On 7 June 2018, the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Law of Ukraine on the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court (the “Law”), which became effective on 14 June. It is a fundamental legislative act enabling the establishment and functioning of the new Supreme Anti-Corruption Court in Ukraine (the “Anti-Corruption Court”). The Law is an important part of the ongoing judicial reforms in Ukraine and its adoption was one of Ukraine’s commitments to the International Monetary Fund and the international community.
The Anti-Corruption Court will become a new specialized court of Ukraine vested with an exclusive competence to consider criminal offences related to corruption. These offences include bribery as well as various crimes committed by public officials by virtue of abuse of office. The Anti-Corruption Court will consist of two chambers: the general chamber, functioning as the first instance court, and the appeal chamber. Although the Anti-Corruption Court will be based in Kyiv, its jurisdiction will extend to the entire territory of Ukraine.
The Law sets the requirements for the judges of the Anti-Corruption Court, who should be selected on a transparent, competitive basis. The Law also provides for various guarantees and protective measures aiming to ensure the independence and impartiality of the Anti-Corruption Court judges.
An important development introduced by the Law is the establishment of the Public Council of International Experts (the “Council”), which will be the auxiliary body to the High Qualification Commission of Judges. The principal task of the Council will be the assessment of candidates for the judges’ positions and providing respective reports to the High Qualification Commission of Judges. In the event the Council states in its report that a certain candidate is not suitable, the High Qualification Commission of Judges can still appoint such candidate but only if they receive at least eleven votes out of a maximum of sixteen.
The Council will consist of seven members appointed upon the recommendations of the international organisations with which Ukraine cooperates in the field of corruption prevention. It is expected that introduction of this institute should serve as an efficient mechanism for ensuring the selection of judges with the best professional and ethical qualities.
The Anti-Corruption Court should be formally established within the twelve months following the date on which the Law becomes effective (14 June 2018). The contest for the selection of the judges should be launched within the same time period. The general meeting of the Anti-Corruption Court shall adopt the decision on the date when the court shall start its work and such decision shall be published in the official gazette, Voice of Ukraine.
Adoption of the Law and the future establishment of the Anti-Corruption Court is yet another achievement in the process of the judicial and anti-corruption reforms currently ongoing in Ukraine. It is expected that this development will represent a significant move forward in combating and preventing corruption in Ukraine.
The Law of Ukraine on the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court dated 7 June 2018.