During the first years of investigations Ukrainian newly created anti-corruption agencies have shown valuable results, however further effective work of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) is impossible without establishment of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Court. This issue was brought up and later on discussed by the NABU Director Artem Sytnyk and by the Head of the SAPO Nazar Kholodnitskiy at the meeting with the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Bridget A. Brink, which took place on December 8.
Specialized Anti-Corruption Court
On August 28-29, 2017, with the support of the European Union's Anti-Corruption Initiative in Ukraine (EUACI) program the representatives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) were studying the experience of Lithuanian law enforcement agencies in investigating corruption crimes as of the facts of illegal enrichment. The Ukrainian delegation met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius, who emphasized on importance of anti-corruption reform for the future of Ukraine.
The establishment of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Court will be the final stage of anti-corruption and judicial reforms in Ukraine. This was stressed by Artem Sytnyk, the Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) at the Symposium on the Phenomenon of Corruption held on June 16-18 in Berlin.
Among 68 criminal proceedings in which the Detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) completed the pre-trial investigation and the prosecutors of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) sent the indictment to courts, the trials haven’t started yet regarding 24 criminal proceedings. In some cases, the trial hasn’t started more than a year.
Court decisions in the top-corruption cases, investigated by the Detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) will testify that anti-corruption reform in Ukraine is successfully implemented. This was stressed by the NABU Director Artem Sytnyk at the meeting with the representatives of the Working Party on Eastern Europe and Central Asia (COEST).
The European Union (EU) is ready to support reforms in Ukraine, including anti-corruption iniatives. At the same time, frequent attempts to undermine the independence and effectiveness of the newly created anti-corruption agencies, in particular, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) are of concern. This was stressed by the Commissioner of the European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn at the presentation of the European Union’s Anti-Corruption Initiative in Ukraine (EUACI) program which took place on June 1, 2017.
The High Council of Justice (HCJ) again shows the intention to undermine the judicial reform. In January 2017 the HCJ made certain statements on a special procedure for the arrest and detention of judges and it actually undermined the achievements of the judicial reform. On March 9, 2017, the High Council of Justice approved the Conclusion on the alleged unconstitutionality of the Law "On the Specialized Anti-Corruption Courts" and on the lack of grounds for their establishment.
Diplomatic missions of Italy have supported the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) on providing the Bureau with necessary powers of investigation and on the need to establish the Specialized Anti-Corruption Court. This was stressed by Italian Ambassador in Ukraine Davide La Cecilia at the meeting with the NABU Director Artem Sytnyk on February 22, 2017.