andriy Boyko, professor of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, expert of the EU Project "Pravo - Justice" were not included in the shortlist. Also, there was no place on the list for Liubomyr Vynar, whose integrity was already checked by the Ethics Council, which recommended him for appointment as a member of the HCJ.
On the other hand, it is not clear why candidates whose declarations and career paths are in question ended up there. For example:
Viktor Smorodynsky, an associate professor of the Department of Law at the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University. In 2017, he was a candidate for the post of judge of the Commercial Court of Cassation. At the interview, the HQCJ drew attention to the discrepancy between his income and his property, in particular, two cars and the deposit amount. And in the 2021 declaration, the candidate noted that the cost of his wife's apartment with an area of 112 square meters is UAH 15,800. Such an amount is obviously understated, considering the market prices.
Andriy Halay, the deputy head of the Department of Criminal-Executive Service of the Ministry of Justice. In the 2017-2021 declarations, he did not mention the value of two apartments, two plots of land and a private house. Also, according to the 2017-2019 declarations, he worked at Ternopil University but did not declare any housing in this city.
Svitlana Kustova, an attorney and professor at the Taras Shevchenko National University. In the 2017 declaration, she noted that her salary was UAH 47,400 before taxes (UAH 3,950 per month), which is equal to the minimum wage for 2017. In the 2021 declaration, her income amounted to UAH 90,000, almost the minimum wage as well. It is not clear how the candidate lived, supported her daughter, and bought a car in 2017. The candidate probably deliberately understated her official income.
We hope that the interviews will be open to the public and the candidates will either refute doubts about their integrity or will not be recommended for appointment.