Kuleba calls on new U.S. administration to support reboot of Ukraine's judicial system

Kuleba calls on new U.S. administration to support reboot of Ukraine's judicial system

Ukrinform
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has described a scandalous decision by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine as an "attack" on the country's anti-corruption reforms and called on international partners, including Joe Biden's administration, to support a reboot of Ukraine's judicial system.

He wrote this in his column published on the website of U.S. think tank Atlantic Council, according to Ukrinform.

"The Constitutional Court had dealt a heavy blow to Ukraine's anti-corruption reforms by practically canceling the requirement for government officials to file e-declarations of their assets. The Court's decision threatened to undermine our relations with the EU and other international partners," Kuleba said.

He said the country's "old guard wants to drag Ukraine back to the times when they could siphon public money off with impunity and play Russian-style politics." The minister stressed that urgent steps had been taken in response.

"The President initiated immediate action to restore confidence in Ukraine's reforms and the fight against corruption. The Cabinet of Ministers held an urgent meeting within just a few hours, ordering the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption to immediately restore public access to the register of asset declarations. Over five million declarations swiftly reappeared online," Kuleba said.

Unfortunately, the ruling's consequences are more far-reaching. The Constitutional Court decision has undermined the legality of dozens of ongoing trials. This has already led to some being closed.

"Ukraine's judiciary has been the biggest obstacle to reforms since 2014," he said.

He recalled that efforts to reform the judiciary had limited success.

"It is now clear this must change. The latest Constitutional Court attack leaves no more room for negotiations and no time for weak decisions. Any talk of compromise solutions is firmly in the past," Kuleba said.

According to him, Ukraine has no other choice than to fundamentally reform the judiciary, even when it requires tough political decisions and political will. "President Zelensky's determination to do this is now backed by even stronger public demands," he said.

Ukraine's judicial system "needs a complete reboot." According to Kuleba, Ukraine's international partners should also be engaged in the process to ensure tangible results and soothe any possible fears of mismanagement.

"Having the new U.S. administration weigh in and support these efforts would be most welcome and helpful," he said.

On October 27, the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional Article 366-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine that provides for punishment for lies in asset declarations. In particular, the court declared unconstitutional the powers of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption to verify e-declarations of officials, monitor their lifestyle and establish whether e-declarations were submitted on time, as well as the provisions on free access to declarations in the state register of declarations.

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