Since 2016, judges are required to submit declarations of integrity
and family relations
annually. Judges should disclose relatives who are judges, law enforcement officers, and officials, as well as inform whether their assets correspond to income and whether their behaviour has been honest.
False or incomplete information in these declarations is considered a fundamental violation and is the ground for the judge's dismissal.
However, the HCJ did its best to completely eliminate the responsibility for lying in these declarations. At first, it simply refused
to consider appeals on improper submission of declarations by judges without a prior opinion of the HQCJ regarding violation found in declaration. For instance, the HCJ returned the appeal against former member of the HQCJ Tetiana Veselska
, who stated that she had disclosed everything in the declaration of integrity. In fact, she had cash in the amount of almost UAH 800,000. This is more than all her income taken together.
The HCJ also believes that judges do not know what their children or close family members do. In particular, the HCJ saw no problem that the same Tetiana Veselska did not indicate her two sons-in-law, one of whom was famous member of Odessa City Council and former assistant to Serhiy Liovochkin. Even the HQCJ confirmed violations in her actions because the latter had been examining judges herself for several years and clearly knew how to submit these declarations. But at the meeting of the HCJ, she stated that she did not know what her son-in-law did. And that was enough to close the case.
This created a dangerous precedent, following which in order to avoid responsibility, it was enough for judges to state that they simply did not know where their relatives worked.
According to information of the HCJ
, only two judges were brought to responsibility for false information in these declarations during 2018-2019. Thus, the HCJ, in fact, legalized the judges' lies about their relatives, assets and integrity. You can read more about bringing judges to disciplinary responsibility for failure to submit and / or false information in declarations of integrity and family relations in the report prepared by the DEJURE Foundation.