What lessons did Ukraine learn during the formation of the High Anti-Corruption Court?
Sep. 27, 2019
On September 27, DEJURE Foundation held The Formation of the High Anti-Corruption Court in Ukraine: Lessons Learned and Way Forward discussion within the framework of The Human Dimension Meeting 2019 in Warsaw.
At the beginning of September 2019, the High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC) started its work in Ukraine. The procedure for the selection of judges for the court was unprecedented: it included the Public Council of International Experts (PCIE) — a special advisory body consisting of known international legal experts. The PCIE supported the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine in selecting judges and could exclude a candidate, whose integrity is in justified question, from the competition.

Did the international expert serve as a safeguard against candidates with low integrity? Can this competition model be an option in the context of the implementation of future reforms in Ukraine and abroad? Andriy Kozlov, Olena Tanasevych, Clemens Mueller and Andrii Khymchuk were giving their view of the above questions.

Iryna Shyba, the executive director of the DEJURE Foundation, moderated the discussion.

Here are the keynotes of the discussion:
"What was different from other processes of selecting judges in Ukraine? Application of international approaches and standards. International experts have never accepted unreasonable explanations of the candidates.

Why was the competition successful? Thanks to international experts, e-declarations of assets and the active role of civil society."
Andriy Kozlov
Former member of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine
"We had only 4 months to organize the court. It was quite complicated since we had no premises, staff, furniture, or equipment. We recruited 135 people and successfully started our work on the 5th of September. We already have the first results and statistics. During September 5—23, 58 high-profile corruption cases were submitted to the court and 524 procedural requests received by investigative judges."
Olena Tanasevych
President of the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine
"Creation of the HACC was demanded by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. The court was an "unwanted child" at the beginning. The process of nominating the experts to the PCIE was coordinated by international organizations. The European Anti-Corruption Initiative assisted in drafting the integrity assessment criteria for candidates and raise awareness on the competition to HACC among potential candidates.

More than 1/3 of the untrustworty candidates were dismissed from the competition with the decision of the PCIE. It is important that the PCIE had a veto right, however, it was not a pure decision-maker.

The HACC candidates' asset declarations were crucial since the PCIE used data from these declarations."
Clemens Mueller
Senior Anti-Corruption Adviser of the European Union Anti-Corruption Initiative in Ukraine
"The timeframe for the PCIE to asses the candidates was very short — just 30 days. Despite that with the cooperation with other NGOs, we assessed all 343 candidates.

We also conducted an active media campaign to obtain explanations from the candidates.

We managed to transfer the discussion about candidates' integrity into the public field so the whole competition became more transparent."
Lawyer of the DEJURE Foundation NGO
Experts agreed that the PCIE and electronic declaration played an essential role in the competition. Thanks to efforts of international experts and the Ukrainian civil society, selected judges for HACC meet the criteria of professionalism and integrity.

The event is organized within the project "Support of the independent and effective functioning of High Anti-Corruption Court" with the support of the European Union Anti-Corruption Initiative (EUACI) and the Initiative of development of think tanks in Ukraine, realized by the International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) in partnership with the Initiative of open society for Europe (OSIFE) financially supported by the Sweden Embassy in Ukraine. The EUACI is funded by the European Union and co-funded and implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (DANIDA). The opinions, conclusions and recommendations belong to the speakers and do not necessarily reflect opinions of the EUACI, European Union, DANIDA, Sweden Embassy in Ukraine, International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) and the Initiative of open society for Europe (OSIFE).
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