Three times MPs failed to gather enough votes in order to include in the agenda of the session the President’s bill on the creation of the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court and, accordingly, a number of alternative to it bills.
As a matter of fact, there were enough votes in the parliament for this, but there was no political will. Samopomich faction believes that the bill on the Anti-Corruption Court initiated by the President is yet another attempt to take control of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.
According to the deputies of Samopomich, the presidential bill #7440 contains provisions that call into question the independence and effectiveness of the Anti-Corruption judicial body:
- The essence of the specialization of the Anti-Corruption Court is leveled – there is a risk that the cases of top officials will not be considered by the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court.
- It is not only the NABU that can be the initiator of the consideration of cases.
- The public council of international experts turns from a full-fledged participant into a recommendatory body.
- Qualification requirements to the candidates for the position of judge are too high and subjective, and the competition is not transparent.
Therefore, together with the public, the deputies of Samopomich Union developed and registered an alternative bill #7440-3 that meets the requirements of the Venice Commission and corrects the mistakes that are accidentally or intentionally made by the Presidential Administration.
“Unfortunately, having analyzed the presidential bill we found a lot of gaps – perhaps, they were deliberately made in order to disrupt the work of the court, delay or even block its activities, or at least make it dependent and ineffective. Therefore, we have provided for all those things that would really make this institution independent,” notes a deputy of the Samopomich Union faction Roman Semenukha.
MP Olena Sotnyk emphasizes that alternative bill #7440-3 is intended to introduce the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court as an independent structure whose decisions should not be subject to pressure and where independent judges will work.
“One of the key things is the selection, in the first place. Of course, we have already seen the story with the Supreme Court; it has taught us a lesson, now we see what the shortcomings were. Therefore, our bill provides for an independent, transparent and understandable selection of judges.
Second critical issue is the judges themselves. Who can they be? We believe that our main task is to ensure that they are professionals.
Therefore, there are certain deadlines, as well as requirements regarding how much legal practice and in which areas a person should have. At the same time, these people should be wide-ranging professionals, and it is not enough to only test the skills of applying anti-corruption legislation exclusively.
The third important thing is the so-called “judicial spam”. The easiest way to disrupt the work of any court is to simply pile it up with various cases. This is what was suggested by the Presidential Administration – to pile up the Anti-Corruption Court with all the possible cases that are not related to corruption, so that the court will just have no time to consider high-profile corruption cases. Therefore, we have narrowed the jurisdiction of the Anti-Corruption Court to the cases that are being investigated by the NABU.
And the last issue is the terms. The presidential draft law is drawn up in such a way that it doesn’t allow launching the Anti-Corruption Court before the presidential elections. Our suggestion is as follows: the court can start working as soon as one-third of the judges are selected. According to optimistic estimates, this can happen within six months. Of course, this is only possible if there really is the will to adopt this bill in the parliament,” explains Olena Sotnyk.