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15.01.2007

Yevhen Zakharov: “The Ukrainian judicial system needs urgent reform”

   

The Ukrainian judicial system does not meet European standards and urgently requires reform. This was the message in an interview for Deutsche Welle given by the Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and candidate for the post of Human Rights Ombudsperson Yevhen Zakharov. The latest proof of this, he said, could be seen in the increasing numbers of claims from Ukrainians lodged with the European Court of Human Rights.

The Supreme Court of Ukraine is overloaded with appeals against the rulings of local courts and cannot review them in the legally established time periods, Yevhen Zakharov stated. “If on 1 January 2005 there were twenty thousand cases still awaiting consideration in the Civil Chambers, on 1 January 2006 the number had reached thirty thousand. I don’t even know how many there are now.” Another reason for the increase in claims is the reluctance of the prosecutor’s office to launch criminal investigations over incidents of torture and ill-treatment of people detained by law enforcement officers. Earlier the Head of the Supreme Court Vasyl Onopenko acknowledged the existence of systemic problems in the work of Ukrainian courts and bodies to implement their rulings. He stated that the number of claims to the European Court would not decrease until scientifically based judicial reform took hold in Ukraine.

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