Exactly a year ago, shortly upon adoption of the constitutional amendments in the area of justice and the new law on the judiciary and the status of judges, CHESNO Movement launched the campaign CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary!, aimed at activating the society, aimed at cleaning the judiciary from unjust judges and establish a fair trial in Ukraine.
On June 9, 2016, the official launch of the campaign took place and we took the responsibility to be one of the most important reforms – judicial. Indeed, without fair justice there is no chance of an effective fight against corruption, lustration and the effective implementation of other reforms.
During the first year of reform and activities, CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! we managed to achieve the first results and significant shifts in the direction of clearing and updating the system, as well as increasing the interest and awareness of Ukrainians about the judicial system and judicial reform in Ukraine.
- Analysis of all 653 candidates to the Supreme Court
One of the most important steps towards the implementation of the judicial reform is to update the judicial system and clean it from old corrupt personnel. The new Supreme Court, which according to the new law on the judicial system, is to become not only the highest judicial authority, but also to replace the old Supreme Court of Ukraine and the four higher courts that are subsequently liquidated is the first on this path. The process of creating a new Supreme Court involves a new competition and participation in it on equal terms with judges, lawyers and scholars.
For the purpose of avoiding election of illicit candidates to the new Supreme Court within the framework of the CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! Campaign we analyzed all 653 candidates who took part in the competition at its first stage. The information collected by our analysts was forwarded to the High Qualifications Commission for Judges directly conducting the competition and the Public Council for Integrity, a public body to promote the HQCJ (High Qualifications Commission of Judges) of Ukraine in holding the competition. The Public Council of Integrity used the analytical references CHESNO.Filter the Court! as a source of information when preparing negative opinions on candidates to the Supreme Court.
At the final stage of the interview within the framework of CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary! The CESNO Movement presented Anti-rating of Candidates, which included 150 out of 382 candidates for positions in the new Supreme Court.
- Representative of CHESNO.Filter the Court! in the Public Council for Integrity
Upon starting еру judicial reform, a new body, the Public Council for Integrity, which included 20 representatives of reputable public organizations, appeared in the judiciary. The MDR is intended to assist the HQCJ in assessing judges and candidates for judges regarding their compliance with the criteria of integrity. The Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law, which initiated and implements the campaign CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! became one of the organizations that delegated their representatives to the Public Council for Integrity. The lawyer of the Campaign CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! Galina Chizhik became the coordinator of the MDR and takes an active part in the work of the Council.
- Monitoring interviews with candidates to the Supreme Court
From April 21 to May 26 the HQCJ was making interviews with candidates to the Supreme Court, which have reached this final stage. Within the framework of CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! a volunteer monitoring campaign was organized. The monitors of the CHESNO Movement evaluated the interviews on whether the members of the Commission listened to the conclusions of the Public Council for Integrity, or ask candidates questions about doubted data from their records, or whether the members of the HQCJ show the bias towards the candidates, etc.
During the presentation of the results of the campaign activists CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! the attention of the journalists and the public was paid to the fact that the Commission ignored more than 80% of the conclusions of the Public Council for Integrity and showed bias towards the candidates and members of the MDR during interviews.
- Defending the conclusions of the Public Council for Integrity at the Supreme Court
Upon interviewing the candidates to the Supreme Court within the framework of the competition, the Qualification Commission of Judges met in a plenary session, during which it has the opportunity to overcome the public veto. On the first day of plenary sessions CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! together with the partner Reanimation Package of Reforms, Avtomaydan, #Tysny and other community activists, they initiated under the HQCJ walls with the action “Let’s not miss gentiles in the new Supreme Court” with the call to listen to the MDR and not overcome their veto that the Commission can make by 11 votes out of 16.
- The Higher Council of Justice has been updated without bad faith.
On March 14, the Congress of Judges elected 4 new members of the High Council of Justice – the successor body of the High Council of Justice. As a result of the judicial reform, the High Council of Justice resolves key personnel issues – has the powers and authority to appoint and dismiss judges, as well as give permission to arrest a judge. That is why the issue of qualitative updating of the MDR was important. Due to the delegation of 6 new members, the Congress of Judges had to update the High Council of Justice by almost a third.
To avoid appointment of fraudulent contenders from the Judiciary Body to the High Council of Justice (HCJ), the CHESNO Movement within the framework of the campaign CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! analyzed all the candidates and made the Black List of 17 candidates not worthy of a position in the High Council of Justice. It was possible to prevent their election by organizing, with the partners from the Anticorruption Action Centre, the Avtomaydan and the Reanimation Package of Reforms, before the meeting of the Judges’ Congress, a symbolic Alley of fraudulent with the photos of the participants in the Black List. The attention of the public and journalists to the process of delegation of new members of the HCJ was increased from the Judiciary provided the election of 4 people out of 6 planned, and none of them was black-enrolled in the black list of CHESNO.Filter the Court!
- Cleaning the Judiciary Body
According to the sociological surveys, over 80% of Ukrainians do not trust courts. This situation is caused by total corruption and lack of justice in the courts. In view thereof, there is a growing demand in the community for the purification of the judiciary from the dishonest servers of Themis. Within the framework of the campaign CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law is in favor of clearing the judiciary body from fraudulent judges.
During the first year of reform:
- 104 judges were dismissed for violation of the oath;
- 1359 judges left the system voluntarily;
- 31 Judges of the Maidan were dismissed;
- NABU (National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine) transferred 11 criminal proceedings against the judges to the court;
- 1 judge was dismissed for committing a crime.
- New competitions for positions of judges of the local courts
On April 3, 2017, the High Qualifications Commission of Judges announced the selection of judges for 600 vacancies in local courts. The competition was attended by the lawyers with 5 years of experience, as well as assistants of judges who have 3 years of work experience. According to the training projects developed by candidates, assistant judges undergo special training for 3 months, while lawyers of 12 months, which jeopardizes the main request of the society for the refurbishment of the judiciary.
Within the framework of the campaign, we held expert discussions with key stakeholders of judicial reform and insisted on ensuring equal conditions for assistants of judges and lawyers, as well as shortening the term of special training up to 6 months, which will allow qualitative updating of judges’ lava at the expense of new specialists outside the system.
- Regions in the Judicial Reform
In October 2016, the regional network of the campaign CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! started the work on the basis of the Active Citizen’s Workshop. 23 activists selected on a competitive basis present a campaign in their areas and help the CHESNO Movement in collecting information about candidates to the Supreme Court from the region.
During the period from November till December within the framework of the campaign CHESNO.Filter the Judiciary! the regional team made 23 trainings for over 500 local activists on the subject of the judicial reform, its implementation and use of the anti-corruption instruments of the public control over the judiciary system.