How to get rid of the hook politicians. Interview with the head of the Council of judges

Как избавиться от крючка политиков. Интервью с главой Совета судей

Valentyna Symonenko believes that to really fight corruption in the courts, appointing judges the European salaries

The head of the Council of judges of Ukraine, Valentyn Symonenko gave an interview to a magazine Reporter.

For a long time the judiciary was considered something like an elite caste, a closed club on interests, writes Eugene Supricheva at No. 14 in the magazine Reporter on April 15, 2016.

After the Maidan, the situation changed dramatically. The ceremony discarded and spat in the judge now everyone can. Many believe judges almost “enemies of the people”. Yes they themselves from the current situation, not happy – resign, leaving the seat vacant. As a result, some district courts on the verge of closure or already closed – there was not one judge, to judge no one. About it in interview to the Correspondent has told, Valentyn Symonenko.

Becoming a judge depends on deputies

– You know what to judiciary have accumulated a mass of complaints. For example, render a decision “on call” with activists of Automaidan.

– The question of Automaidan, of course, is associated with political influence that occurred in that period. But will also due to the fact that judges are unable to raise ourselves above situation, are unable to remain impartial.

I think most judges avtomaydanovtsev triggered a sense of fear of the system that appointed them to office and who in her hands held the levers of influence. They didn’t have to receive calls from above. Judges are by default understood that in the current situation, a decision against the government could result in at least disciplinary liability or even dismissal.

The reform protects judges from political pressure?

– It will protect when will be adopted amendments to the Constitution and a judge will be appointed indefinitely. What we have now: a judge for 5 years appointed by the President of Ukraine, and indefinitely thereafter elected by the Parliament. That is 5 years the judge is in a “suspended” state, because you don’t knows will vote for him, the deputies or not. Illustrative examples of such state we have been witnessing for two years.

Within two years the Parliament elects judges,”five”, which ended powers. These more than 40%. The proposed changes to the Constitution take away these contradictions and take the Verkhovna Rada of powers of appointment and dismissal of judges, which will make impossible the interference of the dominant political forces or parties to the judicial decision-making. But to date these changes in the Constitution have not been accepted and when it will happen is still unknown.

Certification will be delayed for seven years

– Among the deputies are discussing the idea to fire all the judges, to gain new. So did the police from the police…

– This is an absolute populism. The fact that the militia is an organ that can afford not to work for a month, and the court cannot.

Because there are materials that need to be addressed within 72 hours or two months, because in criminal cases there are tough deadlines. And if the court do not, the suspect will simply be released. Second option: let the courts will not be stopped. But before the other judges present will withdraw from the staff, as was done with the police. However, no country in the world, none of the European rules do not provide for a trial by judge in the status of “acting”. So let’s act wisely and to follow the path of purification of the judiciary.

– There’s a cleansing? Began the process of recertification?

– Yes. But it’s a long, drawn-out process. So the written law.

– They say that the judge specifically made such a rule possible to delay the process…

– The law developed judges and myself (we were members of the Council for judicial reform under the President and this law, the President then introduced to the Verkhovna Rada), no evaluation was not, they talked about proficiency testing. But the deputies was made to alternate law. In one night combined the uncombinable – and so came the assessment. The deputies forgot to write what it is. What are the assessment criteria?

In the end, we have developed rules for proficiency testing decided to consider “estimation”. There are three stages: examination, inspection dossier, an interview. In the dossier are the results of the check of the SBU, NABOO, tax.

It is one thing to implement it in a planned mode and the other in an emergency. In the end, the High qualification Commission assesses a group of 20 people during the week, multiply by 7 thousand judges and believe. Obtained re-certification will be delayed for 5-7 years.

– Who is on the Board?

– There are representatives of the Ministry of justice, the Commissioner for human rights, lawyers and researchers.

– Interviews are conducted on the same sample to the police?

– No. This is not provided by law. But community organizations and citizens may send the materials to the judge – they will get the dossier.

– And where is the guarantee? It seems that the old staff will automatically become new?

– At each meeting the Commission shall render a decision on the dismissal of judges.

The Verkhovna Rada has already accumulated a large number of such materials. What is interesting is that the dismissal of the deputies are considering, and appointing a new corps – no. Well, not to dismiss and not to assign is not updating it, sorry, sabotaging the work of the justice system. Now we have more than 1 thousand vacancies. So much so, that for example, Brusilovsky court, in principle, ceased its operation – there are no judges, and Parliament does not appoint. What to do next?

The Council of judges we know that about 3 thousand judges are going to resign “voluntarily”. They psychologically can not stand. For example, children are afraid to speak in school, what their parents work, and parents are afraid for their children – judges. This abnormal situation.

In robes and under the hood

But whether the judge has compromised? Suffice it to recall the judge Malinovsky court of Odessa Alexey Burana, who opened fire during the search.

The judge Malinovsky court discredited the entire judiciary. But let’s deal with criminal cases against judges. Today their number is huge – more than 200 productions. But this is a concern that the majority of criminal cases not brought to court.

Our position is that if you want to press charges – pull, but quickly withdraw the judge from the system. By law to suspend a judge from work on a time and then or he goes to jail, or puts on a robe and returned to work. We have investigating judges, which on the one hand authorize search and seizure, and on the other hand they themselves are under criminal case. And my question is: how objective their decisions?

It’s clear that the interior Ministry and the Prosecutor General’s office so don’t fight for the cleansing of the judiciary, but simply by analogy with politicians, judges keep on the hook.

– The interior Ministry has a different opinion – it makes no sense to send criminal cases against judges in the courts nerafinirovannye. Judges still its back.

– Recently convicted and 10 judges for bribes, and under article about excess of office powers.

– What reform says about the fight against corruption?

– Nothing new. I think no need to reinvent the wheel to fight corruption. First, you need to give people the normal income.

– Normal income for the judge is how much? Now salary start from 12 thousand UAH.

– 12 thousand UAH in the district of Transcarpathian region and in the district court of Kyiv is two big differences. I would say that the salary of the judges should be at European level, because we have European prices. I think it should be at least $ 2 thousand, that is about 50 thousand UAH is a start for the district.

But strict control and severe punishment. Of course, punishment is only possible if the MIA works professionally. And especially for judges. The main there should be no political slogans, but facts. After all, judges are lawyers themselves. Any miscalculation and law enforcement will be used to the benefit of this dishonest and criminal judges. He knows how to do it. And it must be understood.

– What’s the bottom line: an episodic demonstration planting of judges, but in General a mess. This failure of the reforms?

Is the problem growth. First, have to grow up the judges themselves. In order to make a decision under pressure, you need courage. And now this courage is called independence. The judicial branch of government independent from the legislative and the Executive is necessary to understand and deputies, and Ministers. This is also the phase of growing up. As for reform, I think the turbulence zone we haven’t covered yet. The main thing is to start reforming during the life of the judiciary.

Dossier Correspondent

Valentin Simonenko – the head of the Council of judges of Ukraine

1982 – the courier Leninist people’s court of Sevastopol

1983 – 1990 – Secretary of court sessions of the people’s court of Sevastopol

1993 – 2001 – judge of the court of Sevastopol Gagarin

2001 – 2010 years – Deputy head of Appeal court of Sevastopol

2010 – 2104 was a judge of the High specialized court of Ukraine on consideration of civil and criminal cases

2014 – judge of the Trial chamber on civil cases of the Supreme court of Ukraine


This material is published in No. 14 of the magazine Reporter on April 15, 2016. Reprinting of publications of magazine Correspondent in full is prohibited. With the rules of use magazine Reporter, published on the website Корреспондент.net can be found here.