The HCJ systematically puts pressure on independent judges
The HCJ, with the help of opening disciplinary proceedings and other instruments, deliberately "complicates life" of independent judges. Although according to the law it is intended to protect judicial independence.
The High Council of Justice systematically prosecutes judges who have demonstrated their independence, namely, exposed corruption (including in the judicial system), allowed searches and other investigative actions of judges and state officials, counteracted the pressure. This was most clearly demonstrated during the competition to the Anti-Corruption Court (full material is available here). At the same time, the protection of judicial independence is one of the main tasks of the High Council of Justice. Thus, the HCJ not only failed to fulfil its task of protecting the independence of judges but also did the exact opposite in order to please politicians and dishonest judges.


Non-admission of the judge Holnyk to the Anti-Corruption Court

In late May 2018, the HCJ announced the reprimand to the judge of Oktiabrskyi District Court of Poltava Larysa Holnyk for the post on Facebook, which closed the path for her to the Anti-Corruption Court (HACC). In the post, the judge Holnyk sharply reacted to results of the meeting of judges of her court. Then, her colleagues ignored the decision of the Council of Judges of Ukraine (CJU), which drew their attention to the "inadmissibility of selecting persons with low moral, business and professional qualities to positions of chairmen of courts". They decided that current chairman of the court Oleksandr Strukov deserved to retain his position.

Holnyk appealed the reprimand to the plenary of the HCJ. But on August 2, it refused to cancel it. Since the presence of the reprimand forbids judges to take part in the competition, Larysa Holnyk was unable to run for the HACC, where judges whistleblowers who already had proved their adherence to principles would be much needed. On October 28, 2018, the HQCJ refused to allow Holnyk to participate in the competition to the High Anti-Corruption Court.


Persecution of the judge Fomin

On November 20, 2018, the HCJ refused the judge Viktor Fomin to continue his six-month assignment in Solomyanskyi Court in Kyiv. This judge is known for considering high-profile cases, where the NABU and the SAPO took part. In particular, he made decisions on appeals regarding Members of Parliament, namely Liashko, Mosiychuk, Rozenblat, Rabinovych, son of the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov, Oleksandr, deputy chairman of the SBU Pavlo Demchyna, former deputy chairman of the State Migration Service Dina Pimakhova, former chairman of the NACP Natalia Korchak, Major of Odessa Gennadiy Trukhanov, etc.

In addition, in August 2018, the judge Fomin filed an application to the competition to the High Anti-Corruption Court. During next two weeks 6 disciplinary complaints against him were submitted to the HCJ. Following one of these complaints, the HCJ opened the disciplinary proceeding in record time. It is noteworthy that the complainant was from former director of Lviv Armored Plant, who is suspected in embezzlement of state property. According to results of the consideration, the HCJ punished the judge. Thus, his participation in the competition to the High Anti-Corruption Court was terminated.


The case of the judge Tsokol

On October 19, 2018, the First Disciplinary Chamber of the HCJ initiated the dismissal of the judge of Pechersk District Court Larysa Tsokol. The reason was alleged committing of disciplinary misconduct that denigrated the rank of a judge and undermine the authority of justice. Larysa Tsokol is known for the fact that she refused the Prosecutor General's Office to select the preventive measure in the form of arrest for former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili.

In ten days after the adoption of decision regarding the judge Tsokol, the first disciplinary case was opened on the appeal filed in March 2017. During next month, two more disciplinary cases were opened, which were united into one proceeding. Oleksiy Malovatskyi, the former lawyer of the President Petro Poroshenko, had to prepare the draft conclusion on them. On October 19, 2018, the First Disciplinary Chamber of the HCJ considered all three appeals against the judge and decided to apply penalty in the form of dismissal. The judge currently appeals this penalty of the HCJ plenary.

Experts from the Center for Political and Legal Reforms made the conclusion that the rigour of applied penalties and the number of coincidences in the procedure of consideration of complaint against Tsokol make it possible to speak about the revenge for the decision made regarding Saakashvili.


Reprimand of the judge Radchenko

The High Council of Justice declared the severe reprimand to the judge of Lviv Court Vitaliy Radchenko for allowing searches of home and in the office of notorious judge Pavlo Vovk given to NABU detectives on May 27, 2017. As a result of this search, important evidence was obtained to investigate and prove the crime. According to results of the High Qualification Commission of Judges, the judge Vovk violated the law on anti-corruption.

Finally, the judges of Kyiv District Administrative Court complained about actions of Radchenko, and on October 5, 2017, the HCJ opened the disciplinary proceeding. And on December 7, 2017, the latter found that the judge Radchenko had committed gross negligence and brought him to disciplinary responsibility in the form of severe reprimand.

When the HCJ needed more than a year to open the proceeding regarding "Maidan judges", this proceeding was opened within four months.

On June 14, 2019, the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court cancelled the reprimand to Radchenko. The HCJ considered that the decision regarding the search warrant was insufficiently motivated. The Grand Chamber disagreed with the HCJ and stated that norms of the Code of Criminal Procedure did not foresee the duty of investigating judge to list all circumstances of the criminal proceeding and state all known and established details or excessively clear list of evidence to be found.