Court asks President for proof of Khoroshkovsky’s work in the field of law
The High Administrative Court has asked President Yanukovych to provide evidence of member of the High Council of Justice and Head of the Security Service [SBU], Valery Khoroshkovsky’s experience of work in the field of law. The decision was taken on 5 August during a hearing into the law suit brought by TVi asking the court to find the President’s decree of 31 May 2010 appointing Khoroshkovsky to the High Council of Justice.
The court heard the arguments of the claimant and examined the evidence in the case. Representatives of the respondent, and third parties, as last time did not appear at the hearing, however the court examined the case in their absence since they had been notified.
TVi’s representative, Yury Krainyak, from the law firm Jurimex, stated that he considers the President’s decree unlawful and in breach of the Law on the High Council of Justice which stipulates that a member must have a law education and no less than 10 years work in the field of law.
Mr Krainyak analysed Valery Khoroshkovsky’s biography placed on the Verkhovna Rada website. “In it there is only one position which at least by definition could have some relation to work experience in the field of law: Professor of the Faculty of Financial Law of the Tax Academy. This position was held by the third party for one year”. The lawyer considers that all other positions were administrative and not requiring any law education.
He is also of the opinion that work experience in the field of law can only be gained having a law education and working according to ones profession. Other members of the High Council of Justice were previously judges, prosecutors, bar lawyers and lecturers. Only the Minister of Justice does not have such experience, but is a member of the Council by virtue of his ministerial post.
“In their explanations to the court, the SBU representative stated that in order for a person to gain experience in the field of law, they need simply to somehow use the law. This is somewhat contentious since even when a person crosses the road, they are still applying the rules of road transport. By such logic, a professional driver or taxi driver is also carrying out activity in the field of law and can become a member of the High Council of Justice.”
Answering the court’s question how the Decree in dispute violates the rights and interests of the claimant, Mr Krainyak said that since a member of the High Council of Justice may dismiss judges, the President’s Decree gives the possibility for potential influence on judges examining a law suit brought by Valery Khoroshkovsky’s companies against the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council where the third party was TVi. However Mr Krainyak stated that at present he has no specific proof that such influence was brought to bear.
Judge Svitlana Holovchuk allowed filming of the hearing by Channel 5 and TVi. The next hearing is scheduled for 12 August.