New attempts to put pressure on judges
The Strategic Litigations Centre has learned of new attempts by a Prosecutor’s Office to exert pressure on judges. In this case the target of the Kirovohrad Prosecutor’s Office is Judge Roman Brehei who in April 2011 issued two acquittals. In one case he acquitted a person accused of attempted robbery with violence, in the other – a person charged with the manufacture and possession of illicit drugs.
The judge also issued a separate decision in which he pointed to failings by the Prosecutor’s Office and the police at the pre-trial stages.
Both the first and second acquittals were revoked by the Kirovohrad Regional Court of Appeal and sent back to a first instance court for new investigation.
However the Kirovohrad Regional Prosecutor’s Office decided in addition to resort to extrajudicial means of solving criminal cases and lodged a submission calling for disciplinary proceedings against the judge who had rejected two of its prosecution cases.
The Strategic Litigations Centre consider such actions from the Prosecutor’s Office before the court examination has been concluded to be an attempt to place pressure on judges of the Kompaneyevsky District Court in order to get the verdict they are seeking.
The Centre has on a number of occasions drawn attention to inadmissible behaviour from representatives of Ukraine’s Prosecutor’s Office where they resort to methods of administrative pressure on judges.
We are also concerned over reports that attempts are being made to put pressure on judges who released defendants from remand in custody (see Administrative Pressure on Judges continues and UHHRU condemns overt Interference by the Prosecutor General in Court Work
Of the greatest concern must also be the apparent attempts to place pressure on judges of the Supreme Court (see High Council of Justice “investigates” Supreme Court judges and Supreme Court rejects allegations against its judges)
We are convinced that attempts by the Prosecutor’s Office to use flagrant pressure to make the judge corps obedient to any whim of the Prosecutor’s Office destroy the last vestiges of an independent judiciary and carry the real threat of the total collapse of the justice system.