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Maidan activists stop questionable congress of judges


Civic activists succeeded on Monday in preventing an extraordinary congress of judges which was almost certainly planning to vote in new members in advance of parliament’s vote on a law aimed at cleaning up Ukraine’s seriously compromised judiciary.  The congress had been scheduled for April 11, after the planned vote on Law No. 4378-1 on Tuesday, but was brought forward.

The congress was scheduled to begin at 11.00 despite the statement from the head of the Council of Judges, Vasyl Onopenko, that the congress was illegitimate, as would be any decisions taken.  He had tried to hold two meetings of the Council over recent days but these were effectively sabotaged with judges neither turning up nor informing that they would not be present.

At around 10.20 people in camouflage with the armbands of the Maidan Self-Defence and Right Sector appeared at the Klovsky Palace in Kyiv, one of the buildings of Ukraine’s Supreme Court.  They pinned a placard on the door reading: “We demand judicial reform. Congress of Judges only after adoption of Law No. 4378-1”.   Other reports speak of around 150 activists including also from AutoMaidan.

The activists formed a “corridor of shame” which the delegates had to pass through.  The judges soon exited via a side door.  None wished to comment on the situation to the legal website, Yurliga.  

The law due to be voted on in parliament proposes measures for investigating possible breach of oath by judges who, for example, banned peaceful protests, imprisoned people and much more without legitimate ground  a number of judges banned peaceful protests; remanded people in custody for 2 months and more without any legitimate grounds.  

The draft law also proposes to dismiss all judges from administrative posts and to change the makeup of both the High Council of Justice and High Qualification Commission of Judges.

Please see: Creating a trustworthy judiciary for more details

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