If the people he administers justice, he trusts the court — Bogdan Ustimenko

Если народ сам вершит правосудие, то он доверяет суду — Богдан Устименко

Why Ukraine cannot defeat corruption and realize their economic potential? Why create new specialised bodies, are transparent contests for judicial office, and there is no effect?

How to break the vicious circle? According to the lawyer Bogdan Ustimenko, Ukraine needs a jury trial that will ensure justice, and with it the development of the economy, and the prosperity of the society. About your idea the lawyer is told in detail.

Today on justice talking all. Is it really so important?

Is without exaggeration the Foundation of a democratic state. For some time the state can exist without a fair trial, but it can’t without it to develop fully, to be equal among other countries.

It makes no sense to do something global and correct if there is no guarantee that you can your achievements to protect. Who would invest real money into a project that can “squeeze” by which the government can change the rules at any time, not even leaving a chance for justice? Every businessman in Ukraine initially realize that suddenly you may find nothing, as a result, investing no more than necessary to obtain a stable income.

A fair trial is indeed important that the state has evolved and flourished, so people can feel protected from illegal encroachments from violations of their rights against any intruder, be it a pickpocket or a state.

— Today in Ukraine the courts make fair decisions?

— Of course, accepted. But not always and not in those cases in which there is a factor of influence. A judge in Ukraine is vulnerable as any other man in the state (he has a family, children, life plans and some quite legitimate savings under the pillow, his he is experiencing no less than a Baker or a plumber), and when he say: “Either this decision as we want or you’re in jail, and children without a father-breadwinner”, he is afraid. And not always chooses justice to the detriment of personal tranquility. And even if you have the guts to refuse once or twice, the pressure, which could face the judge likely will not allow him to administer justice in the future.

I am convinced that the panacea for justice in Ukraine can only be a jury in the classic sense as it is in a normal state, and not in a truncated form in which it is stipulated in our civil and criminal procedure codes.

None, even the most advanced procedures for the selection of professional judges will not allow you to avoid subsequent deformation in the conditions of imperfection of the legal system: we can observe how the judges bribed or intimidated. The establishment of innumerable anti-corruption bodies also will not provide eradication of corruption in the country, primarily political. Only a complete jury service will allow you to administer justice and to reduce the high level of abuse of power. When justice administers more than one judge (whose role is to drive the process and to determine the punishment), and the people, represented by 12 representatives from different backgrounds, faiths, races and backgrounds, the level of equity in society is much higher.

— You were trained in the United States. The idea of trial by jury there?

— My trip and training in one of the most prestigious and oldest educational institutions of the United States — Law school of the George Washington University — only convinced me of the correctness of my thoughts on one possible model really fair trial.

You know what’s interesting in the legal world of the United States? Almost all the teachers of the law schools in the United States — practicing attorneys with vast experience. As a professional judge in the USA is successful in the past, lawyers, millionaires, having an impeccable reputation in the legal community of his state. And, despite the high level of skills of judges, all important criminal and civil cases in courts of first instance in the United States are considered by a jury chaired by a professional judge. This model of justice, proven by centuries, could provide a massive imposition by U.S. courts fair judicial decisions.

Moreover, in 2012 the members of the Supreme court of the United States expressed a United and clear position: only faith in the American court was able to maintain a coherent country, despite numerous domestic issues — racial and gender discrimination, civil conflicts, economic crises. Americans believe their court because they have a direct impact on court decisions.

— But in Ukraine already operates a jury trial. And like as already there are acquittals handed down by the court.

The Institute provided the Ukrainian criminal procedure code of 2012, rather the court with participation of jurors. It has nothing to do with the real jury, except the name. There is not even need to be an expert to compare, one a judge and 12 jurors in any civil or criminal case, except in certain types of disputes, and two professional judges and three “jurors” only at the request of the defendant’s Affairs, the sanction of article which provides for life imprisonment. That are included in our code of criminal procedure, by design, can not be effective. First, two professional judges can easily exert pressure on three persons, not legally savvy, and on the three jurors chosen a rather strange way, it is possible to push to get the desired result. Secondly, be considered by a jury have all the relevant companies for the trials.

A Federal judge from Brazil, whom I met on the training, could not restrain laughter after learning about the design of trial by jury in Ukraine. In Brazil, the courts work on the American model. And although it is not a very rich country, with large social gaps, with many corruption risks today, former leaders of the country, including the President, have received a real punishment for committed crimes of corruption. No one escaped from justice. There is no persecution of judges examining the cases of sentences perceived by the people as fair. My colleague is convinced that only a jury can ensure proper functioning of the judiciary in any country.

— What is the cause of the scanty number of acquittals in Ukraine?

— In Ukraine because of the lack of support of the people in the form of the assize court judges are simply afraid to make fair, first of all acquittal, sentencing, fearing personal violence from law enforcement bodies, Prosecutor’s office, SBU and others that “concocted” charges against the defendants. In Ukraine acquittal sensation. 10-15 years ago they were one, and although in recent years about the acquittal we hear often, but their number is still small. The statistics of the State judicial administration, in 2017, was justified 311 77 of 115 defendants, that is 0.4 %. In the United States, this figure varies greatly, for example, in 2012, amounted to 7 %. In the UK up to 20 %.

Alas, Ukraine did not get rid of the heavy Soviet heritage, and our court is still accusatory. We also have to live with the inherited element of the Soviet model of law enforcement, the investigator procedure “fixed” for the prosecution and is under the direct responsibility of the Prosecutor. It’s counterintuitive and does not allow an objective investigation in criminal proceedings: three of the four main subjects of production work for the prosecution. To fix this it can not individual judge, because again: only really independent and fair jury will be able to save the Ukrainian legal system, statehood and become the impetus for social and economic development.

— Really in the USA judges do not take bribes?

In private conversations, the lawyers with whom I spoke in Washington, in one voice argued that in the USA judges do not take bribes. Absolutely. Latest corruption scandal in U.S. courts occurred in Chicago in the sixties. Then a judge killed himself.

Of course, the choice of judges of the Supreme court of the United States is a very complicated political process, which does not exclude the influence of politicians in this institution. However, we must understand that the armed forces of the United States — is in a sense a legislative body, it is closer in function to a Constitutional court than courts of General jurisdiction. While it generally met the balance of representation, and each member of the armed forces has a high reputation in the legal world, which does not allow to doubt the justice of its decisions.

In Ukraine, in my opinion, the problem is not so much corruption (with bribery in robes could understand), but in the pressure on the judges and their lack of protection from external influence. It turns out that the judge, going against the “imposed” solutions, — one against the system. If he had 12 companions on the jury, to confront it would be easier.

— How a jury will affect the work of lawyers?

— The jury will bring from the shadows the entire legal market and will pave way for effective business competition among lawyers. This will enable lawyers to earn significantly more, raise the level of profession and prestige of the legal profession will increase the trust of citizens to justice and attract investors to the domestic market.