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Judge Vilchynskyi is trying to complete the qualification assessment through the court and "show an example" to other 2,000 judges

Читати українською.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will consider Judge Vilchynskyi's appeal to the High Qualification Commission of Judges. This development poses a potential threat to the overall integrity of the qualification assessment process. Vilchynskyi seeks to expedite his qualification assessment by circumventing established rules and challenging the authority of the HQCJ itself. He has a negative opinion of the Public Integrity Council, a positive decision of the panel of the previous HQCJ, and he does not want the new HQCJ to continue his assessment.

In 2019, the Public Integrity Council recognized Vilchynskyi as a judge of low integrity, citing reasons such as his connections with DACK judges, non-declaration of property, and political affiliations that could influence his appointment as the head of the Vinnytsia District Administrative Court. Despite this, Vilchynskyi successfully appealed to his colleagues in the Zhytomyr District Administrative Court, which overturned the Public Integrity Council's opinion.

Mr Butenko, a member of the HQCJ panel that evaluated Vilchynskyi's integrity, had social interactions with him and other panel members at the birthday celebration of the notorious DACK judge Ablov. This social connection influenced a positive decision by the panel. Subsequently, Vilchynskyi utilized the Administrative Court of Cassation within the Supreme Court to obtain a decision as if he had completed the qualification assessment, setting a concerning precedent for judges seeking to bypass the assessment through legal channels.

On October 12 of the current year, the new HQCJ initiated a plenary review of Vilchynskyi's qualification assessment. Vilchynskyi now challenges this decision, deeming it illegal, and seeks its cancellation through an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Notably, Zhanna Melnyk-Tomenko, a panel member set to review the case, was the deputy head of the Vinnytsia Administrative Court of Appeal when Vilchynskyi led the Vinnytsia District Administrative Court. This fact raises concerns about potential bias and conflicts of interest. However, Melnyk-Tomenko has not recused herself, as evidenced by the absence of a self-recusal decision in the registry.

The forthcoming decision by the Supreme Court holds significant importance, serving as a precedent that will influence the ongoing qualification assessment of two thousand judges. The qualification assessment is a crucial requirement from the European Commission, directly impacting Ukraine's European integration and financial assistance.