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Expert: High Council of Justice a disappointment

Director of the foundation DEJURE and member of the board of the think tank Reanimation Reform Package, Mykhailo Zhernakov, said he was disappointed with the work of the High Council of Justice in the course of the job contest to the Supreme Court.

Speaking to a 28 December roundtable conference organized by Gorshenin Institute and the Reanimation Package of Reforms think tank, the expert said he did not understand why the High Council of Justice (HCJ) opted not to take decisions on each candidate separately.

"Members of the HCJ, including its head, did offer some explanations, but from our point of view, for credibility's sake, decisions had to be taken on each candidate separately. Especially given that that HCJ's function at this stage is to review the details of each candidate for his integrity, compliance with professional ethical standards, and whether the appointment of the candidate may have a negative impact on the credibility of the judiciary," the expert said.

Zhernakov was also skeptical about the quality of job interviews.

"We saw a very biased practice. Questions asked by HCJ members for the most part did not concern issues of integrity and professional ethics. There have been questions on how a candidate feels about the creation of an anti-corruption court, language they speak at home, and what they would do as Supreme Court judges," he said.

Some of the candidates have been interviewed for 40 minutes, and some for 10 minutes.

"Impression was the HCJ made no effort to carry out an objective review but acted based on preconception," he said.

Zhernakov drew attention to 52 instances of conflict of interest of which HCJ members have stated before sessions, and said that DEJURE Foundation has revealed even more such cases. However, the HCJ dismissed 48 of such cases, the expert said

"Surely, all of this ruins the trust that may have left," Zhernakov concluded.