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Zelenskyy sends to parliament proposition to increase penalties for court corruption to 15 years in prison

Zelenskyy sends to parliament proposition to increase penalties for court corruption to 15 years in prison

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has enacted the decision of the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) to accelerate judicial reform and overcome corruption in the courts. The RNBO adopted the decision on 23 June, and Zelenskyy signed the relevant document on 30 June, according to a statement on the President’s website.

The RNBO decision states that the need for judicial reform is dictated, in particular, by Ukraine’s aspirations for European integration, as reforming the judicial system is one of the seven basic requirements of the European Commission for further progress in the areas of European and Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, according to Liga.

The National Security and Defense Council decided to appeal to the Verkhovna Rada to amend Ukraine’s Criminal Code in order to:

  • increase responsibility for corruption in the courts (judges should be sent to prison for 10 to 15 years for bribes);
  • strengthen the role of the jury courts and expand the cases of its use;
  • check all judges of the Supreme Court for disciplinary offenses and verify the legality of the origin of their property (if a judge is suspected of bribery in a court, the High Council of Justice should check all judges of that court);
  • periodically test judges on a polygraph (this should be a condition for selecting candidates for the position of judge).

On 5 May 2023, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine announced that they had uncovered a large-scale corruption case in the country’s Supreme Court. According to Liga‘s law enforcement source, the discovered bribe amounted to $2.7 million, and one of the defendants in the case is Chief Justice Kniazev. On 26 May, the Supreme Court elected Stanislav Kravchenko as a new chief justice, who was the head of the Criminal Court of Cassation within the Supreme Court.

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