Never has this blog written an open letter or public request to any of the many Presidents, Prime Ministers or Cabinets whose governance (for want of a better description) it has lived under over the past decade and more in Ukraine.
The first reason for doing so is that once a reader has seen one Verkhovna Rada or Gov UA email address, it is very simple to work out the email address for any of them (no differently from working out the email address for somebody at the State Department or FCO etc.) and private communication has always remain the preferred channel of this blog.
Secondly, it would indeed be conceited to think that such a lowly foreign language hobby blog may get more than an infrequent and/or accidental visit from policymakers and/or legislators in Kyiv (discounting the diplomatic corps that seeks out what little English language “non-party line” commentary that spews forth from Odessa due to the absence of major “western” consulates in the region. In short an OSINT source with friendly “useful idiocy” potential).
However, even lowly hobby bloggers occasionally write for money – and naturally to a far higher and heavily cited standard than that which appears in a free blog. Indeed that writing can be academic and has been published by academic journals.
Facts and statistics even in a post-fact political world still have some resonance. Being sarcastic, how else to produce unreliable facts from reliable figures – or vice versa?
Undoubtedly the Ministry of Justice is very busy. Its reform agenda is vast and the obstructionism it faces is as robust as it is never ending. Yet the role of the Ministry of Justice in combating corruption cannot be overstated.
Clearly there is pressure upon the “rule of law” ministries and State institutions to deliver anti-corruption results. Indeed the blog’s social media time line and “favourite sites” are forever recording and highlighting the arrests of politicians and civil servants for corruption. The beginning of a process for each and every cases- but not a result.
The Ukrainian anti-corruption fight will not be measured in the number of arrests, but in the number of convictions.
Naturally media and political attention focuses upon the high profile cases – or currently upon the absolute lack of convictions in high profile cases. Important as they are, they too will only make up part of the picture when it comes to the fight against corruption.
Having searched in reasonable English, average Russian, and admittedly woeful Ukrainian, the blog is yet to find a consolidated list of corruption convictions – be it official statistics or a “best capture” effort by bloggers/civil society/media.
Somebody in the Ministry of Justice must have a list of every conviction for corruption of political and civil service figures across the entirety of Ukraine – if for no other reason to have a list of names that will subsequently be banned from holding office for a period of time following any conviction.
It would perhaps assist Ukraine in making its case that it is indeed fighting corruption and not just orating rhetoric and passing legislation that remains unimplemented – and certainly assist academic observation, even if empirical in nature – to provide easily located, easily accessible simple corruption conviction statistics.
The number of convictions for corruption per month (or per annum at least). The judicial verdict/punishment handed down. The region/oblast. Ideally the specific court and/or the judge too would be enough.
How else can even empirical observation consider why one region may be far more active in arriving at convictions than another? Is there a consistency in the sentencing – regionally or nationally? What of proportionality? Is one court far more “forgiving”/lenient than another? Would any “unofficial punishment banding” become empirically apparent correlating to the level of the convicted in the bureaucratic machinery – or alternatively to the level of bribe received for their nefarious acts?
Naturally nobody would expect the Minister to know these statistics without having to refer to somebody in the “boiler room” of the Ministry of Justice – but somebody in the “boiler room” will know – and if nobody knows, then how is the Ministry of Justice (or any other ministry) measuring the fight against corruption where it counts – and the reactive side of the equation counts only in convictions (hopefully with proportionate and consistent sentencing).
(Admittedly it is far more difficult to accurately measure the proactive preventative side of the fight against corruption because if proactively preventing it then logically it didn’t happen to be measured – an inaccurate science no different in difficultly to accurately measuring any crime prevention initiative.)
Thus this entry is aimed at those that may have contact within Ministry of Justice (rather than personally at the Minister of Justice who won’t read it) – hopefully one of the fairly frequent diplomats that drop by will raise the question of where to locate collated, official, easily accessible, frequently updated statistics regarding convictions (not arrests) for corruption and accurately recorded sentencing handed down.
Perhaps somebody within the EU, EU Member States, US or Canada that are rightly spending taxpayers money to support the fight against corruption have such statistics available? If not, how are they measuring the fight against corruption if convictions are not part of that benchmarking?
There is surely publicly available, updated statistics for the convictions and sentencing of public servants – for they are a matter of public record somewhere – and as headline grabbing as even a solitary conviction and sentencing of a sacrificial “big fish” will be (if it happens), the statistics sufficient to paint a much broader empirical picture, by region and nationally, would be gratefully received.
In the fairly certain knowledge that there will be no response to this plea/ admission of search engine defeat, perhaps the erudite readers will perchance furnish links to such hidden statistical knowledge that despite searches in 3 languages have thus far failed to produce the desired results?
Obliged in advance to any that may assist.