Within its campaign “CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary!”, CHESNO movement has analyzed all the candidates running for offices in the Supreme Court. The activists of the CHESNO movement presented their analytical reports at the press conference on Monday, February 20. In follow-up of the analysis, the activists identified seven sins of the candidates – the criteria helping to make conclusions on the professional integrity of the candidates running for offices in the Supreme Court.
A total of 653 candidates from all over the country are running for offices in the Supreme Court whose establishment is one of the steps of the judicial reform. The vast majority of the people willing to hold the offices in the Supreme Court are incumbent judges at the courts of various instances or former judges, while attorneys and researchers – who have been allowed to run for such offices for the first time in the contemporary history of Ukraine – made up less than one third of the candidates pool. At the prequalification stage, the High Qualification Commission of Judges screened 45% of attorneys, researchers, and candidates with the necessary cumulative length of service, whereas only 7% of the pool of judges have not been allowed to move to the next stage of the competition. Thus, only 189 candidates not affiliated with the judiciary are competing for the offices in the Supreme Court with 464 judges.
“Formation of a new Supreme Court is one of the key reforms of the first quarter of 2017. This process should be treated with utmost responsibility, as unlike the MPs elected for a five-year term, judges of the Supreme Court are elected for an indefinite term and we might not have a chance to reboot this institution again anytime soon. Therefore, success of the judicial reform in general will depend on how many new judges of the Supreme Court – those non-affiliated with the system – will be selected. We might explain this statement at least with the fact that our analysis shows – there is much less negative information about the attorneys and researchers running for the Supreme Court offices, than about the incumbent judges competing with them,” said Taras Shevchenko, co-founder of the CHESNO movement, at the press conference.
Having analyzed the background of all the candidates running for the Supreme Court offices within the campaign “CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary!”, the activists of CHESNO movement identified “seven sins” of the candidates – the criteria helping to make conclusions on the professional integrity of the candidates running for offices in the Supreme Court. It is professional integrity of the would-be judges that is one of the key selection criteria, as in the course of the competition the High Qualification Commission of Judges can give up to 250 points out of the total 1,000 for this criterion.
The campaign “CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary!” distinguished the following “sins” found in some candidates to the Supreme Court:
- corruption at all levels: from appointment and career promotion of judges to issuing rulings in someone’s favor;
- services to the regime of Yanukovych: covering up the crimes of the regime; unlawful punishment of the participants of the Revolution of Dignity; public support of the course maintained by Yanukovych;
- cover-up which ensures judges’ impunity for the committed crimes and issue of unlawful rulings;
- dubious rulings provoking doubts as to their fairness and impartiality of judges who issued them;
- dubious property provoking doubts as to the legality of its origin;
- family or other connections which might result in the rulings based on the conflict of interest, cover-up or nepotism;
- criminal cases involving the candidates to the Supreme Court offices.
All the information about the candidates to the Supreme Court presented in the analytical reports was obtained by the team of “CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary!” campaign from the open sources and processed according to the methodology of the CHESNO movement. “Preparing reports about the candidates, we decided not to make any conclusions concerning professional integrity of the candidates to the Supreme Court offices or their conformity with the requirements. It is the Public Integrity Council that shall issue positive or negative opinions regarding the candidates. Our goal was to collect and spread the information which, in our opinion, can be useful in the course of selection and can influence the outcome of the competition. We think that the collected information should at least become a subject of discussion during the interviews with the candidates, as it provides reasonable grounds to doubt their professional integrity,” said Ivan Piatak, senior analyst of “CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary!” campaign.
All analytical reports about 653 candidates to the Supreme Court offices have been published on a special page on the website of “CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary!” campaign. At the same time, CHESNO movement handed all the analytical reports over to the Public Integrity Council so that it could use the provided information in its opinions about the candidates. The reports have also been sent to the High Qualification Commission of Judges to be attached to the candidates’ profiles. In the course of the competition, some candidates drop out, but the information about them is still available on the website of “CHESNO. Filter the Judiciary!” campaign with comments on the stage when a particular candidate has fallen out of the race.
“In the course of the competition, the Public Integrity Council has faced an enormous challenge – 20 members of the Council had to collect information, analyze it, and prepare either a negative or a positive opinion on all the 653 candidates. It is a huge amount of work. Therefore, we highly appreciate assistance of the CHESNO movement in this respect,” said Halyna Chyzhyk, representative of the CHESNO movement at the Public Integrity Council.
CHESNO movement gathers the information from the open public sources and does not make any claims as to the crimes committed by the persons or their guilt. The conclusions of CHESNO movement on candidates’ involvement in the acts of corruption and issue of dubious rulings are evaluative judgments which might not coincide with the official rulings or opinions of the governmental agencies.