UNBA Heads of Committees Discussed Risks of Public Calls for Impossibility of Reversal of High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine Decisions by the Supreme Court

Advocacy 8:40 Fri 24.09.21 202 Reviews Print

UNBA Heads of Committees, heads of higher bodies of bar self-government discussed the risks of public assessments of the illegality of reversing the decisions of the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine in the cassation instance.

The reason for the discussion was the resonant case of cancellation by the Criminal Court of Cassation the decision of the Appellate Chamber of the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine on the verdict of the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine dated 19.02.2021 in case Nо. 711/3111/19, by which a person was sentenced to two years of imprisonment for committing a crime, prescribed in the part 2 of Art. 369-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Unexpectedly, this legal position of the court of cassation, which is fully consistent with the practice of the Supreme Court in such cases, provoked an aggressive public attack by so-called activists and grant organizations with the aim to discredit Supreme Court judges and undermine the principles of independent and impartial justice. At the same time, critics propose to introduce a safeguard against the Supreme Court's reversal of the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine decisions at the legislative level.

This roundtable is needed so that everyone can express their position, how we should react to it and what to do so that the Supreme Court is the outpost cutting off illegal decisions and illegal practices created by the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine. This trend is there, and it is very dangerous,“ - Oleksandr Gotin, the Head of the UNBA Committee on Anti-Corruption Policy and Compliance, said.

The Head of the Higher Qualification and Disciplinary Commission of the Bar of Ukraine Sergiy Vylkov pointed out that in this situation the threat of strengthening of dictation of the street at decision-making by judges of higher instances grows.

We have a reform of the judiciary nowadays. This is the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, the High Council of Justice and we hear that today there is a vision that the Supreme Court should be restarted again – such vision is expressed on the street. As an attorney, as a citizen of Ukraine, I see this as a huge danger for the whole country. Therefore, we, as specialists in the field of law, must call for abstaining from such the violation of the law that exists today,” he said.

Maryna Stavniychuk, the Head of the UNBA Committee on the Rule of Law, believes that it is precisely because of the socio-political atmosphere in the country that such court decision arise, which is an extremely dangerous phenomenon today.

"Endless reform of the judiciary, preferences for one judiciary and humiliation for others; violation of international participation procedures, etc. have led to the fact that today we do not have the rule of law, we do not have the appropriate level of legal culture in court proceedings, as well as in relations within the judiciary, in relations of the judiciary with the bar. And we should not keep silent about it," Maryna Stavniychuk stressed.

Oleksandr Drozdov, a member of the Scientific Advisory Councils of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and of the Supreme Court, stressed that such a situation worsens the issue of ensuring the unity of judicial practice at the level of appellate courts in accordance with the conclusions of the Advisory Council of European Judges.

"If we now have a dissonant position of the Appellate Chamber, or the Court of Appeal of the relevant region with the position of the Criminal Court of Cassation, finally, it will not only violate the rights of our clients, but also it will evidence the violation of the rule of law from the legal certainty criterion prospect. And from a practical point of view, the decision of the European Court of Human Rights against Ukraine on compliance with the requirements of Article 6 of the Convention will "arrive". This has already happened when it came to the diametrically opposite practice of the Supreme Court at the level of different chambers," he said.

Summing up all the opinions of the roundtable participants, the BCU Secretary Ihor Kolesnikov suggested that UNBA appeals to the President of Ukraine and the Office of the General Prosecutor to prevent such actions by activists and some international organizations.

"These are humiliating attacks on the Supreme Court, on the entire judicial system of Ukraine, when a negative opinion, negative image is formed, the judicial system of Ukraine is humiliated, all judges are accused without exception and without proof. And we understand that. For some reason, international organizations allow themselves to accuse anyone who wants to. Therefore, it is necessary to act quickly and appeal to the Guarantor of the Constitution regarding the prevention of such actions of international organizations, constituting interference in the judicial system of Ukraine, including the bar, and to the General Prosecutor  to assess the activities of these international organizations through the prism of requirements of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, because there is indeed interference in the judicial system of Ukraine in order to support certain decisions, considered "correct" by such completely exterior persons, - Igor Kolesnikov said.

Alexander Gotin told more details about the revoked decision of the Appeals Chamber of the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine in the interview with “Law and Business”.

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