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  #134 (permalink)  
Old 31st July 2015, 18:22
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Release of ‘Diamond Prosecutor’ shows fatal flaws of law enforcement
July 31, 2015, 7:54 p.m. | Kyiv Post Oleg Sukhov

Oleksandr Korniets, who was arrested in early July in a bribery case, has gained such notoriety that he now goes by the nickname of “The Diamond Prosecutor.” He is seen by critics as the epitome of corruption.

Following his arrest in a sting operation, 104 cut diamonds were found in his house – thus the nickname. He has also managed to acquire, on his modest prosecutor’s salary, 12 hectares of land in Kyiv Oblast, and has 24 real estate deeds registered to frontmen and businesses formally owned by his sister – a list provided by Yury Butusov, chief editor of the censor.net news site.

But now Korniets has walked free.

He was released on July 30 after one of his lawyers, Lyudmila Ivanchik, paid Hr 3.2 million bail, Viktor Petrunenko, another of Korniyets’ lawyers, said on July 31.

Critics argue that the release of Korniyets, an ex-deputy head of the Kyiv Oblast prosecutor’s office, and many other suspects in corruption cases before him, demonstrates how dysfunctional and inefficient Ukraine’s law enforcement system is. They say that judges, who have changed little since ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s era, may be the weakest link and are sabotaging any efforts to fight corruption.

Korniyets and Volodymyr Shapakin, a deputy of the Prosecutor General’s Office’s main investigative department, were arrested in a sting operation organized by Deputy Prosecutor General Davit Sakvarelidze and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on July 6. The SBU said then that “many pieces of jewelry,” 65 diamonds and an AK-47 assault rifle had been found in Korniyets’ office and house.

Lawmaker Mustafa Nayyem wrote then that some $500,000 in cash and certificates of deposit worth Hr 800,000 had been also found during the searches at the prosecutors’ offices and houses.

The arrests triggered a scandal when evidence emerged that Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin and his deputies Volodymyr Huzyr and Yury Stolyarchuk were trying to pressure Sakvarelidze’s investigators to halt the case against Korniyets and Shapakin. Though Shokin and Huzyr deny this, the latter had to resign on July 28 amid the public uproar.

According to Nayyem, Korniyets and Shapakin are protégés of Shokin and Huzyr.

Kyiv’s Pechersk Court allowed Korniets and Shapakin to be released on Hr 3.2 million bail in early July. On July 9, Shapakin paid the money and got out, while Korniets remained behind bars for some time before being freed on July 30.

On July 21, the Kyiv Court of Appeals increased the bail for Shapakin to Hr 6.4 million, and he was released again after paying the second bail.

These decisions were preceded by a long list of similar incidents when courts released officials accused of corruption and Yanukovych allies.

On July 30, the Pechersk Court allowed ex-Justice Minister Oleksandr Lavrinovich, who is accused of embezzling Hr 8.5 million, to be released on Hr 1.218 million bail.

In April Serhiy Bochkovsky, ex-chief of the State Emergency Service, and his deputy Vasyl Stoyetsky, who are accused of embezzling Hr 1.16 million, were released after paying Hr 1.2 million each.

Oleksandr Yefremov, an ex-lawmaker and Yanykovych ally, was arrested on abuse of power and document forgery charges in February and then released on Hr 3.6 million bail. In the same month, he was arrested again on charges of inciting ethnic hatred and got out of the detention facility on miniscule Hr 60,900 bail and is currently under house arrest.

Other suspects have even managed to escape justice completely. Anton Chernushenko, ex-head of the Kyiv Court of Appeals, and Verkhovna Rada member Serhiy Klyuyev, who both face corruption charges, fled Ukraine in June.

Alexei Kot, a managing partner of Ukrainian law firm Antika, told the Kyiv Post by phone that one of the problems is imperfect legislation that allows officials accused of corruption to get off easy.

The Verkhovna Rada has been considering a bill to abolish bail for corruption cases since January but no progress has yet been made on the legislation.

Another problem is the imperfect work of prosecutors. “Our prosecutors must get used to the fact that not only defense lawyers must work and prove the innocence of their client, but prosecutors must also prove by using all their tools that the size of bail must be appropriate,” Kot said.

Critics also accuse judges of making unjustified decisions due to either incompetence or corruption. Not a single judge has been fired under Ukraine’s lustration law, which envisages firing Yanukovych-era officials, and the court system remains largely unreformed.

Courts often set bail that is much less than what a suspect can afford.

Sergei Grebenyuk, a co-head of criminal law practice at Egorov, Puginski, Afansiev and Partners, told the Kyiv Post that courts must set the size of bail linked to suspects’ wealth.

“Why don’t they make such decisions?" Grebenyuk asked. “There are two reasons: either law enforcement agencies (prosecutors and the police) don’t do their work properly, or courts make incorrect decisions due to certain circumstances or some influence.”

Western practice differs from that of Ukrainian courts. In March 2014 an Austrian court released Dmytro Firtash, a Ukrainian tycoon accused of corruption, on 125 million euros bail, compared to the equivalent of 137,000 euros in the Korniyets case.

The courts’ decisions to release Korniyets and Shapakin on medium-sized bail have caused public indignation, given the immense wealth investigators found in their possession.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that, after suspects are released, Ukrainian authorities are often unable to track them and de facto allow them to flee, Kot said.
Release of ‘Diamond Prosecutor’ shows fatal flaws of law enforcement
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  #135 (permalink)  
Old 10th February 2016, 12:40
Gotno Gizmo Gotno Gizmo is offline
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IMF warns Ukraine about corruption

IMF warns Ukraine it will halt $40bn bailout unless corruption stops:

IMF warns Ukraine it will halt $40bn bailout unless corruption stops | World news | The Guardian
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  #136 (permalink)  
Old 28th September 2016, 18:08
Szary Szary is offline
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Vitaliy Golubev for President!

Three minutes of straight talk on Shuster’s show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8isCEYBRoc
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  #137 (permalink)  
Old 15th January 2017, 14:48
Gotno Gizmo Gotno Gizmo is offline
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Ukraine’s Former Top Spy

Ukraine’s former top security official has gone from tracking down Russian spies to fighting what he perceives to be the country’s greatest threat—corruption.
Ukraine’s Former Top Spy Goes After a New Enemy: Corruption
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  #138 (permalink)  
Old 18th April 2018, 12:44
Gotno Gizmo Gotno Gizmo is offline
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Yanukovych family gain more of their father's stolen money

The ability of the Poroshenko government to pursue the former Ukraine President's money, that could have only be achieved by stealing it from the state coffers, is once again brought into question. In recent years money frozen by the international community's banks has had to be freed to the claimed owners due to either tardiness, incompetence,or perhaps lack of will. I have found it difficult to believe that the inaction of the RADA and its associates to produce requested evidence of the criminal trails identifying the source of disputed monies is because by doing so other persons still in positions of prominence might be identified.

https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-pol...dents-son.html
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  #139 (permalink)  
Old 16th May 2018, 19:41
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THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL Mykhailo Zhernakov May 15, 2018
The Only Way to Improve Ukraine's Courts

No state can function without justice, and Ukraine is no exception.

For years, corruption and the absence of justice, together with Russian military aggression, have held back the country.

After four years of struggle and numerous pieces of legislation, there has been little progress.

Ukraine started out with a good idea: reformers wanted to create a new Supreme Court from scratch and vet the remaining judges through a comprehensive procedure, checking their competence and integrity. The process failed in its implementation however.

With almost 80 percent of new Supreme Court judges having been judges before, as well as a majority at the cassation level and at least twenty-seven who do not meet the basic integrity criteria that was set out, this can hardly be called renewal. Civil society thoroughly analyzed this process and called for more transparency and objectivity, as well as higher standards for the assessment.

But in vetting the lower courts judges, the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ), a judicial council responsible for the process, significantly lowered standards and jammed thousands of interviews into a few months. Recently, the HQCJ conducted interviews with almost 700 judges, and only found sixteen (or less than 2.5 percent) of them not qualified. In the next two months, the HQCJ is planning to conduct around 2,000 more interviews. The Public Integrity Council, a special civic body that conducts preliminary integrity assessments of judges, called this “fake” and “window dressing,” and suspended its participation in order to not legitimize the process.

The reason for this failure is simple: the lack of will by President Petro Poroshenko’s administration, and the inability of judicial governance bodies to act in the people’s best interest.

Even worse, the few righteous judges who actively oppose corruption are threatened and attacked by the old system. Judge Larysa Holnyk, who filmed and revealed an attempt to bribe her by a representative of the mayor of Poltava, was not only physically attacked, but had a disciplinary case opened against her by the High Council of Justice (HCJ), a body that is supposed to protect judicial independence. Judge Vitaliy Radchenko, who gave permission to search the luxurious mansion of the notorious head of the District Administrative Court of Kyiv, Pavlo Vovk, was disciplined, and his wife, also a judge, was dismissed as a result of a disciplinary proceeding by the HCJ shortly after the warrant was issued.

But this is hardly a surprise, given that some of the HCJ members’ integrity is questionable. Palvo Hrechkivsky is accused of trying to settle a case in a court for $500,000 with the then president of the High Commercial Court of Ukraine (and now Deputy Head of the “new” Supreme Court Bohdan Lvov), but still serves as an HCJ member. The Rada’s appointment of Oleksiy Malovatskiy, a Poroshenko Bloc nominee, was allegedly based on bribery, as a recent investigation revealed. The head of the HCJ, Ihor Benedysiuk, appointed by Poroshenko, still cannot prove he gave up his Russian citizenship after being a judge in Russia before 1994.

Poroshenko’s strong opposition to judicial independence and inability to deliver have damaged his reputation. Months before the March 2019 presidential election, people would literally vote for anybody but him; according to polls, he will lose to any candidate from the top six in the second round.

Nonetheless, the president has dug in. He insists that the same failed bodies be responsible for the selection of judges for the anticorruption court. This is despite the very strong and clear position of the international community, including the Venice Commission, IMF, and World Bank, that international experts should play a large role in the selection process. While Poroshenko cries that international participation in the selection process would infringe on Ukraine’s sovereignty, the average voter disagrees; four times as many people trust the selection of anticorruption court judges to international experts than to judges from Ukrainian bodies. And six times as many people trust civil society representatives over judges when it comes to the judiciary’s renewal.

The unvarnished truth is that direct international and civil society involvement in the selection of judges and law enforcement bodies is the only way to ensure the successful reform of any law enforcement authority. All of the successful rule of law reforms that Ukraine has embraced since 2014—NABU, SAPO, and the patrol police—had international involvement in the selection process, as well as strong civil oversight.

This formula works with the selection of judges, too. The president recently appointed two well-known professors as judges for the Constitutional Court. Another professor, a former ECHR ad hoc judge, was selected as president of the court. Since then, the court has made a number of good decisions; it found Yanukovych’s laws that unduly concentrated power and the infamous “Kivalov-Kolesnichenko” language law unconstitutional. The reason for the court’s success? The commission that selected the judges included Honorary President of the Venice Commission Hanna Suchocka, as well as other well-known and respected experts, and was under strong civil society oversight.

Right now, not only the future of anticorruption and judicial reforms is at stake. All the country’s other successes depend on whether we get the anticorruption court right this time. If Ukraine doesn’t pass a real anticorruption court bill in the next two months, the country will likely not receive another tranche of IMF monies and economists predict that it will have grievous consequences for the economy, which is barely growing anyway.

But Ukraine needs more than an anticorruption court. It needs a comprehensive reboot of its judicial bodies, not the fake one that Poroshenko has presided over.

Now is not the time to let up. The international community has been consistent and backed civil society. Still, we need your support now more than ever before. As Stanford University professor Michael McFaul rightly argues, “We must deepen our engagement now—to advance the cause of democracy.” The Only Way to Improve Ukraine's Courts
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  #140 (permalink)  
Old Yesterday, 17:23
Gotno Gizmo Gotno Gizmo is offline
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On June 7, Ukraine’s parliament passed long-awaited legislation establishing a special anti-corruption court. Our country took another important move forward on its path toward building a European state where all are equal under the law. This was not the first step in this journey, and it won’t be the last. But I believe it showed that our journey toward a genuine democracy is now irreversible.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.3474b567acbe
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