The head of the Supreme Court Vsevolod Knyazev said that the critical statements of the deputy head of the President’s Office Andrii Smirnov regarding the candidates for the positions of members of the Supreme Council of Justice could harm the judicial reform. Smirnov replied that the criticism of the candidates came not only from him, but also from anti-corruption organizations.
Details: On November 13 last year, Andriy Smirnov statedthat “if the Ethics Council (the council determines whether a candidate for the position of a member of the Supreme Administrative Court meets the criteria of professional ethics and integrity – ed.), chaired by a current Supreme Court judge, elects 16 people as candidates for the Supreme Court, 7 of whom are current judges of the same Supreme Court , and this is perceived by society, then everything is in order.”
According to Vsevolod Knyazev, such statements of the deputy head of the President’s Office could have caused the failure of the formation of the VRP and non-fulfillment of the second European integration requirement of the European Commission.
Knyazev’s direct speech: “If our European integration task was to form the High Council of Justice, and one of the heads of the OP actually criticizes the stages of the process that are included in the reform of the VRP, this demotivates judges to participate in the congress, to elect new members of the VRP. As a result, this could be the reason for the failure of the formation of the High Council of Justice and non-fulfillment of the second European integration requirement in the list of requirements sent by the European Commission.
Therefore, I can consider these actions more destructive. In addition, members delegated by international partners have the right to a decisive vote in the work of the Ethics Council. So what do such statements towards the Ethics Council mean? The profile deputy OP accuses our partners of what?”.
Details: In response to the accusations, Andrii Smirnov stated that the work of the Ethics Council was criticized by anti-corruption organizations. At the same time, the deputy head of the OP confirmed that he was commenting on the activities of the Ethics Council and “this is exactly what he told the ambassadors of the Big Seven, who were interested in the results and effectiveness of the work of the Ethics Council.”
Smirnov’s direct speech: “It is very unfortunate to realize that we have different understandings of judicial reform and European integration. The reform is moving and will move even more actively. I would like to emphasize that the work of all advisory bodies, including the Ethics Council, should be based exclusively on trust in these bodies.
Also, one cannot fail to notice that already after the decision of the Ethics Council regarding the candidates for the VRP, the most active public organizations, which are related to the examination of the judicial reform, publicly questioned the quality of the candidates. But it is as it is. Self-improvement should not stop. In general, the congress of judges ended, and the judges were able to elect 8 members of the VRP”.