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Back to judicial events – prior to 30th September

September 27, 2016

At the beginning of the month an entry appeared regarding the release of more than 500 judges from their mandates – the reason not being the much demanded purge, but a seemingly deliberate policy over the past 2 years of not releasing judges even when they wanted to go.

The 27th September witnessed President Poroshenko call upon the Verkhovna Rada to hold an extraordinary session specifically to sack a number of judges prior to the adopted constitutional amendments entering into force on 30th September.

Dutifully the Verkhovna Rada Speaker has called that extraordinary session for 29th September for the political class to sack those judges that could and should have been sacked long ago for breaching their oath and/or handing down clearly unlawful verdicts on behalf of the Yanukovych regime during EuroMaidan/The Revolution of Dignity.

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A reader will rightly ponder why such judges have been left in office until the very last day of the existing legislation.

Whilst all these last minute (politically grandstanding) dismissals are going on immediately prior to new legislation commencing in a few days time, Presidential Decree 410/2016 has also appeared.

Presidential Decree 410/2016 provides for the first new judicial appointments in Ukraine during the past 5 years.

104 new judges appointed by Presidential Decree to be exact.

23 new judges in Dnipro, 8 in Donetsk, 5 in Zhitomir, 9 in Zaporizhia, 2 in Ivan-Frankivsk, 1 in Kyiv, 8 in Kirovograd, 4 in Luhansk, 3 in Odessa, Mykolayev,  Lviv and Poltova, 5 in Rivne, 4 in Sumy, 1 in Kharkiv, 3 in Kherson, 5 in Khmelnitsky, 6 in Cherkasy, 1 in Chernivtsi and Chernihiv.

For Odessa, in Artsyzkogo District Court, Veronika Cherbaty and Sergei Varharaki are appointed as is Natalia Manzhos at Kiliskogo District Court.

Clearly finally allowing those that wanted to leave to do so, sacking a few judges on 29th in an act of political theatre prior to the constitutional amendments entering into force, and appointing 104 judges for the first time in 5 years does not equate to judicial reform – and it would be a very shallow claim to state that it is.  Reform has to be a much deeper process to warrant that label.  Indeed reform is far more about processes and institutions than it is about changing names within them – however, the current political pantomime aside, it is hopefully a start.

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