Prosecutor’s Office going (completely) rogue? Odessa & UkraineApril 8, 2016
On 29th March an entry appeared regarding the sacking of the perceived reformist Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine, and Odessa Regional Prosecutor, Davit Sakvarelidze by former Prosecutor General Shokin just hours prior to his own dismissal was approved by the Verkhovna Rada.
To replace Davit Sakvarelidze, the out-going Prosecutor General appointed Nikolai Stoyanov as Odessa Regional Prosecutor.
Oh dear. Rumour has it that Nikolai Stoyanov will be appointed Prosecutor for Odessa in place of Davit Sakvarelidze – A very backward step.
— Nikolai Holmov (@OdessaBlogger) March 30, 2016
If Davit Sakvarelidze is perceived as a reformist Regional Prosecutor by the local constituency, Nikolai Stoyanov is perceived as the exact opposite. Indeed he is perceived to personify all that is odious and wrong within the Prosecutor General’s Office since Ukraine became an independent State – and not without reason by the local constituency, for it has previous first hand experience of Mr Stoyanov.
Indeed no sooner was his appointment known, a permanent protest picket immediately appeared outside the Prosecutor’s Office in Odessa city centre. It remains there now, 24 hours a day, swelling to protesters measured in the hundreds at weekends. It is a number that will continue to grow (as to be expected with the now sunny weekends).
The Prosecutor’s Office still functions from that particular office. All staff enter and egress via the back doors without hindrance. The wheels of “justice” (such as it is) remain uninhibited. The picket exists for two reasons. Obviously it is a very public signal of local constituency dismay. Secondly it has thus far deterred the newly appointed Odessa Regional Prosecutor from even attempting to turn up to work since his appointment.
The currently acting Prosecutor General (who is of the same obstructionist nature as his former boss, Viktor Shokin) has not seen fit to either come to Odessa and try and negotiate with the local constituency, nor alternatively, recongise the dismay of the people of Odessa and appoint a different Regional Prosecutor.
How long it will be before Mr Stoyanov tries to enter his place of work remains unknown. How long the protesters will remain is very clear – for as long as it takes to either insure his removal from the role and in the meantime prevent his entry to his place of work.
Those on the picket line from Odessa are now being joined but people from Poltova, Kyiv, Lviv and Nikolaev.
A reader may ponder just how long it will be before “hired titushki” appear in an attempt to clear the protesters in the latest stand-off between entrenched and odious interests and the reformers. Only the foolish would rule it out, considering that de facto there is something of a “physical lustration” occurring with the public simply refusing Mr Stoyanov to walk through the Prosecutor General’s building doors to sit at his desk.
Having mentioned lustration, it appears that the Ministry of Justice is also not particularly pleased with the appointment of Nikolai Stoyanov making it clear very publicly that he falls under the lustration (On Cleansing Power) law and is therefore barred from holding his appointed office (for many years to come). Mr Stoyanov is on the Ministry of Justice list of lustrated prosecutors (Number 258 in the red section of the spreadsheet).
Thus there exists the situation where the local constituency will not allow Mr Stoyanov to go to work in the full knowledge he will not represent their best interests, the Ministry of Justice publicly states that Mr Stoyanov by way of law cannot hold the office, and yet the acting Prosecutor General will not cancel the appointment of this odious character.
Indeed the Prosecutor General’s Office is now seemingly attempting to intimidate the Ministry of Justice rather than replace their nefarious and unlawfully office holding chosen man.
On 5th April the Mintry of Justice made public its disapproving comments over the appointment of Mr Stoyanov, and by 8th April the Prosecutor General’s Office “identified shortcomings” in the Ministry of Justice and that it “improperly performs duties assigned by Law” regarding the recording of corruption. It has launched an investigation into the Ministry of Justice.
Thus far the Ministry of Justice seems very confident in its position and publicly pooh-poohs the PGOs posturing.
A public tiff has broken out between what appears to be a Prosecutor General’s Office that has gone rogue ignoring the public that it serves and the “lustration law” statute, notwithstanding publicly challenging and seeking to intimidate the Ministry of Justice with which it forms part of the rule of law (such as it is) machinery .
These events are clearly through their timing (though deniable) surrounding the appointment of the odious Mr Stoyanov and refusal (thus far) to replace him as both local constituency and the law demand.
It is unclear who is going to settle this matter – or when.
Perhaps it will be left to a newly appointed Prosecutor General whomever and whenever they are appointed. That may be next week – or it may be months from now, but as the Prosecutor General is generally associated with the President (for the sitting President nominates the Prosecutor General), this unsightly and entirely unnecessary mess will be costing both President and his political party local constituency support as the perception is that he (one way or another) can sort this local matter instantly if he deemed to do so.
The Prosecutor’s Office is perceived as going rogue and with it, the perceived fecklessness of the President increases. This past fortnight is probably the worst fortnight for unnecessary presidential own goals since he took office – and apparently he will keep scoring them to the point where a reader may ponder just how competent the Presidential Administration surrounding President Poroshenko is, and/or just how honest they are with him when briefing him.
Such consistently poor policy choices and entirely avoidable incidents of late may cause a reader to wonder just who, if anybody, has their eye on the domestic ball within the Bankova.