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28.11.2007

Corruption in the Ukrainian judiciary: public assessment

   

According to the results of the “Hidna Ukraina” [“Decent Ukraine”] project, 59% in western regions of Ukraine believe corruption in the judiciary is extremely widespread. The figures are even worse in other regions: this view is held by 64% of those surveyed in eastern regions; 66% in central and 67% in southern regions of the country. 

These figures were given by the Head of the “Hidna Ukraina” project Johann Grossman during a meeting of the Lviv Reform Press Club.  He explained that the most difficult aspect of the problem of corruption is the many-faceted nature of the phenomenon. It cannot, therefore, be simply pushed out of one sphere, or tackled by means of one method alone

“International experience shows that an assault on corruption is effective when the civil servants or judges have something to lose. If their position and salary are reasonably high, they will lose out if their corrupt actions are discovered”.

Lawyer and legal expert for the project “Monitoring of access to the courts in Ukraine” Ruslan Taratula noted that at the present time judges’ salaries were still not sufficient for the amount of work that they do. “A monthly salary of 500 USD is not enough considering the intensive nature of their work and the responsibility of the job. Each judge on average receives 140 cases a month to examine. 40 of these are civil cases, over 40 – criminal, and the rest – administrative. Therefore raising the level of salaries is one of the elements needed so that judges value their profession and can live off honest earnings”.

The Coordinator on the Judiciary and Reform of the “Law and Democracy” Fund, Andriy Bury believes that the causes of corruption need to be investigated and that the main factor is the lack of clarity of procedures for examining court cases. He notes that by observing the applications reaching the European Court of Human Rights, one sees that Article 6 (the right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights is being violated.

The study was carried out from 12 to 21 October as the last in a series organized within the framework of the “Hidna Ukraina” project.  Only 2032 respondents took part from different regions of Ukraine so the results cannot be considered fully representative.

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