On November 11, 2019, the High Council of Justice approved amendments to its Rules of Procedure
The HCJ determined
that from now on video broadcasting of its meetings can take place only according to requests (consent) of all parties (persons against which the issue is considered) according to results of which the HCJ makes the decision.
In other words, broadcasting is possible only if one of participants of the meeting asks for such broadcasting, and the judge and other participants do not object it. Of course, the judge will be against in 99.9% of cases.
The HCJ justified
its decision to restrict access to its meetings by referring to the Law "On the Reform of the Judiciary (№ 193-IX
)". This was outright manipulation, as the law does not contain even hints at restricting broadcasting of meetings. On the contrary, the law has the number of norms that are created to make the HCJ more open. For instance, the law states that voting regarding decision of the HCJ should take place not in the deliberation room, but openly. By the way, the HCJ also distorted this norm. Voting indeed takes place in the conference hall, but it is hidden from audience.
The HCJ used these amendments to the Rules of procedure for actual complete termination of broadcasting. Since November 11, 2019 to April 21, 2020, it has broadcasted only 4 meetings.
The HCJ denied the request to broadcast many meetings, in which there was significant public interest: against judges Ablov Y., Strukov O., Serdyuk V., Babenko K., Simonenko V. and others. It came to the point that on November 21, 2019, on the anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, the HCJ forbade
the audience in the hall to broadcast on social media the issue of dismissal of the judge of KDAC Yevhen Ablov.
Most of requests on broadcasting of the HCJ meetings were simply ignored, and refusals were unmotivated.
When quarantine began, the HCJ restricted visitors' access to its meetings, which, in fact, were closed. The DEJURE Foundation has officially asked
the HCJ to resume broadcasting of meetings, at least for the time of quarantine. However, this and other similar requests were completely ignored. The Supreme Court is currently considering the lawsuit on declaring these amendments to the Rules of Procedure illegal.
Moreover, the HCJ systematically conceals public information. For instance, it refused
to provide the list of judges regarding whom the HCJ had made the decision on dismissal due to incompatibility with the occupied position. It even hid data on their salaries. The illegality of these actions was established by decision
of the Supreme Court.
The HCJ returns about 90% of complaints against judges without consideration. However, decisions on them are not published on the website and are not publicly available at all. This is quite convenient way to cover judges. The HCJ refused the appeal to publish such decisions on its official website. The lawsuit on declaring this refusal illegal is currently being considered
by the Supreme Court.
According to the Rules of procedure on data sets that are subjects of disclosure in the form of open data, approved by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers as of October 21, 2015 № 835, the HCJ should have publish all its decisions in the form of open data since November 17, 2019. However, this has not been done so far.
The HCJ tries to restrict complainants as much as possible in accessing materials of disciplinary proceedings. That means that even if the case against the judge is opened regarding your appeal, the judge will have full access to materials, and you will have limited access.
The HCJ even wrote this rule in its Rules of Procedure. Due to this, for instance, the HCJ denied the complainant to have access to the video of the patrol police that showed unethical behavior of the judge of the Sixth Administrative Court of Appeal Babenko K.
or the judge of the Supreme Court Serdyuk V.
, who were caught drunk driving. Access to materials regarding odious head of Oktyabrskyi court of Poltava city Strukov O.
was also denied. The Supreme Court has already declared
that actions of the HCJ were illegal. Another case of declaring these norms illegal is pending at the Supreme Court.