Ukraine will establish the new procedure for selecting the HCJ members and pass the exclusive jurisdiction of DACK to the Supreme Court

Such a statement was published in a Memorandum between the IMF and Ukraine, which was released today. According to the Memorandum, Ukraine should conduct the integrity checks of all future HCJ candidates as well as confirm the integrity of its current composition. A special commission will be established for this purpose. 

Читати українською

At least half of the members of this commission should be experts with proven ethics standards and judicial experience, including experience of other countries. The commission will grant the experts with a leading role and a casting vote. In case the commission adopts a decision that a member of the HCJ is untrustworthy, the final decision on its dismissal will be made by the body, which appointed this member. 

           In addition, Ukraine took the obligation to transfer to the Supreme Court (SC) a part of the exclusive jurisdiction of the District Administrative Court of Kyiv (DACK). The judges of this court are infamous for their illegal influence on the high officials of different bodies. In particular, it is proposed to pass the right to hear administrative cases against governmental bodies of national level: the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Ministries, the National Bank of Ukraine, and the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine. 

The High Council of Justice is a judicial governance body, which adopts the final decision on the appointment of judges and has the authority to dismiss them of their duties. The HCJ is supposed to become the locomotive of the judicial reform. 

However, the HCJ failed and let 44 untrustworthy judges become the Supreme Court judges, allowed the District Administrative Court of Kyiv to drown in corruption scandals, keeps pressure on the trustworthy judges and favours untrustworthy one by letting them pass re-attestation successfully. 

           The above-listed problems are mainly caused by the personal composition of the HCJ as its current members do not meet the integrity criteria and have been often appointed based on political motives or even illegally. For instance, the member of the HCJ Larysa Ivanova justified the ownership of luxurious real estate property by her work as a stoker and strawberry collector. 

           An attempt to establish the mechanism of integrity check of the HCJ members was made in January by creating an Ethics Commission of the HCJ with international members in its composition. International partners provided their recommendations on the composition of the Ethics Commission. The HCJ blocked the establishment of the latter and by this saved the untrustworthy HCJ’s members from dismissal. 

  Now, the integrity check of the HCJ members became one of the conditions of receiving an IMF loan, which in the situation of the world economic crisis is vital for Ukraine’s economy. It gives hope that the key body of judicial governance finally will be cleansed of the untrustworthy. As per Memorandum, this should be done by October 2020. 

           This will become the first step towards the establishment of an independent court in Ukraine.