On Monday, February 21, the Ethics Council began interviews with candidates for the High Council of Justice. Five candidates under the quota of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine - Serhiy Babiy, Mykola Voynarivsky, Volodymyr Kutsenko, Yulia Lukoshkina and Viacheslav Tykhovlis - were to interview today.
As it became known at the beginning of the interviews, Yulia Lukoshkina refused to participate in the competition, and Viacheslav Tykhovlis is on medical leave (the candidate's interview was postponed to February 24). Thus, three candidates were interviewed - Serhiy Babiy, Mykola Voynarivsky and Volodymyr Kutsenko. The integrity of all three candidates was seriously questioned by the DEJURE Foundation, the Anti-Corruption Action Center and Automaidan.
The course of interviews: Serhiy Babiy
After clear questions from the Ethics Council, candidate Serhiy Babiy was forced to admit that he deliberately underestimated the amount of funds declared. In particular, in 2018, Judge Babiy's wife bought a 2018 Toyota CH-R for about $ 30,000. The judge explained that half of the cost of the car, ie $ 15,000, was paid by his mother-in-law. However, in the declaration, he noted that his wife received only $ 6,500 from her mother-in-law. When asked directly by a member of the Ethics Council, Judge Babiy acknowledged that the amount stated in the declaration was understated, but he "had to" indicate it.
In addition, the Ethics Council drew attention to the candidate's failure to declare the right to use the property (in particular, a household of 538 square meters), for which the candidate received a power of attorney from his mother.
On May 22, 2019, and July 17, 2019, the Public Integrity Council issued opinions on Serhiy Babiy's non-compliance with the criteria of integrity and professional ethics within the qualification assessment and competition for the position of a judge of the IP Court. Analysts of the DEJURE Foundation, the Anti-Corruption Action Center and Automaidan also drew attention to the discrepancy between the income and the purchase of a 2018 Toyota CH-R car and the non-declaration of a household with an area of 538 square meters.
In their analysis, the DEJURE Foundation, the Anti-Corruption Action Center and Automaidan noted that the candidate did not declare any owned or used real estate in 2013-2014. The same question was asked to the candidate by the Ethics Council. To which Mykola Voynarivsky answered that from 2011 to 2014 he was registered in the Center for homeless citizens in Mykolaiv, and then in a dormitory of the Mykolaiv construction college, however, he actually lived either in the village of Savran of the Mykolaiv region or rented various rooms in Mykolaiv for a period no more than 180 days. The candidate believes that he did not violate the rules of declaration in this way.
In the 2015 declaration, the candidate stated that the value of all real estate owned by him and his wife was 1 UAH. The candidate explained to the Ethics Council that this figure was the result of a technical failure during the declaration, which did not allow him to enter the correct information (at that time he did not know the value, and there was no technical possibility to indicate anything). The candidate still does not know the real value of the property. When asked by the Ethics Council why the candidate first registered the ownership of the house in the village of Bilyaivka of Odesa region, and then the land plot on which the house was built, the candidate answered that he had no information, because the candidate's sister was in charge of drawing up the documents. He also did not answer whether he had all the necessary permits for construction on the land, the ownership of which was not issued to him. In addition, according to the candidate, he did not declare property (office in Odessa of 106 square meters, a country house in the village of Shayan) in the declarations of 2019 and 2020, because he did not know the exact value of the real estate. Analysts from the DEJURE Foundation, the Anti-Corruption Action Center and Automaidan also pointed out these discrepancies.
The Ethics Council took note of the candidates' explanations and will announce the results of the interviews later.
The Ethics Council must elect 5 members of the High Council of Justice. 34 candidates were admitted to the interview stage. The interviews will continue on February 23. Then the Ethics Council will interview candidates Roman Holobutovsky, Larysa Holnyk, Roman Maselko, Mykola Moroz and Andriy Shulha.