Yanukovych's henchman and Vovk’s accomplice: the Council of Judges elected Yaroslav Romanyuk and Volodymyr Kuzmenko to the selection commission for the Constitutional Court

Читати українською.

The Council of Judges appointed Yaroslav Romanyuk, who served as the head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine during the Yanukovych era, to join the commission responsible for selecting judges for the Constitutional Court. Here are a few interesting facts about him:

  • He received a negative opinion from the Public Council of Integrity, in particular, due to his support of the dictatorship "January 16 laws" during the Revolution of Dignity. During the Euromaidan events, Romanyuk displayed a heightened concern for safeguarding judges yet was silent regarding the numerous arbitrary decisions affecting the protesters. In a subsequent Council of Judges meeting, Romanyuk acknowledged this as a "mistake" but maintained his belief that "courts should remain apolitical".
  • In his speech before the Council of Judges, Romanyuk criticised the judicial reform: "I doubt the constitutionality of the provisions of the laws, which terminate the powers of the heads of courts, members of the HQCJ, members of the HCJ, stop competitions conducted by judicial bodies, liquidate courts [obviously, he meant the DACK]. It seems to me that the Constitutional Court could say its weighty word in this aspect". In essence, Romanyuk seemed to imply that the Constitutional Court should intervene in a manner similar to its previous attempt to annul the anti-corruption reform.

Similarly controversial was the selection of Volodymyr Kuzmenko, a figure associated with the "Vovk's tapes", as Romanyuk's deputy. At the meeting, he stated that he could not "comment on events in which he was not a participant". Kuzmenko denied that he was mentioned on the tapes: "I cannot comment on the recordings with reference to Kuzmenko's surname, I do not recognise this voice on these recordings".

It is worth noting that the Council of Judges did not lend support to candidate Mykola Himon, despite his prior recognition with the "Honor of the Week" for acts of patriotism and courage during his decisions in Donetsk in 2014. Himon received zero votes from the Council of Judges.

We have repeatedly warned that the Ukrainian composition of the AGE will look exactly like this - instead of genuine agents of change, we witness the appointment of politically affiliated individuals with questionable reputations. The recent Council of Judges meeting underscores the reasons why this body's involvement in the ongoing judicial reform is contentious. We will continue to follow the competition in CCU.