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24.01.2011

Call for the Dismissal of the Head of the High Court on Civil and Criminal Proceedings

   

Representatives of a number of law and human rights organizations are demanding the dismissal of the Head of the High Specialized Court on Civil and Criminal Proceedings, L. Fesenko from his post as judge and member of the High Council of Justice due to breach of his oath.  The relevant applications have been sent to the President and to the High Council of Justice.

According to the Constitution, professional judges may not take part in any political activity. It is indicative that on 7 October National Deputy L. Fesenko voted for his own appointment as judge of the High Court on Civil and Criminal Proceedings. Having received new status as judge, L. Fesenko did not stop carrying out his powers as National Deputy and continued to take part in plenary sessions of the Verkhovna Rada and of the Parliamentary Committee on Justice Matters. In many cases L. Fesenko’s vote as National Deputy was decisive – the 226th (the number needed for a simple majority – translator), and his presence at meetings of the Committee ensured a quorum. Such actions place the legitimacy of decisions taken in doubt.

Disregard of requirements concerning incompatibility of active political activities is an example of the conscious and deliberate violation of the law and confirms in the public’s mind a sense of the dependence of the entire system of courts which examine civil and criminal matters on the Party of the Regions which judge and National Deputy L. Fesenko represents in the Verkhovna Rada. This also does irreparable damage to the High Council of Justice as a body which answers for the passing of decisions regarding judges’ adherence to requirements concerning incompatibility, and a body of which L. Fesenko is a member.

According to media reports, L. Fesenko, speaking at the last 2010 meeting of the Luhansk Regional Council, told deputies: “I’d like to give you my word that while I’m Head of the High Court of Ukraine, none of you will have any difficulties”.  Having make a public commitment during his term as Head of the High Specialized Court to protect deputies of the Regional Council from “difficulties”, Judge L. Fesenko demonstrated readiness to use his position as Head of the High Court in the interests of officials, this negating the authority of the judiciary, believe in its fairness, impartiality, honesty and non-corruptibility in the eyes of any reasoning, law-abiding and informed person. Such commitments are not envisaged by any law and are incompatible with the high status of a judge.

The relevant appeals have been signed by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union; the Kharkiv Human Rights Group; the Centre for Political and Legal Reform; the Association of Lawyers of Ukraine; the International Women’s Human Rights Centre La Strada – Ukraine; the Association of Ukrainian Monitors of Human Rights in the Work of the Police. 

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