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17.11.2011

Deputy Prosecutor General still intent of purging the Supreme Court

   

The High Council of Justice is checking whether there are grounds for dismissing 4 judges of the Supreme Court.  Ukrainska Pravda reports that its sources say that the four judges, who are named, are being checked for possible infringement of their oath at the initiative of Renat Kuzmin, First Deputy Prosecutor General and member of the High Council of Justice.  He claims that the four judges infringed their oath in examining criminal cases at cassation level in 2004 and 2008.

The check of the judges from the Supreme Court Criminal Chamber is being carried out by member of the High Council of Justice, the Head of the High Economic Court Viktor Tatkov.

Earlier this month two MPs from the Party of the Regions, Iryna Berezhna and Angelika Labunska approached the High Council of Justice asking for three other judges, including Vasyl Onopenko whose term as Head of the Supreme Council expired at the end of September, to be dismissed. The allegation again – breach of oath.

On 9 November, another Deputy Prosecutor General, Mykhailo Havyrylyuk also used his position as member of the High Council of Justice to have proceedings initiated against  a number of judges of the Supreme Court Criminal Chamber. The allegations are that between 2009 and 2010 the judges unlawfully changed the sentence from life to 15 years imprisonment with respect to dangerous criminals. 

According to Mykhailo Havrylyuk, the initiative was taken by some National Deputies [MPs] who provided information about the alleged breach of oath by the judges

The very next day the Supreme Court issued a statement dismissing the allegations. It explained that in 2009 a problem had arisen with uneven court practice caused by a Constitutional Court judgement from 29 December 1999 which found the death penalty to be unconstitutional. In implementation of this judgement, a law had been passed on 22 February 2000 which transmuted sentences of death to life imprisonment.

The problem had been with people sentenced between these two days, during which the longest sentence available was 15 years. Some judges had, however, passed life sentences. Later some of those who got the latter appealed, on the grounds that the only available sentence at the time had been 15 years.

In view of this, in 2009 at joint meetings of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Chamber and Military Court Chamber a number of criminal cases were reviewed with the decision being taken to change life imprisonment to a 15 year sentence.

Earlier this week the Supreme Court’s Press Service announced that a formal complaint over Havrylyuk’s public remarks had been made to the Prosecutor General’s Office.  The Supreme Court judges believe that Havrylyuk by making such public statements violated the principles enshrined in the Constitution and international law of an independent judiciary, as well as the legally fixed duties, ethical norms and principles of work of employees of the Prosecutor’s Office. They ask the Prosecutor General to take the necessary measures. 

More information about the reasons why many consider these “checks” to be the latest attempt to bring the Supreme Court into line and ensure that Vasyl Onopenko is not re-elected its Head, in Supreme Orchestration and  Parliament adopts Law on Loyal Supreme Court.

New information from Ukrainska Pravda

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