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Public activists urge establishment of anticorruption courts

"It's time to demonstrate the will."

The leader of the rock group Okean Elzy Svyatoslav Vakarchuk on 13 December met with President Petro Poroshenko to hand over a letter with an appeal to start the creation of a system of anti-corruption courts.

The letter is signed by Vakarchuk, writer Serhiy Zhadan, actress Ada Rohovtseva, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchy) Filaret and the head of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Svyatoslav.

The signatories insist on the immediate establishment of a complete system of independent anti-corruption courts in addition to the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court, as provided by the Law of Ukraine "On the Judicial System and Status of Judges".

"Such courts should review anti-corruption cases on merits and warrant relevant investigations at the request of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP)," the letter reads.

The appeal says that without a system of independent anti-corruption activities of vessels NABU and SAP will be reduced to naught.

"The autonomy of the future system of independent anti-corruption courts must be clearly defined and legislated. Their funding must be provided by protected articles of the state budget. The state shall guarantee special protection of anti-corruption judges and their families," the letter emphasized.

The signatories urge the president to immediately initiate the creation an adequate system of specialized anti-corruption courts.

"Procrastination, manipulations, the talks of "poor timing" of such a step, the attempts to distort or negate the essence and logic of the process of creating a system of anti-corruption courts, any pressure on the members of the special contest commission or the candidates for the posts of anti-corruption judges will inevitably be perceived by society as a direct connivance to corrupt officials. It's time to demonstrate the will," the letter urges.

In 2015, Ukraine created the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, the State Bureau of Investigation (pending launch).