In July 2019, detectives of the NABU together with investigators from the Office of Special Investigations of the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine (PGO) conducted high-profile searches at Kyiv District Administrative Court (OASK). These searches took place within the criminal proceeding regarding its judges.
According to the investigation
, the chairman of the OASK Pavlo Vovk and some judges tried to avoid the qualification assessment by creating artificial obstacles to activities of the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ) and appointing loyal members to the Commission.
Audio recordings released by law enforcement officials indicate that Vovk used the court decision to promote own interests.
On August 2, 2019, the PGO handed over the suspicion
to the OASK judges, namely Pavlo Vovk, Igor Pohrebnichenko, as well as to the judge of Suvorivskyi District Court of Odessa Ivan Shepitko and initiated their suspension by the High Council of Justice.
The suspension of the judge from the administration of justice is temporary measure and its maximum term is two months. The aim of suspension is to prevent a judge from using his power to continue committing the crime. The decision on suspension is made by the HCJ on the ground of motivated request of the prosecutor.
As PGO suspects Vovk, Pohrebnichenko, and Shepitko in crimes that are directly related to the adoption of court decisions. The PGO reasonably requested the HCJ to temporarily suspend them from positions of judges. However, the HCJ refused to suspend
all three judges at its meeting.
The HCJ also hid motives by which it did not suspend judges. The decision has not been made public yet on the website as required by the law.